Grand Am Electronics Problem [Archive] - Forum


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01-27-2006, 07:53 PM
I have some electrical issues with my 1999 Grand Am. I'll try to describe them as best as I can.

The problem is intermittent and tends to happen more frequently the more cold and damp the weather becomes.

When I start my car, the engine will start up, but the gauges and odometer will not activate right away like they should. The red backlighting is not effected at all. The problem is that it takes several seconds after starting the engine for the gauge needles and odometer readout to spring to life. Sometimes I hear a loud clunk, like a heavy duty relay kicking in, coming from underneath the engine compartment several seconds after starting the engine at around the time the electronics spring to life. There is always a delay between the time the engine starts up and the time the clunk happens, but the clunk is always more noticeable in cold and damp weather. In warm, dry weather the clunk is not heard. The clunk seems to be related to the electronics but it does not always occur at the same time that the electronics activate.

Sometimes while driving away from a cold start the needles and readout will stop working and then start working again without warning and without any pattern. When this happens I can hear a small relay clicking on and off underneath the dash. This relay is not the same as the one I suggested for the clunk I described previously.

Another interesting thing about this problem is that once everything is supposedly working properly, I turn the HVAC fan knob on to the first setting and the fan will start right away, then a few seconds later the fan dies, the gauges die, the odometer dies, the rear defroster dies, all at once, then they all reset themselves (except the rear defroster) and start working again for no reason. This happens only sometimes when driving away from a cold start.

Once the car has been running for a while everything seems okay and the driveability is not effected.

At first I thought it might be a defective battery not supplying sufficient power to the electronics, but I recently installed a new battery and the problem still exists. There is absolutely no pattern to this craziness and I don't think I'd even be able to describe it to the dealer. It's driving me nuts but I hope someone with experience might be able to pinpoint what might be the problem with all the clues I've given. Any help would be appreciated.

01-27-2006, 07:56 PM
Not too long ago, my car also threw up an ABS code and a Class 2 communication failure code at the same time, and then later a "Service Engine Soon" light which all cleared themselves. I believe they are all related to this electronic problem.

There must be some module which links all these things together. Any ideas?

01-28-2006, 08:50 AM
The lights and speedometer problem might be a wheel speed sensor. Its part of the wheel hub assembly. Search around, there are a lot of threads on them. The hvac problem could another common problem. Forget exaclty what its called but there are threads on that too.

manic mechanic
01-29-2006, 07:37 AM
Check to ensure the battery connections are clean and tight.

01-30-2006, 08:10 PM
Also check your alternator. They tend to go on GA's. As for the fan, the resistor that controls speeds 1 and 2 go a lot too. If the fan is starting and stopping, then the resistor could have a cold solder joint, making and breaking contact with the rest of the circuit.