OnStar digital upgrade
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2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V General Discussion Discussion, OnStar digital upgrade in Cadillac CTS-V Series Forum - 2004 - 2007; After becoming convinced that there will be no 2008 CTS-V (maybe a 2009), I decided to go ahead with the ...
  1. #1
    tedcmiller is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    OnStar digital upgrade

    After becoming convinced that there will be no 2008 CTS-V (maybe a 2009), I decided to go ahead with the digital upgrade for the cellular transceiver to avoid the rush that will occur at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. The cost for the upgrade is $15.00 plus one year of OnStar ($200.00) all paid up front before installation of the new tranceiver. The installation was done at the local dealer and appears to be OK with no problems. A new transceiver has a different ESN and a new telephone number. Also, stored "Call" numbers are in the transceiver, so all stored numbers will have to be stored again after the installation.

    Differences - mostly in the voice recognition which seems to function more reliably. Otherwise, everything else (sound quality, signal stength, etc.) seems to be pretty much the same.

    A couple of important points: 1) Dealers must order digital tranceivers when requested. They are supposedly not allowed to keep new transceivers in stock. So, you can't walk in, request the upgrade and get it installed the same day. 2) The one year subscription starts after any free or already-paid-for-time ends - no overlap. 3) The mantra from the dealer is that it might take as long as 48 hours for the new transceiver to be recognized by the system and begin working. In my case, the system was totally functional when my car was returned to me (within a few minutes of completion of the installation).

    Bottom line - do this only if have a digital-ready (aka analog-only) in-car system, you are using the cellular connection (OnStar and/or the built-in cell phone), and you plan to continue using the cellular connection for another year. If all of these conditions are met the cost is $15.00 plus about three hours time at the dealer.

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  3. #2
    odla's Avatar
    odla is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    They charged you labor?

  4. #3
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    That is true, you place the order and sometimes they come overnight or 2nd day. They have to set things up in the computer and the information on the modules is specific and unique so we can't "stock" them.
    The kits are put together specifically for your VIN and shipped to us.

    You should pay $199 for the safe and secure package or $399 for Directions and connections plus a $15 fee. Some states will charge sales tax, but you should never pay more than that. There is no labor charge or additional fees. If your dealer charges you more you need to call someone because they are scamming you.

    It should take less than 24 hours for activation. I tell my customers to wait 24 hours and then press the blue button.

    The one year subscription starts immediately, then any time you had left on your contract is added on to the end once that one year expires. You will also return to your regular billing after that one year so if you pay month to month, you will need to pay month to month after that year.

    They should give you an onstar packet. I leave them in the front passenger seat with the welcome letter and the warranty documentation.

    We do roughly 3-4 of these per day now and I suspect that will go up.
    We have about 30 in the back room waiting for customers to return for installation.
    Currently we charge you for the subscription after the installation is complete and you pick up your car (plus the $15 fee).

    Any questions about onstar upgrades please feel free to direct towards me. As I said, I do plenty of them.
    I have probably done close to 100 of them by now.

  5. #4
    tedcmiller is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    As ewill3rd points out, the $15.00 charge is not for labor. It is simply a fee associated with the upgrade. The actual installation involves removing the right-side trim panel in the trunk, replacing the exisiting transceiver with the new transceiver, replacing the trim panel, then contacting OnStar to get the new tranceiver logged into the system. Each active transceiver is associated with a specfic vehicle, so the old transceiver must be deleted and the new one added for the specific vehicle.

    As far as the Onstar subscription is concerned, I am currently operating on the first year of free service. I have now paid for an additional year of service, so my total service time without additional charges will be the one year purchased with the upgrade, plus the remaining time on my current free subscription.

  6. #5
    kueh is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    How do you know if your car is Digital-Ready or Analog Only. I have a '05 V. Is it already digital? I have my On-Star linked up to my Verizon Account, do I need to get this upgrade?

  7. #6
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    I think someone posted a link to check.
    I am pretty sure you'll need an upgrade.
    Plug in your VIN here: https://www.myonstar.com/adt.os

  8. #7
    tedcmiller is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    Having your On-Star account linked to Verizon is not an indication of digital capability. Verizon still has analog support. You can check your car's status by calling OnStar or a service rep at a dealership. You will need to give your VIN number to the dealership service rep. OnStar knows what car is calling in. If you still have the original papers that came with the car, and they say your radio is "digital-ready" as opposed to dual-mode, then you will need the upgrade.

    Interestingly enough, GM posted information on their web site that indicated "most 2005 models" would not require the upgrade as they supposedly had dual-mode tranceivers (analog and digital) or digital-only tranceivers installed. The GM transition from "digital-ready" to digital started in 2005 which means that all 2004 and prior years do not have digital capability. Apparently all 2006 and later models have digital capability, so the only year in question is 2005. My V is a 2005 model and had a digital-ready transceiver, so the upgrade was required if I wanted to continue using the built-in cellular service after 2007. The FFC ruling is that existing analog service need not be maintained after Feb.1, 2008, so I would expect current analog-only radios to continue functioning at least until that date. Not wanting to lose revenue, GM will probably continue analog service past that date until the number of analog subscriptions drops to an unprofitable point. Previous anaolg OnStar service was through U.S. Cellular, but GM hooked up with Verizon when customers wanted to share minutes between their regular cell phones and OnStar.

    Digital-ready is a euphemism created by GM for cars that can be converted to digital-only by replacing only the transceiver. Earlier "not digital-ready" models did not have separate transceivers or tranceivers that had an interface to the radio subsystem compatible with the new digital-only tranceivers. These models can not be easily upgraded to digital-only, and in some cases cannot be upgraded at all. A complete replacement of the radio system would be required and is not available as OEM equipment.

    There are practically no normal cell phones still in service that are analog only, so normal cell phone users will not be significantly inconvenienced by the loss of analog service. Leave it to GM to create a nightmare for OnStar users.

  9. #8
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    Mine took 3 days and a separate call to OnStar/Verizon to actually get it activated. I came back to pick up my car early and I'm sure the tech felt rushed getting the job done so he probably missed something in the setup. Other than that everything works great.

    Your system is analog if you dial numbers one at a time with the system repeating them back to you one at a time. The digital systems are set up so that you speak the entire phone number (all 7 or 10 digits) and the system then repeats back to you the entire phone number at once.

  10. #9
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    I don't really see how this is a "nightmare for OnStar users" or how this situation was "created" by GM.
    ???
    Could you elaborate?

  11. #10
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    If you use the "digit dial" command instead of the "dial" command you can enter numbers one digit at a time.
    I often recommend this to customers that have trouble after the upgrade.

  12. #11
    The Tony Show's Avatar
    The Tony Show is offline See you in the funny papers
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by ewill3rd View Post
    I don't really see how this is a "nightmare for OnStar users" or how this situation was "created" by GM.
    ???
    Could you elaborate?
    Don't get sucked in to this, eWill- He's had an axe to grind about the Digital OnStar upgrade for a while now.

    This topic has been discussed to death, and the instructions on how to complete it posted several times by other members including myself. A measly $15 service charge in addition to you renewal of $199 (which we all will need at some point anyway when our subcription runs out) is a BARGAIN. Cell phone carriers force you to sign multi year contracts to get a free phone upgrade, and that's just handing you a new phone, not installing equipment in a car (way more costly).

    Why this needs to be discussed again is beyond me, unless there's an issue here that hasn't been brought to light.
    Rest in Peace, J.D. (aka Dirt_Cheap_Fleetwood)

  13. #12
    NIK's Avatar
    NIK
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    Bottom line - do this only if have a digital-ready (aka analog-only) in-car system, you are using the cellular connection (OnStar and/or the built-in cell phone), and you plan to continue using the cellular connection for another year. If all of these conditions are met the cost is $15.00 plus about three hours time at the dealer.[/quote]


    It took under an hour to install at my dealer - no problems, worked great after waiting overnight to try it.

  14. #13
    kueh is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by ewill3rd View Post
    I think someone posted a link to check.
    I am pretty sure you'll need an upgrade.
    Plug in your VIN here: https://www.myonstar.com/adt.os
    I found out that my is a dual-mode. I don't need to upgrade. Thanks.

  15. #14
    thebigjimsho's Avatar
    thebigjimsho is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    I have an '04. So this is all garbage to me...

  16. #15
    Falkolade's Avatar
    Falkolade is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: OnStar digital upgrade

    I have never renewed onstar in any of my GM vehicles... It's pointless, hence the reason for a cell phone... however XM did catch my fancy, and i do pay for that!

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