2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success
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2008-2013 Cadillac CTS General Discussion Discussion, 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success in Cadillac CTS Second Generation Forum - 2008-2013; ...
  1. #1
    Gramzster is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    I purchased my 2008 CTS at the end of October and while it did not have Bluetooth, it had all the other options I was looking for.

    My 2008 was manufactured in March 08 and therefore has Gen 7 OnStar hardware.

    I wanted to see if it was possible to add Bluetooth to the vehicle, without using aftermarket parts. I figured if I wasn't able to do it through the OnStar module, I'd buy a hands-free visor-mount Bluetooth speakerphone instead.

    I bought a salvaged unit off eBay for $65 that came from a 2009 CTS. I found the device from Nordstrom's Automotive and is identified by
    CADILLAC CTS 2009 Communication; (OnStar, opt UE1), w/voice recognition (opt UPF).
    The model # is 25990227.

    Before purchasing, I obtained a copy of the service manual and found that there werenít any wiring changes that could cause a short or irreparable damage to both the module and my vehicle. I figured if the gen 8 module didn't work, I'd probably could plug the gen 7 module back in without problems.

    I know that there was information about the new Bluetooth wiring provisions (WXS) when the Gen 8 Module was introduced. My guess is these wires were already part of the existing Nav system wiring (UQA, UQS), and were just separated into a separate wiring scheme in 2009 vehicles to allow Non-Nav cars to support Bluetooth as well (However, my guess is non-Nav cars might have this wiring too as OnStar runs through the stereo..... just don't take my word for it.) They provide a "Remote Playback Device Left Audio Signal", Mute, Ground and a "Cellular Microphone Signal" to the Nav System.
    As mentioned, either my car already has it, or it's not needed as my Nav mutes when a call comes in, and I can hear the caller (and they can hear me) clearly when using Bluetooth.


    The device arrived on Friday looks almost identical to the Gen 7 module. The only difference is it has a Bluetooth Connector / Antenna, as well as a Bluetooth logo and MAC address on the label.
    Took me about an hour to remove the back seat, interior trim and rear shelf (as well as disable the airbags). At this point I had access to the module. I plugged the new one and turned on the car. Success! I went into the Hands-Free menu and said ďBluetoothĒ and it recognized it! I paired my phone and was able to make calls through the stereo. At this point my OnStar light was red, but probably because the device wasnít connected long enough to get an OnStar and GPS signal.

    Unfortunately, it took me 4 HOURS to remove the old module. Why? The old module is mounted to a plate and when I tried to loosen the nut holding down the module, the bolt turned as well.

    I was unable to remove the tray as it was bolted down and one of the bolts had cap on it that couldnít be removed (it had a wiring harness running through it, so I was unable to unscrew it).

    I had to resort to taping a wrench to a paint stick and sliding it under the try to grab hold of the bolt. (There is a hole almost underneath the module in the trunk; however it was not large enough to place an object in to prevent the bolt from turning).

    Anyways, although it took over 5 hours to do, Iím happy that it was successful. I will admit though Iím not sure if itís a 100% success as there were a few problems that I outlined below:

    Quirks

    After installing the module and getting it mounted in the back of my vehicle, I turned my car onto accessory mode to verify the module worked before putting the car back together.
    • While the car was on accessory mode, my dash and Nav "restarted" and the DIC came up with the message "Stabilitrack Off". This is a total guess, but I wonder if it was due to the car detecting the new module, OR the battery was almost dead as I was in/out of the car for over 6 hours without starting it. To be safe I charged the battery overnight and it hasn't happened since.
    • Also, on Sunday morning, my NAV display came up with the error that "the display unit is too hot and will shut down". This message disappeared after a few seconds and the Nav display is working fine.
    I installed the module on Saturday and I haven't had any problems with the car since. Now I know that was only two days ago, but if I see anything else occur, Iíll post about it.


    Unresolved Questions / Issues
    • When I have an incoming call, the Caller ID on the DIC shows "UNAVAILABLE". However, this may be due to the Bluetooth capabilities of the cell phone.
    • Also, as this is a used module, I'm not sure if OnStar will be willing to reset the programming on the device to match my vehicle. Therefore, I don't know if I will be able to activate OnStar services on the vehicle. The good news is the OnStar light is green. I might look into it if I decide to activate OnStar in the New Year. There is a guy on the Silverado forums who said he called up OnStar and they downloaded the updated information about his car to the module. However, I'm unsure if he had a new, or a used module.
    Of course I canít make any guarantees if will work in your car (As I said my car has Nav and was manufactured in March 08. Also, I donít have THAT much experience with electrical or automotive systems, Iím an IT guy) but hey if youíre looking for a way to add Bluetooth to your 08, this MIGHT be a way to do it.
    Remi1599 likes this.

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  3. #2
    beanjapan's Avatar
    beanjapan is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Gramzster, Thanks so much for posting all this information, I was wondering if this was possible to do.

    I do have Onstar now, and enjoy using it, so let me know if you are able to re-associate your Onstar w/ your vehicle. I would love to have bluetooth and Onstar.

    Sounds like an overall good deal to get bluetooth integrated into the CTS nav.

    I have a very similar vintage CTS and nav setup, so I am now very tempted to install this myself.

    Thanks for the info!

  4. #3
    lugan79 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    I have a 2008 SRX with nav and bose and I was wondering if you think the part number above #25990227 would work for me. The problem I am running into is that the 2009 srx did not have blue tooth, therefore I cannot grab that particular VCIM. For that reason, I thought that the 2009 cts would be the best one to try swithing in a bluetooth VCIM since the steering wheel and that it is somewhat off the same line of production. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated!

  5. #4
    Gramzster is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Quote Originally Posted by lugan79 View Post
    I have a 2008 SRX with nav and bose and I was wondering if you think the part number above #25990227 would work for me.
    I really don't know whether it will work or not, but here are some info I picked up along the way.

    The Generation 7 module that was in my CTS was Part Number 25910217. I it would be interesting to see what the part number is in the SRX. I know that imthduke accessed his SRX onstar module, so maybe he or someone else would know.

    I've also found out that some modules may be cross-platform compatible. There is a person on the GM Truck forms stating that they put a Buick Enclave VCIM in a Chevy Truck and whenever he gets the onstar report, it states he is driving an Enclave. Does that mean a CTS VCIM will work in a SRX? I don't really know. It would be interesting to see what the VCIM Model # is between the 07 CTS, 08 CTS (gen 7) and 08 SRX. If they're the same, it's possible it could work.

    (There is one catch though...... the VCIM in the SRX is located in trunk near the subwoofer, so its hard to say if the bluetooth signal would be powerful enough to reach the front seat...... it may be, I just don't know).

    I don't have access to the GM Service Manuals anymore. I used a site called repairprocedures.com and bought a 3 day subscription (cost $10). There is a document called Component Connector End Views (located at Power and Signal Distribution > Wiring Systems and Power Management > Component Locator) which provides wiring pin-outs. It's a massive document, but it shows the connectors for the VCIM. It would indicate weather the pinouts for the CTS one will match the SRX.

    Other than that, I really don't have an answer, but I hope some of this info helps.

  6. #5
    agreif is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Do I understand this correctly that the issue with the Onstar modules being locked to a VIN isn't really the case then?

    Interesting info in post #117 here. It looks like the G8 guys got this to work too (disregard the talk about the white wire being cut). THat same thread also has "I am told you can get it to work but as soon as onstar updates it locks out the unit.", but it looks like you haven't had that problem, right?

  7. #6
    lugan79 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Gramzster,
    Thanks for the great info. Greatly appreciated! I have not tried to access the VCIM,to be honest with you. I knew it was in the back but not sure exactly where. You said it was located next to the subwoofer. Where is that? I have a weird feeling that the subwoofer is not in the car. The reason being is that the performance of the bass is pretty weak for a bose. I should mention I bought this car from a reputable cadillac dealership and it is GM certified. I did mention this to dealership and they claim that everything is okay but I dont think they physically looked at the subwoofer. So I hope the previous owner did not take the subwoofer. Wouldnt the stereo not work if the subwoofer was disconnected anyways. Do you know where it is located in the back, the subwoofer/VCIM?

    Once i have access to it I am going to post the part number on the VCIM. I think this is my next step.

    Has anyone else taken out there VCIM SRX 2008? If so you can provide the part number so we all can start figuring this out. Thanks.
    To get to mine it will take a couple of days due to work.

  8. #7
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Great writeup.

    As for the caller id, not all phones send that info over bluetooth. It is not part of the handsfree protocol, so phone manufacturers can decide to include or leave it out at their whim. The vast majority of bluetooth users are using an earpiece, which makes no use of that info. Likely why alot of phones do not transmit that info.

  9. #8
    agreif is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Guys, is the onstar module sometimes referred to as a VCIM and sometimes VIU? I'm seeing post that seem to talk about the same module that is under the rear decklid. Anyone actually have pictures of that module and where it sits? I'm wondering if I can get to that module by only flopping down the rear seats since the wife's car has the pass through.

  10. #9
    PJL
    PJL is online now Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    I would be interested in knowing if OnStar activates the new module. You might try calling and seeing if they'll give you a trial period since you're a "new" owner of the CTS. They might just to get you hooked. I suspect they'll need to know more about the module that you installed -- like a serial number maybe? Let us know. Thanks!

  11. #10
    Gramzster is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Quote Originally Posted by agreif View Post
    Do I understand this correctly that the issue with the Onstar modules being locked to a VIN isn't really the case then?

    Interesting info in post #117 here. It looks like the G8 guys got this to work too (disregard the talk about the white wire being cut). THat same thread also has "I am told you can get it to work but as soon as onstar updates it locks out the unit.", but it looks like you haven't had that problem, right?
    While researching this, I looked into the G8 boards and the GM Truck boards too. (it was actually the first post of that topic of that link you sent me where the guy said he called onstar an got the details switched over.)

    I think the problems people were having depends on the status of the module. If it's a brand new, unprogrammed module, it probably needs to be be programmed to become active. However, if you bought a used/salvaged module, it will probably be active when you connect it as it was active/programmed in the car the module came from. This might be why some are getting a red LED, while I have a green.

    Now, as mentioned in the first post on the G8 forum, I don't think the module is "locked" to the VIN of the car. I believe it's more of a network thing as onstar has a database that matches the VIN of your car to the ESN (cellular ID) of the onstar module. I might give them a call tonight and see if I can get it associated.

    Quote Originally Posted by lugan79 View Post
    I knew it was in the back but not sure exactly where. You said it was located next to the subwoofer. Where is that? I have a weird feeling that the subwoofer is not in the car.
    This is the post I was referring to for that info. It was from the 06, but it still may be in the same place.
    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...-location.html

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyH View Post
    Great writeup.

    As for the caller id, not all phones send that info over bluetooth. It is not part of the handsfree protocol, so phone manufacturers can decide to include or leave it out at their whim. The vast majority of bluetooth users are using an earpiece, which makes no use of that info. Likely why alot of phones do not transmit that info.
    Thats what I figured. I have a friend with another model cell phone and I believe the caller ID shows up in his Saab. I might ask him if we could try pairing it with my car to see the results. I probably could also update the software on my phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by agreif View Post
    Guys, is the onstar module sometimes referred to as a VCIM and sometimes VIU? I'm seeing post that seem to talk about the same module that is under the rear decklid. Anyone actually have pictures of that module and where it sits? I'm wondering if I can get to that module by only flopping down the rear seats since the wife's car has the pass through.
    That is correct. The OnStar Module is actually called the Vehicle Communications Interface Module (VCIM).
    This module used to be two separate modules - the VIU and VCM, however in most GM cars noawadays, they are both combined into the VCIM.

    The module is on the rear shelf. As I said, it took me an hour to get to as I needed to disable the airbags, then remove the rear seat, interior trim and the rear shelf to access the module. My car has flip-down seats as well.

    I can post a little how-to & some pics if you like.

  12. #11
    PJL
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Pics would be terrific!

  13. #12
    Gramzster is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Well, I tried calling onstar after getting home from work. Pushed the onstar button and connected to onstar.

    Unfortunately, it is very cold out (-8 degrees) and after wating for 10 minutes on hold (I haden't even talked to an advisor yet). I gave up and decided ot try it a little later.

    I thought of a few questions while waiting there.
    • For those of you who bought new cars, did you activate onstar, or was it done by your dealer? I'm asking because I'm trying to figure out if you needed to provide your VIN when onstar was activated.

      I think this module was in service, but was never activated with an onstar account (it came out of a car with 16 miles on it... so obviously a car damaged by the dealer, or in transit). I'm just thinking that might be case because it provided the "intro and demo to onstar" and I was the hold message kept saying "onstar activation and enrollment... to expedite the process, please provide your onstar account number or VIN when speaking to an advisor".
    • As mentioned before, it's cold outside. Not only do I not want to be out there in the freezing cold, but I don't want to risk killing the battery if I have to be on the phone with them for 15-20 minutes.

      Is it possible to attach a regular battery charger to the vehicle and then start the car in accessory mode? or do you require a special type of battery charger to do that?
    I'm writing up a how-to. It may take me a few days as there is a bit of info, as well as pics to edit.
    Thanks

  14. #13
    agreif is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    I'll put out there like others have and say thanks from all of us about this. So you may not have Onstar (which many people discontinue after the free year anyway, right) but you have Bluetooth? Sounds like a fair trade!

  15. #14
    csalmon is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Hello, I just came across this thread after completing the exact same upgrade with my 08 CTS as Gramzster. I work in the GM vehicle engineering center so I had some very good help to guide me through and maybe I can pass on some info that may help you guys.

    First of all, I take no responsibility for anything outlined here. If these procedures screw up your Onstar or your CTS, don't blame me I'm only trying to help out here.

    The Onstar module swap that was described in Gramzster's first post is spot on, but I wanted to also add some information about it. First of all if you complete the steps below, it does not matter which donor vehicle the module comes from, it also does not matter which options the donor vehicle had (mine was from an 09 Saturn VUE). The original Onstar module in my CTS was a gen 7 module with no bluetooth, after some research I found just like Gramzster that the 25990227 module was also used in 08s and was a Gen 8 module with bluetooth. I also found with some research and help from people here, that there was a service bulletin that called out a replacement for that module citing issues it may have communicating with the NAV system. The replacement for 25990227 is 20787642 and that module is an Onstar gen 8.1 module. This is the module I purchased from Nordstrom's on eBay and used for my upgrade (I think I paid $65).

    After installing the module of your choice using Gramzster's excellent tutorial there are two additional steps to get the unit working as if it was stock.

    First, take the car to a dealer and have them perform an "Onstar setup procedure" with the new module installed. This will associate the new module with your vehicle VIN and will calibrate the module to see all the specific options your vehicle has. Without doing this, you will experience all kinds of problems getting Onstar to work properly (including how Onstar communicates with the NAV system and displays things in your instrument cluster). This setup takes the dealer about 10 minutes max and I have no idea how much they will charge you for it (Mine did it no charge but YMMV).

    Second, make the call to Onstar and tell them what you did. You need to ask them to associate your new module to your VIN because they will still see you calling as if you were in the donor vehicle (they thought I was calling from the VUE!). This took me about a half hour but may take you less time. When they are all done they will ask you to call back using the Onstar button and they will verify that they see you calling from your CTS.

    That's it, my Onstar gen 8.1 works just like it was there from the factory and now has bluetooth!

    In summary:
    - Just look for the correct part number for your Onstar module: 25990227=gen 8, 20787642=gen 8.1 (vehicle and options don't matter)

    - Take the car to the deal after installation and have them do an "Onstar setup procedure"

    - Call Onstar and have them associate the module to your VIN

    (You need to do both steps or it will not work properly)

    Good luck!

  16. #15
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: 2008 Gen 7 to Gen 8 Onstar w/ Bluetooth Success

    Excellent work guys!

    I know there were some 08 CTSs that came with the new onstar. I just bought an 09, and know from my search, that I did find 2 08 CTSs with late 2008 manufacturing dates that did indeed have bluetooth.

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