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Discussion Starter #1
Per my other thread, the dealer says I need a new radio. But at their quote of $1200, I'm willing to try a used one (p/n 23140543, several on ebay for around $100). It's just not clear to me if that p/n is all I need, or do I need to match RPO or anything else? Looks like this p/n is common with some Malibus... I would hate to get the right p/n only to find out an RPO means it has Malibu software on it or something. Is that how this works? Appreciate any help.

Also, will I need dealer programming, or should it be plug and play? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Any shop with an MDI and a subscription to TIS2Web should be able to reprogram it, doesn't necessarily have to be a dealership.
Thanks, I was unaware of this, maybe a shop would be easier to deal with than the dealer...

Fun fact: if you take out the radio (even a broken one), the overhead onstar buttons show a red light (I assume because they need the speakers for a call, and even my "dead" radio somehow allowed them to use the speakers), the turn signals don't make any click-click noises (again, assume my dead radio is still somehow powering the speakers), and the infotainment controls backlighting doesn't come on. Actually this last one has me stumped, I put my dead radio back in to get the backlighting back but it didn't come back on (the other two issues above did resolve). So perhaps I messed up the backlighting connection with all my fiddling, sigh. All connectors are tight, i can't imagine why that would stop working now too (unless the radio does somehow play a role in that, which doesn't really make sense).
 

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If you currently have an XM subscription, you'll need to call SiriusXM to get your radio ID switched. They'll probably tell you to do it online where it charges an activation fee; then you'll have to call them back to get it credited to your account.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have a radio out of my 2013 p/n 22980112 you can have for much less than $100. I removed it to install nav.
Thanks, but that's a different p/n than mine. I briefly considered using this as an opportunity to install Nav, but I've heard very mixed reviews from people who have done it (mainly, most built-in nav systems aren't so good, and users found themselves just reverting back to their smartphones). I also didn't want to spend more time and money on this; I'm reasonably happy using google maps on my phone. I found an exact p/n match on ebay for $42 last night, it's supposed to arrive this Saturday. Crossing my fingers!

I don't subscribe to XM, but thanks for the warning, fishhawk. I did open my old radio this weekend to see if there was any obvious sign of failure (blown capacitor or something that I could maybe replace). Found nothing, but did see that the XM module was pretty easily removable... wonder if you could just transfer it to a different radio if you wanted or if the box would reject a module change? Probably easier to just change it with Sirius, though, rather than opening two boxes and risking damage.
 

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you're sure you're looking at the nav box and not something else? It's strange there would be multiple part numbers on same MY cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nope.
.....
I looked at ebay pics of your p/n and my p/n. They have identical "hardware dates" but different "software dates", and the "Ref-no" on mine ends in "B" but yours ends in "A" but is otherwise the same number. I agree, it is odd they apparently have different parts for the same model year. I know this is the right one for my car, though, since it's what was in there already, and I had also previously called the dealer and asked them what the p/n was supposed to be (they took my VIN and looked it up). I would guess they would be interchangeable, but who knows? I think there was a supplier shift from 2011-12 non Mylink radios, but I would think all 2013s would be the same. Odd.
 

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I looked at ebay pics of your p/n and my p/n. They have identical "hardware dates" but different "software dates", and the "Ref-no" on mine ends in "B" but yours ends in "A" but is otherwise the same number. I agree, it is odd they apparently have different parts for the same model year. I know this is the right one for my car, though, since it's what was in there already, and I had also previously called the dealer and asked them what the p/n was supposed to be (they took my VIN and looked it up). I would guess they would be interchangeable, but who knows? I think there was a supplier shift from 2011-12 non Mylink radios, but I would think all 2013s would be the same. Odd.
I'm certain it would work, but you got it cheap enough why even risk it. Hell I run a 2014 nav head unit in my 13 and it's fine. Might check with white auto media for the programming.

BTW, if you had gone with a 14 nav unit he could turn on the backup guide lines ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quick update: I received the ebay radio and installed it last night. It does boot up (with a different animation than usual, because it's from a Malibu) and then just shows the word "Locked" on the screen. But at least it does something! Have an appointment with the dealer to re-program next week... it definitely needs a VIN unlock and hopefully they can load the Volt software since I doubt the Malibu version will really work.
 

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Please let us know how it goes, I'd be amazed if it has the volt "leaf" button witH battery usage info... mine is loading the standard Chevy MyLINK radio software instead of the VOLT screen more often these days... I'd love to change mine out for one that can handle Pandora properly. With it currently "locked" can you use the hvac or other non-radio features?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
...With it currently "locked" can you use the hvac or other non-radio features?
Nope! That part does suck, I still have no additional functionality over not have a radio in there at all. Can't wait to get it unlocked and programmed...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok, was just at the dealer... looks like they were able to re-program with Volt software because "Volt" now appears on the splashscreen. BUT, they were unable to remove the VIN lock so the it's still unusable. He said that usually they can, he wasn't sure why it wouldn't work. He would call one of distributors who might be able to help. He didn't charge me yet, but assume he's keeping a running tally for when I have to come back. Grrr, why is this so hard?
 

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Ouch! Hope it's simple, but knowing GM and their death grip on their technologies may make it a real challenge.. I get the feeling GM would rather see scrap car/parts shredded than reused...
Thanks for the update, I'll probably avoid an eBay swap out of my "less than usable" head unit.
 

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VIN locks and the like are partly due to the fact that car stereo theft ran rampant in the '90s. Automaker profit margins are another factor.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, car is now fixed! I'm summarizing everything I've learned over this whole ordeal here for future reference (it wouldn't let me do it in the first post, oh well). I wasn't able to find much on failed radio units, so I hope this helps someone in the future...

If your radio head unit dies (which presented in my car by the infotainment display being completely blank), you're looking at minimum $1200 for a new part (non Nav version). Ridiculous, right? So go to ebay, you can usually find several used ones in the $100 range, some gen1 model years were common with Malibus as well and will work. You need to be sure of the exact part number, though. Either pull your dead one or talk to the dealer Parts Dept to get the one that goes in according to your VIN. Now here's where it gets fun... a used part has a VIN stored in it, and it won't match your car's VIN. So when you install it, it will just display the word "Locked" on the screen and not allow you to do anything. No biggie, go to the dealer, they'll program that Malibu one to Volt software but may not be able to remove the VIN lock. They said they should be able to, but I've found several people who also had a dealer that was unable to unlock it. This seems to be more and more common for some reason, so I would assume they will be unable to unlock it. Now what? There are some 3rd party specialty shops that can "hack" the unlock (www.whiteautoandmedia.com is well known on this forum, I found another one but can't recall the name). My dealer went the extra mile and worked with one of his distributors who was able to do it "officially". So I had to remove the box again, take it to the dealer, and they shipped it to their distributor. It will come back with a blank VIN, and of course the car isn't smart enough to deal with that, so you'll have to reinstall the box and have the dealer program your VIN in. This whole process took about 4 weeks and a lot of hassle, but I saved a lot over just buying the new part. Though it was still annoyingly expensive for a friggin' radio, and my car had reduced functionality during those weeks (no display means no audio, no charge settings, no real HVAC control, etc).

Dealer diagnose dead radio $160 (I couldn't diagnose on my own, as it could have been many things)
Used radio on ebay (Malibu) $42
Dealer program / fail unlock $120
Distributor unlock $150
Dealer install, VIN learn $120 (a nicer dealer would have done this for free, since they failed earlier)
Total cost after fees $611

On a just-over-3-year-old Volt (so just out of warranty), this was an annoying failure. Made much more annoying by the theft-prevention VIN locking on a box that NO ONE WOULD STEAL. If I had to do it over again, once I knew it was the radio, I would have taken my ebay radio and sent it to one of the 3rd party places, I think they can hack it such that you don't need the dealer to do the VIN learn, the box will just accept the new VIN the first time it's used in your car. They charge $100-200 for this, so that may have saved me a few hundred dollars. Or a nicer dealer would have charged less for programming / VIN learn... it only takes a few minutes (I like my place, but I think they didn't like that I didn't buy their $1200 box). Hope this info helps someone else.
 

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Thank you very much for taking the time to spell out the process. I may, with a great eBay deal, go thru that knowing now what to do. My radio is just 'messed up' enough to deal with and aggravating enough to rip out of the dash with a pry bar. I've screen shot your last post for my records..
 

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Thanks for the great write up. I'm having the same issue and my local dealer says "radios cannot be reprogrammed, I don't care what the internet says". So I guess I'm looking at white auto and media to program a used radio off ebay.
 
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