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Thanks for the write up.

I'm a former audio installer, did so for a few years, and Chevy was one of the worst to work on due to how much crap runs through the radio and has for the last decade and a half. Nearly everything does, so that 2004 Grand Prix (yes it's a Pontiac I know, but still GM) requires an additional, expensive control module (around 90 - 120 US) on top of everything else to trick the ECU into thinking things are still there and to maintain door chimes. With the advancement in tech in vehicles these days far more data is pumped through the stereo than imo should be meaning no aftermarket solutions. At some point the radio manufacturers are going to catch on to this and another class action lawsuit will ensue. What the result will be is anyone's guess given the more specialized nature of the data being displayed. Yes in theory all it would take is an additional translating unit to go from Volt ECU to display on Pioneer with screen deck. I'm just not sure what type of programming/reverse engineering would be needed. I also think that whatever data/encryption are used by the manufacturers may be close enough to a 'trade secret' that no court in their right mind would force them into giving up the source code.
 

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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.
I think buying a new nav radio with custom programing to replace my non-nav unit in my 2014 cost me a bit less than the dealer quote. I got nav without having to change the switch panel, motion unlock, and added the backup camera guide lines missing from the 2014 model:

20https://www.gen5diy.com/collections/13-15-volt-products/products/13-15-volt-mylink-navigation about $825.00

I think white automotive does the programming.

I used the supplied aftermarket gps antenna and stuck it on top of the radio. Just plugged it in and it worked. Minor issue with a bent pin initially kept backup camera from working. So it had to come back in and out for troubleshooting...
 

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I know it's a necro, but I am having this same issue. My Volt is a 2014 and the dealer is trying to charge 1200 for a radio that I have been waiting on since Dec. Now they say ANOTHER 2 months.

I have looked on Ebay for a radio and have found ONE that has Nav on it. I put all the bells and whistles on when I ordered the car. I believe it is a UHQ code for the radio. If I purchase this unit, which service from WAMS would I use? Would their service guarantee that the unit will work with my car?

I'm not certain exactly what is involved so not sure as to how to proceed. Any help is appreciated, as it sits, I can't adjust the temp in the car, and it's starting to get hot in TX.
 

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https://replacementradios.com/chevy-malibu-2015-2016-cd-mp3-usb-radio-block-new-23284461-p-2976.html

Wish I had bought 2 of the above gm#23284461 chevy malibu radios at the time since they were @$60usd brand new never programmed.

Did manage to get 1 prior to them being sold out when my non-nav head unit died and then took me @15min to push software to it to make the Gen1 able to recognize/use myself using SPS...

BTW: 1 Factory Radio AM FM XM Ready UFU CD Player Compatible With 2016 Chevrolet Malibu 23284461

Amazon link above for the same replacement radio I used in my Gen1 but more than ebay at $125used
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I know it's a necro, but I am having this same issue. My Volt is a 2014 and the dealer is trying to charge 1200 for a radio that I have been waiting on since Dec. Now they say ANOTHER 2 months.

I have looked on Ebay for a radio and have found ONE that has Nav on it. I put all the bells and whistles on when I ordered the car. I believe it is a UHQ code for the radio. If I purchase this unit, which service from WAMS would I use? Would their service guarantee that the unit will work with my car?

I'm not certain exactly what is involved so not sure as to how to proceed. Any help is appreciated, as it sits, I can't adjust the temp in the car, and it's starting to get hot in TX.
You'd really have to talk to WAMS to get those answers. I thought about going that route, but they were very unresponsive when I tried to contact them, and I just can't do business that way. Hopefully they are better now.

FYI, you can probably still adjust your HVAC a bit, but you have to hit Auto and then hit the temp down arrow for a bit... you're really guessing the temperature setting since you can't see it, but you hit that arrow up/down until if you find a setting you like. You can't switch vents or Eco/Max though, but it's something.

Also, when this happened to me, I found a place online (sorry, can't remember it) that would repair my existing radio for a reasonable fee. It's not hard to take out, and since it's programmed to your VIN already, it saves a dealer trip, so it can be cost-effective.
 

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I have a standard 2013 Volt; no backup camera or electric bun warmers.

My radio died. Nothing. I read the summary above and went on Oemusedautoparts1.com. You should pull the radio (they call them silver boxes) and take a pic of the label on top to send to them and they will get you one with a matching hardware/software date.

To pull the radio go watch this Youtube video. It's really easy. Six 7mm fasteners and it pulls out. (12) How to add a Fully Factory Integrated Backup Camera to a 2013 Chevy Volt - YouTube

Once you get the unit, DON'T ASK THE DEALER to install it. I called two dealers and they both tried to sell me a new one installed for $1,200. Nope. They said they could (try) to make the VINs match in my used unit but often it doesn't work... and it's $150 to try... and you don't get your money back if it doesn't work... BUT if it doesn't work they will credit the $150 toward installing a new one at $1,200. ... Yeah, I felt like I was being herded into a box canyon.

So I emailed Welcome to WAMS - White Automotive & Media Services and told them my dilemma. They offered to fix the problem for less than $100.

Before I sent it to them, I checked around with repair shops and was quoted $350 to fix my existing radio but the place was 50 miles away and they wanted me to leave the whole car so that was not enticing.

I took a leap of faith and sent Welcome to WAMS - White Automotive & Media Services my VIN, the silver box, a return label and my payment.

They turned it within a day plus shipping time. I plugged it into my car, crossed my fingers and hit the big blue button. The radio took a few seconds longer than normal to show life which turned my despair into joy instantly. Works just like before. I never had to go to the dealer!

Thanks for posting this thread. Saved me hundreds. My total cost to fix this problem was less than $200. Do it.
 
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