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Old 03-29-2008, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default XM Radio

We just bought our first Bonneville yesterday for our son. It is a '04 SE without factory XM. We have had XM for four years in our other vehicles and currently have it in my '07 Suburban. We are a bit spoiled and would like it in the Bonneville.

My question is this: Can we change out the factory radio for a GM factory XM radio? I have been told by a couple of people that we can't but we did this in our '03 Suburban so find it difficult to believe that we couldn't do the same in the Bonneville.
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:17 PM   #2
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The issues is not necessarily swapping out the factory radio. If your radio has a 'BAND' button (as opposed to AM/FM) it is already an XM compatible unit. The actual DRR (Digital Radio Receiver) is a seperate component that mounts in the trunk. This is what receives and processes the XM signal and is ultimately wired to the factory radio. All General Motors XM installations are set-up in this manner, but not all radios are capable of talking to the DRR module.

Receivers for other GM vehicles (most anyways) are a fairly easy install because you can unplug the radio, plug in the receiver module between the harness and radio, install the antenna and you're off to the races.

The 2000+ body style of the Bonneville doesn't easily allow for this because of the type of connection system they use. These cars have a "Dock-N-Lock" style system where the connector remains positioned behind the radio and the unit just slides in and out. There is no room for any type of intermediate device. This means wiring a receiver the way GM would have done at the factory.

"Factory" XM installations have been done. I did this with my car and at least one other member has done this as well. Wiring harnesses had to be built and installed to facilitate the addition of the DRR module.

The other option is to use something aftermarket. This still presents some challenges because if you remove your factory radio, you will lose your warning chimes unless a special module is added with the new (non-GM) radio.

Finally, you can purchase an XM radio that broadcasts on an FM frequency. You can tune in the car stereo to pick this up and ultimately hear XM through the factory sound system. Success with this can vary greatly depending on how many other FM signals you are competing with (other local FM stations). Personally, I had very poor results with this. Some people do this quite successfully.

Any option is possible, but the expense and degree of work involved will vary significantly.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:24 PM   #3
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As a side note, if you have XM you can use the crappy antenna clip on thing for FM modulation, but you can also get this FM DIRECT adaptor that goes in line with the antenna. When your XM unit it turned on, the FM DIRECT turns off every frequency except the one that it is broadcasting on, that way there is no interference from the outside. I have installed lots of XM radios, and the FM DIRECT is the best option besides using an AUX input (which most factory radios dont have)

Heres a break down in order of worst to best performance.

1. FM modulation, run a long wire to wrap around antenna, lots of noise, limited success, free

2. FM DIRECT, put a little box in line with the antenna cable, as good as your FM tuner will allow at best, $40-$70

3. Tape adaptor, Cassette with wire that plugs into your XM, tape quality is better than FM, usually included with kit, 5-10 bucks anywhere else.

4. AUX input, Plug a 3.5mm male-to-male headphone cable from the XM to your auxillary input, best possible sound quality, limited applications, $5-$10
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:09 PM   #4
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Actually, the sound quality go'*:

Built in XM> Auxilary > Tape Deck adapter > FM Direct > Wireless modulator
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:16 PM   #5
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Certainly a few options here. Because we are talking about an SE, unless the head unit has been upgraded there won't be a cassette option. None of the Bonneville stock head units came with an AUX jack either. This will limit choices.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddalder
Certainly a few options here. Because we are talking about an SE, unless the head unit has been upgraded there won't be a cassette option. None of the Bonneville stock head units came with an AUX jack either. This will limit choices.
Very true, does limit choices to generally either Wireless or FM Direct.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for your replies. My son decided he didn't really care about XM but would rather have a new head unit with iPod integration. SO...we put in an Alpine head unit with Full Speed iPod connection. It is HD ready and Satellite ready. We put in 6X9 co-ax speakers in the doors and 6X9 3-way speakers in the rear deck. We also installed a sub in the trunk as well as an amp. I am guessing that if and when the time comes he would prefer to have XM in addition to his iPod it shoud be a fairly simple add-on?

The car went from having a Sh***y sound system to a kick-a** system. He of course loves it and so do I. He now accuses me of trying to jack his car! Seriously, I have a 2007 Suburban and that is nice to drive, but compared to that this car is FUN to drive. So much so that we are considering purchasing an '05 Bonneville GXP when the lease is up on my husband'* pickup in January. Some of our friends think we are nuts!
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