Adding XM Satellite Radio

(updated 4/25/17)


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XM Satellite Radio has been an option for the C6 Corvette since 2005 and became standard in 2008.  While many Vette owners are not interested in subscribing to XM, having a working XM receiver gives you opportunities for adding other devices, including an auxiliary input.  An auxiliary input allows you to plug in your own personal music device like a smartphone or iPod, or even a Bluetooth device that allows high quality wireless music streaming from your device.  But without XM, there is no external input to the radio head unit (Nav or non-Nav) that can be used for the auxiliary input circuitry.


The XM radio option is Option U2K on the C6 Corvette.  If you have XM, you will see U2K listed on the silver options label in the glove box - all options are listed alphabetically.  If you have a Nav radio and XM, your display will look something like this:

The photo above is from a Corvette with a PAL (Personal Audio Link), but note the four buttons on the left:  AM, FM1/2, XM1/2, and CD.  (If you have a factory external CD changer, the CD button will be CD/CDX.)

If you don't have XM, the four buttons will be AM, FM1, FM2, and CD.

If you have a non-Nav radio, it will look something like this:

If you have XM, press the BAND button repeatedly, and XM1 and XM2 will show up.


WHERE IS THE XM RECEIVER?

If you want to add XM and you have a 2005 C6, you are probably in luck.  Unfortunately, in 2006 and 2007 GM chose to eliminate the XM wiring unless XM was ordered as an option*.  XM became standard in 2008.

Most (if not all) 2005's already have the wiring in place for the XM receiver.  If you have a coupe, look for the receiver or the wiring above the left rear wheel well behind the carpet:

                                                                                                                                                                                        *Although the XM wiring harness is not present in a 2006 or 2007 Corvette without XM, the circuitry required for an XM receiver is present at the back of the radio head unit.  It is likely possible to install a factory XM receiver in an '06 or '07 with a suitable wiring harness.  Since I have the connectors, terminals, and wiring to build such a harness, if an owner with an '06 or '07 Vette would like to try to add XM, please email me.  If you are willing to buy a used XM receiver and try the modification described on this website, I will build you a harness to try the installation to see if it works the same as in a 2005.  Email me at ray@kawal.net.

Without a receiver:

The XM 16 pin connector (Note that it is often covered with black tape):

In a convertible:

Without a receiver:

For more details and information about the getting to and removing the XM receiver, CLICK HERE.  This link will take to you the installation of a Version 2 PAL, but you will find the XM receiver information useful.


Adding the XM Receiver

Although I haven't done this myself, some owners have successfully added an XM receiver, simply by plugging one in to the 16 pin connector.  (Some owners have also been successful in adding a GM1 Sirius module instead of a factory XM receiver, but it hasn't worked for other owners, so I'm not sure how to comment.)  

BUT, if you find a used Corvette XM receiver on places like eBay, be aware that they will NOT work in your Vette without a modification.  What happens is that the original XM receiver is "married" to the original car and the VIN number is stored in the receiver.  That prevents someone else from using the receiver.

John Opper, a Vette owner with a 2005 coupe, just emailed me about his successful installation of a used XM receiver in his Vette without the XM option.  From John's research, he wrote me the following:

Ray,

 I found the answer and tried it this weekend and it worked.  There is an eight legged chip on the XM radio board.  Once you snip a specific leg the unit is unlocked and can be used once the service is activated.  This does not “hack” XM but just unlocks the unit for your Corvette to be used with the service once activated through the usual XM process.

John found that once he clipped the leg of the chip on the XM circuit board noted by the arrow below, he could simply plug in the used receiver and the XM buttons appeared on his Nav radio:

Closeup photo:

Since he only paid $20 bucks for his used receiver on eBay, there wasn't much to lose.  He has a Tech 2, but he found he didn't need it for his installation.  Note that we haven't tried a brand new XM receiver, so we don't know whether or not a Tech 2 would be required for that installation.

So for those of you with a 2005 C6 without XM, you might want to try this option.  Simply take the lid off of the receiver and clip the leg of the chip noted.  If you get your XM buttons, you can add an auxiliary input to your Vette.  Note that a subscription to XM will also require an XM antenna.  John just emailed me the following information:

I purchased this one which is a two lead version with the right secure connectors.  Plugged it in and cranked the car.  After a minute the satellite signal was acquired and I received the XM preview channel with no problem.  I then routed the antenna wire beneath the side carpet from the XM module toward the rear of the car and used 3M tape to secure it against the rear of the tub sort of under and near the rear hatch latch and replaced the carpet which you can just pull down after releasing a couple of push tabs.  Seems to work fine.  As you know since the car is not metal so the antenna location is not so sensitive as it might be in other cars.

 



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