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Old 08-16-2020, 11:55 PM   #1
usernametaken
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Cool OnStar Location

Does anyone know where the OnStar 'brain' box is in a 2009 Saturn Astra?

I have a 2009 Saturn Astra, Love it, amazing car.
However:
  1. I really don't trust OnStar. We can't know if it's secure or not, so I have to assume Not.
  2. OnStar doesn't work anymore because it used the 2G towers (long gone)
I really don't trust OnStar
With this in mind OnStar (The Company) can't control my car anymore, which is nice, however this doesn't stop malicious people from attempting to. In fact it might actually help them, since this "black box" can't get updates anymore. (Also I know, paranoia much)

Ultimately I'd like to remove the 'black box' if possible, however if my car won't work without it, I'd settle on just disabling the 2G antenna.

I tried pulling the fuse labeled "OnStar" in the engine fuse box once, this just shut off my radio... and presumably OnStar, but still... Radio.

Thanks Y'all!
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Old 08-17-2020, 12:36 AM   #2
AstraFasta
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Default Re: OnStar Location

There is not much public knowledge on the Astra OnStar.

Search my posts from the past month. You will see links to some schematics, suspected pictures of the two modules, suspected module locations, and the two fuse numbers.

I had a fast battery drain which seems to have been from onstar calling GM every so often as there was virtually no parasitic drain measured. The battery drain was solved by removing the onstar/display fuse from under the hood. That disables the center info display, unfortunately.

We are contemplating how to disconnect the onstar elegantly but that is not so easy with incomplete schematics.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:00 PM   #3
InitialX
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Wrench Re: OnStar Location

Instructions to remove the Onstar Unit.

Why? Because I choose not to have it, and can't think of why someone would think it was unusual to want that garbage gone from their vehicle. If you think an extra circuit board in your car is the thin edge between life and death.... maybe driving just isn't your thing.

I read several posts on here before and after purchasing my car, and most responses are just normal answers and anecdotes but in the few posts on this subject there is always people who get really ....opinionated about a tertiary level gadget attached to an automobile, and it makes me wonder why.

...On the other side of the coin; if you want Onstar out of your vehicle but carry a mobile phone anyway, I don't see the point. I mean how many GPS/Microphone/Camera data mines does one need in their immediate orbit anyway? 1? 5? 0?

Anyhoo...

For an 08 Astra, remove the entire glove box, by opening the door and removing the obvious #2 Phillips screws. (Do yourself a favor and drop a seat back so you can put it somewhere easily after removing it, while cramped up in the foot well.) I found it easiest to lay across the driver's seat, resting on the passenger seat and working from there. Careful of the glove box door, the mounting brackets are simple slide locks that release easily once the unit is moved, and you can break them easily. Slide them off deliberately if you're the clumsy type, or just shift the box enough to grip then close the door before removing it.

Once the glove box is removed, reach into the cavity, and up under the dash along the middle line of the glove box cavity. You will feel a "box" type structure with two wire harnesses leading from it.

[Quick/Dirty Method: Disconnect wire harnesses. Making sure the black box and battery are air gapped from both the vehicle and each other. Insert glove box, and attach with the removed screws.] It leaves the device in the car and it can be reconnected in the future or the data retrieved from it, but stops it from generating new data.

[Slow/Clean Method: Disconnect harnesses, then pull cable bundles from the wire clips holding them and feel around the face (facing the front of the vehicle) of the mounting bracket - you will find 2x #2 Phillips screws, you'll want a stubby screwdriver for this - remove them. The bracket should be removable, although you might have to pry/break a plastic mounting button on the back of the unit (facing you). I used pliers to just break the backing off, and pulled the whole bracket out.
Alternatively, if you push on the unit from right to left, you will feel the backup battery pack move slightly - It's hard but if you tilt it to the 10 o'clock position you can actually wriggle it out of there then slip the computer its self out. The first way is easier.]

Pop the glove box back in and voila. For good measure, disconnect the connector behind your mirror, to air gap the devices there, and you're done

The unit its self has no distinctive markings on it, even when you run the serial number stickered to it - it just returns as GM part xxxxx and has a very vague, disingenuous part description. Try it for yourself and see how black-holed the product is. If it was just a regular thing that did what it advertised, and a consumer wanted it, it should be a simple to find, and purchase part. Not some creepy little box jig-sawed under your dash with a HUGE backup battery, cryptically labelled as a radio receiver and other very strange descriptions. Apparently contacting the dealer about doing anything with the unit or ordering the part, gets you admonished for tinkering with things beyond your ken; like a child couldn't plug in a pair of uniquely shaped connectors and swap out the part.

I lost no functionality in the vehicle by removing it, the radio works fine, there's no features on the car that are reliant on the unit. Car works 100%.

For fun, reconnect it to the battery and attach it to a random boat.
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Old 06-02-2021, 11:24 PM   #4
AstraFasta
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Default Re: OnStar Location

Thanks @InitialX

In this thread, one member took pictures of the box in the glove compartment. We also see some schematics.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho....php?p=2348594

I had a serious battery drain issue (maybe caused by a dead onstar battery). Disconnecting the raido fuse solved all the issues but disabled the DIC screen. Maybe I will try your fix and see if the battery does not drain.
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