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Im thinking about getting the PAL with a 5th gen 30gb iPod. I have a 2009 Malibu 2LT with the standard radio. It doesn't have the dual climate control, or any of that. Just the 1 CD, XM radio, etc. It does do the turn by turn navigation via OnStar with directional arrows. I have no idea which radio this is (US8/US9 - Anyone know?) so I'm not sure if the PAL will be compatible or if the PAL will work with that iPod. Does anyone know? If it will work, does anyone know how well it works? Do you tune to a specific XM channel or what? Does it produce audio quality equal to or better than using the aux in jack? Does it display the artist/album/etc. for the tracks playing? Can I search the mp3s via the radio controls or just play them all back at random?
 

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Ive got the base radio and was playing with my daughters iPod the other day. You need the link cable that runs from the headphone jack on the iPod to the port on the front of the radio. Set the radio to AUX, all the controls are made from the iPod.
 

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headcase650 - I think what he is referring to is the cable you can purchase from GM.


slhaas - All your questions should be answered in this thread.

http://www.chevymalibuforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=253

Cheers - DOA
Thanks... still a couple of questions not answered in that thread, though. Namely, will it work with any iPod or only certain models? Will it work with all of the 2009 Malibu radios? I read somewhere that some Malibu radios don't work and I don't know how to tell what version I have. Lastly, how does it work with the XM? If I have the iPod connected to the PAL cable, will it always go to the iPod when I select the XM band by default? If I am in the iPod mode for the XM band and I select up/down to tune to different XM channels will it instead tune the iPod only? I am wondering if I'll give up the functionality of being able to change from XM channels when in the XM band or on my presets in order to add functionality of controlling the iPod.
 

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If you plug you IPOD, any version, into the "auxi input" plug on the front of the radio it is simply a "input" plug (analog) for any mp3 player. PAL is a completely different thing. With PAL you can control your IPOD via your steering wheel controls, radio controls, show song names, albums, etc. You don't have to use the actual IPOD to switch songs, etc. There is a LOT of confusion at the various GM websites as to which GM cars actually currently have or can upgrade to PAL (Personal Audio Link). I have seen a Cobalt with a USB plug in the front of the radio... in order for PAL to be used you MUST have a USB input! That will connect digitally with the radio, AND allow the IPOD to charge while connected to the radio.

NOW, my question: Does anyone actually own a Malibu (2008 or 2009 ONLY) that has PAL and connects their IPOD via a USB cable?

Hope this helps and hope somebody can answer my question!

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you plug you IPOD, any version, into the "auxi input" plug on the front of the radio it is simply a "input" plug (analog) for any mp3 player. PAL is a completely different thing. With PAL you can control your IPOD via your steering wheel controls, radio controls, show song names, albums, etc. You don't have to use the actual IPOD to switch songs, etc. There is a LOT of confusion at the various GM websites as to which GM cars actually currently have or can upgrade to PAL (Personal Audio Link). I have seen a Cobalt with a USB plug in the front of the radio... in order for PAL to be used you MUST have a USB input! That will connect digitally with the radio, AND allow the IPOD to charge while connected to the radio.

NOW, my question: Does anyone actually own a Malibu (2008 or 2009 ONLY) that has PAL and connects their IPOD via a USB cable?

Hope this helps and hope somebody can answer my question!

Thanks!
I'm sorry, but I think you're mixing features up. There is a radio with the USB connection as well. That allows you to control mp3 players with a USB cable, but only mp3 players with USB support. I would welcome that to my car as well because I have a non iPod MP3 player with USB support I'd like to use. I wonder how much it would cost to upgrade to the radio with USB support and if I can do it with my current Onstar and Bluetooth set-up for a 2009 2LT.

PAL is something else entirely. It has nothing to do with the USB connection and doesn't use it at all. A control box connects to your radio via the XM function in the back of the radio. Basically your radio thinks there are 2 XM antennas, and one is programmed to control the iPod. A cable then plugs into this new control box and has an iPod connector on the other end which is usually run to the glove box and plugged into your iPod so you can control it with your radio controls while simultaneously charging the iPod.

They are similar, but separate items with different functions. The PAL WILL work on radios without the USB connection so long as it's a compatible radio. If I had the USB radio I wouldnt want PAL, but I don't.
 

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I'm sorry, but I think you're mixing features up. There is a radio with the USB connection as well. That allows you to control mp3 players with a USB cable, but only mp3 players with USB support.

They are similar, but separate items with different functions. The PAL WILL work on radios without the USB connection so long as it's a compatible radio. If I had the USB radio I wouldnt want PAL, but I don't.
Not sure what will work and it does appear that PAL access via the add on cable to the glovebox, and other hardware/software is different than using the USB input, BUT since an ipod does have (at least some) USB support maybe we just need the proper software to interface... but then again I'm no programmer... but it sure would be a better solution....
 

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Not sure what will work and it does appear that PAL access via the add on cable to the glovebox, and other hardware/software is different than using the USB input, BUT since an ipod does have (at least some) USB support maybe we just need the proper software to interface... but then again I'm no programmer... but it sure would be a better solution....
You would need the USB radio, USB support on your iPod and the radio having software to control the iPod via USB. If you went the route of PAL, you would need a compatible radio, a PAL unit installed and a PAL cable connected to your iPod specific mp3 player.
 

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slhaas, you asked (on 2-17-09) which radio you had: "Just the 1 CD, XM radio, etc. It does do the turn by turn navigation via OnStar with directional arrows. I have no idea which radio this is (US8/US9 - Anyone know?) so I'm not sure if the PAL will be compatible or if the PAL will work with that iPod."

I think this may help you find out what radio you have. Open the glove box. You should see a sticker labeled "SERVICE PARTS IDENTIFICATION DO NOT REMOVE." It will have your VIN on it. Most of the label is a series of 3-character codes, listed in alphabetical order. One of the codes should be "US8" or "US9," depending on which radio you have.

I found a Missoula, Montana dealer's website (Karl Tyler Chevrolet) that provides a listing (look at Home / Buyer's Guide / Brochures / 2009 Malibu / Standard & Optional Feature) of these so-called RPO codes and their meaning:
http://www.karltylerchevrolet.com/guide/brochures/2009/malibu/features.html

According to that listing, US8 has the one-disk CD player and US9 has the six-disk CD changer. Sorry, I still haven't found the answer to the key question: "Has anyone gotten the Personal Audio Link installed on a 2009 Malibu?"
 

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I have a 2009 Malibu 2LT with the standard radio. . . . Just the 1 CD, XM radio, etc. It does do the turn by turn navigation via OnStar with directional arrows. I have no idea which radio this is (US8/US9 - Anyone know?) . . . . Do you tune to a specific XM channel or what? . . . Does it display the artist/album/etc. for the tracks playing? Can I search the mp3s via the radio controls or just play them all back at random?
slhaas, I think you have the US8 radio. To find out, open your glove compartment. You'll see a sticker, roughly 5" x 8", labeled "SERVICE PARTS IDENTIFICATION DO NOT REMOVE" with your VIN on the next line. Most of the label is a series of 3-character codes ("RPO" codes) in alphabetical order. See if "US8" is one of them.

I found a list of RPO codes on the website of Karl Tyler Chevrolet, Missoula, Mont. Go to: Home / Buyer's Guide / Brochures / 2009 Malibu
/ Standard & Optional Features. The URL is:
http://www.karltylerchevrolet.com/guide/brochures/2009/malibu/features.html

GM says that PAL will let you use your radio controls as a way to select iPod songs. GM also says PAL will display iPod song/track info on your radio. See: http://www.gm.com/vehicles/parts/ipod/ GM does list the Malibu as a car compatible with an integrated PAL (NOT just the ability to plug your iPod into an input jack and use the car audio system to simply replace headphones).

That GM web page does have a link (select the "More info" link PDF) to a brief user guide for PAL. It says that you can cycle through bands for the radio (AM, FM, XM) and--with PAL installed--every other cycle will actually connect you to iPod through PAL when you are on the XM band selection. So XM on one cycle is XM, but XM on the next cycle is actually PAL.

A concern: That GM web page's link to "PAL FAQs" refers to availability for several GM models--but not Malibu. However, if you go to GM Accessories Zone (http://www.gmaccessorieszone.com/) & select 2009 Malibu, you do find a listing for Personal Audio Link. Part number is 19201495 and MSRP is $100. It requires an installation package with instructions and wiring, part number 19201510, MSRP $59. Installation labor would, of course, be extra.

My dealer's parts department, though, says that PAL is not currently available for the 2009 Malibu. My theory is that installation is very, very complicated--and that--as a result--in some cases it may interfere with the very complex relationship between the AM/FM radio, XM service, OnStar phone calling (which displays caller ID & number dialed on the radio), and OnStar navigation (which uses the radio screen for displays). I theorize that--either because less-than-perfect installation causes problems or because of unanticipated interactions with all the radio functions--GM has just given up any hope of ever getting PAL to work reliably with the radio. But this is just speculation, and I may be completely wrong.

But I did find some links to very complicated installation instructions for a Saturn model:
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/49007/size/big/cat/
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/49004/size/big
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/49005/size/big
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/49006/size/big
 
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