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on January 4, 2016
I purchased this Costar Bluestar kit for my 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe (LT2 w/ navigation and XM radio). I researched many products and kept coming back to this one. I know reviews have been mixed but wanted to share my experience /installation tips.

When I received my product, I went to the manufacturer's website and downloaded and installed the Costar programming utility for my desktop computer. When I plugged in the Costar unit to my Windows 7 computer, it recognized it and installed the necessary drivers. I then opened the utility and checked to make sure it had the latest software version, and it did. I also set the pairing code to a 4 digit number of my choosing and checked to turn on the A2DP profile for music streaming and AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Profile - not supported by Costar at this time but hoping it will in the future). Once this was done, I headed to the truck to install it.

For installation, I researched where my Onstar unit was located and for this model, it is in fact below the navigation unit in the dash. It is actually behind and below the climate control buttons/ 12 V power points. To remove the trim panel, I ordered the following kit from Amazon - Car Radio Stereo, Dash Removal Install Tools (Set of 12). I was careful to pull only at the attachment points which are spaced around the trim panel. After removing the trim panel, I removed 8 screws: 2 that held the 12v power points, 2 that held the climate control panel, and 4 that held the navigation unit in place. If you are only installing The Costar kit, you most likely do not need to remove the navigation unit...but I was also installing another device for STEREO (not mono) Bluetooth streaming ..which I will discuss in further detail. Each component that I removed had ample length of wiring to pull it out and set it down and off to the side out of the way. Be careful, as most of my wires were wrapped in a black material that was rather greasy and rubbed off on my hands and onto anything it touched. The navigation wiring appeared to short, but if you reach back behind and work the wiring out, it had plenty of room to get behind it.
Once the components were out of the way, I could see the Onstar unit - a large silver square tucked at the very bottom. It was difficult to reach since it had very little space for your hands, but it has two clips- one on the left and one on the right side that slide over the top sides of the unit...these have to be pushed out (push the left one far left and the right one far right). As you push them out, lift up on the Onstar unit and slowly pull it out. Again, you may have to reach behind and slowly pull the wiring out to give you more room. Once it is pulled out, the back is labelled and you will see J1 and J2 ports. I unplugged those and pushed them through the back of the radio compartment where the Onstar unit was mounted and down to the left toward the driver side floor...there was enough wiring to do this fairly easily. On the driver side near the gas pedal is a small trim/access cover that snaps into a dash brace. I pulled next to each clip (only two clips) and it came right off. I then reached in and grabbed my Onstar wiring and plugged the cables into the Costar unit. I like this location as it is hidden but also easily accessible if you want to connect a USB cable in the future to update the software/etc. I used velcro to attach the unit in place to prevent it from sliding around during driving. You can then pair your phone to the Costar module with the factory code of 0000 or whatever 4 digit code you selected earlier. I have a Droid Turbo 2 and it paired immediately without any issues.

If all you want is to use Onstar for phone calls and mono music streaming then you are done...all you have to do is put everything back into place. When placing everything back, you have to push the excess wiring that you pulled out back behind the mounting area so each component can slide all the way back in. If you want to stream stereo music, you can connect a 3.5mm cable from the Costar unit up to your front auxiliary port. If you are interested in streaming STEREO music without wires sticking out of you dash, then continue reading below.

Onstar is wired only for monaural sound (this is a limitation of the factory wiring and not the Costar product.).... but does have a 3.5mm jack to send out stereo sound to your vehicle. In my case, my 2008 Tahoe has a 3.5mm aux jack in the front, but I did not want to rig it and have wiring sticking out of my dash all the time..so my alternative was to add an additional auxiliary input behind my radio that I could plug my Costar into. I purchased the following kit iSimple ISGM531 Automotive Dual Auxiliary Input Kit for Select GM 29-Bit LAN Vehicles which can add 2 additional auxiliary inputs to my vehicle. To install this, I had already pulled the navigation unit out and only had to unplug the 2 back right plugs and plug the ISGM531 wiring harness in between the factory wiring and the navigation unit. They are different plugs so you can only plug the correct connectors together. I connected the auxiliary wiring from the ISGM531 module through the back of the radio compartment and down to where I placed the Costar unit near the gas pedal and plugged it into the 3.5mm jack. I then placed the ISGM531 module above and to the right of where the navigation unit slides in..and velcroed it into place. I turned the vehicle on and let it update for a few minutes (as suggested by the manufacturers of the ISGM531). I tested everything prior to putting everything back in place and putting the trim panel back on.

To use (listen to) the auxiliary port that was just added, you access it through your XM radio button. Once you select XM, you can use your right radio knob to dial between XM, AUX1, and AUX2. You will still have Front AUX (front of radio) and Rear (backseat) AUX that came from the factory. This may seem strange at first, but I got used to it quickly and it allows for you to attach multiple devices.
So far, it has worked very well. The calls have been clear and easy to hear and the radio streaming has worked great. I had one instance where the radio streaming had very bad static. After messing around with it, I do not believe it was the unit, but rather the Bluetooth volume on my phone was maxed out. I turned my phone Bluetooth volume to about half and then used the radio to amplify the sound - and now I have no issues.

I will post any updates if anything changes. Good luck!
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on October 13, 2017
Great product and very easy to install. The most time consuming part is the radio trim removal - use proper trim tool and not a screw driver to prevent damage. I installed this in my 2008 Chevy Avalanche LTZ with ease. I do not use Onstar and figure that since I have the Onstar features (handsfree, steering wheel controls etc), why not use it with my Android phone and it work seemlessly - for example, I can use the call\talk button on the steering wheel or on the rear-view mirror to make or end calls, the existing mic is excellent as people can hear me perfectly without having to talk loud, the call volume is great and it mutes the radio or other builtin entertainment\NAV feature while on a call, and call information is displayed on the dash. After using this for several weeks now, I found one more cool feature that you retain with the Costar integration is that the original Onstar have a feature that lowers the cabin fan speed automatically to reduce the vent noise when the system is in use, so now with Costar when I answer a call or make a call, the fan noise is lowered when on medium to high settings. I am not sure if this is a feature on all vehicles with Onstar so it may depend on your vehicle specs. However this is an example of the features you retain with the Costar integration for Bluetooth functionality.
In addition to Costar integration, I read a previous review where a guy added the iSimple Dual Auxillary port so that you can get stereo audio instead of mono which is a limitation of the Onstar system and not the Costar unit. I used the iSimple Gateway Audio Input Interface (ISGM571 for 29bit GM vehicles) to supplement Costar addition via the included 3.5mm audio stereo output jack. You simply connect the Costar unit audio Aux output jack to the iSimple Aux In jack, This redirects audio from the Costar unit through stereo input of iSimple Gateway which in turn feeds to the radio head unit. I used this unit because I also wanted to have a direct IPod connection to the existing head unit with IPod controls. There are other models you can get based on the interface you are looking for.
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on August 5, 2016
The inventor personally answered email messages. We really appreciated the product support. We worked pretty diligently, but never got the device to work correctly. It would start a call, but then hang up after 15 seconds.

We ordered the Bluestar for our Chevy Aveo. Unfortunately our Chevy Aveo isn't a true Chevy. It was a Chevy/Daewoo combination, and the electronics were probably built overseas. I think the Aveo was rebranded the Chevy Sonic in later years.

Now I have an un-used Bluestar if anyone needs it.
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on September 27, 2012
My wife drives a 2007 Suburban and we had been trying to figure out how to connect her phone to the ONSTAR system. We had a free year of Onstar through our Insurance and while we had it, I bought 'minutes' from GM so she could use the phone system built into the car. But we really wanted to use our own cell phones and the ONSTAR unit in my wifes car did not have the Bluetooth option. I spent several months talking to dealers, ONSTAR, and a GM Rep to see if her unit could be upgraded. I offered to pay for the unit and for two years of ONSTAR if they would just upgrade the unit but was repeatedly told "NO". I know it could be done as I had read stories of owners getting newer units from salvage and doing so.

While ONSTAR was nice when we had it, there was no way I was going to pay for it if we could not use our phones. At that point I began looking for systems that worked with ONSTAR that would allow me to use my own cell phone, there are none!

I then looked at possibly replacing the SUV's stereo system with a model that had bluetooth, while there are options that did so none of the units would use the SUV's built-in ONSTAR microphone system.

As I continued my research I found the BLUESTAR unit. I contacted the company and after corresponding with the person who started the company I ordered a unit.

When the unit came in, I opted to have a local shop do the install as installation involved removing the front console panel and I did not want to take a chance on damaging my wifes SUV. Two hours later the unit was installed and I began testing it.

The unit works PERFECTLY. It paired up immediately with my Samsung Galaxy and acted just like a regular bluetooth headset. When you either press the telephone button on the mirror or on the steering wheel, the Galaxy would prompt me "What would you like to do" and I could tell the phone to either CALL [Contact Name] or DIAL [Number] or whichever command you wish just like a regular bluetooth.

When a call is coming in, the stereo plays a melody and the call number is displayed on the dash and you can answer via the button on the steering wheel or on the mirror.

When you make/receive a call - Your stereo is automatically muted and your AC/Heater fan motor speed is lowered so the background noise is lowered.

Best of all - The onstar Microphone is used!

I later paired the unit with my wifes iPhone and the results were the same, everything worked perfectly!

Highly recommended if you have an older onstar Unit!

10/09/12 - Update - My wife upgraded her iPhone to a 4S Model with OS 6 and the Onstar worked without an issue. So at this time I have tried it with an Apple 3G, Apple 4, Apple 4S, Samsung Glide, Samsung Galaxy and Samsung Galaxy Note (All Samsungs had the ICS build of the Android OS) and all have worked without an issue.
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on April 6, 2012
I installed this in a 2005 Chevy Avalanche. I had been previously using a Plantronics Bluetooth and wanted to install a car kit. I have never used OnStar and didn't want a subscription to something just to have hands free over the stereo speakers.

This system is the perfect conversion. In a 2005 Avalanche, open the glove box and empty the contents. With slight pressure, press in on the right side of the glove box plastic to release the catch (no tools required). Inside the glove box opening in the upper left is the silver OnStar box. Unplug the two connectors and plug them into the Costar BlueSTAR unit. Tuck the BlueSTAR up out of the way so you can close the glove box and your finished. This seriously took me about 3 minutes, mostly because there isn't a lot of slack in the wires to the connectors. The pairing was simple and is now automatic when I start the truck (like uConnect in my wife's Jeep Grand Cherokee). Connection is established and terminated with the ignition.

All my buttons work, including voice dialing from the steering wheel control. I haven't had any issues with echo and the feedback I have received from those I have talked with say it sounds like being on speaker phone, but can hear me well. Sitting still (not driving), I have been told they can't tell I am on speaker. I can hear the person on the other end clearly and depending on how loudly they are talking, I can adjust the volume using the steering wheel controls.

All in all, great purchase, worth the money and highly recommended.
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on November 6, 2015
Simple installation, but volume issues every time I start the vehicle. Either I can't hear the caller or they can't hear me. I have to reset the volume EVERY SINGLE TIME I start my vehicle.
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on December 11, 2014
I'm really happy with the unit. The installation was simple- unplug the harness from the onstar, plug them into the Bluestar, pair the phone and it's done. Now my Onstar button on the steering wheel links to the phone- i press it, and it opens Siri. I can then give Siri any voice command it accepts- like "Call home" and the call connects. Simple. Since siri will also accept voice to text, I can use the talk button to send a quick message as well.

My Onstar unit is mounted to the top of my trunk (09 G8) so to hold the Bluestar in place I added strips of Velcro to the unit and to the steel under the trunkdeck. Unit is secure, and hidden from sight.
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on August 2, 2016
Worked very well until one day it just failed. I jumped my car batter and the device hasnt worked since. Very dissapointing. It likely came from that but I'm not sure. I have jumped it before without issue and it worked fine so now I have a nice $200 brick!
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on July 9, 2014
I needed Bluetooth for my 2007 Tahoe and found this product. I've read the other buyer's reviews and decided that Costar Bluestar was the product that fits my budget and needs, I also decided to install it myself. I am mechanically inclined and I also work in the automotive industry. First of all, if you don't have tools that are used to remove dash board panels, radios, door panels etc., there is a pretty good chance that you may brake or crack the wood panel around the radio. It took me about 20 min. to remove the panel and radio, a/c heat control panel, but there the trouble started. I could see and reach the OnStar module but I couldn't pull it out. I don't have big hands and I could get a hold of it but the space is so tight that couldn't pull it at all. It took me about an hour and with the help of two long screwdrivers and the dash board tools I mentioned I managed to lift the front of the module and slowly pull it out, the rest of it was easy. One other thing, talk button on steering wheel only works when receiving calls, if you need to make a call you need to press talk on the mirror.
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on April 11, 2014
If you won't use the OnStar stuff in your car and you are searching for a Bluetooth solution this is for you.
The calls are taken or made as expected, the radio changes to the phone call, the AC fan speed is reduced and finally the quality of the call is rather excellent.
Although if you want to stream music to the radio you will face some challenges but nothing without solution, you have to connect a computer to enable this feature but is not rocket science; additionally you have to connect a stereo cable from the unit to your aux input, the challenge comes when you find that the OnStar module is hard to reach like mine which is in the trunk, but is not too hard to find and connect a long cable.
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