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Epic Beard Man
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been disappointed that the Cruze doesn't have Homelink, especially in the LTZ trim. So after some recent discussion and a spontaneous trip today, I decided to make it happen.

I had researched and thought about ordering one on eBay, to the tune of about $20. I wasn't sure if the light gray or the tan would go better with the Cruze's Cocoa/Light Neutral, so I just hadn't done anything. I had to go on a trip today (not in the Cruze though) which took me, for those of you who know SE MI, down to Taylor. When I was done with my other mission, I spontaneously decided to visit a junkyard I had been to in 2010 looking for some Excursion upgrades. At the time, this junkyard was one of the few around that seemed to have a good selection of late model stuff and lets you walk around in the yard. It was busy today on such a nice day, but instead of the yard being full of cash for clunkers cars, it had much newer inventory based on the date-in, but the cars themselves were much older. Very little newer than 2000. But I happened to find a 2003 Windstar, tan interior, with a Homelink module. I found a few others (such as in a 1994 Town Car with gray), but I didn't want to go that route since it might be a non-rolling code type. Since this was spontaneous, I only had a screwdriver and pair of pliers with me, but that was enough. I removed the headliner from the visor, unplugged it, and popped off the Homelink buttons. Using the holes in the fabric there, I just tore it off the visor plastic. Then I used the pliers to break out all the plastic around the Homelink module so I could remove it easier, and cut the wires. Once it was all out, I walked around to see if I could find another tan button cover or a gray one, just to take in case the tan wasn't a good match, but no luck. The Town Car one was a slightly different shape that may not have worked, and the only other I saw was solid black in another Town Car. So I took this one up to the office and walked out with it for a $5 bill!!! Granted chances are it might not work, but an eBay one could be the same risk.

I came home and got to work. I pulled down the Cruze's upper console, and in order to fit the Homelink box (and I think have it look decent/like factory too), it needed to be up between the sunroof buttons. I also figured that might be the cheaper part to replace as it might be sold separately whereas the other part may be sold with the entire upper console. So I made it happen...

Here's the module right after I got home:



Since it was still light out at that point, I decided to take it outside in the sun with the Cruze's piece to see how the color matched up. I also cleaned off what I suspected was adhesive on the button cover and it cleaned right up. Oh, the sunroof control panel just kinda pries out. Careful to not get the screwdriver under the base too and not just the cover. Just pull down.



And the same view, but inside under a light:


I'm very pleased, I think it's about as perfect of a match as it can be. I think gray wouldn't have looked good at all.

Next was to test it. I didn't want to start cutting up the car without making sure this worked first. Granted I could always get another, but still. Basically, I just put a jumper wire on and put it to the battery. Pressed the buttons to see if the red light came on, and it did. I found it only had one code stored, in the first button.



Now to make it fit:

Back of the sunroof control panel. I could have centered it and sacrificed the two big clips there (there are other clips), but these seemed significant enough that I wanted to keep them to hold it up. So I moved it down a little instead.



Traced the outline of the pad to see how it would fit and measure how the control box would go:



So, then I had to bite the bullet. Drilled into the plastic following the pattern of the button cover part. One hole per button, one for the light, and two small ones for the pins that hold the button cover on:



However, the control box didn't fit onto the buttons real well. After all, this was made to work with the thickness of visor fabric, not a piece of plastic. The ridges on the back of the plastic panel stuck up and didn't help matters, so I sanded them off to make it smooth in the area where the box would go:



Now it fits nice:




Now to tackle how it'll fit in the car. It would certainly be much easier to modify the bracket stuff with it out of the car, instead of inside like I did. First, remove the rest of the trim cover for the front half. It pries out just like the sunroof control part. You can pry out the microphone too, so that the entire cover can get out of your way.

Finding a power source:

Sunroof controls have lighted switches with four wires going to each. I put the volt meter up to it with the start button on accessory, and I got a reading on the right plug for what I thought was a ground and power source without hitting the switch. So, I go wire the whole thing up, solder it, and tape it, only to hit a Homelink button and have the sunroof tilt open :th_coolio:. So I cut my losses there (literally), taped over the little wire ends left there, and moved farther forward instead. I suspect these sunroof switches are like cruise control switches where they use ohms to control what happens. Oh, and if anyone is wondering, the sunroof switches were NOT plugged in during all this, so it opened without the switch even plugged in, just from Homelink.

I figured the front light would be the best power source- always powered and simple. So next was to drop the entire console bracket to get to the back of the light and the plug.

There are two screws on either side of it, right next to the actual light switches, up in a cavity. They are quite long and T-15 Torx:



Once those are out, you can pull down on the bracket. I started up by the light because the rear is held into the fabric with tabs:



You can slide the whole assembly out like that and disconnect the plug to the light. It has two wires, which I soon found with the volt meter which was which.

Next, I needed to put some extensions on the wires. I thought about putting new wires on, but the clip thing on the back of the Homelink looked so delicate and I tried to get the wires out, but I feared I'd break it. So I just soldered on new wires:



That was followed by shrink tubing as well.

So I tapped into the two plug wires and soldered in the Homelink. Since I was trying to hold the plug, hold a piece of wood, hold the solder, and hold the soldering iron, no pics of that...



Now to get it installed in the console. Since the two screws just require the main trim cover off, I could put the sunroof control back on for good. I had to cut some of the bracket out in order for the box to fit and stay close/flush to the panel and buttons:



Then I realized, now that we had power, the buttons weren't reaching the circuit board in the control box due to the increased thickness. So I put little extensions on, which seem to work fine:



I also put a plastic cable tie around the control box and overhead console bracket to hold it together. After some trial and error experimentation, I also put some foam above the control box between that and the roof of the car, so that it wouldn't push up/not contact when I pushed on the button.

Now to reinstall:
- Reconnect the plug into the light fixture.
- Reconnect the plugs into both sunroof control switches (if applicable)
- Slide the panel back up into the headliner panel, putting the tabs in the back in first. It's snug, as you probably noticed the fabric was a little bunched up from the first time it went in. Then snap the whole thing up via the snap clips.
- Re-install the two torx screws in the front
- Test to make sure both Homelink and light fixture works
- Re-install the the main trim cover. Remember to snap the microphone back in so that it isn't picking up weird noises from the roof of your car.
- Clean up and admire your work!



All in all, it was a little more complicated than I expected, but I think it looks really good. Not plug and play by any means, as you can see.

Please see here for another install, but in a non-sunroof Cruze:
http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/9-general-discussion-forum/37122-installing-homelink-2013-cruze-eco-w-o-sunroof.html
 

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Epic Beard Man
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Discussion Starter #6
Well I finally got the Homelink programmed. It was more difficult than it should have been, and I'm not completely sure why. We have two garage doors, and being the child, I park in the 3rd bay with the single door. Since I sometimes want to open the big door if I'm just going into the house quickly, I wanted that programmed as well.

I went through the entire programming procedure and every time I'd do it, the little door would program fine, but I'd do the big door and pressing the button would cause both doors to operate simultaneously. I must have cleared the codes a dozen times and re-programmed it with no change. I finally came in, went on the computer, and found others with the problem too. No clear solution, and it wasn't vehicle specific (I was finding discussions about this on Acura and Land Rover forums). Finally, someone mentioned completely resetting the openers, like if someone were to buy a used house and wanted to clear any previous codes. So I did that by holding the purple Learn button down for about six seconds until the light went off. Of course this screwed up all the other cars too. After doing that, I reprogrammed and all works exactly like it should.
 

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Very nice write up and explanation! Looks really good.....Very Creative!
 

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Great write up. I just wish it was stock with a sunglasses holder up there too.

Sent from my PC36100 using AutoGuide.Com Free App
 

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Epic Beard Man
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Discussion Starter #10
I agree. I don't think one could work there, even if the outer panel had the part. The microphone clips into that panel, which isn't a big deal, but there's a big box thing mounted to the roof above that area (perhaps an OnStar module?) that wouldn't allow for enough room for a sunglasses holder. There's maybe an inch and a half. Right above the Homelink buttons themselves, the module thing is no more and it goes all the way up to the roof. But it goes most of the way forward and all where that blank panel is.

I think the one that replaces the grab handle is the best choice, other than it's so expensive!
 

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Nice job man! its funny cause the lack of homelink was one of the first things i noticed when i was looking at the car. I had done this upgrade on a previous vehicle and was thinkin about doing it too on my cruze as well. Nice article and some great workmanship there!
 

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Epic Beard Man
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Discussion Starter #12
I did make a little modification to the Homelink setup on Sunday. Or should I say my dad got involved since I said I was having programming problems (which turned out to have nothing to do with the installation, as I thought).

First, we bent up a small piece of aluminum to make a bracket that now holds the Homelink unit down with two small screws. This eliminated the plastic tie, which seemed to push the center plastic piece down just a little bit. The bolt heads (countersink style, and small) were countersunk into the plastic so they didn't stick down at all.

Secondly, the foam extensions weren't working. It was really tough to push the buttons enough to work. It now has hard plastic extensions (of the same size/design) that make the buttons much more sensitive.

Going to/from work today, I was a happy camper. I didn't like the opener on the driver's visor, so I had it on the passenger. Now I have less of a reach!
 

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Looks good ... and I've been hoping to find a simple way to upgrade my 2012 Eco with homelink. I've also seen a thread here somewhere that if I recall, had a person use the roof console panel from a Buick Verano? Someone please pipe in if that's incorrect... but that's the route I'd like to take.
 

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Great job on your home link install. Hopefully the factory takes note of the need. I kind of ignored the lack of a homelink remote for a few days... but I quickly discovered that jumping out of the car to close the garage door was not going to work.

I looked at the different threads and the things people did to add a garage door opener to their car. I have only had the car less than a month so messing with wiring is not on my current list. The dashboard box could work, but it would further reduce its limited use and was a reach. Letting it float around in the limited storage space seamed impractical.

Sitting in the drivers seat I discovered that they extended the door pocket into the door. By size I would assume it was to accommodate something about the size of a map. I found that a garage door remote fits perfectly in that hidden area. I have a multi door garage so I installed a 3 door remote.

1) I bought a new LiftMaster remote (this supported my doors).
2) Removed the clip
3) Programmed the buttons
4) Added some adhesive velcro tabs so it can be removed to change the battery every 5-8 years
5) Installed in the concealed portion of the door pocket.

It is easy to reach... and in this case the different size buttons give you tactile confirmation of what door you are opening. The downside for those that have homelink in their other cars center consoles is that you cannot nag the passenger to close the garage while you do something like back out of the driveway... unless you install it in the passengers side door pocket.

Copy of 2013_Cruze_Garage_Door_Opener_Installation.jpg

I hope this helps for those looking for a quick solution.
 

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I did make a little modification to the Homelink setup on Sunday. Or should I say my dad got involved since I said I was having programming problems (which turned out to have nothing to do with the installation, as I thought).

First, we bent up a small piece of aluminum to make a bracket that now holds the Homelink unit down with two small screws. This eliminated the plastic tie, which seemed to push the center plastic piece down just a little bit. The bolt heads (countersink style, and small) were countersunk into the plastic so they didn't stick down at all.
Do you have any photos of the metal bracket and the plastic backstop you made? Did you ever think of grinding/sanding down the plastic back of the sunroof control housing to make it even thinner?
 

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Epic Beard Man
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Discussion Starter #19
Updated the tutorial with attached pictures, to correct the Photobucket bad links per request. Unfortunately no pictures of the metal bracket I added later.
 

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2014 LT program car, Pull Me Over Red
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Is HomeLink just a GM name for a generic remote or does it have something to do with a system like X10? I am interested in doing this mod and had read this a few times prior to the photobucket bomb, but never looked into it enough.

Any suggestions on what years to look at and what vehicles as well for a donor unit?
 
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