This post will show you how to remove the standard radio unit from a 3C/B6 VW Passat. I think the majority of the procedure is also the same on the Golf/Jetta/Etc.
My standard radio is an RCD500 which is pretty respectable in the range, it’s a 6CD In-Dash MP3 Changer but unfortunately has no Aux/iPod connection. Before starting this procedure my car also had a Parrot CK3200-LS bluetooth kit which I’ve removed. The new unit is an Alpine CDE-133BT which supports iPod/iPhone/A2DP/MP3/USB/Aux and also has a built in Parrot kit – only £134 at the time of writing which I consider is a bargain.
Points to note before starting, buying the headunit alone isn’t good enough for this car – it isn’t simply a case of plug and play like it would have been in the previous generation Passat.
First one is the physical issue – my standard unit is a Double Din… I bought a fascia to convert from the VW Standard Unit to Single DIN. It was less than a tenner on eBay and the quality is OK … it has a cubby hole for the lower part which will be good for sitting my iPhone in.
Second is the aerial, my car has the antenna built into the back window and two feeds go to the radio which first amplifies this and then picks the best one for a signal. I found the connections are called “Fakra” and an adapter is available to take the two feeds into one and amplify this – again less than a tenner on eBay but something else that was needed. (If you want a radio anyways!)
Third one is a bit more, most radios use standard ISO connections (One Audio, One Power) and within the power there is a permanent Live (To save settings) and switched live (With ignition, to trigger power up and shut down) … not on the VW there isn’t due to the CANBUS interface. On the VW it uses a “Quadlock” connection and has two permanent live feeds. So, an adapter is available which converts the Quadlock to two standard ISO connections and also has a CANBUS module in it which “talks” to the cars computer and determines when the unit should be powered on, shut down, volume increased with speed, etc. This wasn’t under a tenner on eBay … it was £35 and although there are wiring options available to work around it – this wasn’t something I wanted to do – this provided a complete plug and play option and I can confirm, works well. (Also supports steering wheel controls, which my car doesn’t have but my headunit and adapter supports)
Now… with all of these things in mind (Should be considered whatever headunit you go for!) I started to remove the old radio and fit the new one. Have a read through these steps and click on the image below to view the larger size.
1. Pull off the surround. No tools required and the drawers don’t need to be open. Start at the bottom where my hand is below, a slight pull and the rest will come off. Don’t disconnect the cable attached.
2. Sit the surround over the gearknob. Keep that wire connected just like shown below – people have said that disconnecting it triggers the airbag light on the dashboard so I didn’t take the risk.
2a. If the surround does get in the way, you can remove the airbag message section on it’s own – see below.
3. The radio unit is held in with four Torx T20 screws. Remove these.
4. Pull the unit forward and if you haven’t already – eject any discs that are already in there.
5. Note which connections are on the back – you can see the quadlock on the left here and the aerial connections on the right.
6. At the bottom of the quadlock, flip the lever and it’ll pop out. The antenna connections pull out by squeezing the tabs I’ve shown in the photo below.
7. And with that, the radio is out. I also removed a Parrot kit so took a break at this point and rested the fascia back on.
8. Now for the new radio. I routed my mic in place and ran the wire for that, connected the quadlock/CANBUS adapter and connected the antenna adapter. As the antenna needs amplified, the best source I found was the one labelled “Remote” on my new headunit wiring loom – it’s usually used for an additional amplifier and is live when the headunit it. (I did connect the headunit as this time to test and make sure it came on and went off just like the old one – and that the radio signal worked!)
9. Next step I took was to fit on the fascia.
10. Final step was installing the headunit, cubby hole and then popping the fascia back on – job done!