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Old 9th November 2015, 14:54   #1
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Default VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade

We swapped the stock MFSW (VAG speak for Multi-Function Steering Wheel) with a Mk7 unit last weekend when we did the cruise control installation (DIY link) and it was an easy affair.

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1462.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1468.jpg

Takes less than half an hour at best and is a plug-n-play swap. I’ve detailed the procedure below. If you wish to change the steering on your Polo (or another VW/Skoda car) look no further!

Parts Required:
  • A new MFSW with the airbag unit.

    The choice of the steering wheel is completely left to the user. There are different models of steering wheels available at the moment and the newer Mk7 units which ships with the new Polo 6C/Jetta GLI/Golf GTI/GTD etc. looks pretty retro with the classic round horn pad (from the '70s era) and the large Aluminium insert. They are also customizable based on the user’s needs.

    • The material on the wheel can be normal or perforated leather or even Alcantara.

    • The stitching can be in any shade (white, black, red, grey etc).

    • The insert can be Aluminium or gloss plastic.

    • The logo on the bottom part of the insert can be GT, GTI, GTD, GLI, R or without a logo.

    • The backlighting of the controls can be in white or red. There is a catch here which I shall explain in detail later.

    • The steering can be supplied with or without paddle shifters.

    • The controls can be for media and telephone with or without cruise controls. Or without any controls at all!

    Here's a collage indicating the different types of Mk7 wheels:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-different-units.jpg
    (Image source: Google Images)

Tools Required:
  • M12 XZN triple square spline bit socket - to unscrew the gr. 8.8 screw from the steering wheel. This socket was not available online but the neighbourhood automotive tools/hardware store had it in various sizes! The socket cost me Rs. 250.

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1508.jpg

    Note: The socket is M12 based on the slot inside the screw. The screw has M18 metric thread. Just for information.

  • Ratcheting socket wrench with the extension bar.

    The final arrangement looks like this:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1516.jpg

  • Small screw driver with flat-blade end. A small one is preferred due to the limited access behind the steering wheel due to the instrument cluster blocking it.

  • VCDS cable and a laptop with functional VCDS software - to diagnose/eliminate any errors.

  • Ring spanner (10-11) - for unscrewing/fastening the nut on the battery.

  • Cellophane/masking tape, 1” wide - to lock the center position of the airbag slip ring in place.

The airbag slip ring:

Before beginning the installation, one must know what the airbag slip ring/clock spring is. Modern steerings which have airbags and media/phone/cruise controls require a bunch of connections. When you rotate the steering, conventional wires would get entangled inside the unit if one rotates the steering. Thus, the wiring is given in the form of a fine ribbon cable wound inside the slip ring unit.

Name:  SLIP RING RIBBON CABLE.jpg
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(Image source: Google Images)

The current generation of Polo/Vento models with cornering lights will have a different slip ring with steering angle sensor built in. When the steering rotates, the slip ring provides the CANbus with the data as to which direction the steering was rotated so the corresponding fog light can be turned on. This is one such unit:

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-airbag-slip-ring.png
(Image source: Google Images)

Notice the peep hole on the rotating face of the slip ring.

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(Image source: Google Images)

Care must be taken to ensure that:
  • The slip ring unit is handled properly. The stock slip ring was very feeble in construction (not sure if this is the case with all the units though).

  • The centre position of the slip ring unit’s front face is not altered during the time of the retrofit. While removing the steering wheel, the wheel must be centered and the steering wheel removed.

    To be doubly sure, lock the front face in place using cellophane/masking tape as shown:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1410.jpg

    Note: In the snap above, I have taken out the stalks unit out of the steering column since we did the cruise control retrofit along with the steering unit swap.


Pre-facelift Polo + Mk7 steerings = backlighting woes!

If you intend to do the upgrade on a pre-facelift Polo (for e.g. the 2013/14 model Polo GT) there is a small issue you need to be aware of. The backlighting of the control buttons will not work unless you have:
  • A new BCM with a more recent firmware. Best bet = 2014 and later manufactured BCM.

    OR

  • A modified steering airbag harness loom.

Please inform your supplier suitably if you intend to purchase a Mk7 steering unit for your pre-facelift Polo! This is not a problem for the facelift variants as the newer BCMs equipped in these cars ship with the latest firmware which turns on the backlighting for the controls when you turn on the lights using the rotary headlight switch.

Procedure:
  1. Before heading to the parking lot with the new steering and the tools, it may be a good idea to wrap the steering so as to avoid it getting dirty during the process. We used some styrofoam sheet and the masking tape to quickly give it a wrap:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1317.jpg

    I would also advise removing the airbag unit and the connectors beforehand. Insert a flat-blade screw driver in the slot and push the spring loaded clips as indicated below to detach the airbag:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1329.png

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1332.png

    Once the airbag is detached, undo the 2 connectors - one 5-pin black female connector for the controls and the yellow female connector for the slip-ring contacts:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1343.jpg

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-5pin.jpg

  2. Disconnect the battery’s GND terminal using the 10-11 ring spanner and insulate it to avoid the terminal coming in contact with the body during the process.

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1383.jpg

  3. Remove the upper trim from the steering column. Refer steps 3 & 4 from the instrument cluster upgrade DIY thread - Link.

  4. Center the steering wheel, turn it by 90° towards left and lock it in place. Behind the wheel, above the steering column, you will notice a slot. It has a spring loaded clip as shown below:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-clip.jpg

    Insert the flat-blade screw driver inside the clip and push it below to detach it.


    This might take a while as the clip is strong and it isn’t easy for us first timers to detach it easily. Sometimes, an additional screw driver can help to push the clip below the metal tab. Once the clip detaches, the airbag unit will pop out of the slot on one end.

  5. Rotate the steering wheel by 180° in the opposite direction and repeat the step above to detach the second clip.

  6. Once both the clips are detached, the airbag unit will come off the slot. Detach the yellow female connector from the slip ring unit and the black female 5-pin connector that connects to the multi-function control module:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1386.jpg

    With the airbag unit removed, keep it aside safely.

  7. Centre the steering wheel, lock it and use the ratcheting socket wrench along with the extension bar and the M12 XZN socket to unscrew the M18 gr. 8.8 screw:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1389.jpg

    The screw (part number - N90799102) is used across all the VW cars right from the Up! to the Passat to the Phaeton and several other cars in the VAG group.

  8. Once the screw is removed, remove the stock steering from the column:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1391.jpg

    Be careful not to disturb the front face of the slip ring unit as explained before!

  9. With the airbag unit of the new steering detached, insert the new steering into the column while aligning the slots together:

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-slot.jpg

    Here's a better pic from the internet indicating the 2 slots - one on the steering wheel and the other on the hollow shaft:

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  10. Fasten the screw back. There is no need to over-torque the screw.

  11. Connect the black female 5-pin connector from the harness to the socket and the yellow female connector on the slip ring connector while holding the airbag unit.

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-5-pin-connector.jpg

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1337.jpg

    Slide in the airbag unit (notice the AIRBAG logo alignment at the bottom of the horn pad) and lock the clips into their respective slots.

  12. Replace the steering column top trim and reconnect the negative terminal of the battery. That completes the installation part.

  13. Check the functioning of the media/phone/MFD controls, horn and the backlighting. Adapt the windows (roll up/down all the windows 2-3 times for the auto-up/down functions). Take a short test drive to eliminate the ABS/ESP errors. As the final step, plug the VCDS cable to the laptop installed with the software and do an Autoscan. Clear any errors and do a re-scan.

  14. Preserve the stock steering and the airbag properly in the bubble wrap/styrofoam packaging in a box.

    VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1518.jpg

    Pray and hope you don't have to resort back to it again!

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 17th November 2015 at 10:03.
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Old 10th November 2015, 20:33   #2
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Default re: VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade

Results:

Enjoy the fruits of your labour!

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1462.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1468.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1483.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1500.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1504.jpg

Shopping Experience:
  • Source: eBay.com

  • Dealer ID: vwrtuning

  • Contact Name: Ricardo Perez

  • Origin: Mexico

  • Price: $ 550 (inclusive of freight charges)

  • Shipping service: FedEx

  • Experience: Very proactive, friendly, communicative, co-operative, bulletproof packaging, quick dispatch and nominal shipping charges

The whole deal went absolutely smooth! I have never had a better shopping experience in ages! This is going to be lengthy but I couldn't help it. Read on or skip this part if you wish to.

First off, I owe my heartfelt thanks to BHPian drpudhi who had helped with this dealer's contact. About a month back, I sent a message to Rick over eBay asking him about the details of the steering. I was specifically looking for the Mk7 flat-bottom steering which had the following requirements:
  • Blue GT logo on the Aluminium insert

  • No cruise controls on the left spoke

  • Red backlighting for the controls

  • No paddles

  • Stock airbag + control wiring loom

  • Red stitching and normal leather without perforations

He quickly sent me a response indicating he had one in stock and sent me the snaps over mail:

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-mex1.jpg

Turns out it had the cruise control buttons! Bummer. I requested him if he can arrange for one with the regular media controls instead of cruise controls on the left spoke and he said it is possible but will take some time. I was willing to wait. He requested his supplier at Puebla who manufactures these steerings (and supplies it to VW) for this configuration and confirmed it to me. We waited for 2 weeks patiently. In the meantime, we were in touch and discussed about some modifications and VW cars sold in Mexico, the factory there, their culture, tourism, etc.

A couple of weeks later, Rick finally got back to me with the snaps of the new steering unit. I was drooling at the pics he sent me! Just what I had asked for. I was about to make the payment via PayPal and confirmed his mail ID registered with PayPal. It was a different mail ID, got it registered on PayPal, made the payment instantly and forwarded the confirmation mail to Rick. He confirmed that he got the payment and was about to dispatch the steering when he sent me a few mails hurriedly (I noticed it only after I woke up and checked the mail; 12 hours difference between India and Mexico). During the final inspection before dispatch, he noticed that the airbag module had a light scratch and informed me of it:

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-mex2.png

It was a very minor scratch but definitely noticeable; something that we would not like to have on a brand new unit! In fact, when I used Picasa to increase the brightness of the original image, I did notice the scratch on the airbag module.

He asked me if I could wait for a couple of days more, so he could arrange for a replacement airbag module and send the package 3 days later. I felt really glad he informed me of it! Some dealers would choose to shrug off such instances. I was completely fine with that and gave him the go-ahead. He got the replacement module on the promised date, clicked lots of snaps and shipped the steering neatly packed in Styrofoam sheets, bubble wraps and shrink wraps, enclosed in the box:

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-mex3.jpg

He promptly informed me of the FedEx tracking number. I began tracking the consignment on the same day and signed up for the notifications. FedEx did a good job (as usual) with it and was constantly updating the whereabouts of the shipment:

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-fedex.png

In the meantime, FedEx had asked me to submit the KYC (Know Your Customer) form, authorization letter and a couple of ID proofs as mandated by the Customs Dept. I sent them the documents by mail, FedEx confirmed the receipt and requested me to send the docs' hard copies to their New Delhi IG Airport Terminal Office for records. I sent them those the next day promptly. The shipment finally reached me 7 days later and I didn’t have to pay any duties to FedEx (probably because Rick had declared it as a gift).

Opened the packaging upon receipt and the steering unit was intact. Didn't expect any less with the kind of packaging it had! The GT and VW logos were covered in a blue laminate. The unit had a nice fruity fragrance as well!

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1285.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1287.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1291.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1293.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1296.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1298.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1303.jpg

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1308.jpg

But boy, what an experience it was! I wholeheartedly recommend vwrtuning/Rick to folks who are looking to retrofit the new steerings to their cars. He will customize one based on your needs.

A quick note w.r.t. the discussions of the OEM and the replica steerings, I do not want to start a debate on what is a replica steering and what is an OEM one - the buyers/owners here are fairly well informed on this aspect. But I wanted to know how the Mexican dealers are sourcing these steering unit this cheap when the rates are exorbitant when we approach the VW dealership locally. When I asked my dealership regarding the charges of the steering wheel currently being installed in the Polo/Vento, I got a quote close to a lakh+! OTOH, the Mexican dealer informed me that he is getting these steerings directly from the supplier who is the OEM for VW’s Puebla plant in Mexico. There are no middle men involved and the OEM (i.e. the vendor who physically manufactures these units not VW) supplies these units to individual dealers who puts them up on eBay. This is NOT a replica steering - the steering wheel, the airbag, the airbag wiring loom, the connector all comes with individual part numbers and the build quality speaks for itself.

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1341.jpg

A US based dealer is selling several Audi flat-bottom steerings with airbag units from 699 USD (link) onwards. Would these be called replica units as well then?! All I'd say is Caveat emptor!

The DIY experience:

Amazing as always! We killed two birds with one stone - cruise control and the steering swap! Both the installations required the BCM to be upgraded and the steering wheel to be removed. I had been reading up a lot on the respective topics from various sources online - drive2.ru forums, briskoda forums, uk-polos.net forums etc over the past one year. Asked a lot of people for snaps from their stock steerings, BCMs etc. I am happy to say that in the end, the results paid off. All the data helped us in some way or the other.

I owe my good friend Moorthy a lot - this guy has so much enthusiasm. Initially, we had planned to do this work during the Diwali holidays but this was Moorthy’s response, “What’re you waiting for?! Let’s do it tomorrow man!”. Sounded like the badass Sgt. Apone in Aliens in the opening sequence (Youtube; hardcore Alien franchise alert!). Many thanks to BHPian drpudhi who had shared the contact of this wonderful dealer. I owe my gratitude to the Russian Polo Sedan owners without whom I wouldn't have known that the new BCMs will resolve the backlighting issues with the Mk7 steerings. Strangely enough, for the first time ever, my wife loved the new steering and appreciated this upgrade! Never seen her do that for the things I do with the car but this was different when it came from her of all the people!

Anyways, that would be all. Please let me know if you have any queries - will be happy to answer them.

On a side note, have a blockbuster Diwali!

VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade-img_1534.jpg

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 11th November 2015 at 19:43.
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Old 13th November 2015, 09:39   #3
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Modifications Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th November 2015, 10:09   #4
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Wow, amazing DIY! This deserves to be DIY of 2015! I have already started exploring possibilities to carry out the same on my Polo highline (P)!

Thanks a lot for sharing!
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Old 13th November 2015, 10:12   #5
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YET another quality mod. At this point, I honestly believe that your car is only going to appreciate in value because of all these epic modifications you've done!
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Old 13th November 2015, 10:15   #6
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Wonderful DIY as usual Gannu! Looks like you have retrofitted almost all major components in your car! A Remap is what is pending now

You polo interior now looks like a Euro spec one with all the upgrades you have undertaken!

BTW, what is the significance of the blue plastic wrapped logos and why you insisted on that?

Last edited by sagarpadaki : 13th November 2015 at 10:18.
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Old 13th November 2015, 10:22   #7
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade

Congrats on yet another awesome DIY. The Polo is really the best choice for the DIY enthusiast, and as your threads show, one really can upgrade everything on the Polo except fr the size!. And the best part is, it all looks OEM.

One Q though, Since you were anyways planning to install cruise control, Wouldn't it have been better to get the steering with cruise control buttons, and save on spending for the stalk ?
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Old 13th November 2015, 10:28   #8
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Great work Gannu! If your DIYs go on like this, then there won't be anything stock in your car in a few days.

Rated thread a deserving 5 stars.
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Old 13th November 2015, 11:36   #9
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade

Congratulations Gannu on this upgrade and thank you for this elaborate DIY guide that you have prepared. I had one question - given that you have installed a new cruise control stalk and a new steering wheel why did you not go for the new MK7 steering wheel with cruise control buttons inbuilt on the steering wheel itself? I have been thinking since a long time to upgrade the steering wheel if at all on my 2014 facelift Vento TSI with the MK7 steering wheel with cruise control. Is there any technical limitation that is there in that?
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Old 13th November 2015, 11:53   #10
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade

Mod Note : There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the forum experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use a spell-checker.

Last edited by GTO : 13th November 2015 at 13:18.
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Old 14th November 2015, 09:23   #11
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Mk7 Flat-bottom Steering wheel upgrade

Thanks guys. Appreciate the feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
A Remap is what is pending now
I am waiting for VW to sort out the diesel emissions issue now. They will possibly reflash the ECU with the new firmware to sort out the emissions. The power/torque/efficiency will take a hit with that for sure - how much, we aren't sure yet.

And honestly, considering my daily usage, a remap isn't really required. The car has adequate power as it is. And the local service center has been kind to me with whatever modifications I've attempted so far. The remap may invalidate the extended warranty as well. Maybe once the extended warranty expires, I might consider a remap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
BTW, what is the significance of the blue plastic wrapped logos and why you insisted on that?
Nothing very significant but they protect the logos from getting scratched until the unit reaches the customer. Usually they are found on the logos, instrument cluster, HU displays etc. in the new vehicles. Just like how our cellphone displays ships with a temporary scratch guard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayD View Post
The Polo is really the best choice for the DIY enthusiast
No second thoughts on that! Since the same car ships with a lot of goodies in the overseas, it is mostly a plug-n-play swap or a bunch of additional wiring harnesses, connectors, terminals + VCDS coding at best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudeepg View Post
Great work Gannu! If your DIYs go on like this, then there won't be anything stock in your car in a few days.
Haha I must put a stop somewhere! The car is such a money pit and there's no end to the upgrades if finances isn't a constraint. I had been saving up for these for sometime now.

One last major upgrade would be the suspension bits and I am done. I swear!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayD View Post
One Q though, Since you were anyways planning to install cruise control, Wouldn't it have been better to get the steering with cruise control buttons, and save on spending for the stalk ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamsukh View Post
I had one question - given that you have installed a new cruise control stalk and a new steering wheel why did you not go for the new MK7 steering wheel with cruise control buttons inbuilt on the steering wheel itself?
Guys, AFAIK no one has installed the steering with the cruise control buttons before here and we don't know what are the change in the connections. The Jetta facelift now ships with the steering with these controls integrated in the left spoke. The connections would now be routed through the airbag slip ring just like the media/phone/MFD controls instead of the stalk. I really didn't want to take a chance with that. It is certainly doable if we figure out the current flow diagrams from the newer models.
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Old 14th November 2015, 12:55   #12
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WOW! Superb DIY! That steering wheel looks awesome!

Surprised that your wife does not mind you spending money on these DIY's. Lucky man!!

Like you said, vendors who supply parts to the OEMs are tapped for spares in the open market - This happens in many fields. Parts will be original and much cheaper than OEM. These vendors will generally have a written agreement / commitment with the OEM, stating that they will not supply parts in the open market. More than the parts, confidential / intellectual design information are not to be shared / leaked / traded. As this amounts to the breach of contract / integrity issue, vender can land in trouble. In the best interest of future buyers like myself and others, it is best not to discuss this in the open forum..
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Old 14th November 2015, 14:33   #13
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Gannu bhai you are the king of mods on team bhp. The kind of detail we experience in your mods inspires lot of people like me to try these using your guidelines. when we can expect a thread on cruise control mod?
Did you pay anything for custom duties?
congratulations for this awesome upgrade and happy Diwali
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Old 15th November 2015, 16:04   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
This is not a problem for the facelift variants as the newer BCMs equipped in these cars ship with the latest firmware which turns on the backlighting for the controls when you turn on the lights using the rotary headlight switch.
  1. Once both the clips are detached, the airbag unit will come off the slot. Detach the yellow female connector from the slip ring unit and the black female 5-pin connector that connects to the multi-function control module:

Hi Gannu,

Would you know if these wiring connectors would be same for comfortline variant. I am not sure if steering controls and paddle shift mechanism will work on comfortline variant of DSG (2015 facelift) after swapping with GTI MK7 steering.

Regards.

Last edited by antardaksh : 15th November 2015 at 16:06.
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Old 15th November 2015, 16:38   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antardaksh View Post
Hi Gannu,

Would you know if these wiring connectors would be same for comfortline variant. I am not sure if steering controls and paddle shift mechanism will work on comfortline variant of DSG (2015 facelift) after swapping with GTI MK7 steering.

Regards.
If your stock steering has media/MFD/phone controls, this will be a plug-n-play swap and the paddles will work once you enable the option under VCDS (central electronics).
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