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Old 11th September 2019, 13:50   #1
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Default VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light-00-front-dome-light.jpg

I had replaced the stock rear dome light in my GT TSI with a nicer unit some time ago. It was a plug-n-play replacement, and provided more illumination (3 bulbs compared to 1in the stock unit) as well as individually selectable map lights for the driver and passenger. Details here (My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs).

Some time later, my DIY partner Viraat13 shared this link with me. It was the dome light unit for the Passat B5, with backlit switches and ambient LEDs. Viraat was very keen on installing it. We both did some research, and concluded regretfully that it would not fit the Polo. It stayed at the back of my mind, however.

As luck would have it, while browsing for some other informarion, I recently came across this thread on the UK POLOS forum, and learnt that the Passat unit can indeed be fitted in the Polo. I shared this news with Viraat, and it was game on!

The Passat unit has a 6-pin flat connector, and we need an adapter harness to power it from the stock front dome light connector. In addition, the backlight and ambient LEDs need a power source, which is accomplished by tapping the headlight switch connector. This is a straightforward DIY, and not much can go wrong.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 11th September 2019 at 15:29.
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Old 11th September 2019, 14:37   #2
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Default Parts Required

Main Items
  1. Dome Light - 1 no. (VW Part Number 3BD 947 105 2EN)
    Source: AliExpress
    Price: $30.15 + $2.08 shipping

Connectors + Terminals
  1. 4B0 971 993 (1 no.) + N10 318 905 (3 nos.)
  2. 3B0 972 706 (1 no.) + N10 335 807 (4 nos.)
Source: I had already sourced item no. 1 from Boodmo for my Rear Dome Light mod (VW Polo DIY: Installing the OEM Rear Dome Light). Item no. 2 was included in the AliExpress shipment of the Dome Light.
Consumables
  1. 1 mm sq. electrical wire
  2. Quick splice connector - 1 no. (example)
  3. Harness tape

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 11th September 2019 at 15:22.
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Old 11th September 2019, 14:41   #3
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Default Tools Required

  1. Torx screwdriver with T20 bit.
  2. Crimping pliers for terminals (example)
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Old 11th September 2019, 14:50   #4
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Default Installation Steps

  1. Preparing the Harness

    Name:  01A Pin Connections.jpg
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    Referring to the above diagram (source), prepare the adapter Harness. Be careful while crimping the terminals, since they cannot be reused. If you have never done it before, buy a couple extra to practice. They are pretty cheap. Also pay attention to the pin numbers while plugging the terminals into the connectors. If you make a mistake, you will need a terminal extraction tool (example) to correct it. I removed the terminals from pin nos. 2 and 6, since we do not need them.
    VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light-01b-harness-prepared.jpg
    Here is a picture of the harness ready for installation. Please ignore the lower branch of the Harness; it powers the Rear Dome Light.
  2. Removing the stock Front Dome Light
    Refer this (VW Polo DIY: Upgrading cabin light, headlight switch & installing footwell lights) post by Gannu for instructions.
  3. Installing the Harness
    Plug the female connector of the Harness into the male connector of the stock harness for the Front Dome Light. Route the long wire (pin. 1) from the male connector of the Harness through the headliner, down the back of the A-pillar trim, and into the area under the dashboard.
    VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light-02-tapping-headlight-connector.jpg
    Pop the headlight switch out, and unplug its connector. Use a quick splice connector to tap pin no.17 of the connector and crimp it to the end of the wire routed above. Plug the connector back in, and reinstall the headlight switch.
  4. Installing the new Front Dome Light
    This is the easiest step, because the new unit fits perfectly into the existing frame in the headliner. However, it does not have any retaining screws like the stock unit, and is held in place by two plastic tabs on one side and two spring clips on the other. If the unit seems to be loose (Viraat faced this problem), just pull the clips out a bit so that they press more firmly against the mounting frame.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 11th September 2019 at 15:32.
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Old 11th September 2019, 15:16   #5
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Default Result

VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light-03-front-dome-light-.jpg

The Passat unit has FOUR bulbs, which is a vast improvement over the stock unit. In another example of inscrutable German logic, the operation of the side buttons is a little counter-intuitive. They are depressed in the OFF position, and pop out when pressed ON. It is usually the other way round.

VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light-04-front-dome-light-backlights.jpg

Here is a picture of those sweet LEDs, which were the primary motivation for this DIY. The backlit switches really up the coolness factor of the car, and as a bonus are much easier to find and operate in the dark.

VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light-05-red-glow.jpg

The two ambient LEDs in the unit cast a beautiful red glow on the gear knob area. Night time drives are definitely that bit more enjoyable now.

In conclusion, this mod provides both aesthetic as well as practical value, and also has the advantage of being a pretty easy DIY.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 11th September 2019 at 15:37.
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Old 12th September 2019, 08:20   #6
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Default re: VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th September 2019, 10:58   #7
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

Yes! Another successful mod.

VW has really left us in the dark: no rear footwell lights, no rear dome lamp, a poor main dome lamp, no glove box light, no light in the trunk.

You've fixed it all!

Only the vanity light remains.
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Old 12th September 2019, 20:42   #8
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Default Fan of Theatrical Dimming

Nice DIY with clear technical information. If one needs better illumination, this is the way to go. I'm a big fan of the theatrical dimming when turning Off/On. Hence I've stuck with the incandescent yellow lights. The common upgrade done by most people is swapping out the stock bulbs for blindingly bright LEDs which miss out on the smooth dimming due to the nature of their operation.
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Old 12th September 2019, 22:13   #9
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

Making your own harness for this is quite a pain. I started looking online and came across a few sellers with readymade harness. The harness was high quality and straight forward. Bought the harness and installed the lights easily.
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Old 13th September 2019, 13:34   #10
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by TN13Sleeper View Post
I'm a big fan of the theatrical dimming when turning Off/On. Hence I've stuck with the incandescent yellow lights.
Same here, mate. I don't have a single LED anywhere in my car. Also, I didn't know that you lose the theatrical dimming effect with LEDs. Will file that away in some corner of my mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchy_99 View Post
Making your own harness for this is quite a pain. I started looking online and came across a few sellers with readymade harness. The harness was high quality and straight forward. Bought the harness and installed the lights easily.
Well. With the right components and tools, the harness can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. If you are not a DIYer, however, it can seem quite a pain. In my case, I had made a harness anyway for the rear dome light mod, so it was just a matter of swapping out the stock male connector for the new one. Please share details (seller, price, etc.) of the harness that you purchased, so other forum members can benefit.
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Old 13th September 2019, 14:00   #11
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLizardKing View Post
I didn't know that you lose the theatrical dimming effect with LEDs.
Not true.

The theatre dimming effect is very well present even after you swap the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. The effect is a little more pronounced with bulbs since the filament douses the light gradually whereas with LEDs it is instant.

The gripe with the swap is, cheaper LEDs may emit a faint light when they are turned off, due to the residual current in the circuit. Factory fitted LEDs (like those in the new Passat for instance) won't.
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Old 13th September 2019, 14:12   #12
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLizardKing View Post
Same here, mate. I don't have a single LED anywhere in my car. Also, I didn't know that you lose the theatrical dimming effect with LEDs. Will file that away in some corner of my mind.



Well. With the right components and tools, the harness can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. If you are not a DIYer, however, it can seem quite a pain. In my case, I had made a harness anyway for the rear dome light mod, so it was just a matter of swapping out the stock male connector for the new one. Please share details (seller, price, etc.) of the harness that you purchased, so other forum members can benefit.
Hi
I had bought the harness from AVS Tuning in Mumbai. I paid 5,000 for the light and the harness. They sell only harness for 2,500. This was back in 2015.
Their contact no. is 9867572757
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Old 13th September 2019, 20:44   #13
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLizardKing View Post
I didn't know that you lose the theatrical dimming effect with LEDs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Not true.

The theatre dimming effect is very well present even after you swap the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. The effect is a little more pronounced with bulbs since the filament douses the light gradually whereas with LEDs it is instant.
Theoretically, dimming is not lost with LEDs. But I personally feel that LED dimming is just a gimmick. Please see the below illustration taken from led-professional.com
VW Polo DIY: Upgrading the Front Dome Light-led-vs-incandescent.jpeg
Most of the interior domes have two bulbs. Just for experimenting swap one for an LED and leave the other incandescent as it is. Compare the two dimming.
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