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'11 GOV (AJ) TDI 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Our '11 Golf Variant (aka JSW) was built originally with the Premium Audio option (PR code 8AX), which provisioned satellite radio reception through the roof aerial (green FAKRA connector).

When we retrofitted an RNS-315 head unit last fall, I got a small GPS puck antenna that mounted under the dash atop the center air ducts. This arrangement worked OK, but the cheap puck antenna threw an open-circuit DTC (which didn't seem to affect its performance, but annoying still).

A while back, I found a used roof aerial that has both satellite and GPS antennae (VAG PN 3C0035507AB) for a good price. I also found an eBay seller (in China) that offered a 5 m cable with the proper blue FAKRA connectors (antenna end straight, nav unit end right angle), also for a fair price.

This weekend, I finally got around to testing the replacement aerial with the cable out of the car.

Replacement aerial with extension blue GPS FAKRA cable:

The out-of-car test worked as expected (and didn't throw any fault codes), so on to installation.

Day one was for running the GPS cable from the center dash to the rear lid; day two, installing the replacement "roof combination aerial" (as ETKA calls it).

It turned out the 5 m cable was just long enough to reach from the center dash opening over the top of glove box, down to the passenger door sill behind the right kick plate trim, back along the sill where it meets the wiring harness that continues over the wheel well behind the right cargo inner trim panel, then up along the D pillar to the space above the headliner, and over to the roof aerial cable connector holder.

This route involved removing completely (c) or partially (p):
  1. roof end strip (c);
  2. cargo floor panels and right side box parts (c);
  3. rear lock carrier cover (c);
  4. right rear side cushion (c);
  5. right side cargo trim panel (p);
  6. right D-pillar trim (p);
  7. right wheel housing trim (c);
  8. right sill panel trim (p);
  9. right side dash cover (c);
  10. right center A-pillar trim (c);
  11. right lower A-pillar trim/kick panel (c).
None of this was particularly difficult, just time consuming, as long as all the fasteners and clips released as they should. I did get hung up by the right rear side cushion, which is held in place by a single 10 mm nut at the floor and two tabs on the body. The repair manual tells us to remove the 10 mm nut before folding the backrest down. On our wagen, a small tab of carpet covered the body stud and 10 mm nut, which didn't help making them too visible while I had the backrest down already. I ended up breaking the lower plastic tab (not off completely, thankfully) while removing this, so it still goes back together reasonably. I'll remember to consult the repair manual more carefully in the future.

A few pictures of the cable route:

Aerial connector end pulled through dash...

...over the enclosed glovebox:

Down to the passenger sill behind the lower A pillar (kick panel) trim:

Back to meet the wiring harness that goes up the D pillar:

And over to the aerial connector mounting clips:

With the GPS cable routed, I tested functionality of the GPS antenna before refitting the interior trim. After I confirmed that the nav head unit was getting GPS signals, all the trim pieces got put back as they were (well, mostly -- a few broken plastic trim clips will need to be replaced at some point), and on to replacing the roof aerial.

The aerial is attached with a single 22 mm nut and the various antenna cable connectors are attached to a white plastic holder on the roof body panel (the lower part of this holder is visible after removing the roof end strip panel). After removing the satellite radio cable from the holder and releasing the connector, there's just enough room to get a standard socket wrench into the space above the headliner.

Once the mounting nut is removed, the antenna lifts off the roof and the cable connectors (just) fit through the the square roof opening (I understand now why the two antenna cables on the replacement aerial are different lengths).

Original roof aerial removed:

The gasket (VAG PN 3C0035349A) on the replacement looked good when it arrived, so I didn't replace it; it's only $10 list, so I might get a spare on our next VAG parts order.

Installation was essentially reverse of removal:
  1. Guide the two antenna connector through the square opening in order;
  2. Lower the aerial onto the square hole and move the antenna leads off to the side;
  3. With a second set of hands holding the aerial on the roof, position the 22 mm nut with the square cut-out facing aft, then carefully start the nut on the threads of the aerial mount, taking care not to cross thread the nut. With most of the headliner still in the way, this part is done mostly by feel, and it seems easy enough to damage the special nut, aerial threads, or both if one isn't careful here.
  4. With the mounting nut started properly, proceed with a wrench to just snug.
  5. Working one at a time, reconnect an aerial lead to the harness cable, then guide the joined connectors to the white plastic holder so that the harness connector side is down and the connector release is facing forward, and snap the joined connectors into the plastic clip holder.
Both aerial FAKRA connectors (green for sat radio, blue for GPS) before mounting in connector holder:

After both aerial leads are reconnected and mounted, test functionality at the head unit. Assuming it all checks out OK, close up the rear headliner: re-attach the two D-pillar trim pieces and the roof end strip.

Replacement roof aerial (can you tell the difference):

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