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Thanks to a great deal on eBay, I decided to upgrade the Premium 8 head unit in my 2011 JSW to an RNS-315 navigation unit. I was able to find how-tos for most of the install, but the more I read the more I found pieces here and there that needed to be done as part of the install. So, I decided I would document the entire process with some photos.

In the credit-where-it's-due department, I followed this thread for most of the steps, but I'm using an RNS-315 and a Jetta Sportwagen instead of an RNS-510. Fortunately, it's all very similar.

What you need:
- RNS-315 head unit (of course!)
- GPS antenna with FAKRA-style connector.
- Torx T-20 driver
- Two non-embossed plastic cards (things like expired gift cards, membership cards, etc. You don't want an old credit card, as the embossed numbers will scratch the trim.)
- One or more cable ties

To start, remove the trim from around the stereo. I wedged the cards at the bottom right to loosen and pry up one corner, and then work your way around the trim, pulling off each of 10 clips. Once you get it started, use your hands. You need to give it a firm tug, but don't bend it too far that you break it.

Once you get the trim off, you can see the four Torx screws that hold in the head unit. Remove these, and then pull out the old radio.

Disconnect the large CAN connector by pushing in on the tab in the back, flipping up the handle, and pulling it out.

The white AM/FM antenna and green Sirius antenna connectors are locked on with white tabs. Pull them away from the radio and then tug on them gently. They should come right off. They won't come off AT ALL if you don't unlock the tabs -- that took me a minute or two to figure out.

Put the old radio aside. That's all there is to removing the old unit. You will be reusing all of the cables you just detached, so just leave them dangling out of the opening for the time being.

Next, you need to install the GPS antenna. If you have the 'official' VW antenna, the instructions will tell you to place it either on the dash by the vents near the windshield, or in the back on one of the side decks of the wagon area. You can do that if you want, as you have more than enough antenna wire to do it, but all you really need to do is find a space not blocked by metal, which will interfere with signal reception. It turns out there's a good spot right above the ventilation ducts and right below the dash.

The easiest way to access this spot is to remove the center ventilation ducts. This is held in with two Torx screws.

Remove them, and then pull out the entire vent and hazard button assembly. There is a cable attached to the hazard button, but there's enough slack to put it on the dash out of the way.

Remove the cover from the adhesive pad, and then stick the antenna on the top-left side of the duct work. Run the wire down the left side so it is out of the path of the air vents. Then, feed the wire through the front opening. Coil it up and tie it off with a cable tie.

Replace the vent and hazard button assembly. Line up the screw holes and re-attach with two of the Torx screws.

Attach all of the connectors to the RNS-315. The blue GPS connector goes next to the white antenna connector, and the green Sirius antenna attaches in roughly the same spot as the old radio. Attach the CAN connection and swing down the arm on the connector to lock it in.

At this point the security code screen should appear. You only get 3 attempts, so enter it now to avoid accidentally entering something while re-inserting the radio.

Slide in the new radio and attach with the 4 Torx screws. Replace the trim around the stereo.

Part 1 is now done!

Next, you need to remove the electronic compass unit from the roof near the trunk door. This is important, as the GPS has its own compass that will send information to the MFD. Start by removing the trim piece just inside the trunk door, by the roof light. You want to lift up the trunk seal and then pull down on the trim piece. This is made of plastic and attaches to the roof with a number of metal clips. When I did this, I started removing it from the middle, and eventually the whole piece came off with one tug, but four of the clips were left in the roof. I thought I broke something at first. I would recommend starting at one end and working across.

Now, gently pull down the roof liner right at the roof light and look inside. The compass unit is a black rectangular box just to the left of the light, attached to the underside of the roof with some Velcro. You can easily reach your hand in there and pull it down.

To remove the compass, squeeze the two tabs on the sides of the connector and detach from the cable. Tuck the cable back into the roof liner. You can push the connector under the wiring for the light so it doesn't flop around.

Finally, replace the roof trim you pulled off to access the compass. The clips push easily into the roof. If you pulled the clips out of the trim when you removed it you'll need some needle-nose pliers to get them out of the roof. Just slide them back into the trim, and then push it into place.

Part 2 is now done!

This is the absolute minimum you need to do to get the radio to work. At this point you should take a short drive and calibrate the compass. A quick drive around the block will do it.

Edit: Thanks to a very cool forum reader over at VWVortex that lives nearby, I did the coding this evening. I don't have screen shots, but I can summarize what we did. This walkthrough gives the high-level overview, but leaves out a few important details, and is NOT identical for the Mk6.

- Once you have established a connection, click 'Select'.
- Choose "[19] CAN Gateway"
- Click "Installation List". We need to enable "[37] Navigation" and DISable "[0F] Digital Radio" and "[1C] Position Sensing".
- Click "Save Coding"
- You should be back at the main screen. Click 'Select'
- Choose "[37] Navigation"
- Click "[07] Coding"
- The bit encoding for each field is roughly the same for the Mk6 as shown in the above link. Don't change bits randomly!
- In Byte 1 you want to choose "Volkswagen sound system with BAP". BAP is a protocol, and is required to get the directions to show up in the MFD.
- In Byte 4, choose "[04] Speaker Monitoring: Front and rear active". I believe this is what you use to get the other audio output to automatically turn down while the navigation instructions are playing (aka 'ducking').
- As noted, it's important to enter a Workshop, Importer, and Equipment number or you'll get back a failed encoding error. I just used 12345-123-12345.
- Click 'Do it' and everything should be updated.

We weren't clear on whether or not the radio needed to be restarted. I tried holding down the <, > and eject buttons, but nothing seemed to happen. However, after shutting everything off and waiting a few minutes, all of the new features were there when I started it up again. I did lose my AM presets for some reason, but that wasn't a big deal.

If you decide to install one of these units, I highly recommend you buy or borrow a VCDS and make the modifications. Without it, you may as well hang a portable GPS on the windshield and save the money. With it, you've got a nicely integrated system that lets you keep your eyes on the road.

4 Posts
Did this exact install, here's what I found

Hi there, thanks for the great write up.
I only built in the RNS315, didn't remove the compass and did not use VCDS. Somehow everything works fine: the NAV has no issues, the center display has no 'conflicting' info. Even the blue tooth phone etc works fine.
What does strike me as odd is that the system , when using VCDS with my Micro-CAN, that there is no sound system installed. Yet everything seems to works...

Wait, there is one oddity: the center knob on the RNS315 does not seem to function.
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