Ever wanted to see your MPG or Distance to empty on your T5.1 but you’ve got a lowline dash? Now you can have the features of the midline dash without having to change your instrument cluster. With the use of 3 VAG repair wires and a copy of VCDS, you’ll be able to unlock these features and more on your T5.1. While this upgrade is easy to do, there’s a lot of work involved in getting access to the connectors so you may be asking yourself what extra features will I get? Your answer:

The lowline will show:

  • Time of day
  • Gear selection
  • Outside temperature
  • Odometer
  • Trip odometer
  • If fitted- Cruise Control set speed when active

The midline shows all the above plus the following:

  • Single and total trip odometers (This is in addition to the normal trip and overall odometers the MFD always shows)
  • Single and total average fuel consumption
  • Instantaneous fuel consumption
  • Single and total travel time
  • Range (“distance remaining”)
  • Single and total average speed
  • Instantaneous speed
  • Speed Warning

Note: You will need to have a multi function steering wheel (MFSW) or have a wiper stalk that has the up and down buttons on the end. You can have both, however if you use the stalk it will prevent the MFSW buttons from working anymore.

Tools required

Torx T20 screwdriver

Trim removal tools – This is the kit I have available on Amazon

VCDS to code the van

Cable ties – To make things more factory looking

Parts Required

3 x VAG Repair wires – Available from eBay here

Removing the lower dash

This sounds more daunting than it actually is and is fairly self explanatory as you get more involved. 

Starting in the passenger footwell (RHD vans)

  1. Remove the T20 from the back corner of the center console.
  2. Remove the fusebox cover and then remove the upper right Torx T20 securing the centre section

Moving over to the drivers footwell (RHD vans)

  1. Remove the 5x Torx T20 screws holding the panel above the pedals, 3 are located along the front edge, 1 on the left side of the panel and the final one next to the ODB port.
  2. Remove the 2x Torx T20 screws that are located above the pedals
  3. Open the cup holder and price the lower section off, underneath the holder.
  4. Remove the end panel (between the dash and the door)
  5. Remove the light switch surround
  6. Remove the Torx T20 located next to the light switch
  7. Remove the Torx T20 near the gear stick.
  8. The lower part of the dash should now be removable.

Removing the instrument cluster

I’d recommend removing the battery terminal before performing the next steps.

Looking upwards from underneath the steering wheel, you should be able to see 2 Torx T20 screws.

Remove these as they hold the instrument cluster in. Now push the instrument cluster towards the back off the van, you should be able to get your hand in enough to push it with your fingers. You may need to adjust the steering wheel so there is enough space to remove the instrument cluster. Undo the connector and put your instrument cluster to one side.

Removing the steering wheel 

I’m not sure if this step is strictly necessary, as I was fitting new stalks at the same time, I had to remove the steering wheel. Feel free to try removing the left had stalk connector without removing the steering wheel. Rather than explain how to remove the wheel as it’s difficult to explain how to pry the spring clips on the wheel I found this video which shows how to do it.

Removing the steering column surround

The video above shows this step perfectly, however a brief explanation of how to remove the surround is:

  1. Working the back edge where the bottom and top plastic surround meets, pry the edge until it release from the other part.
  2. Remove the Torx T20 screw from underneath the steering column. It is located near the adjusting lever.

Remove the stalk connector

Looking down from the top, you should see the connector going to the left hand stalk. There should be a little plastic tag sticking out, pull it upwards towards the roof of the van and the connector should release. This was easy with the wheel removed but it could be tricky with the wheel in place. Watch the video above to see how much space you have.

Adding the new wires

Stalk connector

At this point you’ve taken as much as you need to apart. Get the kettle on and have a brew and grab your shiny new VAG repair wires.

On the stalk connector you will see that the connector is made up of 2 parts, slide the outer locking cover so that it releases and allows you to insert your new wires.

The connector has the pins numbers, find pin 24 and insert one end of your wire into the stalk connector, run the wire along with the rest of the connector loom and up to the instrument cluster. At this point you need to either mark up the wire so you know which number it corresponds to on the stalk connector, or jump to the next step and repeat for all 3 wires so you’ve inserted wires into pins 24, 23 and 18.

Your connector should look like:

Instrument Cluster connector

The cluster connector has an outer cover which needs to be un-clipped and removed. You should now be able to insert the wires from the stalk into the cluster connector. Pin 24 on the stalk connector needs to inserted into Pin 21 on the cluster connector, Pin 23 on the stalk connector needs to be inserted into Pin 22 on the cluster connector and Pin 18 on the stalk connector needs to be inserted into Pin 23 on the cluster connector. When all wires have been inserted, the cluster connector should look like (you can see the added grey, red and yellow wires).

TL;DR;

You need 3 new repair wires to connect between the stalk connector and instrument cluster connector. They need to be wired up like the following:

At this point all the wiring is complete and you can put your van back together and as the famous book says fitting is the opposite of removal.

Coding

When your van is back together, the midline dash will need to be enabled in VCDS. This is pretty self explanatory, it should be:

  1. Control Module 17 “Instruments”
  2. Long Coding
  3. Click through the Bytes until you see the one for MFD
  4. Save Coding and Exit Controller.

You should now have the additional options on your instrument cluster as per the midline dash. Enjoy!


1 Comment

Gareth · 13th July 2020 at 10:24 pm

Another great article Andy. I’ve just ordered the stalk and repair wires so hopefully It’ll be all fitted this weekend. I’ve also bought the cruise control stalk for a future upgrade. I’m having trouble getting hold of a 087 BCM at the moment and they are quite expensive. Thanks again for all the great work.

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