Unofficial disclaimer: First, this is a long write-up. Second, I do not condone any interior modifications that may put you at a greater risk of injury. This DIY involves removing several braces from the low dash that may keep your knees from entering the dash if you are dumb enough not to wear a seatbelt. If you take these parts out and have a frontal impact you may very well end up with your knees in the dash and likely be killed from the subsequent infection that will develop from the cuts. Lastly, I do not believe that you should do any work at all on your VW. Any work should be done by a VW dealership and a certified VW tech.
I wanted a little more storage space in my GTi and it turns out that our Passat Wagon has one of those nifty dash cubbies under the headlight switch. I thought it was the bee's knees so I decided to install one in the GTi. Got the parts from ECS without issue and quickly. It is not a terribly complicated job but it does demand a patient approach; there are many small clips and fancy materials that would like pretty bad with scratches.
There was already a very nice DIY for the MkV done by 'scotaku' back in 2006 (http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2539128) and then several others since that can be referenced in the MkV forum. Rather than reinvent the wheel here, I am just going to post an overview of the process with pictures of the more hairy parts and discuss a few differences between the MkV and MkVI install.
Remove the left lower dash trim on the driver’s side (LHD car) and replace it with a dash trim piece containing the ‘cubby’. I found it helpful to have a friend for a couple extra eyes and smaller hands, but you could hammer this out solo without a problem.
1. Dash Cubby (PN-5K1857919D)
2. Optional – adhesive felt to line cubby
3. Masking tape
4. Good flashlight(s)
5. T-20 and T-30 driver / socket
6. Ratchet with at least a 6” extension
7. Regular screwdriver (at least 8” total length)
8. 10mm ratcheting box wrench
Step 1. Prepare and inspect the parts:
Here are the two components that come with PN 5K1857919D:
I choose to line my cubby with adhesive-backed black felt so that I would not have any rattles or jingles from whatever the contents. This was quick work with some white paper for templates and an exacto knife for trimming.
Step 2. Remove dash panel:
Compare the new panel to the old one that is in place. It becomes clear that the mounting points on the new trim panel are different, but exactly the same as the MkV. There are 4 T-20 screws and 3 clips holding the dash panel in place. The clips are in the fuse-box recess on the left side.
First remove the HL switch and the T-20 screw in the HL switch recess:
Then along the bottom of the panel there are 2 T-20 screws in addition to the footwell light bracket with one T-20:
Once these are out you need to remove the fuse panel door, which is the flat panel shown below. Insert a small tip into the recess cut into the panel and work it all around the perimeter until to pops off. Here is the panel:
With the panel off you will see 3-4 clips that are holding the panel on; remove these and save for later. The last screw is a difficult one to get at and requires that you remove the center portion of the gauge cluster. I found this part very unnerving. To get a look at the screw, drop the steering wheel and pull it all of the way out. Then grasp the vinyl connected to the center of the gauge cluster and the top of the steering wheel and pull it over a bit to peak behind it. You should see a T-20 sitting there. To get a better sight on it we actually removed the black/chrome insert on the top of the dash panel. To do this, there is a long tab on the left of the black/chrome trim piece. Use a pick and push the tab through the slot and the edge of the piece will be free. The other attachment point is a metal clip that can be pulled straight out. With the dress-up piece off, you can see the screw pretty well:
However, to get this last screw out you must take out the center of the gauge cluster – no way around it. So, take a nice sip of beer and grasp one side of the cluster. Pull firmly straight out. There are 2 metal clips on each side that fasten it in place. This takes some balls but trust me that it will come out before breaking in half. Here is one side of the cluster after it was pulled off:
Here is a photo of the center of the cluster after it has been removed showing the 2 midline clips:
Now you have just enough room to get that T-20 out. Protect your gauge bezel with some mask and remove with a T-20 driver:
Once you drop the panel you will have to disconnect the interior light rheostat:
Step 3. Remove structural brackets:
This is the difficult part of this install because one of the brackets has a bolt that is rather difficult to get at. Another issue is if it is a good idea to take out metal brackets from your dash? You can read about this ad nauseam in some of the MkV threads but the bottom line is that there are 3 brackets that are present on cars without the cubby. Interestingly, these are supposedly for preventing your knees from going into the dash, yet there is no replacement for them on cars that come from the factory with the cubby. Once the dash panel is off the brackets are very obvious as they are the only ones in the area.
There are 3 brackets to take out and one of them is very, very unpleasant to get at. These brackets are identical to those shown in the other DIYs for the MkVs. Here they are (removed):
The silver bracket spans under the steering wheel and is most difficult to remove without taking off the right lower dash trim (which I didn’t do). We used the 10 mm ratchet to sneak up under there and remove the bolt. It was a long, slow, arduous process but it eventually comes out. I also pulled off the clip so that it wouldn’t rattle in the future. Here is a shot of the wrench up under the lower right dash trim and actually turning the bolt:
The other two brackets are very easy to remove as their bolts are clearly exposed. Here is the largest bracket that covers some relays under the dash. They can be removed with a T-20 or a 10 mm ratchet. You can see it top dead center:
Finally here is the small “L” shaped bracket that crosses into the area of the fuse box:
Step 4. Install new dash trim and cubby door:
Once these brackets are removed, the lower dash piece can be installed, and the cubby door clipped on and closed. The new mounting points for the dash piece are clear and already had clips on them. Installing the parts is a snap after those brackets are out. When you are done, you have some extra space in a convenient location.
Modified by JTwGTI at 10:36 PM 1-27-2010