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2011 Volkswagen Jetta - Project Jetta 2.d’oh

We’re back at FMS Automotive to fit a RNS-315 head unit, H&R lowering springs and 18" wheels.

We’ve been living with and working on our 2011 Project Jetta 2.0 for several months now, trying to make it friendlier to the tuner market. In the previous issue we fitted a VW Accessories body kit, which certainly gave the car a greater curb appeal, but it needed so much more.

With relatively few mods on the market for our Mk6 Jetta, we played it safe and started with a set of 18” wheels from VW Accessories, plus lowering springs from H&R.

With its rear drum brakes and cloth interior, our Jetta couldn’t be more basic. It keeps the purchase price down but you certainly miss all the modern conveniences. Fortunately, it’s possible to retrofit lots of items, and nothing comes more convenient than in-car navigation with Bluetooth and iPod attachment.

When choosing a nav system there are a variety of options, such as a suction cup for a GPS device or using your phone. However, we decided to go with the OEM option because car thieves like smashing windows for GPS systems and using our phones could get us into trouble with Johnny law.

So we stopped at FMS Automotive to get the scoop on the upgrade nav options for our Mk6 Jetta. The RNS-315 and -510 head units have different benefits when it comes to entertainment options. And while the RNS-510 is the tits when it comes to VW equipment, its $2200 asking price put it out of our league. Yet the premium head unit delivers real-time traffic updates as well as touchscreen navigation. It’s also compatible with a back-up camera, has a radio and satellite radio plus options for Bluetooth, iPod connection and can be paired with a TV tuner to watch your favorite shows.

The RNS-510 has been out for a while, and if your interested in picking one up be sure to check the part number ends in an “F”. This indicates a newer models without the bugs of the earlier units.

RNS-315
The cheaper RNS-315 seemed to better suit Project 2.d’oh. It has basic OEM navigation with radio, CD and 1/4" media jack. And while we were initially bummed not to have all the fancy features, we were still able to upgrade it with options like Bluetooth and iPod Connect. The system is equipped with an SD card reader for easy map pack installation and utilizes a touchscreen for safer operation.

The fitting is relatively straightforward: simply remove the radio, run a new GPS antenna and plug it into the new navigation. Then secure it back in place. Drive to the dealer, have them code the new device and your off ’n running.

However, we wanted to take it a step further with the addition of iPod and Bluetooth capability. It was thought we could use both but our 2.0 was so basic it needed additional components to accommodate this. A company like OEMplus could probably help in this situation and we’ll be contacting them to see what’s possible.

So with only one option available, we chose iPod Connect because our interior dome light didn’t have a microphone holder for the bluetooth alternative. The average DIYer could easily make their factory plastic do the job, however.

Choosing the Bluetooth would have enabled full phone integration and address book capability with the RNS-315.

It turns out, we couldn’t use the full iPod Connect function either, which would have made it accessible through the head unit. Instead, we can plug into the 1/4" jack on the front to access the iPod but it doesn’t have a control or charging function.

FITTING
We also opted for a sharkfin antenna so we could take advantage of the 315’s satellite radio option. To fit this, we disconnected the battery and started to drop the headliner by removing all but the driver’s grab handles. Then we carefully removed a screw from both lower “C” pillars and pulled at the edges of both lower and upper “C” pillar trim to pop them loose.

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