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Upgrades (non TDI Engine related) The place of handling, lighting and other upgrades that do not relate to the performance or economy of the TDI engine. In other words upgrades to your TDI that don't fit into TDI Fuel Economy & TDI Engine Enhancements.Please note the Performance Disclaimer

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Old March 27th, 2006, 06:53   #1
fitzski
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Default Custom Phatbox Cable How-To for Variant Owners

[Note: This is split into two posts to get around the 10 image per post limit]

Post #1:

The Motive
In the Passat Variant, the Phatbox is mounted in the driver's side cargo area cubby, in the space where the CD changer would otherwise go, below the Monsoon amplifier (if so equipped). This is great because the Phatbox is hidden from view, the cable that runs to the headunit is already there, and it makes use of the space. However, with the Phatbox mounted with the regular mounting brackets, the unit is not recessed far enough into the cubby hole, and you will not be able to put the cubby door back on because of the protruding DMS cartridge.

VW/Phatnoise actually does have a documented "fix": cut a hole in the cubby door so that the DMS cartridge can poke through. This obviously leaves the cartridge vulnerable to damage from loads in the cargo area, and also isn't very pretty.
VW Installation Instructions: Phatbox in B5 Wagon/Variant


(Pic courtesy GreystoneSC at Passat World)

There are a few other possible solutions to this problem: some people have cut the aluminum "wings" off the Phatbox heat sink, which makes the unit substantially smaller, and then it can be mounted sideways in the CD changer space, or in the spare wheel well. But, it is possible to mount the unit in the CD changer space without having to modify the cubby door. The key is the Phatbox cable.

The OE Phatbox cable uses a large connector that adds a couple of inches to the depth of the Phatbox. By manufacturing a new cable to regain those inches, along with a couple of other tweaks, the unit will fit in the space as it should.

Original inspiration for this mod comes from this thread, notably Plutogogo's post #22. The main difference is that I did not want to cut the end off the factory VW cable as Plutogogo did.

The Parts
3M mini-D 26-pin Ribbon Connector: 10126-6000EC
[ 3M 10126-6000EC Product Data Sheet (PDF) ]
Purchase from: Mouser (US$5.20/ea, Mouser p/n: 517-10126-6000EC) or Newark InOne (CDN$7.47/ea, Newark InOne p/n: 52F7593)
I ordered two, just in case I really screwed it up on my first try.


VW OE Phatbox Connector Housing: 6Q0-972-736 (was 3B0-972-736)
Purchase from: Dealer (CDN$2.25)
This connects to the factory headunit harness, the same cable the CD changer would connect to.


VW Repair Wires: 000-979-132
Quantity: 5 - cut in half for the 9 required terminals
Purchase from: Dealer (CDN$8.15 - *each*!! Find another source for repair wires!)


VW Phatbox Mounting Brackets: 1J0-035-234A
Quantity: 2 - left and right sides
Purchase from: Dealer (CDN$8.15/ea)
You will also need bolts to attach the brackets to the Phatbox, and then the Phatbox to the car. You can get bolts from the dealer, but they are easy and cheaper to find at Home Depot or any hardware store with open stock. Minimum 4 bolts, or 6 if you use 2 on each side instead of 1 (as I did). I'm not sure what they are... I had some that fit in my basement hardware collection... Bring the Phatbox with you and see what fits; they don't need to be long, and the shallower the head, the better.


Ribbon Cable: n/a
Purchase from: Nearest geek...
I used IDE (hard drive) ribbon cable, which is readily available from any computer person with a closet. You only need 11 conductors, so just "tear off" what you need. Try to use the side of the cable that has the marked wire (note the red marks on the bottom conductor in the photo below), as it will be easier to keep things straight when you are wiring. A length of 6"-8" is more than sufficient.



The Tools
1. Patience
2. Razor blade, scissors, knife or wire stripper to prep wires
3. Precision soldering iron
4. Heat shrink that will fit the repair wires (or whatever you prefer to isolate & protect the soldered connections)
5. Jewellers screwdriver (flat head)
6. Drill and 3/16" bit
7. Multimeter/circuit tester
8. Electrical tape/loom/conduit (something to reinforce and protect the finished cable)
9. Hacksaw blade


Step 1: Making the Cable
1. Take the 3M connector and insert the small piece with the adhesive backing into the connector. It only fits in one way; make sure you start to peel the backing before inserting it all the way into the connector.


2. Take the ribbon cable, which should have 11 conductors, and separate each cable from its neighbours by just 1/2" or so. As you manipulate the cable, you'll separate some of the wires more so that you can move them, but the objective is to keep it as tight as possible. I used a razor blade to "slice" the cable jacket between each conductor so that I could pull them apart (see photo above).

3. Do the same at the other end of the ribbon cable, although you can probably peel back at least 1". *Carefully* strip 1/2" of the jacket from each conductor. I simply used the edge of a sharp pair of scissors to strip the jacket off - a light pressure is all that's needed.

4. This is the hardest part... Press each conductor into the appropriate pin on the 3M connector. The idea is to have the cable coming into the centre of the connector, and then each conductor will either bend "up" or bend "down" to engage the appropriate location. In this way, you will then lock the connector with the third piece of the 3M package. There is only a very small amount of space to accomplish this, and you may need to separate the conductors further in order to manipulate and seat things properly. Use a small tool to push the conductor down to the bottom of the "V" of each pin. I used a flat head jewellers screwdriver. Be careful not to pierce the conductor jacket with the screwdriver. With the conductors properly seated, they are quite secure.

*** NOTE THE ORIENTATION OF THE 3M CONNECTOR!!! ***
There is a small detent on the side of the connector, indicated by the blue arrow in the picture below. Be sure to orient the connector properly before beginning so that you attach the conductors to the proper pins.


*** PAY ATTENTION TO THE NUMBERING!!! ***
Note that the ribbon cable is numbered with the marked conductor as #1. If you do not have a marked conductor, mark it yourself with something PERMANENT before beginning! The red numbers in yellow circles refer to the appropriate pin on the 3M connector for that particular conductor.


I found this sequence to work best for getting the conductors into the connector as neatly as possible. If you alter the sequence MAKE NOTE OF IT and be sure to carry it through to the other end!
Code:
Conductor  3M Connector 
1 --------- 13
2 --------- 12
3 --------- 10
4 --------- 25
5 --------- 24
6 --------- 4
7 --------- 3
8 --------- 2
9 --------- 1
10 -------- 16
11 -------- 14
4. With all the conductors attached to the pins, use your multimeter/circuit tester to verify each connection. Put one probe on the stripped conductor end, and the other probe into the matching outer contact on the 3M connector. You will need a probe with a fine point to reach the precise contact in the 3M connector. If something doesn't work, fix it...

5. Once all connections have been verified, use the remaining piece of the 3M connector to lock the connections. It can only go on one way. Slide the connector onto the ribbon cable, and press down firmly onto the connector contact pins. It will lock in place quite securely. Whew. Hardest part is done.
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2003 Passat W8 Variant [pacific blue, tan leather, 6sp] (Sold.)
2004 Jetta TDI-PD [spice red, black leather, 5sp] (RIP)
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Old March 27th, 2006, 06:53   #2
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Post #2:

6. Cut all 5 repair wires in half, and strip 3/8" to 1/2" off the cut end of 9 of the wires; place a 1" piece of heat shrink onto each wire.

7. Carefully twist the stripped end of each conductor onto the stripped end of a repair wire, and solder the connection. Finish with the heat shrink. Do just one conductor at a time, then twist the next, solder it, heat shrink it, and so on.


*** PAY ATTENTION TO THE NUMBERING!!! ***
Remember that there are 11 conductors, but only 9 repair wires? Conductors 1 & 3 will splice onto *one* shared repair wire. Conductors 6 & 10 will also splice onto *one* shared repair wire.

You should now have a cable with the 3M connector on one end of a ribbon cable, and then 9 repair wires with the male terminals spliced onto the other end.

8. Insert each repair wire into the appropriate terminal on the VW connector. The terminal positions on the connector are numbered on the locking tabs, where the numbers are in the image below.


Remember that the ribbon cable is numbered with the marked conductor as #1. The red numbers in blue boxes refer to the appropriate terminal on the VW connector for that particular conductor. The sequence is:


Code:
Conductor  VW Connector 
1 ----------6---
2 --------- 2   |
3 ----------6---
4 --------- 1
5 --------- 4
6 ----------3---
7 --------- 9   |
8 --------- 7   |
9 --------- 10  |
10 ---------3---
11 -------- 8
Before locking the connector, double check that you have inserted the appropriate conductor/repair wire into the correct terminal location. Once verified, you may lock the connector by simply closing the flaps until they "click" and lock.


Your cable is finished. You should reinforce it with some electrical tape and/or flexible conduit. If you wish, you can verify the cable works by inserting the DMS cartridge, and then making the cable connections. The red & green lights should come on momentarily. Turn the ignition to "On", and access the Phatbox by pressing the "CD" button (you may have to press it twice if you have an in-dash CD player).


Step 2: Mounting the Phatbox
1. There are 3 vertical plastic bars across the back of the Phatbox cubby. Use a hacksaw blade to remove the middle bar, which would otherwise interfere with the cable connection on the back of the Phatbox. Be careful when almost finished cutting that you do not drop the cut piece.


2. You must drill a new hole in each of the brackets to adjust the depth that the Phatbox sits at in the cubby. On the centre line of the bracket, at 25/32" (just over 3/4") from the bottom edge, drill a 7/32" hole. You can test fit the brackets by putting the Phatbox in the cubby as far back as it will go, and then sliding the brackets in on either side and see how deep they go.


3. Bolt the brackets onto the Phatbox. I only used one bolt on each side, but I suppose you could use two, but you'd have to drill more holes. I used some mid-strength LocTite on the bracket bolts, and tightened them right up.

4. Attach your new cable to the VW cable found in the cubby space, and route the other end up and through the back of the cubby. This is a bit awkward, especially trying to make sure that when you push the Phatbox back, the cable won't bind up on anything. Attach the other end to the Phatbox.

5. Insert the Phatbox into the cubby and attach it. I found that the brackets weren't quite "square" to the mounting holes on the front of the cubby hole, but they were pretty close, and I was able to bolt in OK.

All done. Now, the DMS cartridge will *just* touch the cubby door, barely enough to leave a depression in the foam on the back of the door. Here's a picture from the top, looking down the plane of the door.


Hope this helps. Kind of tedious, and I'll admit I was a bit surprised it actually worked - getting the conductors onto the 3M connector is tough - but the end result was worth it.

fitzski
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2004 Jetta TDI-PD [galactic blue, black & tan, 5sp] (Sold.)
2003 Passat W8 Variant [pacific blue, tan leather, 6sp] (Sold.)
2004 Jetta TDI-PD [spice red, black leather, 5sp] (RIP)
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Old March 27th, 2006, 07:50   #3
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nice!

make sure you add this to wingnut's how to list!

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=60705
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Old March 27th, 2006, 08:26   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitzski
Post #2:

6. Cut all 5 repair wires in half, and strip 3/8" to 1/2" off the cut end of 9 of the wires; place a 1" piece of heat shrink onto each wire.

7. Carefully twist the stripped end of each conductor onto the stripped end of a repair wire, and solder the connection. Finish with the heat shrink. Do just one conductor at a time, then twist the next, solder it, heat shrink it, and so on.


*** PAY ATTENTION TO THE NUMBERING!!! ***
Remember that there are 11 conductors, but only 9 repair wires? Conductors 1 & 3 will splice onto *one* shared repair wire. Conductors 6 & 10 will also splice onto *one* shared repair wire.

You should now have a cable with the 3M connector on one end of a ribbon cable, and then 9 repair wires with the male terminals spliced onto the other end.

8. Insert each repair wire into the appropriate terminal on the VW connector. The terminal positions on the connector are numbered on the locking tabs, where the numbers are in the image below.


Remember that the ribbon cable is numbered with the marked conductor as #1. The red numbers in blue boxes refer to the appropriate terminal on the VW connector for that particular conductor. The sequence is:


Code:
Conductor  VW Connector 
1 ----------6---
2 --------- 2   |
3 ----------6---
4 --------- 1
5 --------- 4
6 ----------3---
7 --------- 9   |
8 --------- 7   |
9 --------- 10  |
10 ---------3---
11 -------- 8
Before locking the connector, double check that you have inserted the appropriate conductor/repair wire into the correct terminal location. Once verified, you may lock the connector by simply closing the flaps until they "click" and lock.


Your cable is finished. You should reinforce it with some electrical tape and/or flexible conduit. If you wish, you can verify the cable works by inserting the DMS cartridge, and then making the cable connections. The red & green lights should come on momentarily. Turn the ignition to "On", and access the Phatbox by pressing the "CD" button (you may have to press it twice if you have an in-dash CD player).


Step 2: Mounting the Phatbox
1. There are 3 vertical plastic bars across the back of the Phatbox cubby. Use a hacksaw blade to remove the middle bar, which would otherwise interfere with the cable connection on the back of the Phatbox. Be careful when almost finished cutting that you do not drop the cut piece.


2. You must drill a new hole in each of the brackets to adjust the depth that the Phatbox sits at in the cubby. On the centre line of the bracket, at 25/32" (just over 3/4") from the bottom edge, drill a 7/32" hole. You can test fit the brackets by putting the Phatbox in the cubby as far back as it will go, and then sliding the brackets in on either side and see how deep they go.


3. Bolt the brackets onto the Phatbox. I only used one bolt on each side, but I suppose you could use two, but you'd have to drill more holes. I used some mid-strength LocTite on the bracket bolts, and tightened them right up.

4. Attach your new cable to the VW cable found in the cubby space, and route the other end up and through the back of the cubby. This is a bit awkward, especially trying to make sure that when you push the Phatbox back, the cable won't bind up on anything. Attach the other end to the Phatbox.

5. Insert the Phatbox into the cubby and attach it. I found that the brackets weren't quite "square" to the mounting holes on the front of the cubby hole, but they were pretty close, and I was able to bolt in OK.

All done. Now, the DMS cartridge will *just* touch the cubby door, barely enough to leave a depression in the foam on the back of the door. Here's a picture from the top, looking down the plane of the door.


Hope this helps. Kind of tedious, and I'll admit I was a bit surprised it actually worked - getting the conductors onto the 3M connector is tough - but the end result was worth it.

fitzski
Nice install. The other option would be to use the OEM phatbox cable and just make an extension cable between the OE CD cable and the phatbox cable. Obviously, your solution is one less connection but the cable extension I made worked great. Your cable is much more flexible at the back of the phatbox.

After I made one, I figured out I didn't need it to install it in my wife's 2004 PD Wagon.

I ended up using the cable for my Alpine amplifier so it didn't go to waste.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 08:41   #5
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Wow, nice install! The Passat sedan (at least the 4motion) has the same cd changer bay as the wagon. I just stuck some Velcro to the bottom of the unit and stuck it to the trunk floor... Less then
desirable.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 08:49   #6
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Quote:
The other option would be to use the OEM phatbox cable and just make an extension cable between the OE CD cable and the phatbox cable.
That's a really good idea, and probably much cheaper/easier. I didn't have the OE PB cable for my Passat install (I found somebody selling *just* the Phatbox, which was all I wanted given that I already had the ancillary stuff from the PB in my Jetta). Plus, it bugs the hell out of me that the OE PB cable is SOOOOOO long!
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2003 Passat W8 Variant [pacific blue, tan leather, 6sp] (Sold.)
2004 Jetta TDI-PD [spice red, black leather, 5sp] (RIP)
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 18:35   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tongsli
The other option would be to use the OEM phatbox cable and just make an extension cable between the OE CD cable and the phatbox cable. Obviously, your solution is one less connection but the cable extension I made worked great.
Actually... on second thought... I'm not sure I follow what you mean, Lito.

The primary reason for the headache of making this cable is because you need the space at the rear of the unit. The connector on the Phatbox-end of the cable that comes with the Phatbox is far too large: it prevents the unit from being mounted deep enough in the CD changer location, because the connector contacts the quarter panel. The much lower profile 3M connector is required.
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Currently dubless, but formerly:
2004 Jetta TDI-PD [galactic blue, black & tan, 5sp] (Sold.)
2003 Passat W8 Variant [pacific blue, tan leather, 6sp] (Sold.)
2004 Jetta TDI-PD [spice red, black leather, 5sp] (RIP)
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Old December 18th, 2006, 14:03   #8
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Hey, thanks for the detailed write-up!

I found this while looking to ID the correct mini-D connector to order from Mouser myself, and was pleasantly surprised to find the pin assignments, too!

One of these should make it easy to swap the PB between my NB and the wife's Variant as needed until we can buy a second one.

Question: if you had to do it again, would you use the crimp-mount mini-D connector again or opt for the solder-mount one?

Cheers!
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Last edited by Nate_Grauvogel; December 18th, 2006 at 14:07.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 17:55   #9
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I guess if I had to do it again, I'd use the same connector... I'm not an electronics guy by any stretch, so I don't know if there are special tools and techniques for working with a connector like this, but it seemed straightforward, and despite being incredibly frustrating working with such small terminals, it does work. So, I'd go with what I know.

Plus... my soldering skills aren't anything special... I could imagine how much hair I'd pull out going that route. If you're comfortable soldering, and have an appropriate tool, that may be best for you.

I don't remember having much choice when I looked into connectors, however - are you sure it's the same type?

Good luck! Still happy with mine - works like a charm, and I swap a DMS cartridge between the Phatbox in the Passat and the Jetta with no problems.
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2004 Jetta TDI-PD [galactic blue, black & tan, 5sp] (Sold.)
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Old March 7th, 2007, 23:03   #10
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This was awesome. I kept hearing how PB was going to come out with a rt angle connector for the phatbox, and it has been over a year now. My wife was bugging me again to get it off the dexk of the wagon and I found your detailed post.

I did just make an extension cord, so no splicing the repair wires, you just need the female connector for the ribbon cable. and be careful when connecting the female connector, since it is a mirror image of the diagram you have.

I tested it and it sounds like there is no additional static or noise compared to just using the phatbox cable.

in the morning I'll finish the install and put the cover over the amp area for the first time in over a year.

thanks!
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Old March 9th, 2007, 20:20   #11
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So, who wants to put one of these together for me? I sourced all the parts, I just don't have tha patience to combine them all together. Especially the connection at the Mouser end of it.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 11:07   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DucMike
So, who wants to put one of these together for me? I sourced all the parts, I just don't have tha patience to combine them all together. Especially the connection at the Mouser end of it.
I ordered the parts yesterday for mine... if you're still interested, I would't mind putting another one together. PM me if you're interested.

It's nice to live in DFW, where the entire FedEx trip from Mouser takes one day - I ordered online last night, and it'll be waiting when I get home from work. I'll get those parts before the connector housing comes in at the dealer, I think. (Unfortunately, no more will-call window at Mouser )

Cheers!

Nate
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:41   #13
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Bummer. I actually ordered three sets of the connectors when I placed my order. Just in case, ya know. I would definitely be interested. I have one local place I want to check first, just to see what they'd charge. I'll let you know either way though. Thanks for the offer.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 07:43   #14
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Discounting time spent searching for my new pack of shrink wrap that was missing for about an hour , it took me about an hour to an hour and a half to do the whole job, including remounting the PhatBox. If I did it again, making the cable would take much less time.

The diagrams fitzski made for the wiring were a very handy reference during assembly and continuity checks. Thanks!!

I found it easiest to check continuity on the mini-D connector from the back... no special probe needed to get to the back of the correct pins!

I was pleasantly surprised that the PhatBox now can mount flush to the face of the cubby frame on my sedan (4Mo) - which makes for a very clean-looking install, and there is still about 1/2" clearance between the front of the DMS and the rear of the compartment cover when closed.

Making the cable was pretty enjoyable for me (I'm sick like that), and as I've said earlier, I wouldn't mind putting some more together if anyone doesn't want to tackle it themselves.

Cheers!
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Old May 10th, 2007, 08:01   #15
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Good stuff, Nate.

I'll keep you in mind next time I have a sick and twisted wiring project I'd rather not do...
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2004 Jetta TDI-PD [galactic blue, black & tan, 5sp] (Sold.)
2003 Passat W8 Variant [pacific blue, tan leather, 6sp] (Sold.)
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