Jetta CD Changer Installation


Veteran Member
Apr 17, 2000
Simsbury, CT USA
Ok, I did it and am very happy --- installed my cd changer today. For those still on the fence, or who haven't been able to figure out the steps, here's how to go about adding a CD changer to your Y2K Jetta (I'm making no warranties as to any other model since I haven't acutally done it to any other and I know what is published is often a guess and not correct).

Alternative 1: Call you dealer and have them do it. The local VW dealer wanted $495+tax for the VW changer & installation.

Alternative 2: Goto and buy an 8 disc CD changer w/converter for the VW for $255 including shipping. Install it yourself in 15 minutes. Save $240+tax if you're not in NJ.

If you choose alternative 2, here's how.

Step 1: goto and scroll down to the OEM section. Select CD Changers and page forward until you get to the 2 listed for 1998+ year VWs. They have 2 listed, one is a 6 disc unit for $275 and one is an 8 discer for $255. The 6 disc costs more 'cause it costs them more. I bought the 8 disc 'cause I like getting more for less. It's a Panasonic CD-DP801EUC in case you're interested.

Step 2: When it arrives make sure the converter is included (it should be, there will be a big label on the changer box telling you about it). It is a silver box with 2 sets of wires coming out. One set ends in a white rectangular connector (goes to the changer) and one goes to the car (black Molex plug).

Step 3: Open the trunk. Look to the left against the fender wall near the taillight. You will see 2 round twist lock things in the carpeted sidewall. These turn and a door drops down exposing a carpeted compartment with a black plastic floor. The dealer may have told you this is where they put 1st-aid kits or CD Changers.

Step 4: The plastic floor is really two parts. A center bulging piece (it is raised above the rest of the plastic floor by about 1/8-1/4") surrounded by another plastic plate. Remove this surrounding oblong plate by prying it gently upwards (do not try to remove the raised center section yet). Use your fingers so you won't break it trying to get it out with a screwdriver. You can try squeezing it (the narrow width). It is held in place by some formed plastic posts.

Step 5: With the first piece out of the way, you'll see that the other piece (the raised center piece) is held in place by 2 screws. This is the cover for the rack the CD Changer will sit in. Take these screws out (watch out, if you drop one it's into the fender & will never find its way out) and discard the plastic plate.

Step 6: Open up the CD Changer box. Read the directions. Ignore references to the wiring setup -- you don't have the wiring harness they picture.

Step 7: Take out the converter (Peripheral Interface Components model VWPIL8A). Read those directions. Ignore most of them too, they're wrong (specifically: "Note: The CD Magazine must contain all 8 disks for access to disks 7 and 8. All year 2000 Model VWs' have to be dealer programmed to accept a CD Changer." --- this is incorrect. I have just tried putting a CD in tray 1 and one in tray 8. I accessed both by pressing the selector buttons on the front of the radio. The changer also will search to disk 8 as well. Premium IV radios don't need to be programmed by the dealer, they discover the CD by themselves. [Note: The 'Mix' function mixes the tracks across all of the discs but may appear to be mixing only on one depending on it's mix choice. Further research is continuing with this function by me.]).

Step 8: At any rate, having done the American Guy thing and ignored the directions, let's proceed. On either side of the changer is a silver screw slot with markings to change the position of the changer from horizontal installation (factory default setting) to a vertical installation (the way we're going to do it) and others in between. Take a flat headed screwdriver and turn the screw slot to the V position on *both* sides. This changes the way the head mechanism tracks and will prevent skipping, etc. as you drive.

Step 9: Take the brackets that came with the changer and ignore the instructions about which holes to use (they assume the brackets will be coming off the top or bottom of the changer when viewed in a horizontal position). Since we'll be using the car's changer tray to slide the changer in, the lip of the bracket needs to be facing toward the front of the unit and pointing away from the changer. Starting with the lip flush with the face plate ("top" for us) slide it down the length of the changer until a pair of screw holes line up -- the lip will be about 1 & 1/2 inches from the top & it is the 2nd time you'll see one screw hole line up (the 1st time only the top one lines up, the others don't line up with any holes). Screw the bracket in using 2 screws. I believe the bracket holes are marked "H".

Step 10: Plug the white connector from the converter wires into the changer.

Step 11: Now's the tricky part. Looking straight into the compartment, a little to the right, against the fender wall you may be able to see a round, black, plastic plug. If you've read any threads about installing a changer you may think this is the infamous plastic plug that needs to be removed. NOT THE CASE! I don't know what this is but after I mangled it to get it out, I found it covers a hole in the inner fender. Mine has been replaced & has an electrical tape blanket to keep it in place in case I mangled it too much. Ignore that plug!

Step 12: Look to the right of the compartment & you'll see the right side of the changer tray. About an inch toward the trunk from where you took out the screw holding the plastic plate in place you'll see a black rectangular plug with 12 holes in it held in place by two metal tabs. THIS is the infamous plug. It looks like you can just plug the other end of the converter connector into it & everything will be fine. WRONG! What you think is the connector is really a cover for the real connector.

Step 13: Insert a flat bladed screwdriver under the connector to lever it up from between the metal tabs. Now pull it a little from the compartment (there's slack in the wire buried in the fender). Looking at the connector you'll see two plastic tabs at the base where it connects to the wires. Squeeze those and pull the plastic dust cover off the connector. Discard. (If they hadn't molded in the pin holes into the dust cover it wouldn't confuse people. Don't have a clue as to why they did that instead of making it a flush cover. Oh well, maybe they're just getting back for WWII.)

Step 14: Take the black plug from the converter & plug it into the connector you just exposed (it's a 12 pin Molex connector for the tech-heads).

Step 15: You should hear the changer cycle when you do that 'cause it gets power & everything from that little plug. If you don't, make sure your battery is still connected, fuses are good, make sure you really took the dust cover off the plug, and then call autotoys for help.

Step 16: You can test it now or press forward and finish the install. Since we're all good "ERRRR ERRRR ERRRR"s here, we'll assume we're pressing on.

Step 17: Slide the changer into the tracks of the rails in the lower compartment. Route the converter & wires somewhere convenient (mine went between the fender & the changer).

Step 18: Line up the brackets with the holes that used to hold the plastic floor plate in place. You'll find they don't line up naturally. This is due to the lower lip on the bracket or the fact the screw hole slots are in the wrong place (you get to pick the reason). Your options are: pull it back out & grind off the lip that is facing the inside of the trunk, drill a couple more holes better matching the trunk bracket, or lift it up a bit so the bracket lip rests on the trunk bracket and you can line up a screw hole.

Step 19: (Pause while the engineers modify the bracket.) The rest of us do the lift-lip technique and are screwing it into the tray screw holes. It mounts fine this way & is perfectly sturdy.

Step 20: Replace the (roughly) oval/oblong outer plastic piece in the compartment.

Step 21: Oooh & ahhh about what a lovely job you've done. (optional: get the significant other to do the same)

Step 22: Take the CD magazine out of the box & put in 1 or more CDs. (You can read the directions or simply flick the tray tab for the CD tray you want to fill & it pivots out. If you can't do this, you probably haven't been able to get this far anyway.)

Step 23: Slide the cover of the changer toward the taillight as far as it goes. Insert the magazine (tray slots to the left -- taillight end, top arrow facing the fender wall). It only fits correctly one way. Close the changer cover by sliding it forward (keeps dust from falling inside the changer mechanisms).

Step 24: Close the carpeted door & turn the latches so it stays closed. Discard all leftover pieces. (They're not 'leftover' they're 'surplus'.)

Step 25: If you have the Premium IV radio you're ready to go. Sit in the driver's seat, turn on the radio's power and hit the CD button. Play. Skip next steps. You're done.

Step 26: The Premium IV radio is the one without a MID button a part of the FADE/BASS/TREB/BAL quadrant. It is not Monsoon-able so if you've got Monsoon you don't have Premium IV. If you've got Monsoon, or they decided to make you Monsoonable, you've got Premium V which does have the midrange adjustment. In which case I believe the settings quadrant is FADE/BAL/MID/BASSTREB. Regardless, if there's a button for MIDrange adjustment you've got a Premium V not a Premium IV. If you've got the Premium V it needs to be told the changer is there -- you've got a 50/50 chance they did that for you by default. But if hitting the CD button gets you a message in the LCD that says NO CHANGER is installed, you need to see a dealer for the 1 minute VAG tool-enabled change that tells your radio you've got a changer. (The Premium IV either figures this out itself or is programmed at the factory to think it's got one--except if you hit the CD button without a changer installed it gives you the NO CHANGER msg, so I think it just figures it out for itself.)

This whole thing should take no more than 15 or 20 minutes. Which means you're paying yourself something like $800-1000/hr for the labor to install the changer vs. the dealer installation option.

I did it in the parking lot of the post office when I picked up my changer.

NOTE: I don't know anything 1st hand about Beetles, Golfs or pre-Y2K Jettas. However, I'm led to believe that while the positioning of the compartment differs and the tray position changes between vehicles, everything else should work the same on 98+ vehicles. (For instance, the Passat has a horizontal tray mount.) Checking on your compartment, opening up the plastic plates to find the tray & connector before you order your changer will verify if you'll be successful.

The local Circuit City wanted $275 for the same changer, $79 for the converter (a different one than I ended up with) that the installation tech assured me "would work fine & give you all the functions". I was skeptical 'cause this is the same guy who told me the Pioneer unit (CDX-610?) would also fit perfectly -- but when I got it out of the box it had the wrong wiring connector & was about 1/2" too long to fit into the tray. So I took the advice of another poster to the board who pointed me to and it's been fine.

So, caveat emptor & happy tunes.


(When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults....)

[This message has been edited by jhtanstaaf (edited May 09, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by jhtanstaaf (edited May 09, 2000).]