Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stereo Fail

One of the more exciting places on my commute is the curvy transition road from I80 to the 4. When to put down the power coming out of that turn depends on a lot of factors. At that max G moment yesterday, the stereo died. It just went completely dead. I was afraid it might be a loose connection, but hoped for a blown fuse. The manual doesn't provide a fuse diagram, stating in about 200 words that these things change too often and we can't be bothered. I did find one online in the UK, but decided to just take it somewhere.

I took the GTI to Best Buy's auto installation department. They did a very good job on my Mazda, so I had some trust in their work. After the fuses were ruled out, using a really cool electronic tester, they discovered a third culprit. The head unit was getting power and there was power coming from the line, but in between the line and the head unit sits the PAC radio replacement interface. This unit allows an aftermarket stereo to use various VW controls, like from the steering wheel, but also allows for the various audio noises that come from the car, like door chimes.

The installer, a meticulous technician who gave me lots of good advice, was able to reset the PAC unit and get the stereo working again, but there was no doubt the interface unit was the culprit. While he was on the clock, I had him re-route the Sirius antenna to the roof from the dashboard. Hopefully that will fix my satellite reception complaint [it did].

When does a car become a hobby?  I'll let you know.

I'll be working to get a new PAC unit from the original installers and then I'll go back to Best Buy. The installer will be re-routing my iPod cable from the glove compartment to the center console. VW already has an iPod cable in the center console, so it's a fairly clean install. I'm finding the Pioneer unit doesn't recognize the iPhone about half the time, requiring me to unplug it and plug it back in. This is a drag when it's in the glove compartment.

Miles: 2563


  1. I haven't had good luck with the two different PAC interfaces that I had. One died completely and the other only sometimes worked.

    As for the iPhone interface, I have had issues with them. I have learned to pay more for quality interfaces for iPhones.

  2. Ugh. I'm still trying to get them to send me a new one. Sounds like it might not even matter.