When we took Project B7 A4 in to Ken Garff Audi for its 5000 mile service, the Audi IPod adapter had just become available and the dealership happened to have some in stock. We already had and IPod adapter in our VW Touareg and wanted to be able to use the same IPod in the Audi as well.
We purchased the IPod adapter kit and decided to install it at home. Having been through this install, we can offer that if you are not comfortable dealing with car and audio wiring then you should probably have the kit installed professionally instead. The kit has not been designed with the average do-it-yourself installation in mind.
Our A4 has the Symphony II radio in it, which required removal of 3 wires from an existing plug in the rear of the radio in order to plug in the new harness included with the IPod adapter kit. To remove these wires we needed the special VW / Audi tool VAS 1978/4A or something similar. We used the version sold by Porsche in a special tool kit borrowed from a technician friend at a local independent VW/Audi/Porsche shop. The tool looks like this:
The tool assists in removal of existing wires from a plug without causing damage. Once we had dealt with the necessary wiring we plugged in the IPod to see if it was all working were promptly greeted with a cool “Audi” logo on the IPod. Sound was streaming through the speakers so we knew we were in good shape. We ran the IPod connector wire into the glove box through a hole that we had drilled, replaced the radio were done with this upgrade.
From a day-to-day perspective the Audi IPod adapter leaves a lot to be desired. Our first and still biggest complaint is that the adapter does not allow us to control the songs or playlists through the IPod, but rather disables any input from the IPod clickwheel itself. While this makes for a safer application, it doesn’t allow us to pick the exact artist, album, or song that we desire.
The other complaint is that the Audi head unit treats the IPod as a 6 disc changer with each of the 6 discs represented as playlists on the IPod. This means that we are limited to 5 of our own playlists and a 6th which is ‘all songs on the IPod’. The downside here is that if the song or album we want isn’t in a particular playlist, we either end up scrolling through all songs one by one to find what we’re looking for, or we have to use the random setting and hope our song gets picked (frustrating at best).
Since the kit is all installed and working, we've decided to simply adapt our way of using the IPod to how Audi allows us to use the IPod in the car. We just wish we had control of the IPod from somewhere other than the Audi radio. Perhaps there’s a way to fix that - an investigation that continues. Also, when we installed the IPod adapter according to the Audi instructions we lost the use of the Satellite radio. By simply crimping 3 wires in the harness rather than replacing them, we were able to keep both XM radio and have the IPod adapter.
Within one week of initial delivery of the Project B7 A4 we began to have problems with the air conditioning. The outside temperature sensor would mis-read the temperature and indicate temperatures ranging from 115 degrees to -5 degrees. As a result the air conditioning would not work reliably and would blow hot air even when it was 90 degrees outside. Strong Audi ordered the part needed for the repair and were thankfully only without air conditioning for about a week.
The only other service visit was our 5,000 mile service which was done at Ken Garff Audi. We've been very impressed with Ken Garff’s service department and especially with Assistant Service Manager Ken Harris. Ken always seems to go out of his way to be friendly and accommodating and therefore Ken Garff gets a our seal of approval.
Several different upgrades are being considered as next steps. APR has released an update to the chip program, and their exhaust system for the 2.0T is out now as well. There are some brake upgrade kits available and some appearance modifications are under consideration as well. Project B7 A4 is like many enthusiast projects - a perpetual work in progress.
Ken Garff Audi