RNS-E Unit Installation

The RNS-E unit is a full screen DVD based navigation system that was included in many 2005+ Audi vehicles as an option in the USA. Long before the US bound Audi vehicles included this gorgeous piece of electronics and all the gadgetry that you can augment it with, European cars were already enjoying these features for a while. As I like to point out, we were robbed of such a feature by the bean counters. This last statement is merely my personal opinion.

Long before the RNS-E units were available, there was the CD based full screen navigation system known as Nav+. This was also kept in the bins solely for European vehicles. However some very brave souls were kind enough to take a crack at it, and in very little time, and with lots of sweat and tears, were able to adapt the European units to work on US cars. With the RNS-E units, you can pick up one in Europe and recode the software to work in the US. The following write up only covers USA RNS-E units, and installation on the C5 (A6/S6/RS6) platform.

Feel free to check out the Navplus.us website for full details on this modification. I used parts that were made specifically for USA bound vehicles, to minimize any catastrophies on my part, and because I wanted a brand new factory unit provided with a 1 year warranty.

If you plan to use a separate antenna other than the shark fin, please look closely at figure 48 that is part of step 25. You can see how the Navigation antenna is neatly tucked in a cubby hole in the center of the picture, and being held in place with velcro.

If your USA RS6 was ordered previously without the Navigation system, there is nothing to worry about. You can still use this write up as guidance. You can try and use the Navigation antenna you purchased and fit it behind the instrument cluster as shown in figure 48 (center of picture), and start on step 17. Reading the write up fully is still a great help nonetheless. Please keep in mind that the shark fin antenna comes stock in all RS6 vehicles with 3 wires. one of them is the Navigation antenna. I have not checked an RS6 without Navigation to make sure the wire goes from the antenna to the trunk area. However you can go ahead and check the trunk area yourself, or simply check the wires attached to the antenna. The ceiling lights over the center rear are a pop on/off type. You must remove it carefully, from the rear portion of the actual rectangle. I have done this many times, and it makes a loud pop sound, however nothing to worry about. The Alcantara leather in that section is well protected by a metal strip all around the edges. Coming out of the shark fin antenna there are three wires. One of them being the Navigation antenna wire. Originally my thoughts were to plug my Navigation wire there, however I found that the connector on the shark fin antenna was a male type of Fahkra connector. That pretty much killed my chances of using that as my connection point. There was a female connector plugged to it, which I figured was going to the trunk area. Once you get it down, un-pin the light housing for easier work around that area. With one hand in the whole and towards the rear of the car, pull the ceiling down gently, just about 10mm or so. You don't want to deform ceiling around the rear of the roof. If you reach in with the other hand, you will see/feel some wires that are covered by foam, and are taped to the roof. Remove the tape and pull the wires forward towards the hole. There is enough wire that you can pull the connectors far enough towards you and check it. One is for XM, the other for Navigation, and the last I can't think what it is for. However this is an easy way to see if all connectors are being used. If they are, you know for sure that your wire is most likely present in trunk.

If you intend on installing an RNS-E unit on your USA RS6, please check below for the parts and numbers you will need for a successful installation. Using the shark fin antenna, as well as installation of the satellite module are both optional. If you have no plans on going forward with either of the two optional parts of the write up, please start on step on step 17, and look at step 14 for knee bolster removal instructions.
  • RS6 RNS-E Unit (USA): 4B0-035-192-R
  • XM Module for RNS-E: 8E0-057-593-E (Optional)
  • Radio Removal keys: 721-957-01 or NavParts.com
  • 50 Ohm to Fakra/SMB antenna adapter: Euro-Parts.us or NavParts.com
  • RNS-E Adapter with Bose, with Phone, with CD Changer: Euro-Parts.us or NavParts.com
  • GPS extension cable for RNS-E (shark fin antenna used): Euro-Parts.us or NavParts.com
  • DVD Maps from NavTeq. Call them at 1.866.345.AUDI to get the latest DVD maps. At the time of this writing, they were offering a set of 2006.1 version 2A maps. When you call make sure to tell them you have a 2005 Audi S4 or something. They may ask for your VIN number, and just mention that you don't have it with you. This is mostly for their record keeping and not to contact Audi Of America as far as I'm concerned.
  • Buy small plastic zip ties at local hardware store.
  • Buy 20 or 22 AWG wire on a local electronics store. About 2 meters is all you need.
  • Small size wire tap connectors. These you can usually find at any local hardware/electronics store such as Radio Shack or Home Depot.
  • VAG tool required. If you don't have one, find a friend with one. Use the VAG Tool Locator.

  • Vehicle should be turned off and in 'Park'.
  • You may wish to disconnect your car battery for additional safety precautions.
  • I assume no liability or responsibility for any damages that may arise either directly or indirectly as a result of the application of the information provided herein.
  • Please read instructions fully before attempting modification.
  • Utilize a well lit location to do this modification. Additional lighting will be required.
  • Area of work is small, dark and full of sharp edges. Please be patient and very careful.
  • Tapping into already existing wires is required. Make sure connection is made successfully, and leave no loose ends or exposed wires.

Lets first take a look at a few images of the parts you will be using throughout this adventure.

Figure 1 below is the RNS-E adapter with Bose, with Phone, and with CD Changer.
Fig. 1

Figure 2 below is the 50 Ohm to Fakra adapter.
Fig. 2

Figure 3 below is the GPS extension cable for RNS-E.
Fig. 3

Figure 4 below is the GPS antenna for RNS-E for folks that do not wish to use the shark fin antenna, and instead use a new antenna. The installation is identical for either of the Navigation antennas from an RNS-E point of view. If you wis to use the adapter on figure 4, you don't have to route the cable from the trunk forward. A bit less work I suppose. If you are planning on using this antenna, simply start on step 17. Look at step 14 for knee bolster removal instructions.
Fig. 4

Figure 5 is a copy of the DVD map case from NavTeq.
Fig. 5

We are now ready to start installation. I am starting from the trunk, as I am connecting to an existing Navigation antenna that is part of the older Symphony II and CD based Navigation system. If you are going with the Navigation antenna on figure 4, simply start on step 17. Look at step 14 for knee bolster removal instructions.

Step 1: I started by loosening up the driver's side trunk partition. It is unnecessary to remove the trim entirely as shown in figure 6. You may wish to remove the clips to allow for additional room as the space behind the trim is hard to get to otherwise.
Fig. 6

Step 2: I proceeded to remove the CD based Navigation system. There are 4 screws holding it in place. I also removed the partition kit that was holding the CD based Navigation unit, because the satellite radio module is behind it. Please see a side view of the area once all is removed in figure 7 below.
Fig. 7

Step 3: There are three connectors that you unclip from the CD based Navigation system. Two of them are of no use to us any longer. The third one, is the actual antenna clip as seen pointed to by the red arrow in figure 8 below. It is a female type connector, to which you can attach the male type connector from the Navigation Antenna Adapter your purchased, and shown previously in figure 3. Below it is already all connected, and the wire is attached to the wiring harness with small plastic zip ties.
Fig. 8

Step 4: You can wrap the wires in some foam and use zip ties once again to tuck it out of the way. I find that loose wires have the tendency to create rattles. Tightly tucked away eliminates this potential future headache, as shown in figure 9 below.
Fig. 9

Step 5: The Satellite Radio module for the Symphony II radio is neatly tucked away, almost invisibly behind the wall of this same cubby hole. Please see figures 10, 11, and 12 for a good preview of how to find it and remove it.
Fig. 10

Fig. 11

Fig. 12

If you have not previously purchased the Satellite radio module for the Symphony II radio, you have to purchase the Satellite Radio module for the RNS-E Satellite radio module and kit, as shown in figures 13 and 14 below. In figure 13 you are seeing the bottom of the kit, where the Satellite radio module attaches to the opposite side of the kit as shown in figure 14 below.
Fig. 13

Fig. 14

Step 6: Screw the Satellite radio module to the kit, and clip connectors as shown in figure 15. If you had previously installed the Satellite radio module for Symphony II, it is easy to connect the new RNS-E Satellite radio module. Otherwise, the wires should be hanging somewhere in the general area shown in figure 16, and once it is all together as shown in figure 15, you must put it back in the proper location. Please keep in mind that putting it back into that location requires a bit of work sliding it in. I recommend removing the grey clips shown in figure 16, such that you won't lose them. I used a bit of tape to keep them in place.
Fig. 15

Fig. 16

Step 7: We are done with all the wiring in the trunk. You can put the stuff back later. We can now move on to passing the Navigation antenna wire all the way to the front of the car. We can do so by passing it with other wires already in the car, along the inner base of the driver's side. First we must remove the rear seat as shown in figure 17 below. Only the seat portion is required to be removed. If your rear seats are heated, as in the case of the RS6, keep in mind that there are wires attached to the seat. Since the seat is well logded into place, some force is required to remove it. Things to watch out for: your head to make sure it won't hit the roof; the wires attached to the seat, when you pull hard on it.
Fig. 17

Step 8: Pass the Navigation antenna wire from the trunk over a little hole as seen in figure 18. Put it snuggly hidden away as shown in figure 19.
Fig. 18

Fig. 19

Step 9: At the bottom of the driver's side rear, you can pull up the carpet a little, and you will see all the wires going from rear to front of the car. Align your Navigation wire with those, and don't forget to use a couple of zip ties to keep it in place, as shown in figure 20.
Fig. 20

Step 10: Pull up plastic trim between B and C pillars with the help of a screw driver, as shown on figure21. Continue to zip tie your Navigation wire to the ones found under the carpet.
Fig. 21

Step 11: Unclip the plastic trim at the base of the B pillar, and pass the wire through it, as shown in figures 22 and 23 below. You can go under the carpet if so inclined with the rest of the wires. I admit I may have been a tad lazy on this portion.
Fig. 22

Fig. 23

Step 12: Unclip the plastic trim at base of A pillar as shown in figure 24 below.
Fig. 24

Step 13: Unclip the plastic trim between A and B pillars as shown in figure 25 below. Pull the carpet a little bit, exposing the wires under it, and zip tie the Navigation wire to them as shown in figure 26 below. The carpet is hard, and the space small. You may need an extra set of hands on this one, or something to keep the space opened while you zip tie the wires.
Fig. 25

Fig. 26

Step 14: Now is a good time to remove the knee bolster to allow for easy pass through of the Navigation antenna wire to where the RNS-E unit will sit. Please do so as shown by figures 27 and 28 below. Removal of the steering wheel is not required.
Fig. 27

Fig. 28

Step 15: The removal of the A pillar plastic trim reveals a nest of wires as shown in figure 29 below. Find a good area where your Navigation wire can be zip tied to as shown in figure 30 below. Remember that loose wires can easily turn into abnoxious rattles.
Fig. 29

Fig. 30

Step 16: Find a good location to zip tie your Navigation wire in the knee bolster area as shown in figure 31 below.
Fig. 31

Step 17: Now is the perfect time to remove your Symphony II radio as shown in picture 32 below. Four radio removal keys are required, and there are 2 keys per pack. Orientation of the keys is important. The long side of the key has to be on the outside of the radio, and notched side towards the inside. Push each key in slowly until you hear a 'click' type sound. That means the key is in position, and you are ready to move on to the next key. Some positions may click louder than others. Pay close attention. The keys will come out once radio is extracted. Don't pull the radio out by the keys. Use the tape deck area to assist you, if you can fit your fingers inside. The radio keys are sharp and you run the danger of getting your fingers cut if you push on them. Trust me when I say you won't get it out on the first try. Keep at it patiently.
Fig. 32

Step 18: Once you finally get the radio out, unclip the wires from the rear of the Symphony II radio as shown in figures 33 and 34 below.
Fig. 33

Fig. 34

Step 19: Lets prepare some of the wires before we proceed. Connect the diversity antenna wire that was attached to the Symphony II radio as shown in figure 35 below, to the diversity antenna adapter you purchased and shown in figure 36 below.
Fig. 35

Fig. 36

Step 20: Remove the yellow pigtail from wire that was originally attached to the Symphony II radio as shown in figure 37 below, and re-attach it to the diversity antenna adapter shown in figure 38 below.
Fig. 37

Fig. 38

Step 21: Attach the rest of the remainder connectors shown in figure 39 below to the RNS-E adapter your purchased shown in figure 40 below.
Fig. 39

Fig. 40

Step 22: We now have to remove the instrument cluster. Below the instrument cluster you will find 2 Phillips head screws that need to be removed, already done in figure 41 below. Make sure to use proper size Phillips screw tip, to make sure of successful removal. These screws are in tight my friends. Once you have removed them, the cluster can pull out. Use both buttons at the bottom of the instrument cluster to assist you. Remove it carefully. Force won't be necessary, only a little movement one side and other side. Be careful not to scratch the leather surrounding the instrument cluster area. The left side of the cluster will be the first one you need to check.
Fig. 41

Step 23: The instrument cluster is attached by 3 connectors in the rear as shown in figure 42 below. One is blue, the other gray, and the other green.
Fig. 42

Step 24: You must carefully remove the security latches on each of the connectors as shown in figure 43 below. They are not that easy to remove. In fact, there is so little space to get the blue connector out, you may end up cursing a few times. See if you can wrap the instrument cluster in an old t-shirt, to make sure the movements you make don't scratch anything. As you can see below, I failed to follow my own advice.
Fig. 43

Step 25: This step is extremely critical, so you must pay close attention and read it a few times over.
We must concentrate on the blue connector, as the GALA wire (speedometer output) is located at pin number 3.
Remove the protective sleeve around the wires as far as you can. This protective sleeve is really tape. You will need to cut it off very carefully using a pair of wire cutters, or use a small pair of scissors. You can see the outcome of this in figure 44 below.
Use the 20-22 AWG wire you purchased, and tap into pin 3 on the blue connector. This is the white wire with a blue stripe, as shown in figures 45 and 46 below.
Once you are done, wrap the wires back up in protective foam, and zip tie it to make sure it remains in place as shown in figure 47 below. If you are unsure of your connection, you can wait to zip tie it later. However this will most likely require another removal of the instrument cluster. This is up to you.
I did not use a GPS antenna as shown in figure 48 below. However if you did, and did not wish to use shark fin antenna and run steps 1-16, you can attach the GPS antenna to the cubby hole behind the instrument cluster with velcro or something, and that works too.
Pass the GPS antenna wire as well as the GALA wire to the radio hole we still have opened as shown in figure 49 below.
Fig. 44

Fig. 45

Fig. 46

Fig. 47

NOTE: Figure 48 below is only applicable for folks that DO NOT wish to use the shark fin antenna for Navigation. If you are using the shark fin antenna, pay no attention to figure 48 below.
Fig. 48

Fig. 49

Step 26: You need to tap the 20-22 AWG GALA wire to the RNS-E adapater as shown in figure 50 below. One of the connectors has 8 pins. Locate pin 1 on this connector, and simply tap into it. You can use the means shown in figure 49 below, or any other wire tap clip is sufficient, as long as it is securely in place, and making good contact. If this is wire is not making good contact, the Navigation screen will refresh your position very slowly.
It has come to my attention that there has been a couple of reported incidents of RNS-E adapters missing pin number 1 wire. Basically, the wire was present in the 8-pin connector, however it is not connecting to anyting on the RNS-E adapter purchased. Just double check your RNS-E adapter to make sure that when you connect the 8-pin connector, it actually connects to something. If you happen to have received one of the RNS-E adapters with this issue, please contact your seller for a replacement, or a fix.
Fig. 50

Step 27: Unwrap your RNS-E unit, and attach the diversity antenna connector as shown in figure 51 below.
Fig. 51

Step 28: Your GPS antenna wire after being zip tied carefully to various locations behind the knee bolster, has to make its way to the RNS-E cubby hole. This can be done behind the center console, just as you have done with the GALA wire. Once that is done, you can attach the GPS antenna wire to the RNS-E unit as shown in figure 52 below.
Fig. 52

Step 29: Finally attach your RNS-E adapter connector as shown in figure 53 below.
Fig. 53

Step 30: Before you push the RNS-E unit back into place as shown in figure 54 below, here are a few things that can help you put it back in place without any wires being in the way, or damaging the unit.
There is very little space behind the RNS-E unit to hold the bulky wire set of the RNS-E adapter. However, behind the AC control module, there is a nice cubby hole for them. The trick is to get them into it, since we don't have much wire to work with. Some vehicles have more space than others. The RS6 unfortunately is not one of those. We have to lead the RNS-E unit into place in a diagonal formation. First put in the passenger side, and let the bottom tip rest on the rails. Put the driver's side bottom of the RNS-E as close to the its rails as possible. If you have small hands great, if not, use your kids/significant other/neighboor or anyone with smaller hands to guide the RNS-E adapter wires into that cubby hole. Once done, get the hands out of the way, and start pushing RNS-E unit into place.
If it goes in 80% of the way and no more, it was not a successful try. Move it out quickly and try playing with the RNS-E adapter wires again. You may have to try it doing this a couple of times until it goes in smooth.
Please keep in mind that that last 3-5% push into proper location, right before it clicks into place, requires some minor force. Please, for the love of God/family/pet, don't even think about applying pressure on the LCD screen. If your RNS-E unit came with a front face plate, use it to push the unit into place. Nothing is better to do so. If your RNS-E unit did not come with a front face plate, it is no big deal. See if you can apply the pressure in the area where the radio removal keys would normally go. You may use the sides and corners, however you must be careful with the amount of pressure applied, as you don't want to bend the corners.
Fig. 54

Step 31: Everything was working fine even without use of VAG tool. However I wanted to double check that all fields were correct, to prevent any errors being logged into the system. VAG code list can be found at: VAG Codes On Navplus.us

  • I installed the system in my garage which is two levels below ground. Obviously when I went outside, the system had not yet discovered the satellites, and it may take 30 minutes to 6 hours to do so and get it all finalized. The next day I went for a 40 minute spirited drive around town and outside of town, and before you know it, I was able to use the full Navigation system.
  • If you install the XM module, please make sure to call for service when your car is in plain view of the satellites as well. If it is not, you will be paying for service, and not get anything out of it. You will need to call them again, and have them refresh the signal. It usually takes 5-10 minutes, and it is all working once it downloads the full station list.
  • The lady's voice in the RNS-E is different from what you are accustomed to. I liked the Symphony II voice much better.
  • Please go to your local eyewear store and purchase an eye glass cleaning cloth. This is the only thing you must use to clean the finger prints from your LCD screen.
  • Remember that the volume button is now on the passenger side of the radio. It will take a few weeks to get used to it. In the meantime, keep using that eye glass cloth to wipe your own prints from the LCD screen.
  • CD sound out of RNS-E is better. Glad it reads MP3s out of cards too.

  • Everything found within this write up is all thanks to the great folks that frequent Navplus.us. This would have most certainly not been possible without their help. Too many names, and here are a few in no particular order: TeddyBGame, PROXUS, radef, S4Rules, etc.
  • The write ups I used as great guidance were: radef :: S4Rules :: clangrj
  • My first post on this issue on RS6.com: RS6.com
  • Great details on NavPlus.us site: NavPlus.us

Edited: 02.03.2011