DIY: upgrade 2011+ manual HVAC to Climatic


New member
First off, some housekeeping items:

- This might be the first time this particular retrofit has been done. As such, please keep in mind that you do this at your own risk, and until others start reporting back, it's highly experimental and there’s no guarantee this will work on anything other than my particular car, which is a 2012 GTI 2dr 6MT w/Sunroof and Nav. That said, however, I think it should work just fine on any MKVI Golf 2.5, Golf TDI, GTI, and Jetta SportWagen equipped with the fully manual HVAC system.

- Since this mod is new, I’d really appreciate hearing feedback from others who try it. I know this DIY could use some improvement, and many of you may find better ways to do it. It’s getting late and I’m really tired, so if I’ve left out any obvious steps, please let me know and I’ll update the DIY ASAP.

- The reason for this retrofit: early in the 2011 model run, VW began installing a downgraded, fully manual HVAC system instead of the semi-automatic Climatic system used previously. This mod will retrofit the Climatic components to cars with the manual system and give you the very worthwhile feature of automatic temperature regulation.

- This DIY does not pertain to the fully automatic, dual-zone Climatronic system. If you don’t know the difference between the manual, Climatic, and Climatronic systems, go search and you'll find plenty of other posts explaining them.

- If your car is a 2010, you should already have Climatic. Some 2011s also have Climatic, some don’t. AFIK, no 2012 version of the above models have it.

Here’s how to tell:

If your temperature knob looks like this... already have Climatic, and you don’t need to do this mod.

If your temperature knob looks like this... have the fully manual system, and this mod is for you.

Parts needed

1. A Climatic control panel. Unless you’ve got about $400 burning a hole in your wallet, just get one on eBay instead of buying new. I bought part number 3C8-907-336AJ on eBay for $50. Other part numbers will probably work too, but I don’t know that for a fact. Presumably, you’d just need to get one that has numbers on the temperature scale instead of “AC MAX” and “HI”. If your car has heated seats, make sure you get a panel with seat heater controls. My eBay panel had some scratches on the gloss black piece that goes behind the knobs, but it pops right out and I just swapped in the unscratched piece from my original panel.

NOTE: If you buy a used Climatic panel for this mod with a part number other than 3C8-907-336AJ, and the panel you bought worked correctly for this retrofit, please let me know the part number you used, as well as the model of your car, and I’ll add that info to this DIY.

2. (x1) Temperature sensor 1K0-907-543E for the driver’s side dashboard vent duct, $8.54 from 1stVWParts

3. (x1) Temperature sensor 3D0-907-543A for the driver’s side footwell vent duct, $17.75 from 1stVWParts

4. (x2) Wire housing 1J0-971-972

5. (x2) Wire 000-979-131E

6. (x2) Wire 000-979-009E

7. Appx. 7’ of 2-conductor wire – anything will work, even speaker wire – but I recommend using wire with easy-to-distinguish conductors because the sensor wiring is polarity-specific.

8. Cloth tape (optional, but highly recommended) to make the sensor wiring look more OEM. I like this stuff:


Step 1 – Configure your existing HVAC control panel as follows:

-Ignition switch on (but engine off)
-Fan speed on 1. This is necessary because the climate control system isn’t on unless the fan is on, and we need the system on so the flaps can be set to an easily duplicated value when the new panel is powered up.
-Spin the temperature knob between full cold and full hot a few times, then turn it to full hot and leave it there.
-Turn the air distribution knob to full floor (red index mark on knob at 6 o’clock)

Configuring the existing panel this way should enable you to install the new Climatic panel without requiring any VAGCOM adaptation, provided you configure the controls on the new panel exactly the same before applying power to it.

Step 2 – With the ignition still on, and the HVAC control panel configured as described in step #1, disconnect the negative battery cable.

Step 3 – Remove the dash trim around the radio.

Step 4 – Remove the dash trim around the HVAC panel. Do not unplug the “passenger air bag off” indicator until the battery is disconnected! Otherwise, it can cause an air bag warning light that might not reset itself without VAGCOM or a visit to the dealer.

Step 5 – Remove the four T20 screws holding the HVAC panel in the dash and pull the panel out as far as the wires will allow.

Step 6 – Unplug the 5-pin connector from the rear of the HVAC panel first. The wires to this connector are very thick and stiff, and removing this connector first will make it easier to turn the panel sideways to remove the other two plugs.

Step 7 – Unplug the 16-pin and 20-pin connectors from the rear of the HVAC panel. The 20-pin connector is actually a housing containing one 18-pin and one 2-pin connector. Cut away appx. 2” of the wire wrap leading to the 20-pin housing so you’ll have some wiggle room, then slide the 18-pin connector out of the housing.

Step 8 – Cut both of the 000-979-131E wires in half, leaving you with 4 wires. Push the connector ends into the slots on the 1J0-971-972 housings. Using your 2-conductor wire, splice about 5’ to one of the 1J0-971-972 housings, and about 2’ to the other. You’ll be connecting these to the two temperature sensors. NOTE: the sensor wiring is polarity-specific, so be sure and note which wire belongs to which pin on the housing.

Step 9 – To install the temperature sensor in the dashboard vent duct, remove the fuse access panel located on the left side of the dashboard. If you have the manual HVAC system, you should see a rubber plug where the sensor will be installed:

Turn the rubber plug 45 degrees clockwise and pull it downward to remove. Line up the tabs on sensor 1K0-907-543E with the slots in the hole and turn the sensor 45 degrees counterclockwise to lock it in place.

Step 10 – Take the 5’ wire that you connected to the housing in step 8 and plug it into the dash vent temperature sensor. Route the wire through the dash so that it comes out under the radio (i.e. the location of the existing HVAC wiring connectors). I pulled out the headlight switch to make it easier to initially route the wire down into the dash.

Your dash vent temperature sensor should now look something like this:

Step 11 – Installing the footwell vent temperature sensor was the only real tricky part of this mod. Based on diagrams in the service manual and ETKA, I assumed I’d find another rubber plug somewhere in the vicinity of where the driver’s side footwell duct attaches to the air distribution box located under the dash ahead of the center console, but I couldn’t find one, and I didn’t feel like taking half the dashboard apart to try and find it. (If anyone with the manual system finds a factory hole for this sensor in the air distribution box, please share your discovery!)

Since this sensor works the same way as the dash vent sensor, I saw no reason it wouldn’t work to just install the sensor in the footwell duct itself.

First, you’ll need to remove the driver’s side footwell duct. This is held on with one T20 screw and (I am not making this up) one PLASTIC ZIP TIE. The service manual says the lower dash panel must be removed to access the T20 screw, but I was able to remove it with a side socket and a T20 bit. Once the screw is removed, snip the zip tie and pull the duct out.

Next, you’ll need to cut a hole in the duct for the sensor. Using a razor blade, cut a small rectangular hole on the back side of the duct (the side that faces the firewall when installed) just large enough for the sensor locking tabs to fit through. Insert the sensor into the duct, then turn it 45 degrees to lock it in place. It should look like this:

Now, take the 2’ wire that you connected to the housing in step 8 and plug it into the sensor. Feed the other end of the wire up into the dash so that it comes out under the radio (i.e. the location of the existing HVAC wiring connectors). Reinstall the footwell duct. (I haven’t replaced the zip tie in my car yet, because I didn’t have one large enough on hand, but the duct has stayed in place with the one screw so far. )

Step 12 – You are now ready to connect the sensor wires to the Climatic panel.

Cut both of the 000-979-009E wires in half, leaving you with four individual wires. These will be used to fill previously empty slots in the 16-pin and 18-pin connectors.

Connect the wires as follows:

Pin 1 of the dash duct sensor goes to pin 18 of the 18-pin connector.

Pin 2 of the dash duct sensor goes to pin 3 of the 18-pin connector.

Pin 1 of the footwell duct sensor goes to pin 8 of the 16-pin connector, which is already used as the ground wire for several other components in the system. How you go about the process of tapping/splicing this wire is up to you; all that matters is that the brown/white wire and the wire from pin 1 of the footwell duct sensor are both connected to pin 8.

Pin 2 of the footwell duct sensor goes to pin 4 of the 16-pin connector.

Slide the 18-pin connector back into the 20-pin housing. Plug all three connectors back into the Climatic panel.

Step 13 – Make sure the Climatic panel is configured the same way that the original panel was when the battery was disconnected: fan on 1, temp on full hot, air distribution on full floor.

Step 14 – Reconnect the “passenger airbag off” indicator light. (You might want to hold off on reinstalling the radio and HVAC dash trim until after you’ve tested the system, though.)

Step 15 – Reconnect the battery. The HVAC fan should start running. Leave all of the HVAC controls alone for about 30 seconds to give the flaps and motors time to synch up, then spin the temp and air distribution knobs around to various positions. You should hear the hot/cold blend and air distribution motors run for a few seconds every time you turn the respective knobs. (Remember, the fan has to be on.)

Here’s how you can test the system and observe the automatic temperature regulation doing its thing. (These test conditions assume very hot weather and A/C being used.)

Set the temperature knob to approximately 3 o’clock (midway between 72 and 80). If you’re doing this test in cooler conditions, choose a lower starting point, i.e. if it’s only 75 degrees in your garage, then set the temperature to something closer to 64.

Before continuing, it’s important to understand that the 64 degree setting is actually one click up from the “LO” setting, and the 80 degree setting is one click up from the “HI” setting. When on “LO” or “HI”, the system ignores the temperature sensors and sets the hot/cold mix to the maximum value, with no regulation. So, for instance, if the knob is set to “HI”, the heater will crank out maximum heat nonstop, even if it’s already 90 degrees inside the car.

Start the car
Turn on the A/C
Turn the fan to 3
Recirculation button off
Turn the air distribution knob to 3 o'clock (100% dash vents)
Close all doors and windows

Within 10-20 seconds, the sound of the air coming from the dash vents should become noticeably louder as the system automatically shifts into recirculation mode to help cool the car down faster. (Note that the indicator light in the recirculation button will not come on when this happens.) Once the interior has cooled down to the set temperature, you should hear the air get quieter as the system shifts back to fresh air mode. (The auto recirculation mode is all-or-nothing; it doesn't go in steps.) You can also cause the system to go in and out of recirculation mode by raising and lowering the temperature knob by large amounts, although there will always be a slight delay before the system responds, which I think might be built in to keep the system from causing annoyance by constantly getting louder and softer.

With the system in fresh air mode and the engine running, shift the tranny into reverse. You should hear the system switch to recirculation mode almost immediately. Shift out of reverse, and it should switch back to fresh air mode just as quickly. This is an intentional feature designed to keep you from smelling your own brand as you back up.

If you have VAGCOM, you can open the “Auto HVAC” module and select various parameters to show how the system is responding, particularly the values being reported by the interior sensor and the two duct temperature sensors.

Once you’re satisfied that the system is working properly, replace the radio and HVAC dash trim and the fuse access panel on the side of the dash.

One last item: there is a software update for 2011s and some 2012s equipped with the manual HVAC system to correct the problem with the heater blowing cold air. Since the software is in the HVAC control panel, you will no longer need this update if you perform this retrofit because you have removed the panel with the faulty software. However, I don’t know what would happen if a dealer tries to perform the update on a car that has had this retrofit done. I’d think it would just fail because the update would look for a specific software version, but I’m a little concerned that the update could just overwrite whatever software is there…leaving you with a manual HVAC system all over again. I will try and research this further.
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Automotive Engineer
Very nice!


Ready to race!
Thanks for putting this together! I've just purchased the control panel on eBay and am looking forward to this upgrade.

One tip for purchasing the parts from, when searching for part numbers, don't enter the dashes. That may be obvious but I'm slow and it took me a while to figure that out. If you do a multiple part number search filtered by "Volkswagen", you should be able to copy/paste the below to bring up everything in a single search to easily set the quantities and add to your cart:


Hope this helps.


Ready to race!
Thanks for the DIY, this is amazing work. Can't wait to give it a shot.

I'm curious what PN people are digging up. I picked up one off eBay that came off a Jetta TDI. Looks identical to what I have in the pic, but I guess we'll see. It cites PN 5HB 009 751.

And I'm really happy to hear that that shiny plastic cover snaps right off, that should open up a lot of options to people. I saw a couple that were cheaper than the one I got but the faceplate was really scratched up.


Ready to race!
Thanks for the DIY, this is amazing work. Can't wait to give it a shot.

I'm curious what PN people are digging up. I picked up one off eBay that came off a Jetta TDI. Looks identical to what I have in the pic, but I guess we'll see. It cites PN 5HB 009 751.

And I'm really happy to hear that that shiny plastic cover snaps right off, that should open up a lot of options to people. I saw a couple that were cheaper than the one I got but the faceplate was really scratched up.

I ordered 3C8-907-336AJ same as OP.
I also saw 3C8-907-336N and it is a slightly older production date for that #


Go Kart Champion
+1. Considering doing this now. :)

EDIT: Now that I think about it, do you find yourself not having to adjust the fan speed as often after doing this mod? I know with the manual controls I have to drop the fan speed down to 1 from 2 because the air gets ice cold.
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Ready to race!
All parts ordered and should be in no later than mid next week. Total so far is around $140. Excited to get this done.


Ready to race!
Of course now the panel cant be found on ebay. Theyre all being bought up :cry:


Ready to race!
Of course now the panel cant be found on ebay. Theyre all being bought up :cry:

That was exactly why I grabbed one yesterday and figured if it doesn't fit my TDI, or new shit comes to light and I decide not to do it, I can just sell it off on here to someone else who wants it.


New member
A nice extra benefit of the 3C8907336AJ panel I got on eBay is that it has nicer knobs with more metal trim, matching those of the radio. Frankly, I never noticed the mismatch before, but the first time I drove in the dark, the difference was really noticeable because the HVAC panel backlighting is reflected by the metal sides of the knobs, giving them sort of a halo effect:

Also, the contrast between the metal and the black "ribs" on the knobs makes it a HELL of a lot easier to know the exact position of the knob (kind of hard to explain...but anyone else who's had the all-black knobs would probably notice it right away, too)


Ready to race!
I was thinking about doing this a while ago but never got serious enough to start the research. Thanks!


Ready to race!
I just got mine from ebay for $65 shipped. The seller had it listed for $100 + $15 shipping. I sent him an offer saying a few recently sold for $50 and that is the most I would be willing to pay. It worked!.

Here are the other listings I was looking at:

3C8-907-336AJ same as 5HB-009-751-27:

3C8-907-336N same as 5HB-009-751-17:

Buy at your own risk. I'm not responsible if it doesn't work.

Edit:placed an order at for the sensors, housings, and wires. I just received a confirmation saying a few parts are out of stock, it will ship on Friday.
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