Ok, so Lee Hicks (NSX Jr) and I spent the better part of a day doing some research on how the newer roof-mounted submarine style antenna (not the "shark fin" style) is connected to the various devices in your car. Thanks Lee!!!
For the purpose of this research, I'll be focusing most of my efforts on the Avantâ€¦because:
1) I have a 2001 A6 Avant with RNS-E and OEM Sirius/SAT tunerâ€¦and I really don't want to mount an aftermarket Sirius antenna in my roof and ruin the clean lines of the roof. Others might think differently. Also, Lee and I have proved that the single-lead aftermarket Sirius (micro) antenna's really don't work as well as the dual-lead kind (unfortunately, the dual lead kind are fairly big and "clunky"â€¦to install on the roof of an avant). Just my opinion.
2) Those of you with a sedan/saloon don't have the same mounting issues for an aftermarket SAT antenna. With a rear deck, you have more options for concealing an aftermarket Sirius, XM or GPS antenna.
(either way, most of the info below can be applicable to folks with a sedan).
- OEM sharkfin style was found in 2003-2004 model years
- OEM Submarine style is installed in 2005+
Therefore, most of the info below will be applicable to those with a:
- B5 A4/S4/RS4 Avant
- B6 A4/S4 Avant (2003 or newer already had the sharkfin which supported GPS/NAV and SAT)
- C5 A6/S6/RS6 Avant and allroad
- A3 (old style); not applicable to newer A3 as the submarine style antenna is the standard.
(some of this information is applicable to other regions of the world however, SAT radio is only offered in North America and not Europe etc).
Items worth noting:
1) Movement to a standard style roof antenna across all 2005+ Audi's:
The 2005 allroad uses the same antenna and connections in the B7 A4/S4. The FM/AM reception is gathered from the antennas in the rear windows (between C and D in avants) pillar. Looks like Audi is standardizing on having all AM/FM reception/antennas etc built into the rear glass and have GPS, SAT and GSM built into the submarine style antenna (MY 2005+) in the roof. Makes sense; Audi can standardize on one antenna and connection methodology across all platforms/models and simplify assembly etc. Also, the existing diversity antenna switching system (like in my 2001 A6 Avant) will rely on the FM antenna's built into the rear glass (which will minimalize the need to run new cables etc).
The OEM sharkfin style antenna (MY2003-2004) doesn't use as many FAKRA connections for all of these connection...but I imagine that the type of coax cable is the same...and it's possible that FAKRA connectors can be retrofitted (see catalog on www.digikey.com
). More research is needed here.
Some part#'s for these antennas (might need a new three letter color code; see sticker in the spare tire wheel well):
- 2005 allroad (part#: 4B9 035 503 E, GRU - Wholesale costs is $180; retail is about $250 from audi parts counter)
- 2005 B7 A4 Avant (part# 8E5 035 503F) - same part for both sedan and avant
(This is the one that I sourced for $80 - lucky me!)
2) AM Reception might suffer:
In my 2001 A6 avant, the roof-mounted whip antenna supports cellphone, AM and FM (in addition to the other three FM antennas in the rear glass between C and D pillar). Because AM is only received through the roof antenna (and not the glass) in the avant, there are about 3-4 different FM antennas between the roof/glass, I will probably need to rewire my AM antenna to one of the 3-4 glass antennas...not sure yet. My AM reception might suffer.....which isn't the end of the world...if I have FM and Sirius.
3) Extension cables between OEM submarine antenna and OEM SAT tuner:
I still need to figure out the part# for the SAT antenna cables that will go between the black and white fakra leads in this antenna...down to the green and brown male FAKRA connectors at the SAT tuner. Per Lee Hicks and all of his wisdom in deciphering the Bentley manual:
- Black = SAT BROWN /Terrestrial ; (Black FAKRA part#: 4E0 035 576)
- White = SAT Green / Satellite (White FAKRA part# 4E0 035 576A)
Still need the part# for the extension cableâ€¦.info is forthcoming.
4) GPS capability is a bonus!:
I'm not as concerned about having the GPS in the roof antennaâ€¦as it's been widely known that mouning an aftermarket GPS antenna inside the dash area is sufficient for usage with the RNS-Eâ€¦not to mention it's a standard practice. With that said, if I have the GPS connection within the newer submarine antenna, I might as well just run the cables and complete the connection.
The extension cable and blue FAKRA connector is a standard part from Kufatec and/or euro-parts.us for about $35. See this post/thread for more details: http://forums.audiworld.com/s4b6/msgs/255474.phtml
- Blue FAKRA connector (FYI, the part# is: 4E0 035 576B)
Also, if you have Audi Telematics/Onstar, there is a "splitter" built into the roof that routes the GPS signal to the RNS-E (or boot/trunk mounted for US-based Nav drive units) and the Telematics hardware. For most, this won't be an issue; more research is needed here.
5) The GSM/Phone/Telematics connection:
This connection the least of my concerns, but if you have Telematics/OnStar, then you want to keep this connection available. As I recall, Telematics wasn't offered in North America until the 2003 model year. I am fairly certain that the 2005+ sub-style roof antenna will connect to your existing Telematics/OnStar equipment the same wayâ€¦so there is probably very little to be concerned about.
- Dark Red (or Pink-ish) FAKRA connector (FYI, the part# is: 4E0 035 576C)
:idea: 6) Using the OEM Sharkfin or Submarine antenna for an aftermarket SAT (Sirius/XM) tuner - not likely:
Ok, so I thought I'd add this in case the questions arise. Some people might think that the OEM SAT antenna's (that are prewired/installed in all 2004+ Audi's) can be used to support an aftermarket SAT tuner. The aftermarket SAT tuners (XM Commander, Sirius Starbase etc.) all use a single lead SMB connection, and the OEM Audi roof antenna uses a dual lead antenna (FAKRA / SMB). You can't purchase SAT antenna "combiners", only "splitters". Splitters can be found at crutchfield.com. I've only heard of one scenario where someone used an OEM SAT antenna with an aftermarket Sirius tuner and that was because someone from Sirius provided this person with a "combiner" that isn't generally available to the public. For more details, go to http://www.siriusbackstage.com/forum/
(go to installation garage and search on "Audi"). Other related posts from Audiworld.com (audio forum):
- The OEM sharkfin can be installed quite easily and with minimal removal of the headliner. If you have a sedan and don't have the roof antenna, you will need to drill a 1/2"+ hole in your roof....for starters.
- No need for me to stick an ugly aftermarket SAT antenna on my roof
- AM reception might sufferâ€¦.but FM and Sirius is plenty for me
Looks like I have a winter project to work on. I'll post more details, pix as I figure this stuff out.
Feel free to post an thoughts, comments, ideas if you are familiar with these antennas. Thanks!