I have finally upgraded my climate control by adding the chrome switches from the facelift models to it.
This 'How To' will show how it is done, i would say its a difficulty rating of 2 out of 5 (not difficult, just need to take your time and be patient)
For anyone that is wondering why this mod was needed and why i didnt just swap over the unit directly to the car.... well i tried to test it out and i found that the new unit does power on and pump out air but when the A/C is turned on no air is directed into the cabin due to the air circulation flaps being changed, so its pretty useless in my pre-facelift A3.
So here is what to do...
Firstly get yourself a facelift climate control unit... these can be pricey, i picked one up for £60 on the bay.
Then take out your existing climate control unit from the car. I have a double din unit so i just simply removed the rubber button strip above the climate unit and then just pulled the climate unit out by pushing it down off its top clips and then unplugging the cables behind it.
Now you need to get both units apart. This part is really easy! you just need to have a T9 screwdriver and then get to work removing the screws in the back of the units.
The old unit disassembly:
unscrew 8 screw from the back of the unit (that little see-through plastic part is my custom ambient light under the unit):
next carefully lift the 2 tabs at the top and take the back plastic off...
then unscrew 6 more screws from the back of the electrics board:
now this panel can be taken off to reveal the front panel
The facelift unit disassembly:
Unscrew 6 T9 screws from the back of the unit:
remove the plastic cover and remove another 6 screws from the back of the board:
now you have the front panel of the facelift unit...
now we need to remove the switches from the panel. this is done by carefully moving the the black tabs out of the way and the switch should pop out of the front of the unit:
do the same to the other side and to the old climate unit, you should now have this:
now we need to get rid of the raised plastics on the old climate unit as the new chrome switch will not sit unless these are removed. You can dremel these out but as it was late when i did mine (1.30am) and i didnt want to make too much noise i just used a small set of pliers and got to work cutting them off (thanks Amar for this idea!)
now the chrome rings from the new unit will not fit the old climate unit as the legs are slightly shorter and so need to be swapped over...
Old rings on the left, new rings on the right:
To do this the chrome one needs to have the small tabs carefully pushed inwards to release it (be very careful as these are really weak and can easily break)
the old switches are easy as the front part of the plastic just pull off...
now swap over the chrome rings and reattach the switches, then attach the new chrome switches to the old climate control face. Watch out for the spring and carefully push the chrome rings back into place
Then just put the board and the rear plastics back together with the screws and you are done!
plug it back into the car and admire your new shiny chrome blinging look
Now since I had the facelift panel and the old switches i decided to make use of it so after a little 'modding' on the old switch i ending up with this:
The facelift unit still works perfectly fine now just with the older looking switches on it. Since no modification was actually done to the facelift panel the old switches can come back off and replaced with another chrome switch if anyone wants to do that, or it can be used as it is with the older switches in place. So I am going to sell on the facelift unit as someone out there may need to replace their original facelift unit due to other sorts of damage to the unit or electrical faults with their existing climate unit.
Hope this helps you guys out in the future
DISCLAIMER: I will not be help responsible for any faulty climate control units after attempting this mod. If you do F*** up your unit then thats your own fault