With help from the information posted on the forum and on the net, I have just successfully installed 2009+ face-lift rear lights to my 55 plate A3 Sportback.
Most of this information is already on the forum in various places, but while it's fresh in my mind I've tried to pull everything together in one place, which I hope will save search time for others. I've tried to cover-off the questions I had and those I've seen from others on the various threads - hope it's useful to someone!
Following the advice of others on the forum, I bought my OE lights new from autoteilemann.de via German e-bay:
AUDI A3 8P SPORTBACK FACELIFT LED-RÜCKLEUCHTEN NEU OE! | eBay
I paid circa £190 delivered, and they arrived within 3 days - very efficient service. The price does fluctuate with £/Euro exchange rate, so if you time it well you may even improve on this price slightly. For comparison, I was quoted £170 delivered second-hand from an e-bay dismantler/breaker; and £260 delivered from an Audi Main Dealer. For the additional £20 over the breaker, I prefered to have box fresh and warantied, thus reducing the risk of wasting my time fitting a broken second-hand set.
Kufatec conversion looms seemed to be the ones of choice on the forum, with some reference to Kuftec being an OE supplier?
They are available in the UK for £50, though I got mine from Ampire Germany for a similar price. Delivery was again very efficent.
Facelift LED Rear Lights - Adapter - Audi A3 8PA Sportback-36507
Codeing was the only other cost, and I paid £30 at a local autoelectrician, though many people on the forum have the kit to program so, if you can find someone local, you can probably get it done much cheaper.
So, in total, the face-lift cost me £270
I'm reasonably handy, but no expert, and found the install very straightforward.
If you haven't removed the rear lights on an A3 before, this video is really worth watching first. While 'simple-when-you-know-how', removing the outer lights can be tricky if you haven't done it before, and there are stories of damaged paint & bodywork while trying. My recommendation on this would be to invest in a proper rubberised plastic trim removing lever, as prying with a metal screwdriver is likely to damage paint work. As you will see from the video, there are 2 "ball-&-socket" securing lugs on the side of the lights and, having undone the plastic securing bolt inside the boot, you then need to gently lever these ball-clips out. This part isn't shown clearly in the video and perhaps make it look slightly easier than it is, but use a trim remover (like the orange tool the guy has in this video) to gently prise the light unit out to the side of the car to release the "ball-&-socket" joint. Once out about 5mm, the ball pops out of the retaining socket, and the light unit is free. This is probably the biggest area of risk to damage the light unit or the bodywork, so take your time on this bit - excessive force shouldn't be needed! As the video shows, when fitting the new lights insert the "ball-&-socket" lugs end first, then manouvre the other end into position, and secure with the long black plastic retaining "nut" from inside.
Brake Light Change 2006-2013 Audi A3 - 2008 Audi A3 Quattro 3.2L V6
The Kufatec instruction sheet (link below) was very clear in the removal process for the inner/boot-lid lights. You do need to remove the interior trim panel from inside the boot. Having removed the 4 screws as indicated in the instructions, it is just a case of pulling the panel away from the boot lid to separate it from its retaining lugs. You do need to pull quite firmly to get the panel to release. Similarly, when refitting the panel, having checked that all the lugs and boot-lock suround are aligned, you need to give the panel a reasonable thump with the heal of your hand to re-engage it on it's lugs before securing with the 4 screws (see photos in instruction sheet). The light units themselves are secured by a single nut which holds a white plastic retaining arm (have a look at the location of this arm on the new light, and all becomes clear when looking into the recess of the boot lid). The only thing to note when installing the new ones is that there is a locating channel (or 2 lugs) which needs to locate around the side edge of the boot lid to pull the lights flush. Once inserted and flush, they are secured from inside with the plastic arm and nut.
Connecting the Kufatec looms was very straight forward. They come in two separte bags, 1 left and 1 right. The German word for left begins with the letter 'L', and right 'R', so that keeps things simple for non-German speakers like myself - RIGHT being the driver's side on a UK car (Right hand drive!).
On the outer lights, you simply unplug the existing loom plug from the back of the light, and plug the short Kufatec loom between this plug and the back on the new light unit. The plugs on each end of the loom are different, and can only be inserted one way round, so you can't get it wrong.
On the inner/boot-lid lights, the loom is equally plug-&-play and fool proof. The only "autoelectrician" bit you need to do is route the single long wire from each loom to the centre of the boot-lid where you solder a connection to the grey wire of the number plate lamp (which supplies a feed to the inner LED tubes when the lights are turned on), and then insulation tape this new joint into the loom.
Some people have mentioned problems with water getting into the plugs of the conversion loom and recommended wrapping them in insulation tape. The area behind the lights on my car was bone dry despite the very wet winter we've had, so I didn't bother to tape the plugs, I just ensured the loom was clipped to the back of the light in its original position.
That's it from the installation perspective!
All of my lights worked perfectly/correctly at this point, so the car is perfectly safe and legal to drive if you need to take it to a garage for the recode. The only issue you have at this stage (which the coding resolves) is that the LED tube flashes 6 times when the Ignition key is first turned-on as the system tries to 'bulb test' what is now an LED tube. Also, the 2 bulbs in the outer light units illuminate as 'lights' inside the LED tube when the lights are switched on, but they do also glow brighter when the brake is applied so are quite legal. The re-code switches these two bulbs off as 'lights' leaving them to function just as 'brake lights' which leaves the centre of the LED tube shape dark until the brake is applied.
I had the recode done at a garage, so can't give any direct advice on this, other than to say the coding provided here worked:
General Electronics, coding, help with long coding:
Byte 9 to Dec = 0 (turns off bulb as light)
Byte 10 to Dec = 0 (turns off bulb as light)
Byte 12 to Dec = 48 (brightest setting for bulbs; 36 being a slightly dimmer alternative)
Byte 19 to De-active (turns off the bulb-check function of the LED tube, thus stopping the flickering when ignition switched on)
Byte 18 to Bit 2 (this remains unchanged unless fitting LED bulbs and allows bulb check on the remaining conventional bulbs)
Thanks to everyone who helped me! End result does look good!