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Tech Article

Audi C5 A6 Symphony Sound System (Stereo unit, Radio) Removal and Replacement

Last Updated: 03/16/2019
Parts Group: Stereo sound system / radio main unit
This article discusses the Audi Symphony stereo unit for the C5 Audi A6 with the main focus being on removing the unit. If you're not here for the technical analysis but would rather buy a used unit from us, then please select the link below. Our stereo units come with a matching radio code, and are guaranteed to work.The information herein is based on one of our project cars.

I was trying to use the Ross-Tech diagnostic VCDS software on this car, and it refused to connect. On my other Audis, it worked just fine. I looked into typical causes of this particular symptom of failure, and I learned that on this model, if the stereo unit malfunctions (specifically, due to a blown fuse) it may cause communication problems with the on-board diagnostic (ODB II) port.

One way around the problem is to physically remove the stereo unit. Indeed, after doing so, the Audi connected with the VCDS software just fine.

Removal of the the stereo unit was quite simple once I had the required, specialized tools. I got mine from ZDMAK tools, item MK-9000, for less than $20. This item is a set of tools, more than I needed for the Audi:

The tools I used on the Audi were a set of four metal plates, each with a plastic ring attached to one end. The kit includes four of the tool shown below:

I put one tool at (loosely speaking) each corner of the stereo unit, with the diagonal edge facing inward. This released the spring clips and allowed the stereo unit to be pulled forward, using the rings to tug the unit away from the dashboard. To be more precise, the place to insert each tool is not at the physical extreme corners of the stereo unit, but just above the top rectangular buttons (to the left, "Track Seek" and to the right "FR" and "FF") ...

... and just below the bottom rectangular button (to the left, "Tape," and to the right "Random").

Below is a picture of the stereo unit completely out of the car, with the tools inserted:

Below is a picture of the stereo unit still in the car, with the tools inserted:

I pulled the unit out ...

... completely, so that I could reach behind it, to undo the various electrical connections. I found it easier to work on the connections with the stereo unit face down, and the gearshift lever all the way towards the rear, and covered by a thick towel, so that I could place the stereo unit thereon, without high risk of damaging it.

The connections at the back of the stereo unit are:

- Vertically stacked and placed horizontally, three plugs: a black wide trapezoid plug at the top, then a brown rectangular plug, then a black rectangular plug
- Inboard of these, and vertically placed, a red rectangular plug
- A round large plug
- A round small plug
- A brown spade connector

The rectangular plugs each have a side plastic tab that must be pushed toward the body of the plug to make the plug release.

It was not easy for me to extract the tools from the stereo unit. With the unit out of the car, I turned the unit sideways so that two of the tools were topmost and two at the bottom. Then, I pushed down on the metal tabs right next to the tool. The best place to push on the tab is: as far as possible towards the front of the unit. This freed each tool, allowing it to be pulled out of the stereo unit.

To install the replacement unit is a lot easier. No tools are needed. After the various connections have been made, the unit can simply be pushed into position. You'll hear a "click" -- actually, four of them at the same time -- and then the unit will have been correctly installed.
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