button podging

A few months ago I fitted this rather lovely multifunction steering wheel from a mk6 Golf GTi. Most would be content with this much higher end piece of kit being used for the simple but important purpose of steering but not me.
This thing has bling buttons and I want to use them as reaching half a meter across to the head unit is clearly far too hard for me so I started the job of achieving the "impossible" and tried to convince my T5 it should chat to a golf steering wheel.

Before we get started though I'd like to point out that I have written down my whole process to achieve this job. As such there are some false turns and dead ends so make sure you read the whole thing before going shopping yourself. Alternatively just skip to the end and use the shopping list there.
I have done this so others can carry on from where I left off should they wish to try an alternative root.

Right research head is on!

First off I picked up a multi function steering wheel conversion loom from ebay. There are a few guys in Germany making these and this takes a hell of a lot of the guess work and heart ache out of this mod.
One snag about buying from Germany is the whole German thing as I don't speak it! Luckily I managed to get an electronic version of the install manual from the seller and used Microsoft translator (you need to set an account but it is free if you don't translate thousands of docs a day) to make it all English. When this stumbled upon a word it got a little wrong I would use Google translate to see if it came up with a better answer but 9/10 Microsoft translator did a better job. The down side of this is that I had to copy all the text into a word file so I lost all of the picture associations requiring a bit of tooing and froing between the two versions before I finally gave (stopped being lazy) in and copied these across separately.
With this I had an idea of what I needed to do but I still had some areas of confusion as I attempted to buy spares.
One of these was the MFL control unit which after a little digging turned out to be an untranslated acronym. It is taken from Multifunktionslenkrad (MFL) which translates to Multi function steering wheel (MFSW) which I guess with context and some hindsight is fairly obvious.

Shopping List

I found from a thread on the T5 Forum that :

"Most need a new steering wheel, slip ring (electronic piece behind the steering wheel), MFSW control unit and wiring loom adding. The only thing with early T5 upto 2007 is the CAN gateway is in the dash pod so you might need a new dash pod as well".

Now this was an old thread and I was hoping my Can Gateway adaptor on my headunit would solve any problems my basic instrument cluster throws up. THere was also a chace that my van was the later setup as it was build on the change over year.
So it looked like I needed:

  • MFSW
  • MFSW control unit
  • Loom
  • slip ring
  • wiper switch

I had the wheel and a loom which was a good start.  The slip ring, I assumed, was to take the newer style plug from the steering wheel. I had done the wire swap on my airbag so this needed to be reversed if this setup was going to work. I had the option to fudge the new loom onto the old style plug to skip this part but I wasn't feeling like bodging the airbag loom! The part number for the newer shape slip ring is 6Q0959654D which is shared by a number of VAG cars. I ended up with one from a Seat Ibiza which was identical to the T5.1 unit.

Back to my MFSW (MFL) control unit: It is a double relay block device with a small computer board inside. There are many different types used on various VAG vehicles but I have seen relay number 452 (pt no:  1J0907487B ) come up a number of times loosely connected to the T5 but more often spoken about when sticking a Bora wheel on a T4 so this looked to be misinformation. I did spot [URL="http://www.vwt5forum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=300665"]this thread[/URL] that suggests the very similarly numbered rely, '1J0907487C', was the one to get and a quick ebay search found me one in Denmark taken from a Multivan no less!

The wiring harness uses the F slot on the BCU which is also used by cruise control. Various parts of this loom are used by both systems so parts will need to be spliced/ removed.

On the subject of cruise control, you will need to change your control stalks (in my case again)

You may need to upgrade your BCU if you don't have electric windows and central locking.

It is worth noting that the T5.1 is slightly different and seems to just need a wire and code but I'm not researching this. A kit can be bought on eBay which is very straight forward to fit.


Fitting the loom was pretty easy. I followed the instructions with the only ambiguity being the location of the brown spade terminated wire (It goes on an earth stud) and the confusing wire colouring contrast between my already fitted cruise control loom and the new MFSW loom.
The cruise control plug is removed from the F port of the BCU and the black wire swapped to the MFSW plug. I chose to use the black and yellow E45 box wire from the cruise control loom that was already fitted to the van and soldered this to the end of one of the white on the MFSW loom. These are all terminated to the same pin so that would link them all for communication.
I then plugged the loom into the MFSW control unit which was mounted in its frame roting the wires accordingly.
Power was piggy backed off of the ignition for the time being as the wire supplied was too short to rech the fuse box (designed for a LHD van).
All of the steering column wires popped into their homes. Most of which replaced wires from the cruise control loom with only a couple of new ones. 
There was one wire that confused me for a bit that the instructions tell you not to remove but then telly you to fit another wire in it's place. Basically this wire needs to be removed, its end cut off, soldered to a wire on the new loom and a purple wire plugged into it's slot. This is the horn wire but is also used for communication.
Whilst I had the wheel off to do this I also changed the wiper switch unit and slip ring.
With these jobs done I popped everything back together and fired up VCDS to program in the control module. Everything showed up as it was supposed to and activation was a breeze so I unplugged and fired up the ignition.
On the plus side I didn't get an airbag light or worse still a face full of said part.
On the down side my buttons didn't work and now neither did my horn and the cruise control. Back to the drawing board...

Head scratching

I spent a while checking and rechecking my work. I contacted the loom seller who was as helpful as he could be but as time wore on he lost interest in helping this hapless fool out.
VCDS showed the control unit bu had an error for no communication to the steering wheel and button pressing gave no result. This lead me to believe that my wiring between the MFSW control unit and BCU were good but something was wrong between that and the wheel.
In desperation I tried a different model of steering wheel. The one on the right is the one that is recommended for retrofits to T5.1's. The one on the left is the wheel I had already. You can see the different wiring for the buttons. They also take a different airbag and airbag loom. 

For the sake of this task I was able to fit the same airbag to this new wheel temporarily to see if this would fix my problem but again..

I was all but out of ideas till I had a think about the cruise control. The new wiper switch you have to use looses the rocker switch on the end of the stalk but retains the top switch. 
Surely if this is the case I should have to have other buttons on the steering wheel that performed this job?
I did a little digging and found the factory fit MFSW for the T5 which had said buttons on the left hand side. It was a four spoke, the same as the original, but a slightly different shape and wrapped in leather.
The wheel wasn't what I wanted but I went ahead and ordered one as I was determined to find out if this would ever work.
The wheel arrived in the post and I quickly went out to the van to fit it. This wheel uses the older style slip ring (a money saver for anyone else looking at doing this) so a far more straight forward fit if I hadn't changed this once already.
With everything back together however it was the same story. 

It all came down to one wire

There then was a good sized gap before I went and got a copy of Elsawin to see if there was a problem with the loom I had bought.
Once I had got my head round the program I found the wiring diagram for the MFSW and went about association the diagram with the mess of retrofit looms I have fitted.
Then I spotted it. Next to the purple horn data line there was supposed to be a horn power line and mine was missing. 
I bridged in a repair wire from another power source and fired it up.
My buttons lit up with the side lights and my button podging brought up corresponding signals on my VCDS screen. More importantly my horn worked again which the dog didn't like and promptly retreated to the safety of his bed.
Naturally I had to give the newer wheels a try after finally sorting this out but it was no surprise when they did:


well I set out to get a golf mk6 wheel to work in a T5 so no not really. 
But I do have a working MFSW in my van  that I can still say is nicer than that stock rubber thing.
The cruise control buttons work a treat and are nicer to use than the stalk ones which can be a pain to operate in some situations.
A comical down side to this, most ironic of them all in fact, is that the steering wheel buttons don't work with the Kenwood DNX525. The whole point of said head unit is that it works with VW cars!
As it is designed with the T5.1 and later in mind I can only assume it doesn't recognise the signal from the older steering wheel which is a huge bummer. I don't see myself downgrading the headunit to a T5 one any time soon (I'm not changing that bloody dash again!) so this is a big miss for me.

On the positive side; now we know, so anyone retrofitting a MSFW in the future can wonder into this better informed. Here is a revised shopping list for anyone trying to do the same:

Shopping list

Is three spoke a possibility?

I have come to the conclusion that to use  the more modern three spoke wheels, you will most likely need a BCM change to that used in a T5.1. So pretty much a complete harness swap and everything else as well.
As the newer wheels are supposed to speak directly to the BCM rather than a separate module like on the T5, I can't see any other way without reprogramming the current BCM which is pretty advanced stuff.

 I do like the new wheel and will be keeping it. I will just keep reaching across to change the volume on the headunit, it's not that far after all.


  1. omg.. finally! someone who is retrofitting a MFSW on a T5.. and NOT German!! ha

    I also started this summer 2016 and got exactly the same components.. and basically got stuck.. as my German is not very good!

    anyway have a T5 Caravelle, same steering wheel, mfsw relay, VCDS etc etc..

    mate, do you have an email or something..? .. just wanted to ask a quick question re wiring

    1. How did you get on? Feel free to fire any questions across. I do check back here periodically

  2. I am looking into fitting a golf Mk6 Multifuntion wheel to my 2004 caravelle any tips or step by step guide or anything that could help would be a great help

    Thanks in advance

    1. you need to modify the airbag wiring to work but it is pretty straight forward. I have talked about this in a previous post.


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