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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone confirm from personal experience that a B5.5 "lower panel" a/k/a "knee bolster" (part no. 3B1-857-921-K-75R (happens to be "anthracite")) is 100% compatible with the earlier B5 (part no. B 3B1-880-509-B-A94 (happens to be "black"))?

I see a few years ago people were replacing their B5 bolsters with B5.5 bolsters largely because the B5.5 had an extra cubby hole.

However, from the photos of the B5.5 bolster, I couldn't tell if the OBD-II port was really in the same place.

I seem to recall sitting in a B5.5 in a VW showroom circa 2002 and noticing that VW had moved the OBD-II port to the bottom of the storage bin between the front seats, but that was eighteen years ago, so maybe my recollection is wrong at this point.
 

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You can interchange the bolster. The OBDII port stays under the steering wheel for all B5 & B5.5 Passat's. It moves slightly location wise but the harness to the OBDII connector is long enough to make the change.

FYI
The OBDII connector is obviously oblong in shape.
The older bolster holds the OBDII connector with the long edge parallel to the length of the dash.
The newer one with cubby holds the connector perpendicular to the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank-you, good to know.

"Why don't you get a Knee bolster from a junkyard ?" I find it easier to find junked parts online, but I haven't found this particular part yet. I didn't find any on eBay, not even for a B5.5. Back in 2014, a place that parts out VWs/Audis didn't even have a steel wheel for me. They gave me one from a 2007 Rabbit with a slightly wrong offset. I didn't use it. They said I was splitting hares about the slight difference in the offset, ha-ha, pun. I asked if they had any B5 bodies I could scavenge for other parts, but they said hadn't had any for a while. I found that difficult to believe, but when I looked around, most of the cars were mid-2000s. This is getting to be a rare car. I am only seeing another B5 or even B5.5 on the road maybe once a month now? A few months ago ECS had a little blurb about the 3B Passat (B5 or 5.5) saying something about it being a real "treat" to see one in the wild.

Another thing is, if my connection points crumbled, a junked part will probably have the same issue. It looks to me like after 200K miles or so, interaction with the atmosphere, summer heat, and bumps in the road stress the plastic.
 

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You could try CarParts4sale.com.
That's my go to place for used stuff. They have stuff coming and going all the time. I haven't been on their site for a few weeks now but I know for a fat I've seen what your looking on a number of occasions.
 

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I also see fewer B5 and B5.5's in the local junkyards. There used to be about 20+ around at any given time. Now, it's usually about 10-15.
 
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