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The Gentleman's Express: Tech-Tips from the JIOC

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Antenna Replacement

Author: CFF

Last week I replaced my power antenna with a new 7600 Hirschmann unit. I thought you might be interested in how to replace one, since it is really a fairly simple job and can save you a few dollars. To start you must first remove the battery from the car. Next the fender vent grille must also be removed. Then remove the mounting hardware connecting the antenna mast to the top of the fender and the single screw at the bottom support bracket.

The antenna lead and two electrical wires run through the firewall and behind the glove box, then across the dash following the defroster ducts and finally down inside the center console. To disconnect these, remove the screws retaining the forward portion of the carpeted section of the console on the passenger side and pull it out far enough to gain access to the radio. The antenna lead is the large black one connected to the rear of the radio.

Some cars have a short extension running from the radio to the antenna lead, if yours does then disconnect this at the junction. The antenna electrical wires are color coded: blue with white stripe, and blue with red stripe. They are connected by double female Lucar connectors, pull these apart. Unless the mast on your old unit is broken, take care in removing the antenna from the car.

I wrapped the electrical leads on the new unit with electrician’s tape from the antenna to the ends. It looks neater and it is easier to feed back through everything. The electrical connectors on mine were of course the wrong size to fit the lucar connectors so I simply spliced the wires together and insulated with more tape. The hardest part of the job is to adjust the antenna so that when it is fully up it doesn’t lean across the hood or whip motorcycle riders in the back of the head as you pass them. Also, rake is important. Too much and your antenna looks like it is going faster than your car, not enough and it is pointing the way for you.

One last thought before everything is bolted together, temporarily connect the battery and check to make sure that when you push the up switch, the antenna goes up. If not, reverse the antenna leads at the connections.

Now why did I ask you to be careful removing the old unit? Well, just after paying from $65 to $120 for a new antenna wouldn’t it be nice to have a perfectly good spare? Think about it, unless someone purposely snapped or bent the mast there must be some other reason why your antenna did not work. The most common fault is that the plastic cable broke at the connection inside the winder. to check this out simply remove the single nut retaining the spool cover and lift off. Now you will see another cover held in place by three tiny phillips screws, remove this cover and, if the cable is broken, you will know it then!

To repair the busted cable, first pull the cotter pin and cable clip. Remove the broken piece of cable from the clip, insert the cable end and poke or drill a hole through it using the existing holes in the clip as a guide. Replace the cotter and rewind the cable. Also lube the cable for smoother operation. However, that is not what was wrong with my old antenna. Mine had somehow gotten an excess of water in the spool and for some reason the drain didn’t. Everything was rusted and the cable had transferred particles of rust up into the sleeve and caused it to jam. I cleaned as much of the rust up as I could using wire brushes, sandpaper and fingernails - yech!

I then painted both covers, inside and out, with Rustoleum. While the paint was drying I disconnected the cable from the spool, cleaned and lubricated it using WD-40. After working the cable back and forth a few times while continuing the cleaning/ lubricating process I finally freed it at which time I reassembled it and tested it. It now works great, goes completely up and retracts to the flush position with no hesitation at all. If I had checked the old antenna first I could have saved $90 in parts. I have a spare for my wife’s Jensen.

(The Hirschmann 5091 comes with a control relay which, when installed as suggested, will automatically raise the antenna when you turn on the radio. It does have a disadvantage though, in that if you wish to operate your tape section, the antenna will raise anyway!... TECH)

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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