Monday, November 7, 2011

New Hirschmann Vanagon Antenna Installation

The original Vanagon antenna was damaged when we purchased the van, crimped half-way down the mast. This didn't impact the reception, but I learned a few weeks ago that it did affect the retractability. Before pulling into the car wash, I attempted to push down the antenna, and down it went, straight to the ground via the wheel well. Because of the crimp, the downward pressure snapped the antenna below the base.

I looked to GoWesty for a quality replacement and purchased their OEM Hirschmann, fully-retractable antenna with a stainless steel mast and chrome base, a fair price at $19.95. According to GoWesty, "these are the real deal, the very same part that came on your van from the factory. Heavy duty construction built to last years!" I hope so. The first one lasted over 20 years, so that's a good sign.

Installation is easy:
  • Remove the grill by releasing each of the five plastic "screws." One half-turn with a flat-head screwdriver does the trick.
  • Remove the driver's side headlight assembly (four small phillips-head screws).
  • Remove the nut from the base of the antenna (adjustable wrench works well).
  • Remove the old antenna from below via the hole in the headlight cavity.
  • Cut the old antenna wire at the base and hold onto it tightly.
  • Securely tape the end of the new antenna wire to the old, cut wire.
  • Remove the ashtray assembly from the dash, revealing the back of the radio.
  • Unplug the old antenna wire from the back of the radio (if you can't get at it, you may have to pull out the radio a bit).
  • Carefully pull the old wire out through the dash hole until you reach the new wire that you attached with the tape.
  • Remove the tape (This was the hardest part! I was terrified of losing the wire deep in the dash and used a lot of duct tape to secure it.). Plug the new antenna wire into the radio.
  • Feed the new antenna up through the antenna hole, orient the new antenna base, and tighten the nut.
  • Re-install the headlight assembly and grill.
  • Enjoy radio reception!