Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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SAAB c900 Antenna Repair and Service, Pt. 2

In Part One, we got our broken antenna out of the car.

Now with the antenna removed from the car, we can service it on the bench.

Here it is in all of its glory.

As you'll see, it's pretty straightforward to service.

Just make sure you don't lose any of the internals in the process.

Remove the center nut on the spindle. I believe this is an 8mm, but I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

There's also a hose on the end you'll need to pop off. I believe this is a drain hose, although it just hangs down in the car's fender - it's not connected on the other end.

There is a wheel on the top where the cable spools up. I took this picture after I removed the wheel - you'll see it in later pictures.

To remove the main gear, remove the c-clip (aka circlip) on the shaft.

The main gear will now slide up off the shaft.

If yours is like mine, you'll see 25 years (or more) worth of old lube on all of the parts.

We'll clean all that up.

On the top right in the picture is the spool I mentioned. And you can see my problem - the cable broke. Pretty typical. It was still wound inside the spool.

Here we have the smaller gears identified. The white cover just comes right off the top of the case.

Note the old lube packed in near the gear shafts. I cleaned all of that out.

This is a shot of some of the old, dirty lube being cleaned out. Sort of disgusting, but I figure if you've gone to the trouble of opening the thing up, you should clean it up and use fresh lube.

Every time I do a job like this, I'm reminded of that quote from my old MG (British Motor Corporation era) service manual: "Dirt and grit are the enemies of mechanical devices."

This is the worm gear that makes the magic happen. It drives the idler gears which in turn drive the main gear, and the spool.

Here are all the parts ready to go back together. Nice and clean.

I sparingly lubricated everything with this silicone lube before I reassembled it. It's a light-bodied lube.

I was going to use lithium grease, but I wasn't sure how the plastic would react to it. Probably fine, but I wasn't sure, so silicone it was.

Most of the parts reinstalled.

This is how the spool goes on the top. There is a small spacer/washer that rides on the top of the shaft.

I found it difficult to put the cover back on with the spool in place - that spacer kept getting knocked off.

So I just held the spool (and spacer) in place and put that and the cover on in one shot.

Put the nut back on the shaft and reattach the hose.

Now back to the car.

Reattach the mounting bracket and connect the antenna and power leads.

Get your new antenna mast ready. I gave the drive a light shot of lube before I put it on.

Thread the toothed drive down into the antenna until you hear it make contact with the gears.

The teeth should face backward, but you'll find when you move to the next step, the drive will align itself.

Don't put the antenna nut on the shaft yet.

You can do the next part yourself, but it's easier with a helper.

Turn the radio on. The drive may move upward a bit.

Then turn the radio off - the drive will get pulled down into the antenna. It doesn't go fast; you're just guiding it at this point. Much easier to do than describe. You will be amazed at how easy this part is.

You'll probably need to turn the radio on and off one or two more times before the whole cable is pulled down and the mast fully retracts.

This was my antenna after the first on-off cycle. Not fully down yet, but aligned and almost there.

And here it is, fully retracted. I suggest testing it once or twice at this point to ensure it works properly.

Now we can put the trim piece back on and tighten the 17mm nut.

I cleaned up my trim piece before reinstalling it. Looks pretty good now.

Put your spare tire back in the trunk, put the carpet back in, and you're done!


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