JLPurcell

Antenna Rebuild / Restore

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    I am sure members are aware that in my list of projects to bring my restored 72 to the next level I wanted to find a NOS bullet tip antenna. That has proven to be difficult but in my quest members donated or sold me donor antennas:D for parts and I was able to find enough good parts to complete a restoration of an antenna which is the next best thing. The finishing touch came when a member offered me a NOS mast. I hope the following will help other members in the position of wanting a good working original antenna. post-7454-14150824034272_thumb.jpg

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    In an earlier thread I documented the process of having fasteners and other metal parts zinc plated. At that time I had some antenna brackets, covers and fasteners plated which helped complete my antenna restoration. First I collected a number of donor antennas in a variety of states of disrepair. From this I was able to glean enough good parts to complete my antenna restoration. All selected parts were cleaned and prepared for assembly.post-7454-14150824035977_thumb.jpg

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    I first took the gear housing and installed the electric motor and drive gear. Note the small bearing on the end of the drive gear. The bearing needs to be lubricated with grease (also hold it in place on the end of the gear). Make sure to loosen the adjustment screw on the housing prior to tightening down the motor. Once motor is in place and tight the adjustment screw can be adjusted. Next the wires will need to be soldered to the motor. The red and blue to the open housing side of the motor (left) and the white and blue to the closed (right side). I then rand a test and fine tuned the adjustment of the tension on the adjustment screw and tightened the set screw.

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    Edited by JLPurcell
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    I then installed the NOS mast in the housing shaft and ran the mast nylon drive line into the gear housing and installed the two retaining screws to hold the mast and housing in place. Next I installed the plastic guide and retaining screw and then I installed the motor housing (cover). Note: I applied a small amount of sealer to the base to protect motor from moisture. post-7454-14150824042956_thumb.jpg

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    The next step was to install the gear and clutch assembly. I almost forgot to install the black plastic cover prior to installation of the clutch assembly. It simply snaps into place. The order of the fasteners is as follows. First the retaining nut them 3 shim washers, then the retaining clip followed by the spacer washer. Apply grease to the gear, shaft and surface at the base of the shaft. Install the clutch unit, screw on retaining nut (do not over tighten), install the three shim washers (apply grease to them), then the retaining clip followed by the spacer washer (this can be installed later). Once the clutch assembly is in place you can pull out the antenna mast as far a possible to allow for the end of the nylon line to be attached to the clutch assembly using the cotter pin. Once this was complete I installed the metal cover / guide over the clutch assemble then ran power to the antenna fully retracting the it.

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    Edited by JLPurcell
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    All that it left to do is install the assembly cover, retaining bracket and the interior mast shaft parts (grounding assembly, metal half ball and interior half of the rubber mounting ball). Note: I will be using the current exterior shaft retaining parts currently on my car. They are as new and I have not been able to find extra of those parts in usable condition. Once final assembly was complete I lubricated the mast (silicone spray) ran power to the antenna and did some fine adjustments to insure smooth operation. I hope this post will help other members in the future.

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    Thanks and very well done Jerry!

    Invaluable to those that wish to restore the original antenna to proper working condition---(I have several that need various areas of attention and his may make me bold enough to give it a go)

    This information- coupled with amcforester's post about using string trimmer line for replacement of the plastic mast cable--- just about covers all that is needed.

    Did you use Lubriplate for the grease or white lithium?

    Several years ago Motorsports offered reproduction rubber balls for the mast assembly. They were used above and below the sheet metal of the rear quarter panel. Your photo shows the lower one in place. The upper ball is identical, but reverses orientation to mate with the lower ball. I purchased a few back then and called recently to ask if they were still available----alas they aren't.

    Someone should repop these again, as the upper ball suffers from exposure to the elements and deteriorates.

    My experiance is that the antenna mast finisher nut is the most fragile part of the assembly. The plastic used gets very brittle and crumbly after 40+ years!

    I have managed to aquire a few good ones over the years---

    post-8151-14150824077485_thumb.jpg credits to KG:kiss:

    Thanks again!

    Jim D.

    "Zup"

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    You are correct the antenna mast finisher has been impossible to find. Luckily Les installed a nice if not NOS one on my car in the restoration process so I have a good exterior ball and finisher but I do not have any spares. I do have one or two bullet tip mast in good condition for being used. I was lucky to get a NOS bullet tip mast for my restoration project thanks to a member on this site. Thanks again DAN! JLP

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    I haven't done much on my 72 for a while and thought I make this the summer for finishing a bunch of little stuff and while I was doing a test drive I ran the antenna up and guess what ? It wouldn't come back down :( I looked around on the net and was floored that no one sold them anymore. Seems like someone would remake these for the enthusiast market.

    Long story short, I pulled out the stainless mast I put in several years ago and the Nylon cord was broken. It is so brittle that it has a crack about every 2" that just snaps with the slightest pressure. After looking at the construction of the assembly I came to the conclusion that the tip would need to come off to get the solid rod out if I were to try to crimp on another cable. That didn't go so well, so I dug around in my old bits box and found the original chrome antenna I took off because someone had bent it over circa 1985. Never throw any car bits away no matter what your wife says :)

    The largest tube had a bad kink in it and the next size tube wouldn't retract into it. Well, after a lot of micro hammering and heating with the PP torch I was able to get it straight and functional again. It has a small crack like mark you can see if you're looking for it, but it works! Whohoo! :D

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    240Z240Z240Z,

    Nice work! Thanks for sharing. I get a kick out of creative repair, yours and JLPurcell's.

    The parts the wife won't buy into keeping can be hidden in an undisclosed location. In desperate situations even a hole in the ground can work if the parts are protected from corrosion. Theoretically an entire car could be hidden that way.

    JLPurcell,

    I don't know yet if my antenna works glad you shared how it make it work in case I have a problem. I will save your thread. Took out the radio when I bought the car 4 years ago to work on the car and haven't figured out how to test the antenna yet.

    Thanks for the great pictures.

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    Just to help anyone thinking of straightening their kinked antenna like I did here's some pointers.

    The pipe sections of the original antenna are chrome plated brass so you can work it with a small hammer and heat if you're careful.

    I used a flat anvil and a very small hammer.

    I placed the pipe kink on the anvil with the corners facing vertically and began "tapping" it with the hammer lightly to flatten the points that formed when the main pipe was bent and creased.

    I squirted a bunch of WD-40 down the hole where the cable comes out and pushed on the next size pipe to try and get it into the kinked section of the larger pipe.

    More hammering and more twisting and forcing of the smaller pipe until it finally slipped in.

    Then with the smaller pipe in place I hammered around the whole kink tring to round it out.

    Then I pulled the smaller pipe back and placed two strips of blue masking tape on the anvil about 1" apart and built up about 4 layers each.

    Then I turned the pipe so that the kink was facing down and started hammering on the back of the pipe to try and get it straighter.

    The tape allows the pipe to bend in the area of the kink .030" and no more.

    I kept trying to feed the smaller pipe in but it was still a tight fit.

    I pushed the small pipe in and rotated the kink under the PP torch for a couple of seconds to heat just that area a bit.

    I worked the small pipe in and out and it loosened up.

    I heated it again then rolled and hammered the kinked section on the anvil as I tried to bend it back even straighter.

    Use caution when heating the pipe since you can melt the Nylon cord and damage it with too much heat!

    I finally put the end of the second pipe right at the kink and gave it some heat then worked it in and out.

    That really loosened it up, there may be a plastic piece on the small pipe that deformed a bit, not sure.

    After the heat treatment I just kept hammering and pushing on the smaller pipe untill the pipe was striaght and the second pipe slipped in and out easily.

    That's about it.

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    I am working on the antenna mast finisher nut plastic part. Plan on doing this in both a hard plastic and a shore 90A urethane type.

    This is a sample I machined for casting.

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    Good post! I have couple spare antennas lying around, waiting for someone to save'em. Maybe finally i could repair them.

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    I am working on the antenna mast finisher nut plastic part. Plan on doing this in both a hard plastic and a shore 90A urethane type.

    This is a sample I machined for casting.

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    Nix 240z,

    Any updates on reproducing the antenna mast finisher nut plastic part

    Edited by ericzx

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    Looking for antenna parts again, I am working on a project for a member. Any parts out there, you are willing to part with? Specifically I definitely need the exterior finish retaining nut with the plastic cap. Anyone know of a source? Thanks for your help with this. JLP 

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    I could use one of those finishing nuts as well.  Did not see any on @nix240z site. The nut part on my antenna is fine, its the plastic that is not good.

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    I reworked the plastic replacement cap for the finishing nut last week. As you can see it has a paper thin ring that goes down into the finisher nut along with a star looking washer. It fits perfectly even with the star looking washer inside the cap. Should be available to order in the next week. 

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    5 hours ago, Mike B said:

    Mike, yes it is. I have been in contact with the seller. The problem with that one is the method for mounting seems a little if'y. You simply cut off the old one and trim down the metal retainers and glue that one in place. I will try it if I do not find a better option. I have a good one on my car and one spare. I am restoring an antenna for one of our members which needs a replacement. Thanks for taking interest in this post. JLP

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    3 hours ago, JLPurcell said:

    Mike, yes it is. I have been in contact with the seller. The problem with that one is the method for mounting seems a little if'y. You simply cut off the old one and trim down the metal retainers and glue that one in place. I will try it if I do not find a better option. I have a good one on my car and one spare. I am restoring an antenna for one of our members which needs a replacement. Thanks for taking interest in this post. JLP

    I am making a batch of new ones this week. The only difference is that the reproduction is a little wider at the top by about 0.5mm. The original is .035" and my reproduction is .055" wide. The only thing you need to do is get the old top out of the finisher nut and install the new along with original star looking washer( metal retainer).  Other than the small size difference, it is a perfect fit and look. It is also nice and tight around the antenna mast. 

     

    original is on the left and reproduction is on the right.

     

     

     

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    21 minutes ago, nix240z said:

    I am making a batch of new ones this week. The only difference is that the reproduction is a little wider at the top by about 0.5mm. The original is .035" and my reproduction is .055" wide. The only thing you need to do is get the old top out of the finisher nut and install the new along with original star looking washer( metal retainer).  Other than the small size difference, it is a perfect fit and look. It is also nice and tight around the antenna mast. 

     

    original is on the left and reproduction is on the right.

     

     

     

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    NIX240z, looks good. Let me know when available or I can just pre-order if you prefer. JLP

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