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Replaced my Antenna Mast!


Cool Driver

I am learning that nothing is really easy on a Vette! My boyfriend and I worked off and on the last three weekends to replace the antenna mast on my '96 Collector Edition. For several months I've been living with my antenna stuck in the "up" position. The motor runs but the mast does not move. I had gathered advice from CAC and another forum with lots of different information ranging from people taking 1-4 hours to replace the mast or the entire antenna unit. Some info said you had to remove the left rear wheel, among other things, and others said it was a piece of cake and they didn't have to remove anything. Well, here is my experience.

First, the mast would not expel per the directions that came with the replacement. (And by the way, the "tool" that comes with the replacement mast does NOT fit the nut at the base of the mast. Several posts I read said the same thing. I used needle-nose pliers.) Because the mast would not expel, I figured there were bits of plastic teeth broken off in the motor housing. Some of the screws that hold the housing in place could be removed from under the car (VERY tight fit to get your arms/hands up there), but the wheel and fender liner DID eventually have to be removed to get at it some of them. This still did not prove to be adequate, however.

The next step was to take the speaker grille and cargo area molding off and pull back the carpet to get to the electrical connection. (I may not be identifying these parts correctly, so please forgive me.) Eventually we had to remove the license plate in order to remove the tail lights so we could get our hands in the rear end of the car for enough leverage to pull the rubber grommet (where the wiring was fed) through its opening to completely release the housing. Once that was done, we could take the antenna housing/motor out of the car. We then had to drill out the screws holding the housing together and yes, there was about a 5” piece of the plastic ribbon broken off inside it. The broken piece was removed, we cleaned the housing up and used new screws to reassemble the housing. The new mast was then easily installed and we reconnected the wiring at the antenna and reconnected the battery to test it, and it worked like a charm! It took several more hours to get everything put back together.

My recommendation: If you can get the old mast to expel on its own, you can likely install the replacement mast without any problem. However, if the old mast will not expel, I would go to the dealer for this repair. It was a learning experience which I really enjoyed, but was a real headache in some ways and took far longer than I anticipated. I'm sure there are those of you who could have done it faster! Oh, we did have access to a Factory Service Manual, but it left a lot to be desired.


Well-known member
Dec 3, 2004
Denver Colorado
1989 Dark Red Coupe

Way to go, Cool! :cool Hope you drew no blood. This job appears to be quite an accomplishment. You should take pride in a job well done. Then, do some math with the time it took you divided by 2, times the shop rate of your mechanic. That should put a smile on your face.:D

John Robinson

Gone but not forgotten
May 3, 2005
Muncie, Indiana
1993 Polo Green Coupe
I congratulate you on your perseverance. Not all jobs are as much fun as this one. In the future study the problem and look for the easiest solution to getting the job done. You do not have to remove the antennae motor to replace the mast. As you said all you have to do is remove the left rear tire and inner fender. But again were else could you and your boy friend have spent that much time bonding.:v


Well-known member
May 20, 2003
1996 Black on Black
Wow, that sounds nasty. I recently noticed my 96 doing the same thing. I usually work on my car but anymore I feel it’s not worth my time anymore. I can hear the motor running but the antenna doesn’t move. I wonder how much this would cost to have a shop do the work

Good job on the repair.



Sep 24, 2004
Southwest Kansas
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
Good job, I like doing these things. When I was younger (35 years ago) I had to do those things myself. Along came the family and then I didn't have time to do them. Now as empty nesters, I am getting back into doing them again.

So far my antenna is working as it should, but always like read about these fixes for future reference.

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