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Old 04-05-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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1997 SL2
Default replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

OK here's the deal:

I have recently re-attached my radio antenna to my car (due to my stupid self unintentionally disconnecting it for some reason.) It works, for the most part. However, the stinger on the antenna connector (which is found underneath the glove box) was bent, so I had to bend it back. I then decided it was time to replace the antenna, let alone the cord, since it kept fading in and out on some stations (not sure if it's due to overhead power lines, underpasses, the antenna in general, etc.)

I've tried removing the fender (half-assed, due to the little caps that are where the tire is, and I didn't wanna break them) to get to my antenna mast and wire. I disconnected the antenna from its under the glove box hookup. However, I've tried tugging at that location, no deal. So I tried tugging on the wire underneath the antenna mast itself, still no deal.

So the question is, how, exactly, would I get the new antenna cabling into my car, either where it hooks up underneath the glove box, or perhaps within the radio compartment?

Thanks for your help.

BTW, if it helps, my radio and CD changer are aftermarket (and have been long before I bought the car.) the CD changer is disabled due to it not working properly and I changed the deck. the antenna appears to be OEM. I've even tried Googling, however it turned up instructions on POWER antennas, instructions for anything OTHER THAN a Saturn, let alone saturns not in my model year, buying antennas, what have you.

Also, on another note, how, exactly, is the AM band controlled on a Saturn? During my 3-6 month radio hiatus, I could pick up a few FM stations, however I couldn't get AM stations (none whatsoever, not even 700 WLW in Cincinnati, and yes I do live near Cincy) unless I happened to be within a football field's length (this is counting the endzones, mind you) of the transmitting tower.

Last edited by adventureoflink; 04-05-2009 at 02:20 PM..

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Old 04-05-2009, 07:32 PM   #2
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1997 SL2
Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Check this video on removing the fender. It's a really minor job to get it off (even the first time). You may find the front bumper support bracket/reinforcement is rusted like mine was. If so, that might complicate things a little (but is really cheap to replace from the dealer)

The antenna mount is shown near the end of the video (after the fender is removed).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZT_S4XtS9k

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Old 04-05-2009, 08:44 PM   #3
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1997 SL2
Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Thanks for the video.

Now, all I need is instructions on how to feed the new wire in. As I said before, I could tug on that slack wire underneath the antenna mast (you know near the feed hole), it wouldn't budge. Likewise for the end underneath the glove box. Would I need to remove the dashboard and/or glove box to get access to the whole cable?

On another note, someone oughta submit this to the how-to section once this repair project is complete.

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:03 PM   #4
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1997 SL2
Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureoflink View Post
On another note, someone oughta submit this to the how-to section once this repair project is complete.
Looks to me like you just volunteered?

Haven't done it myself but a quick search says that the cable is secured with clips behind the glove box.

Try this one for that part..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSkl7nlCdAc

There is another video (door check IIRC) that shows the kick panel removal but I don't know if you actually have to pull that to get to the interior side of the cable pass-through grommet or not?

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:39 PM   #5
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1997 SW2
Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureoflink View Post
Also, on another note, how, exactly, is the AM band controlled on a Saturn? During my 3-6 month radio hiatus, I could pick up a few FM stations, however I couldn't get AM stations (none whatsoever, not even 700 WLW in Cincinnati, and yes I do live near Cincy) unless I happened to be within a football field's length (this is counting the endzones, mind you) of the transmitting tower.
Not getting AM indicates the center conductor of the antenna lead is broken between the radio and antenna mast. If that doesn't fix it the radio is bad. The is a rubber groment on the leadin that is a pain to remove on the rt pillar. There are 2 clips holding the extension lead under and behind the glove box. Your best bet is to go to a pick&pull and remove the antenna for practice. You will need a new one anyway. The Saturn uses a mini Motorola plug. Aftermarket radios generally use a std plug. Pull the radio and check the antenna lead. You may have a taped broken cable if the installer didn't use a proper adaptor.

Steve

Last edited by TvSteve; 04-05-2009 at 09:46 PM.. Reason: add

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Old 04-05-2009, 10:49 PM   #6
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1997 SL2
Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by off-track View Post
Looks to me like you just volunteered?
Awesome, once this job is complete and fully working I'll get a new SD card for my digital camera and make my video.

Or perhaps posting step by step pictures a la sunroof repair how-to is fine too :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by off-track View Post
Haven't done it myself but a quick search says that the cable is secured with clips behind the glove box.
Damn, I was afraid of that.. but not surprised, given I mentioned removing the glove box and/or the dashboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by off-track View Post
Try this one for that part..
-Youtube Link removed to make the board happy-
Thank you sir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by off-track View Post
There is another video (door check IIRC) that shows the kick panel removal but I don't know if you actually have to pull that to get to the interior side of the cable pass-through grommet or not?
The new antenna instructions basically say that you're supposed to do the following:

1) gain access to the antenna wire
2) cut oft the wire, preferably near the old mast
3) put the stinger from the new antenna inside the old cable, then electric tape it on nice and good
4) using the old cable, fish the new cable in

however, since the old wire won't budge worth a crap, it kinda makes this redundant eh :P also, what do you mean by door check and kick panel removal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by TvSteve View Post
Not getting AM indicates the center conductor of the antenna lead is broken between the radio and antenna mast.
That's what I thought. However, some people thought I was BS'ing when I said radio decks don't have internal AM antennas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TvSteve View Post
If that doesn't fix it the radio is bad. The is a rubber groment on the leadin that is a pain to remove on the rt pillar. There are 2 clips holding the extension lead under and behind the glove box. Your best bet is to go to a pick&pull and remove the antenna for practice. You will need a new one anyway.
The current antenna can pick up AM and FM stations (for the most part.) I was just wondering how, exactly, my AM wouldn't pick up anything without the antenna hooked up. BTW, the deck is fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TvSteve View Post
The Saturn uses a mini Motorola plug. Aftermarket radios generally use a std plug. Pull the radio and check the antenna lead. You may have a taped broken cable if the installer didn't use a proper adaptor.
With that being said, would it be possible to feed the new antenna into the radio bay and hook it up from there? I have ~54" of wire to play with here.

Thanks for the help you guys. I'll try this when the weather gets better (yeah, combination of snow and cold temps for the next two days+no garage=this project is getting put on hold while I do some research on it anyway.)

and TVSteve, I have a new antenna ready to go.

Last edited by adventureoflink; 04-05-2009 at 10:57 PM..

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Old 04-05-2009, 11:08 PM   #7
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1997 SL2
Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Hate to double post (yeah, blame that whole 15 minutes max threshold on edits :P) but I just wanted to say that I was about to take this job to a shop if I couldn't get detailed instructions on how to remove the old wiring :P

(not disrespecting you all of course, but I can't believe even Google doesn't have any results specifically for my Saturn's model year, let alone the generation )

Oh, and FYI, the new antenna is an aftermarket antenna bought at Meijer (IIRC it's a Scosche) for like $9 :P

Last edited by adventureoflink; 04-05-2009 at 11:22 PM..

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Old 04-08-2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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Default

***UPDATE***

So today I remove the glove box to take a peek at things. Turns out the connector that was bent out of place and stomped on was the one going from underneath the glove box to the radio deck. I believe my antenna is fine. And no I'm not gonna remove the fender to check it right now, if it is *really* the connector going from the radio to the glove box connector.

Thanks for all the advice and tips and videos thought guys. If the antenna really is shot even after I replace the connector then I'll post my antenna replacement how to. I promise.

Thanks again though. For the record, my radio deck wouldn't pick up any AM radio station unless an antenna was connected.

Now, here's to hoping I can get my $9 back on the antenna and put it to better use.

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Old 04-08-2009, 06:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Got the $9 back.. now all I need to find now is some kind of double male ended cable (one end plugs into the radio and the other end plugs into the connector near the glove box)

..I'm starting to think that whoever initially aftermarketed the radio ended up doing a ghetto setup to get the antenna going. If the aftermarket antenna lead can plug into an aftermarket radio just fine, I'm starting to regret taking my antenna back to the store. :/

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Old 04-08-2009, 08:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Try this site...

http://www.metraonline.com/

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
*insert the M. Bison YES! picture here*

seriously, this is what I want, now how do I go about ordering one of these bad boys? I don't see anything of the sort on that site

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

google for <METRA 40-UV42>and some retailer will pop up or use Pricegrabber. http://www.pricegrabber.com/

That was just the company site and probably a link or 3 to the list price dealer. The google or pricegrabber will usually do it though.

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

crutchfield.com

http://review.zdnet.com/prices/av-ca...-6-in/30577049

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:26 PM   #14
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Yeah I actually tried the Google trick and tried to edit the previous message, however the little edit threshold blocked it..

in any case, seems like $9.99 is the norm around these parts for the most part. here's three more sources. would anyone here recommend these sites:

I found it on Amazon, and while I trust Amazon (having worked for one of their warehouses and I ordered a pack of 50 mini CD-Rs shortly after I quit), $12 is a bit high.. even $9.99 is.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_12040UV...e.html?tp=3351 -- $9.99
http://www.buy.com/prod/motorola-ant...203024156.html -- $6.27 (while this is the lowest price I'm seeing, I'm getting a bad vibe from buy.com for some reason)

most other sites have it for ~$16-$20, which is a little too high..

Thanks though for finding me more sources all the same.

EDIT: The buy.com link has it for $6.27 as posted, however the shipping is like $12.. pfft yeah right..

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Date Obtained: 5/30/07
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Last edited by adventureoflink; 04-08-2009 at 09:37 PM..

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Old 04-08-2009, 10:01 PM   #15
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

Buy.com is a front for many sellers. The seller on Buy.com is Limited Goods and after you add the shipping to their bargain price it soars to 17.43.

Crutchfield is not the low price on the block but the customer service makes up for it and I don't think the shipping would be ridiculous. Its 16.98.

Amazon might be the cheapest. 14.50. And we have a winner... Sold by Car Toys.

I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon and they tend to be the lowest price and the shipping is fast. I can not remember ever having an issue with Amazon or one of their partner sellers.

So, you get to pay 15.00 for a $5.00 part.......

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Old 05-09-2009, 07:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: replacing the antenna on a 1997 Saturn SL2.

***UPDATE***

So the other day I ordered that double male ended cable. However it was shorter than I had expected, so I had to buy an extension cable (female to male) for it at the auto zone ($5 for 12' of cable!!)

Hooked everything in, and now my radio works like a champ again!!! This time I electric taped the connectors and used zip ties to get the connectors and cabling (new and old) out of the way (and to make everything look neat.) I also learned that the antenna end wouldn't have worked anyway in the radio, just a bit too big there.

Thanks guys for all your help!

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