Custom Shortened Antenna
By John @ CelicaGarage
i wasn't really happy with the factory antenna after a couple weeks with the car. it was too long to fit the styling of the car. so i spent a few days looking for some of the shorter "fuba" type antennas to replace it with. the closest i could find was the cheap rubber flexible antennas from the 80's. the volkswagen dealer could get the fubas that come on their cars, but they weren't cheap. i realized i had other options.
i decided to make my own custom antenna. i cut mine off at about 8 inches long and (at my dad's suggestion) put the ball back on the end to make it look right. as far as i can tell, it didn't hurt the reception, and it looks way better. here's the results...
several people have since asked for a how to. i'll do my best to describe it, but i didn't take any pictures during the project. if you're in the southern california area, i'd be happy to help you out.
there's quite a few ways i can think of to do this, but i used the tools i had available at the time. access to a lathe or a small machine shop would have been great, but i didn't have that. the job could be done with simple hand tools, but i enlisted the help of a wood working friend with a decent collection of saws, files, and power tools. the whole project only took about 45 minutes.
things i used:
1. the stock antenna (duh!)
2. a tape measure (not required)
3. a vice (preferably with soft jaws)
4. a hack saw
5. a belt sander
6. a file
7. a hammer
8. pliers or vice grips
9. some epoxy that will bond to metal (jb weld)
wear safety goggles! there's going to be a lot of little metal pieces flying around, and the last thing you want is one of them lodged in your eye.
1. clamp the little ball on the end of the antenna in the vice. with the pliers or a wrench, twist the antenna using the two flat spots located near the threads at the bottom. the ball should twist right off. save the ball for later.
2. now measure and mark the antenna where you want to cut if off. clamp it horizontally in the vice just below the mark.
3. cut the antenna off at the mark.
4. remember the ball from step 1? you didn't lose it already, did you? look at the hole in the ball. try to estimate the size and depth of the whole. if you have the tools, you can measure it more accurately.
5. use the belt sander (or a lathe) and the file to turn down the end of the new shorter antenna until it's just bigger than the hole in the ball. obviously, this is where you need to be careful. remember... measure twice, cut once. take it easy and compare the antenna with the hole often.
6. if you think the end of the antenna and the hole in the ball match up now, go on to step 7. otherwise, go back to step 5 and keep working.
7. if you have some epoxy, place a small dab in the hole of the ball.
8. place the ball, hole up, on a steady surface and hammer the antenna into it. be careful not to damage the threads with the hammer, and don't bend the antenna. i discovered that placing the ball on a soft piece of wood, like a pine 2x4, works great. after the first few taps with the hammer, the ball will make a dent in the wood and will stay in place better.