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From digest.v7.n541 Tue Nov 4 22:42:03 1997
From: Jim Cash <>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 19:24:14 -0500
Subject: Re: <e28> Power Antenna Question

Tabe Johnson asks:

> The end of my power antenna fell out on the road somewhere. Can
> I just find another and screw it in or is it more complicated than that?


Well, it's a little more complicated, but not much.

First, finding one will go a lot faster if you go to a BMW or Mercedes (did I say that) dealer. There 2 types of wheels in the power units - one has teeth, and the other (earlier model) has a serrated V grove. Trust me, it really helps if you get an antenna with a plastic tail that matches the wheel.
I mentioned the 2 dealers because BMW will know for sure which antenna you need, but the prices for these used to be cheaper at "that other dealer".

Assuming you actually do get the correct replacement antenna, here is how to install it.

The top of the unit on the fender has a slotted screw cap. Put something around this to to prevent accidently scratchin the paint on the fender and then use something that fits in those slots ( like a large screwdriver) to unscrew that cap.

Now - it you are sure that the old antenna, and its plastic tail all "blew off on the highway" then it is time to put the new one in.

But, if there is any part left down in the power unit then you almost have to remove that unit, take it apart and remove the old parts. This is not really difficlt - but it does take some time, patience, and dexterity with a small wrench.
(disconnect the power and antenna connections at the unit first if you have to remove it from the car)

Assuming the unit is clear of old parts you are ready to install.

This is easier if there are two of you (one inside at the radio)

Turn the radio on and wait till you hear the antenna motor stop. It is now at the position when the antenna would normally be fully extended.

The new antenna should be folded up, with the plastic lead fully exposed. Insert the end of the lead down inside the tube with the v portin, or teeth, facing the front of the car. Push down till you feel resistance (it should now be just touching that take up wheel).

Now, hold the antenna up, with the plastic tail straigt so that it will easily flow into the tube.

Now you can wake up your partner and ask them to turn the radio "off". This will start the motor to pull the plastic tail into the unit. Guide it as it goes in, and be prepared to insert the metal part of the antenna as it comes to that point.

If it does not go in all the way, hold the antenna at that point and have the radio turned on again. Hold the antenna from going up. This ill cause the unit to readjust it's intenal positioning. Now when you turn the radio off again it should go all the way in.

If not you either:

  • got the wrong antenna unit
  • did not get all the old antenna out
  • or screwed up in some other way for which I am not responsible.

Then you can put the screw cap back on (actually there is a small "key" tool for doing this) but unless you go to the dealer you have to improvise. Since the antenna is now in the middle of this slot it is more difficult. I have used a pair of needle nose plyers - with one point in each slot - but one slip and you have a nasty scratch on the paint - surround with a blanket.

Put on some light lubricant, or wax, and you're done.

See - I told you it was easy.

Hope this helps


Jim Cash
London, Ontario, Canada
E39 540ia

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