Removing Onstar Antenna and Rerouting Radio Antenna

This is a pretty simple modification I did on my Saab. I read that a couple of other people did this modification, but I was not able to find any picture instructions, so here’s a sort of how-to.

To give some background, when Saab got purchased by GM, some of them came with OnStar. As a result, there are two antennae on Saabs of that period (1999 to 2002 9-3s). The one one top is the Onstar antenna, while the extendable mast in the back is for the radio. The rubber used to seal the Onstar antenna, unfortunately, hasn’t weathered well, and most of them are pretty cracked and ugly. The nylon rack gear in my aerial also snapped, and they’re sort of a pain to replace, so I decided to remove the Onstar antenna and install a radio antenna in its place.

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Removed Onstar antenna and replacement antenna

The skirt on the Onstar antenna clearly wasn’t doing a great job of keeping stuff out. Years of dirt got under the antenna. Fortunately, the smaller grommet seemed to seal well against the car, so nothing got into the roof.

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Cheap antenna means low quality

I paid $11 for this Universal Shark Fin Antenna off Amazon. I definitely got what I paid for. The wire for the antenna ran out the back of the housing, which I didn’t really like, and the “antenna” part of the device wasn’t really much more than just a little wire sticking out. I might pick out a Windshield Antenna and stick it inside the housing if it proves to not have enough reception in the future.

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Rerouted wire in antenna housing

I drilled a a 1/2″ hole in the bottom of the antenna housing to pass the wire through the bottom instead of the back. This way, I could use the entire antenna housing to cover up the hole in the top of the car. I’m not really one for car washes, so I just spot cleaned the area using paper towels and break cleaner.

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Steel fish tape

One of these tools makes running the wire down to the rear quarter panel a little easier. They’re available for pretty cheap from Home Depot or really any hardware store.

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Fish tape got stuck

I couldn’t really feed the fish tape all the way up the rear strut, so I pulled of some of the housing to see what was going on.

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Antenna connector

I just had to unplug the antenna connector from the old assembly and link it to the new antenna connector. Pretty straightforward.

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Antenna stuck down

Tidy everything up, make sure the new antenna is properly aligned, and stick it down!

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It’s a little more bulky, but it’s not super noticeable.

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Saab Clutch Replacement

Finally finished putting a new clutch in my car. It was a pain in the ass but a good learning experience. Definitely not doing it again with my current equipment.

I had to do some pretty ridiculous things. For those who don’t know, the clutch is basically like a glorified friction plate that operates between the engine and the transmission. There’s a lot of other things between the outside and the clutch, so I’ll try to summarize the steps in the following:

  1. Control arms are removed from the subframe
  2. Driveshafts come out of the transmission
  3. Engine needs support, so I built a support bar out of wood
  4. Subframe dropped or removed
  5. Engine lowered
  6. Transmission slides out
  7. Clutch comes out of the transmission

After that, it’s assembling everything in reverse! Something I’ll definitely remember forever is that getting a transmission back up to the engine while on my back is probably one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done.