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Is replacing a mast on a "96 Camry a procedure that someone could do on their own?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Removing Original Antenna Instructions * STEP 1: Activate the antenna switch to the up position. * STEP 2: Using the wrench or needle-nose pliers, loosen and remove the original retaining nut on the base of the antenna mast. * STEP 3: Gain access to the underside of the area where the antenna is located. * STEP 4: Remove the bracket or brace that is below the hole and holding the antenna in place. * STEP 5: Remove the mast. * STEP 6: Find the motor that controls the antenna mast. Generally, power antennas will have a constant 12-volt lead and a ground lead. The ground lead will be grounded to the panel next to the motor. * STEP 7: Remove the ground lead from the panel. * STEP 8: Pull out the antenna coaxial cable. * STEP 9: Unplug the coaxial from the extension coaxial cable. * STEP 10: Remove the original antenna coaxial cable. Note the route the cable follows. Tips & Warnings * If the antenna is in a rear side fender, open the trunk and remove the side panel that covers the antenna location with a door panel popper. If the antenna is located in the driver's side pillar, use the screwdriver to loosen the pillar panel and remove it. If the antenna is located in a front side fender, open the hood. Locate the side panel that covers the antenna mount. There are usually holes in the panel so that you can reach through to gain access to the antenna. If the opening is too tight, remove the panel. * After unplugging the coaxial extension cable from the original antenna cable, tie or tape string that is 6 to 8 inches in length to the top of the extension cable. * If the distance from the antenna mount to the radio is a short one, there may not be an extension coaxial cable. In that case, unplug the coaxial from the antenna lead in the back of the radio. Installing the New Power Antenna Instructions * STEP 1: Inspect the fender area where the antenna mast will be mounted for rust. * STEP 2: Clean the area before installing the new antenna. * STEP 3: Plug the new antenna coaxial cable to the extension coaxial cable. (On some General Motors and Ford cars you may need an adapter to mate the two cables together. Car audio retail stores sell such an adapter.) * STEP 4: Plug the new antenna's coaxial cable into the radio's chassis antenna jack if there is no extension coaxial cable. Tie or tape the string you put on the extension cable to the new antenna coaxial cable. This assures that the two cables stay together as you route them to the antenna mount in the fender. * STEP 5: Connect the power lead of the antenna to the power antenna lead on the radio. * STEP 6: Connect the 12-volt constant lead to the antenna to a 12-volt source or to the ignition switch. * STEP 7: Direct the new antenna cable via the same route followed by the original antenna cable on up to the hole in the fender in which the mast will be mounted. * STEP 8: Ground the ground lead from the motor to a clean metal surface on the metal panel near the mount. * STEP 9: Insert the mast into the hole. Face the serrated side of the plastic cable on the bottom of the mast toward the motor side. The plastic cable can be inserted freely to about 12 inches and will stop. * STEP 10: Turn on antenna switch to down position until the plastic cable goes down and catches into the gear mechanism of the drum housing. If the plastic cable does not gear into the mechanism, twist the cable slightly until the cable contacts into the gear mechanism while the motor is in operation. * STEP 11: Stop the motor after the cable goes into the housing 12 to 25 inches. * STEP 12: Secure the bracket or strap to the bottom of the antenna mast and to the metal fender. * STEP 13: Replace the retainer nut to the base of the antenna mast and secure tightly. * STEP 14: Replace the panel that covers the antenna mount area. Tips & Warnings * Make sure that the bottom of the antenna mast is secured tightly in its mount. If not, the weight of the motor moving around under the mast can loosen the nut causing it to pop off and the antenna to drop into the fender or trunk. You can use the same brace or strap used to secure the original power antenna or use the brace or strap that comes with the new aftermarket antenna. * Read and follow the instructions that come with the antenna. Not all antennas install exactly alike.

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