Power Antenna Switch Mod (!PAS)

EDIT 9/20/02 - I modified the switch while doing the Pushbutton starter mod. I replaced the toggle switch with a ON/OFF/ON switch so that i can control the antenna and starter button cutoff with 1 switch. See that install page for details on using 1 switch for multiple uses.

This mod can only be done on a Pontiac (the Chevy's do not come with power antennas, so go read the power antenna installation page first). The object of this mod is to make the antenna go up only when needed. If the switch is turned ON, the antenna will operate as normal. If the switch is turned OFF, it will stay down even if the radio is turned on. Since I spend most of my stereo time using the CD player... the antenna gets lots of un-needed use. At the rate that these GM power antenna fail - it sure won't hurt using it as little as possible. When stock, the antenna goes up everytime the radio is turned on. After doing this mod - I've found that 98% of the time I don't need the antenna up to listen to the radio anyway. Of all the mods I've done - this is the simplest - yet it is my favorite.

Tools

2 flat-head screw drivers (1 small and 1 larger)
a socket set
wire (16 or 18 gauge, i used 18)
butt-plugs or solder
electrical tape
drill
switch (I used a metal toggle switch)
I also disconnected the battery before starting - I don't know if this is needed for this mod, but since I'm messing with a "power" antenna - I disconnect the battery for safety.


The first and hardest part is to take off the trim that covers the radio and heating / cooling knobs. Now I have taken off trim panels before - usually if you grab them and pull they will pop right off. Not on this car! (NOTE - the trim on the Camaro is NOT the same as the Firebird - the Firebird is much more difficult to remove). I had to use the 2 screw drivers to get the trim off. I wrapped the ends with electrical tape (to keep from scratching the trim) and started prying. You really need to pry. It took me 3 nights and many posts on LS1.com to get the thing off! My advice - look at this pic. You can see where the 4 clips are and know where to start prying. I started with the bottom-right corner. Once you get one clip out - it gets easier. I cannot emphasize enough how much trouble I had with this part! Take your time and be careful not to mess up your trim and pry hard!

Once you get the trim off - you will see this. Get out your socket set and remove the 3 (7 mm???) bolts that hold the radio in. You can then pull out the radio. In the back there are 3 wiring plugs. On the driver-side you will see a pink wire (CONNECTOR C1, PIN #8). The pink wire is the one that goes to the antenna. Since these wires are not that long (the radio only comes out of the dash about an inch or 2), I used butt-plugs to splice the wires together instead of trying toget a solder gun in there. What you need to do is cut the pink wire, and wire in your switch. I ran 2 wires from the passenger foot area up the dash to the back of the radio. Strip the ends of the wires back and splice 1 of your wires to 1 of the pink wires. Then splice your second wire to the other pink wire. I wrapped them with electrical tape just to be safe. You can now put the radio back in. (I kept the trim off just in case it didn't work and I had to re-do it).

Now the switch. I wired mine into the ashtray so that is is easily accessable and out of site. To do this I had to remove the center console. (If you need help with this - check out a help file on a shifter install - either mine or at a site like The Install University). I ran my 2 wires under the carpet in the passenger foot area (there are already wires going there for the airbag and ashtray light - run it right next to them). Check out this pic and you can see my 2 wires (on the left) and the mounted switch.

To mount the switch, I drilled a hole in the ashtray large enough for my switch. I then crimped some screw-on plugs to the end of my 2 wires. Using these ends will make it easy to disconnect the switch in case you need to take the center console off again later. I left enough wire so that I can remove the ashray and unscrew the wires from the switch - then be able to take the console off. All you have to do is mount your switch and connect the screw down the 2 wires to it. Then connect the battery back up, turn on the radio and test your switch. Hopefully it works and you can replace the console and trim, then go for a drive with the CD player blasting and the antenna down. If it doesn't work, check you wiring and connections. Make sure you got everything right.

If you need any help or have any questions - feel free to email me. I plan on getting some more pics up soon, right now this is all I have.