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Power Antenna Maintenance
#1
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Scott
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The fender mounted power antenna on my '55 400 works, though seems to be straining hard. As far as I know it's not been touched since new so I'm wondering if there's any lubrication point on it that I should address to avoid damaging it. I wouldn't want to strip something out.

Posted on: 1/2 19:48
1942 Clipper Club Sedan
1948 Custom Touring Sedan (22nd Series)
1955 Patrician Sedan
1955 400 Sedan
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Re: Power Antenna Maintenance
#2
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HH56
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There is not really much to lubricate. The antenna masts only touch each other via the hole in the top end and a brass set of "fingers" at the bottom of each piece. The "fingers" provide the electrical contact and stability to keep the rattles down. A nylon cord or strip depending on antenna model the motor pulls or pushes is attached to the top or smallest solid piece of the mast and just pulls the other sections along for the ride.

The oval shaped nylon strip on that model goes thru a set of pinch rollers and is pushed out into a hollow tube for storage. On the other model a round cord is passed around a drum that has serrations or fingers angled to make a wide area to grab the cord. As the drum rotates clearance becomes progressively smaller in effect pinching the cord between the fingers to push or pull it and as it nears another area releases and coils the excess cord in a small circle inside the case for storage.

As longs as a mast section is not bent or crushed they move smoothly with the only friction coming from the brass fingers. About the only place there is any lube is around the motor shaft bearings or where a worm gear drives the pinch rollers or the drum. I suppose that grease could have dried out and is causing a drag. On the masts, an outside wipe and a bit of light lube dripped inside each mast section would not hurt but you do not want to overdo it so excess runs down and pools inside the drive section. To re grease the motor worm area requires a major disassembly and cleaning. On the models where the excess cord is stored in a hollow tube there was a bulletin advising mechanics to check for a blocked drainage hole because water was running down the mast and could continue down inside the tube and sit causing corrosion but other than that, or a weak battery resulting in loss of motor power, there was nothing mentioned for routine service other than changing a damaged part or replacing the antenna.

You do want to find out what is causing drag though because on the pinch roller style, if the mast jams the pinch rollers continue to turn and will friction burn or tear a crescent shaped notch out of the nylon strip. That narrowed spot then will no longer be able to drive past the pinch rollers so the antenna will stop moving up or down at some position.

55-6 used a different antenna depending on front or rear. You can look over the published service articles by selecting the Service index on the left menu. The 51-54 accessories will have half a dozen articles and a few photos of disassembly, mast construction, and the strip and pinch roller setup of that style antenna. With exception of the shape of the excess cord storage tube and voltage it is very similar to the antennas used in the front on some 55-6 models . The 55-6 accessories index has a few articles on the other style which may have been in the front on later models as well as the rear on most if not all.

Posted on: 1/3 10:14
Howard
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Re: Power Antenna Maintenance
#3
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BigKev
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It could also need a cleaning, or may have petrified grease around the motor gears. But that being said, at least on my 55/56 antenna that is on my 54, it's loud, much louder than a modern equivalent. But I account for that some resonance from the void space it's mounted in and the fender itself. When I tested the antenna off the car, it was much quieter. But still, lounder than a modern equivalent. It has a much larger motor and mast shaft and length than anything modern. Also, it's not fully made of/encased in plastic, so that sound and vibration travel, and the fender shape and void space make for a great amphitheater for that sound.

Posted on: 1/3 14:32
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