truebr1t

1999 Rx300 Antenna And/or Motor Replace/reapir Complete Instructions

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I found that this topic was well covered but fragmented. Also there were no complete instructions as to how to get to the motor.

So here goes...

You may need to completely replace the antenna motor on your RX300, or if you are lucky, only the long flexible nylon rack of the antenna itself is broken. Usually if the antenna will not retract fully, it means the antenna rack is damaged or broken. If the rack is broken off, the motor will need to come out to get at the broken part.

You will need a pair of needle-nosed pliers, a long-handled medium flat screwdriver, a small flat screwdriver, a Phillips crosshead screwdriver, a 10mm spanner and a 12mm spanner.

You may get away with replacing the antenna by unscrewing the chromium-plated nut that secures it on the outside. I used a pair of needle-node pliers to turn it, and once it was loose, a long-handle screwdriver on one side only was sufficient to turn it. It took a while as the thread on the nut is deep. Be patient. Once you have it off, you can pull the antenna straight up. If it's all there, just worn, simply replace it, using the antenna installation instructions at the end of this article. If it is broken off, read on…

Remove the external plastic trim piece that was held down by the antenna nut. Go inside the car, remove the rear deck carpet and the removable strut that contains the rollout luggage cover, and fold down the right-hand rear seat.

The key part you will need to move in order to get at the motor is the vertical carpeted wheel arch panel on the right side of the luggage compartment. Note, you will NOT need to remove any of the trim around the window. Remove the little door in this panel that normally conceals the first aid kit.

Go to the very front of the rear deck and pull up firmly on each the five popup fasteners that hold the front edge of the hinged deck that covers the spare wheel. Underneath you will find two 12mm bolts that hold the hinges. Remove these and the deck comes out. Remove the tool tray and covers.

Many of the fasteners you will have to remove are of the press-in-pop-out plastic type. The black ones have a slot in the top, into which a small screwdriver can be inserted horizontally. If you do this and then use another screwdriver as a levering point, these fasteners come out very easily.

Using this technique, pop up the fasteners that attach the plastic moulding that runs across the bottom of the doorway, and has the door latch coming through it. There are four black fasteners visible on the inside. Be sure not to lose these fasteners, as they tend to fly out and travel quite some distance. Underneath there are six more fixed fasteners hidden. Do not be afraid to pull firmly.

Similarly pry out the fasteners that hold the right-hand black storage bin. There is an additional screw-in one in the floor of the bin. Remove the bin.

Remove the two 10mm screws holding the black luggage tie-down rings at right front and right rear of the compartment.

Pry up and remove the plastic cover on the top of the right hand interior wheel arch.

Your next target is the L-shaped moulding at the lower right of the rear doorway. There are two black pop fasteners at the bottom, and a couple more hidden ones at the top.

You now have a good view of the carpeted moulding and its attachments, two fasteners in the vertical part at the rear, and one mounted horizontally at the front. Remove the two at the rear first, then go inside the right rear door and pry out the one at the front corner.

Carefully pull the fastener at the top inside corner of the large plastic moulding on the front of the wheel well, the one that has the seat belt tidy clip attached to it. This is the only action you need to take on this moulding, leave the rest of it untouched.

You now have enough fasteners removed to pull out the carpeted panel far enough for you to be able to reach the antenna motor easily. From the back edge, push down on the top and pull to the left at the same time. It should hinge from the front fairly easily without detaching completely. I used a short piece of 2x4 to wedge in there to hold the moulding open.

There are two 10mm nuts holding the antenna motor in place. Remove them and pull the motor out. As soon as you can reach it, detach the antenna cable from the radio (at the top of the motor) and pull out the drain pipe from the bottom of the wheel well, leaving the pipe attached to the motor.

Now all you have left is the electrical connection. On one side of the white plug is a tab, which you need to press in with a screwdriver or other suitable tool, and the plug should come out easily. If it doesn't come out easily you are not pressing hard enough on the tab.

Now you have the motor in your hands.

Unscrew and remove the support bracket, noting where the ground wire is attached..

Unscrew the screws holding on the casing of the motor, and CAREFULLY separate the two halves of the case, holding the main body underneath.

Inside this casing there is a small quantity of grease for lubricating the mechanism, so try not to get it spread everywhere.

Lift up the circular plastic rack storage can, and inspect its inside. You may find a broken piece of the toothed nylon antenna extension rack coiled up in there. This may be the root of your original antenna problem. Remove and discard it.

Take a look at the open mechanism. Notice the path from where the antenna emerges, down into the mechanism. On the underside of the white circular plate are the teeth that drive the rack. When installing the new antenna, you will need to insert it correctly relative to where these teeth are.

Replace the storage can, reinstall the motor cover and screws, and the support bracket, together with the ground wire.

Now it's time to put it all back together again.

Hold the motor close to where it installs, and in the correct orientation, but before you fix it in place, make sure you reattach the signal cable from the radio, and the power hookup, and reinsert the drain pipe through the hole in the wheel well.

Carefully slide the motor back to its correct location and loosely reattach the two 10mm nuts. Make sure the exit hole of the antenna is correctly located relative to the hole in the bodywork before you tighten the nuts.

Do not be tempted to replace all the panels just yet.

Here is where you rejoin if you do not need to get at the motor.

It helps if you have a friend or SO available to help. Ask him/her to turn the ignition key to the radio-only position, and turn on the radio. You should hear the motor start to operate. It will keep running for a while until it times out. Wait until it stops. The mechanism is now in "antenna up" mode.

Take your new antenna and fully uncoil the rack, making sure you remove all the twist ties it came with from the factory.

Fully extend the telescopic metal part of the antenna as far as it will go, drawing the rack into the metal tubing. With the rack teeth facing FORWARD, insert the end of the rack into the antenna hole where it emerges from the bodywork. You may need to wiggle it until most of the rack that is still showing goes in, at least six inches or more, at which point it will go no further. It should not require any force.

Holding the antenna directly vertical above the hole, ask your friend/SO to turn the radio OFF. The motor will start the mechanism to retract the antenna. If you have inserted it far enough, and it is facing in the right direction, the mechanism will take hold of the end of the rack and draw it entirely into a tight coil in the circular cup inside the motor. As it draws in, guide the metal part of the bottom of the antenna into the motor body in the correct way. The antenna should withdraw completely as it used to.

Reinstall the black plastic trim moulding from the outside, and screw the chromium-plated nut back fully down on the antenna.

Have your friend/SO turn the radio on and off several times, waiting each time for the mechanism to cycle completely. The antenna should fully extend when the radio is switched on, and fully retract when it is switched off.

If you were just replacing the antenna mast itself, you're done.

For the rest of you, it's time to tidy up.

Carefully push the carpeted side panel back into its correct position, replace the wheel arch top plate and pop in the single brown fastener on the front side of the wheel arch.

TIP: At this point, the order in which the rest of the parts go back is not obvious, so when you insert one of the black pop-up fasteners, only insert it very loosely, in case you need to remove it again to attach something else to the same hole.

Reinstall the plastic cover over the spare wheel, the side bin (with its nut at the bottom holding it down), the L-shaped piece at bottom right of the door opening, and the moulding across the bottom of the tailgate door opening, with the several hidden fasteners and the four black ones.

ONLY when you have everything back in place, should you go round and fully press in the black pop-up fasteners.

Reinstall the luggage tie-down loops with the 10mm bolts.

Reinstall the rear compartment deck by reattaching the hinges with the 12mm bolts, and pop back the fasteners on the hinged trim piece.

Put back the first aid kit door.

Finished.

Enjoy.

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I appreciate the very detailed instructions that you provided on replacing my antenna, however, that's a bit much for me to do on my own.

My antenna had been bent for a while, but it was still funcitioning for the most part. It didn't retract all the way, but it served the purpose. I was planning to get it fixed when I go in for service in March. Yesterday, I noticed that when I turned off my radio, I continued to hear the hum of the antenna motor longer than normal. When I got out and looked, the antenna was hanging almost down to the bumper with the cord exposed! So the motor was attempting to pull in the antenna, which of course it could not. I wanted to somehow push the cord and antenna back in until I could get to the dealer or a shop.

However, my "I'll handle it" boyfriend yanked it off and said you're going to have to get a new one! I was thinking that if I left it "connected" it might be easier to replace. But what's done is done now. If I take it to Lexus, will it be very expensive? How long will it take? I am hoping that I can just take it to a good body shop familar with Lexus vehicles (which I do have a good body shop) and let them do it. How much $ do I stand to save? Is that ok or is this something that I should only trust to Lexus?

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The detailed instructions were perfect and a great help. My antenna was broken off, so I had to remove the interior panel. It only took about 1.5 hours to complete. Thanks for taking the time to write up the instructions!!

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these directions are impeccable. my husband and i (non-car people) followed them to a T and successfully replaced a broken antenna (without an argument.) Let me know what other step by step directions you have, just in case something else breaks. :lol:

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I found that this topic was well covered but fragmented. Also there were no complete instructions as to how to get to the motor.

Hey now, I take umbrage to the above statement (said with a grin :D ) I've posted some fairly detailed antenna replacement instructions here over the years. Of course not as detailed as yours, then again, these may be the most detailed instructions ever posted here :lol: . Anyhow it never hurts to have all the details so thanks for adding to the knowledge base and welcome.

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Thanks for the thorough step by step directions. I replaced my antenna today without any problems. It took longer than I would have liked :angry: because I had to open the motor and remove the broken piece of the nylon antenna extension. I called the Lexus service department and was told that they would have charged me $115 plus tax to make the repair. :censored: Needles to say, I feel sooooo good about myself. :D I even had the audacity to lift the engine hood and remove spark plugs. :D THANKS AGAIN

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Hello,

After completing this repair, we notice it is very noisy going down, particulary the last 6 inches. I did notice the new antenna mast had a very long nylon "cord" compaired to the factory one. Should I remove it and cut it down a little?

Thanks,

Dave

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Thank YOU! These instrctions were great and saved me a ton of money and time. I appreciate you taking the time to write them down for all to use. My only mistake was not taking the little black antenna holster off the car once the antenna was removed. When I drove to the Lexus dealership, it must have fallen off so now I'm on the hunt for the part. Oh well.. it still saved me a lot of money.

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Mission accomplished! Needed to do the full steps. Took about 80 mins.

Many thanks for the thorough instructions.

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Hello,

After completing this repair, we notice it is very noisy going down, particulary the last 6 inches. I did notice the new antenna mast had a very long nylon "cord" compaired to the factory one. Should I remove it and cut it down a little?

Thanks,

Dave

Oh, Dave............ this could mean 6" of the old antenna track broke off and is still down there in the motor area. When the antenna fully retracts, it interferes with the mechanism and makes the noise. Look carefully at the end of your old antenna track - does it look finished or does it look broken off?

Keith

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Has anyone had issues with a weak signal after installation? I managed to install everything just fine, but afterward, both the AM and FM signal are no better than before, as if it weren't installed at all! I checked that the signal cable was secure - what else could it be?

Thanks-

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Thanks truebr1t. Only replaced the antenna mast and it took a couple of tries to get the motor to engage the mast. Once engaged the antenna did not fully retract. I cycled through the radio power and gently helped the antenna to retract. It eventually retracted completely when the radio was turned off.

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Truebr1t,

Thanks so much for the detailed instructions! (I joined this group just to say thank you)

Using your instructions, I completed the repair, (including removing the motor), in just under an hour, and with only one fin clip left over!!

I found that my antenna rack (toothed cable) was broken in TWO pieces inside the motor housing. One was about 6" long, and the other about a 18" long. (If I hadn't done a second look inside the "circular plastic rack storage can" I would have missed the 6" piece hiding in the upper portion.)

I did the entire job last evening while recording American Idol, and then jumped through a zillion commercials when I was done. (Win, Win)

Total project cost: $52.00 with a genuine Lexus replacement mast.

Cheers....

Dave in Dallas

2000 RX 300 110K Miles - runs like new!!!

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today i ventured out to replace my antenna on old One Tee, my 99 RX 300.

everything went fairly well until i tried to remount the motor and install the new antenna. for some reason i can not for the life of me get the motor to mount and the antenna to line up with the opening. it aint even close.

anyone else hit a similar snag when doing this? hoping to say 'doh shortly.

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Great directions! But I have a few comments as a result of my experience completing this repair on my 2001 RX300.

1. After I got the motor out to determine the problem, I had fiberglass "splinters" on my arms, which caused irritation for a few days. I recommend slipping a plastic garbage bag over the carpeted panel that hides the motor. This worked for me.

2. Also, don't throw away the old mast and cable before you get the new one. You need to compare the new cable to the old one for length and thickness to make sure they're a match. I didn't do that and ran into problems with my first replacement ordered off ebay - turned out it was not compatible with my 2001.

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I read this post a few years ago and finally had the nerve to try it today -- IT WORKED!! I took apart the inside starting from the rear door of my RX300 and from the spare tire well. I did find as was suggested that a piece of the plastic tie (sp?) was left in the motor. It was so simple to take apart the motor housing, remove the broken piece, reattach everything and reinstall the motor on the car. I fed the new antenna in as instructed and viola' !! I have a working radio!! Thank you so much! All I needed as a thin phillips head screwdriver, a small flat head to pull off those plastic screws and my 5 year old for an assistant!

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I'm having the same problem of my antenna not retracting. I hear the motor running, but the antenna doesn't go down. I'm a little unclear from this thread how I identify if I need to replace just the mast or the motor. I removed the mast. With the antenna fully extended there is none of the thread containing teeth sticking out of the bottom of the antenna. I guess this nylon thread with teeth is what is being referred to as the rack? Does this mean I need to just replace the mast?

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Many thanks - saved me a bunch got a new mast/rack for $12 on ebay.

My rack was snapped with one "loop" remaining in the holder.

Would have taken me an hour but I had one problem - when feeding in the new rack, I hit a ledge or something and couldn't get it past. I took the motor unit out again and checked the "pipe" wasn't blocked. It wasn't. The only way I could thread the rack was to shave it to a point with a utility knife (just a quarter inch at the end). After wiggling, went in a treat.

Thanks again. Here are a couple of pix that might help others...

IMG_1053.JPG

IMG_1054.JPG

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I printed off these directions back in December, and finally got around to taking everything apart, pulling out the broken tail and putting in a new mast. Your step-by-step instructions were great! Thanks, again.

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trubr1t (or anyone!?)

thanks for your write up.  but I'm having a problem getting the antenna mast out of the car.  after removing the nut and plastic covering, i have a friend turn on the radio and i pull straight up on the antenna as i hear the motor running.  it won't budge.  the initial problem is that it won't move up or down anymore.  but i can't seem to get it out in order to replace it! help!

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On 5/20/2010 at 8:36 AM, jprg said:

Has anyone had issues with a weak signal after installation? I managed to install everything just fine, but afterward, both the AM and FM signal are no better than before, as if it weren't installed at all! I checked that the signal cable was secure - what else could it be?

Thanks-

I realize this is a very, very old post, and I'm not 100% sure about this solving your problem, but . . . When you remove the motor mount, antenna wire and white motor control wire plug, and pull out the whole mast assembly to work on, you notice a short black grounding wire runs from the upper area of the mount (isolated in rubber bushings). This black wire attaches to one of two bottom screws that holds the motor onto the mount. This is how the mast gets grounded to the vehicle frame. When the mount is bolted into place, that screw is positioned at the lowest part of the mount (ie. closest to the pavement), in such a way that any water that runs down the outside of the mast or mount (or overflows out of the drain tube), will pour over that screw, and the wire hoop, thus corroding the galvanized wire mount area, the wire mount hoop, and/or the copper wire inside that black plastic wire. When I saw that nasty corrosion, I used a metal brush to clean up the wire hoop (ie. down to brass) and then relocated the wire hoop to the other bottom screw (with a little lock washer under the screw head). This alternate screw location is not the lowest part of the mount and won't get any water on it.

HTH

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