finished CB radio install w/new roof rack on 03 ST, project: clean (pics!) | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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finished CB radio install w/new roof rack on 03 ST, project: clean (pics!)


Explorer Addict
March 23, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Bay Area CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
03 sport trac XLT
hey all, after squeezing in a few minutes here and a few minutes there in a busy work week, here are pictures of my CB radio install on my 2003 ST with my new roof rack that ive been dying to get. my goal was to make it as clean an install as possible without having to drill any holes or alter the actual truck in any permanent way. i also wanted to make the cba radio look as unnoticable as possible. any suggestions or ideas would be great. thanks everyone, the forum rules.

i started by mounting the magnet mount antenna on the roof right above the third brake light, then passing the coax to the passenger side, under the roof rail and down to the door.

i then passed the coax tucked under the rubber door seal all the way to the bottom

i then removed the door jam trim and passed the coax along the door jam

i did have to punch a small hole in the bottom of the rubber door seal to pass the coax into the cabin

this is the front passenger seat where the coax passed through. you can also take the door jam trim here too just by pulling on it

this is right under the glove box, you can see the coax finding its way to the center of the dash right under the ash tray

this is where the ash tray was, i pulled it out and decided to place my cobra 19 dxIII radio where that ash tray was. again, this in a 03 sport trac. my coax was 15' and landed perfectly at the ash tray

this is how i powered the radio. i tapped into fuse #16 which powers down when the key is in the off position, so you dont have to worry about turning the radio off every time you leave the car.

i ended up grounding the radio on this bolt that supports the dash on the bottom. i moved it to a spot by the brake pedal, but then moved it back.

this is where the radio sits. i originally used outdoor mounting tape on the radio bracket, but it felt loose, so i did concede and drilled one hole into the black metal piece that the ash tray snaps into. the radio bracket fit perfectly into place and sat solidly in place. then i just put the piece back on and mounted the radio. its easy to do, just remove the 4 7mm bolts that hold it against the dash, and snap it off. i wish i had taken pics, but if anyone needs more info on how to get it out (its pretty easy) just hit me up.



this is how it looks form the outside. i tried to make the antenna blend in as much as possible

this is how its laced under the door seal. clean! just tucked snugly.


i zip tied the coax somewhat loosley so it isnt pinched, along the roof rack cross bar and fed it under the roof rail


here's how she sits this morning!




still working out the bugs when it comes to tuning and operation. im new to cb radios, and im learning as much as i can. my ultimate plan is to come off the magnet mount and do a clean install of either an antenna mount on the rear right bumper, or to mount a cb antenna where my am/fm antenna is, split that and use it for both my cb and my am/fm signal.

any thoughts, suggestions, or criticisms on how to improve this install and operation would be very welcomed. thanks everyone, couldnt have done it without the forum!

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Looks great man!!!

What's your plans for the rack? shovel, lights, spare tire??

As for splitting the radio and C.B. whip together, you really don't wonna have them too close beacuase they'll interfer with each other. The best place for a whip is the center of the roof but where you have your's is perfect the way it is. I had mine in the same place but moved forward right behind the spare tire.


This was before the rack but you can see the whip sticking up from the roof.

I like it. Good work. You aren't wasting any time modifying your ST. Can't wait to see this thing this time next year.

Nice work! I'm usually not a fan of installing CB's the ashtray spot (in first gens at least) but yours looks just fine there. Clean looking truck too!

Nice job for sure ! !

thanks for all the compliments fellas, like i said, i couldnt do it without all the good knowledge from the forum. hey rebel, i have to get a matching pro comp tire for my fifth wheel, and then its going on top, but the rack is really going to be for when me and the gf go road tripping and camping. you know women like to pack a lot! the next step is going to be throwing a good set of lights that arent too expensive on the front of the roof rack, and one light on the back that points into the bed of the truck for when i go fishing. then im going to use the radio bezel tip i got from you for a clean switch install.

the only mods i need to do before i consider this ST a finished product are the lights i just mentioned, a bull bar and bug deflector, dropping an alpine deck and speakers, and rear aussie lockers (which is the next project coming up). im pretty nervous about doing the rear lockers since ive never opened up a diff before, but im excited at the same time because i know i will learn a ton from that project.

thanks again to you guys and the forum! have a great 4th everyone!

Lookin good man. I use my roof rack for throwing kids bikes and other crap on when I go camping. If I were to mount a CD antenna on my truck it would be on the back bumper or the front bumper if I had a winch bumper.

after a whole morning of trying to tune this wack a__ antenna, i went to my local off road shop to try to buy one instead of going online. i wanted to get some good info. well, he didnt sell any, but he gave me the number to a guy who did. he was literally the last guy in the bay area that was a certified cb radio dealer and he happened to live in the next town over. this guy knew his stuff, sold me a great magnet mount antenna, and after setting it up, my first swr reading was 1.5 on channel 20! after just five minutes of tuning it, i was able to get channel 1, 40, and 20 to all read at exactly 1.0!!! why didnt i find this guy earlier. i literally was trying to tune that old krusty antenna for over an hour with no success. now im getting all kinds of chatter from miles away!

heres the new whip:

i forgot to mention, he only charged me 15 bucks for it and it was fresh out of the package!

Just be careful not to smack that off anything, it'll throw out the tune and or crack the housing. I had the same whip a long time ago on my old S-10 pickup and it did great.

thanks fir the tip rebel, the only thing i could see myself samcking it against is the garage i have to park into at work, but i already found another place to park so i guess im good. hollister does have some trails with some crazy tree branches and narrow trails but i think ill be good. thanks again everyone for all the info and tips.

You don't have to have a matching tire for your spare to go on top, I didn't. I had BFG TA/KO's and a Wild Country for a spare, just make sure it's the same size tire is all (outer diameter), I'll post pictures of the J-Hook setup I put together for the spare tire hold down if you want.

pics of the j hook would be great. my original spare is a 16" with a dinky tire on it. i have a spare 15" that matches my current wheel set, i just need to get another tire for it.

Ok, here's a picture of the top hold down setup. I pulled the spare tire hold down setup from the trunk of a junkyard car and got a J-Hook from Tractor Supply Plus.

You can get the J-Hook from any hardware storefor like $1 or 2. I added the extra nuts to cover the threads and so you would need to take time to get it off unless you know what size wrench you need. You can also use a cable lock to secure the spare to the rack.


sweet, thanks man. im going to find one of these too when i go to get the radio bezel with the extra switch opening. thanks again!

Dang where'd the pics go?!

Lol, I think I deleted some from my albums to make room for others. Let me know what pictures you wanna see and I can send them to you.

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Aw all the pictures are gone...