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Radio Reception is Bad - Antenna Question


Active Member
September 1, 1999
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Explr 4x4 XLT V6SOHC
I have a radio reception problem. The stations in FM and AM don't come in very well at all. I thought it was the stock Ford AM/FM/cassette with cd controls but I replaced the unit and reception is still very bad. I get absolutely no AM reception at all. FM is sporadic

The antenna wire comes in through the firewall under the dash just above the passengers feet. There is about 6 inches of wire coming through the firewall then a connector. Then there is a wire that runs up to the radio from this connection.

What is really weird is that the reception actually gets better when I disconnect the antenna lead from the wire coming from the head unit.

This leads me to believe that the antenna is bad. Is there an easy way to test if an antenna is working properly using an voltmeter or ohmeter?

Also, how can I remove the antenna from the fender? It looks like I can just pry up the plastic at the base of the antenna at the fender?

I have 1997 with 4x4 and V6 SOHC.

Mark Meenahan

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I'd like an answer to this as well, my radio reception isnt so hot either.

It is a crappy design by Ford. I went through 2 when I had my 98. Water collects in the base of the ant and it corodes like hell.

Brian, thanks. I'll check for corosion but how do you remove the antenna from the fender?

I think the 97 is the same as the 98. You have to remove the plastic cover on the fender. You do this by pushing toward the antenna on the side that is closest to th hood. and it should pop up. It will take alittle effort. You them push it toward the hood and the bottom should come out.
When the cover is off you will see the screws that hold it to the fender. You will have to undo the inner fender if you have to replace it.

Got the same problem with my Mach system and motorized antenna. FM is OK but AM is mostly static. How tough is removing the inner fender if I want to try an antenna replacement? Any tips?

am stations alway sucks

To get to the antenna wire at the base of the antenna, you have to remove 2 screws and 2 bolts from the inside wheel well cover over the front tire. After you pry that back, you can see the antenna wire. Uplug it from the base of the antenna and replace the entire wire all the way to the radio.

Will this be the same on the '97 Mountaineer? It has a power retractable antennta. My wife's Expedition has fabulous reception. The Mountaineer's is awful.