Many MKIV’s have a problem with AM radio reception. More often than not, the culprit is a corroded or entirely burnt antenna base. This guide is shows how to replace your antenna base in fairly short order.
Note - This install was completed on a MKIV Jetta. Although I can't be entirely certain, I believe the instructions would be identical for an MKIV Golf/GTI.
Things you’ll need are:
- Antenna Base (Volkswagen P/N: 1J0-035-501-F)
- 24mm Wrench
- A friend to help
1. Nearly the whole replacement is done from the back seat. Begin by laying the rear seats flat to make it easier. This is done by pulling up the seat bottoms and pushing them towards the font seats. Then, pull up the clip near the seatbelt and C-piller, and tip the seatbacks forwards. Remove the headrests and pitch them in the front seat. Push the seatbacks flat.
Note – You may have to move your front seats forward in order to lay the rear seats completely flat.
2. Next, climb in. You need to loosen and remove the bolt holding the base in place. This bolt is located above the headliner. To access it, pull down on the headliner where it meets the back window.
Note – Pulling the headliner down will cause a huge crease to appear along the headliner. DO NOT WORRY, this crease is not permanent and will smooth itself out within minutes of releasing the headliner.
3. Look into the space you’ve created between the roof and the headliner. You will see the bolt that you need to remove in order to take out the old antenna base.
4. Grab your 24mm wrench and place it over the bolt. Loosen the bolt and remove it.
5. You will need to unhook the old antenna next. The connector is located under a piece of foam taped to the roof. Pull down on the foam to reveal the connector.
6. The connector is like a quick-connect, pull on one side of it to remove the antenna base wire from the connector.
7. Once the antenna base is disconnected, remove it from the car by pulling straight up.
Note – The below pics show what a corroded/fried antenna base looks like. Note the white buildup between the base and the antenna body. Also take notice of the residue and severe corrosion on the circuit board.
8. Before inserting the new base into the roof, take a moment to familiarize how the bolt should go back onto the base. Note how the gap in the bolt is reserved for where the wire comes out of the base.
Note – This is very important for when you put the bolt back on; if not affixed properly it is possible to damage the wire on the new base.
9. This is where you’ll need your friend. Have your friend insert the new base into the roof, and hold it firmly into place while you thread on and tighten the bolt from inside the car.
10. After tightening the bolt, ensure that the base has formed a nice seal along the roof of the car. If the base has not seated properly, it is at risk of corroding in the exact same manner as the one you just replaced.
11. Reconnect the antenna base to the connector and thread your antenna back into the base. Test it. If you’ve done it right you should instantly have better AM reception!
12. Push the connector and wire up on top of the headliner making sure it’s far enough that it will not be squished by the headliner.
13. Push the headliner back into place by curling the lip out and tucking it over top of the steel edge. This step can be tricky as it is hard to keep the headliner tucked in. Some force will be needed. The steel lip you need to get it over is shown with the white arrows.
14. Finish the job by putting your rear seats back into the upright position.
Note - As with any Do It Yourself guide, proceed at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damage you may do to your car attempting this install.
Special Thanks go to:
- LuiTuga for providing the car to do this on
- sootbomb for doing 95% of the install as well as most of the photos
- rictuga for providing the food, and BBQ'n the day we did this
- Giver for providing the garage, BBQ and the 2-hour drive to get to his freakin’ house