Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Well, the day has come, your beloved power antenna has stopped working. Although the service has been performed to a Thunderbird Antenna Module, this write up is intended to help diagnose and guide repairing the Taurus. I will be adding to this as I expand on this.

The Thunderbird and Taurus antennas are very similar. The only difference is the top where it'd mount to the fender. The bottom half however, is the same, and this is what needs to be addressed.

Removing from your car is quite simple. Remove the top nut, either be very careful and use needle nose pliers, or buy the tool from O'Reilly Auto Parts.

On Gen 1 and 2 Taurus/Sables (And Thunderbirds...), it'll help to remove the front passenger tire, and the fender liner. From there you can remove the bolts that hold the antenna to the frame. Then it should just pop out.

On Gen 3 Sedans, it's all in the trunk. Gen 3 and 4 Wagons, Gotta find the brackets behind the plastic, and remove.

Gen 4 Sedans... Well, this is only doable if you add it manually, so hopefully you can figure it out. But it's quite the same as a Gen 3 ;)

Gen 5+? Where's your luxurious power antennas?!?! No class from you... :ugh:

Anyway, once removed from your vehicle, on Gen 1/2's, you simply have 1 bolt that holds the case together. Mine was a 7 MM bolt. Be careful to make sure it comes off easily. Might help to spray PB Blaster first.


After that, on Gen 1 and 2, you will see this:


Note the washer on top of the plastic guide for the antenna mast track.

Carefully remove both (Note, it helps to have the antenna erect, otherwise you'll have a ton of track spring out at you! Erect it before you unhook the electrical harness and it is free from the fender or trunk, if it won't erect... Keep going)

On Gen 1, 2, and Thunderbirds... To remove the mast, loosen this screw, then pull up on the metal tube that holds the antenna. The antenna slides out from the bottom.


Once done, remove the plastic shield. This is what takes the mast track, passes it by the gears, then moves it up into the plastic storage area when it is down. Note on the bottom right, there is a little roller that helps pass the track up past the bend. Do not lose this.

I always make note of which cog or anything is. Now I begin my inspection...

Uh oh... Mine failed inspection for the Thunderbird...


This means there is debris inside... Anytime the antenna does not work right, you will want to thoroughly clean it out.

Although my antenna was going up and down when bench tested... One missing tooth could get worse.



Well... Let's move on shall we?

Now to remove the big piece. This is what that broken cog will turn, and actually, the bottom gear is attached via a spring mechanism, this will stop before the antenna stops. This is to prevent damage to the motor by not directly driving the antenna. Also makes it so the antenna flows smoothly. The top gear is what the antenna mast is driven by.


Remove the E clip, this is a pain in the neck, but it's doable. Do not lose this.

This thing comes apart too, and it isn't complicated.



When you separate it. You'll notice the bottom has a little gasket. Make sure it don't come off.

The notch in the top piece, that slips between the two springs.

This all comes apart!


(Edit about the last two pictures... Ignore the little gear on top for now. If you're following step by step, yours is still installed)

Almost there... You are left with this:



Next, to remove everything is to remove the motor. There are two Philips screws on the top of the motor. Undo them. Carefully lift up, there are two pieces to the motor, one being the housing with magnets, and the other being the base of the motor. Lift both out, you'll see the gear lift out.


Remove both 1 and 2 together.

The piece outlined toward the bottom right, that is a plastic guide. This helps support the mast cable between. It only fits in one way.


Remove this metal guide, this fits in two ways, but the other way the gear won't face the motor, so make sure you insert it right so you don't need to undo things later.



You can remove the last gear.

I would strongly encourage cleaning all the grease out, and when reassembling, add fresh White Lithium grease everywhere. Don't add too much, but add a nice liberal amount. Mine was brown because of rust. On mine I sanded off the center post (for the T-Bird) and put some POR-15 on it.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Reassembling Gen 1/2/T-Bird.

So now that you have cleaned off everything. You're ready for assembly! It's the reverse of everything, but for fun. Let's assemble it here.

I degrease mine with Simple Green, and shop towels. Ensure once clean, no contamination comes in. Don't want a pebble or broken piece to get back in and mess it all up again.


First apply a very liberal amount of white lithium grease everywhere. Then insert the gear by the motor, then the motor housing, then reinstall the motor to the housing. Dab some grease at the motor's screw gear.

Then apply some grease to the bottom of the big gear, insert it, and spin it around a few.



Grease the inside of this pretty liberally too.

Then put the top back on.


Make sure the notch goes between the springs. It won't fit any other way.

Do not force it. It should fit flush once complete.


Insert C Clip.


Insert the antenna guide.

Although not pictured... (Sorry, they didn't turn out) Insert the roller at the bottom right. Then have the antenna mast guide in to the channel, and load it up just a bit so the teeth are against the upper big gear.


Then insert the final gear


Put the cover back on, make sure it snaps into place.


Add some grease into here, then put it on to the antenna like so.

Finally, you are ready to put the cover back on, and the 7 MM Nut.

I suggest using a 12 VDC Power supply, I used one from an old computer router (Microsoft Router that used 12 Volts DC). Cut the two ends off the cord, then applied voltage to the 2 leads. If it begins to kick the antenna out. Flip the leads around. Let it bring some of it in, then finally bolt the antenna mast housing to the motor housing the same way you pulled it off.

The end result!

Some details about the Gen 1, 2 and Thunderbird MN-12 Power Antennas.

The Gen 1 and Gen 2 will both bolt in place. However... Gen 1 Tau/Sabs used the Antenna switch on your dash board. YOU were the regulator. You were expected to stop providing the up switch when it was up. If you were to place a Gen 1 Antenna in a Gen 2, the Power Antenna Module can't determine how to shut off the antenna. Seems there are differences within the motors. On a Gen 2 Motor, it even says do not apply direct current to motor or bypass the module... Well, if you apply voltage when it doesn't want you to, you'll burn out the motor or damage. But testing purposes, you won't hurt anything.

Eventually, if using a Gen 1 in a Gen 2, the motor will stop trying, because the Antenna module will time out after a few. It senses a change in resistance to the motor, then shuts off.

Also, a Gen 1 and 2 Mast are different diameters. So you need to specify the right mast for your generation. If you got a free working Gen 1, but you wanna use it in your Gen 2. Simply undo the antenna housing, and that will swap over. I now have a Gen 1 mast/housing to my Gen 2 Antenna motor. The gears inside the motor assembly are the same. It's just differences within the motor itself.

The Thunderbird Antenna has a few differences. One, the brackets are completely wrong. These brackets are for mounting to the car, and to the fender. Other difference is clear as daylight. The motor, the wiring harness plugs directly into the top of the antenna. On Taurus/Sable antennas, you'll notice a pig tail sticking out. You may notice on the pictures of the dirty one, I started ripping my T-Bird antenna apart. The ones with daylight and they are clean, that's the Taurus.

But the good thing is, if you have a broken gear inside your motor housing (Like me), and you see that poor MN-12 Thunderbird/Cougar at the junkyard... The gears are the same. Pull whatever you need off it. It may be possible to take a MN-12 Antenna and swap the top half and rig it to work with the Thunderbird's pig tail. But why would you want to? Just search for a Taurus Power Antenna, and if need be, take apart the T-Bird's antenna to grab good gears at the junkyard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

** Reserved **

Gen 3/4 Taurus/Sable Antenna disassemble/reassemble

Coming Soon.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As I repeat, No Class! :lol:

Nothing more stylish than getting into your Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable... Putting that key in, starting the engine. Suddenly everything comes to life, dash, climate, clock... Entertainment. And to compliment entertainment system... The antenna wakes up, coming out to absorb the invisible airwaves that crackle with life, bright antenna bristle with energy.

Shark Fin? -_-


  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

As I repeat, No Class! :lol:

Nothing more stylish than getting into your Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable... Putting that key in, starting the engine. Suddenly everything comes to life, dash, climate, clock... Entertainment. And to compliment entertainment system... The antenna wakes up, coming out to absorb the invisible airwaves that crackle with life, bright antenna bristle with energy.

Shark Fin? -_-


I like where mine is on the back. Feels like a buggy whip...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally like them both. On the Gen 1/2/T-Bird, it has that squareish look in the front, so it looks very classy indeed. On the Gen 3/4 with the rounded off design, on the rear looks great, looks streamline. But power antenna is a MUST on Gen 3/4's... Having that antenna erect all the time is dull.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Update, Gen 1/2 Assembly has been completed. Gen 3/4 will be coming down the road. Gotta get one in my possession, restore it, and document :ph34r:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I should have done a write up when I installed/rebuilt mine. After I smashed my fingers getting the old mast out I just wanted the project to be over with and blew through it as fast as possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 years later...
On 7/22/2013 at 11:47 PM, TaurusKev said:

** Reserved **

Gen 3/4 Taurus/Sable Antenna disassemble/reassemble

Coming Soon.

I picked up a 2003 Taurus wagon, but the power antenna only works part way.  I can make it go up & down the rest with help by hand.  I think the mast is stopping at the 2nd smallest diameter section.  Below that it won't grab.  Any tips about whether it's more likely gears or mast that need replacing?

Thanks!  Tim. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Aw man, I completely forgot about doing the Gen 3/4 antenna. However, it's very similar to the Gen 1/2. It sounds like your cable has snapped somewhere, and once it gets passed a certain point, it can't push it further, or pull it. You can try using ebay to find a power antenna mast, but make sure it doesn't say it is compatible with a ton of other vehicles, if it is, it probably won't fit. (If it starts saying, Fits: Nissan, Isuzu, Chevrolet, Toyota, Saab) It probably won't work. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...


Very useful information. Somebody please help me understand

I decided to update my 1993 Mercury Sable GS sedan with power antenna, which never was in it.

I ordered control module F3DF-19A394-AA from eBay, and antenna 1986-1991 E6DF-19A018-BC

It works together, as it should, but there is small problem, when antenna goes down, motor keeps spinning more 10 seconds, then stops.

When antenna goes up, it turns off just right after reach top point. 

So- could the problem be in motor, which seems to be from Gen 1 ?  Or maybe defective control module?

I disassembled antenna motor, it is brand new, no problems inside. 

I try to understand, where are so called limit switches located? There is nothing inside of antenna, or motor itself

So do I have wrong antenna? I tryed many times, to travel antenna up, and down, always the same

It goes up correctly, when it goes down, doesnt stop immediately

Juris Smiltnieks


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...