The "Tacoma" Whip Antenna Mod
By: Bob_98SR5
Date: 12-19-2002

Tools Needed

Flat-bladed Screwdriver
Philips-head Screwdriver
10mm rachet wrench

Antenna Assembly: 86300-35090 (list price $36.94)
Tacoma Whip antenna: 86309-AA040 ($27.38 at my dealership)

Please note that the Tacoma Whip Antenna is not picture above. If you want the Tacoma black whip antenna, buy part no. 86309-AA0400 and NOT 86309-35100 or 86309-32011. Also, I've received some feedback that the part numbers may have changed. If so, just ask for the non-motorized antenna assembly for a 4runner and a black whip antenna for the Tacoma.

I am providing this write up for illustrative purposes only. Perform at your own risk. Any mods (including this one) you perform on your vehicle is your responsibility. Commercial use of this write up will result in legal action.

One of the most common problems with any vehicle including the 4runner is its power antenna. Over time, the antenna mast's "teeth" usually breaks because the "teeth" themselves (that is part of the mast itself) wear out. In other cases, the mast is simply bends or breaks which will not allow it to retract back into the motor unit.

One solution is to buy a replacement mast, remove the old one, and hope that the new one feeds itself perfectly into the motor unit. However, many times the mast "teeth" breaks inside the motor unit itself, requiring removal and opening of the motor unit in order to remove these pieces of teeth.

An alternative solution is replacing the motorized unit with a non-motorized antenna assembly with a non-motorized (obviously) mast antenna. The advantage of doing so is that you really don't have to worry about anything motorized breaking ever again. Furthermore, the whip antenna is tough---I've hit many low hanging tree branches and the antenna just twangs itself right back into place. A motorized mast, I'm sure, would have snapped in half.

Step 1: Removing the Fender Flare and Running Board End Cap (front)
Depending on your type of fender flare trim and running boards, remove these pieces in order to access the wheel well lining:

After removing these trim pieces, you need to remove 2 of the 3 wheel well lining plugs. Here is a diagram of what you need to remove as well as a close up of one plug removed:


Step 2: Remove Wheel Well Lining
After removing the wheel well plugs, pull and invert the wheel well lining so you have enough room to access the motor unit. Don't worry, the material will not crack or break. The material is very similar to a kiddie pool, only much thicker and more durable:

Step 3: Removing the Antenna and Bezel Nut
At the top of the mast, unscrew the bezel nut by wrapping your flat bladed screwdriver with masking tape and putting the side of the blade into the bezel notches. Turn counter-clockwise to remove.

Unless you run like Speedy Gonzales, you might call your friend to help you here. To remove the broken mast, turn off your stereo and let the mast retract as far as it can go. Then ask your friend to turn the stereo back on. While it is going up, pull it up until it comes out of the unit. You will see the metal antenna and a long, white strip of "teeth." Some people have tried with some success to just pull it out, but my dealership advised me to pull it out this way.

Step 4: Removing the Motorized Unit
Unplug the power wire that is connected to the motor unit. Then unbolt the single bolt holding the motorized unit to the bracket inside the wheel well. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the motorized unit prior to removal, but here a blurry picture of the non-motorized one after installation (the bolt is the same):

You can now partially detach your motorized unit. You will see that there is a wire leading into the body of the 4runner. This is the antenna wire that connects to the back of your stereo. If you intend to possibly re-use the motor again, do not cut this wire (like I did). To remove it, continue reading below.

Step 5: Removing the Passenger Side Bottom Panel and Front "Radio" Panel
The antenna wire starts from the motor unit itself into the 4runner passenger compartment area, above the A/C duct, and into the back of the stereo. Here is the path it takes to get there:

You must remove both the passenger side bottom panel and front center "Radio" panel to properly remove the antenna wire. To remove the passenger side bottom panel, unscrew the following screws to remove the glove box and bottom panel:


To remove the rest of the radio panel, follow my writeup here under Step 3.

Step 6: Removing the Antenna Cable
Pull out the stereo as far as you can and detach the power and antenna cables. I believe the cable marked "2" (the furry one) is the antenna wire. Pull this one out and leave "1" as is. From my recollection, the "1" cable is the power cable.

After unplugging the antenna cable, follow the path of the antenna cable to the right and cut the zip ties in the four places marked here:


After you've done that, go back to the outside of your 4runner and then you can pull out the antenna cable.

Step 7: Attaching the Non-motorized Tacoma Whip Antenna
You can now bolt on the non-motorized unit. Then thread the antenna cable through the hole, run the cable all the way to the stereo, zip tie it along the top of the A/C duct, and then plug it into the back of your stereo:


Attach the bezel nut at the top of the non-motorized unit and screw in your Taco whip antenna.

I would suggest at this point to test the antenna connection before attaching all the panels you removed in Step 4. If the test goes well, re-attach all the panels in reverse order and enjoy hassle-free radio listening pleasure!

If you take your 4runner to a car wash, I would highly recommend you carry a small adjustable wrench in your glove box to remove the antenna. Some car washes may not have the wrench or do this for you. Now I did say the whip was tough, but those large, heavy, wet blanket car wash strips would probably rip the antenna off in a second.

Questions or feedback? Email me and I'll try to get back to you. If this article helped you save time, money or just made things more convenient for you, please consider donating to keep this site alive.