After heavy rains I would see water dripping from the dome light console, specifically from the black switch/button on the passenger side.  This would soak the cup holders and gear shift. There was also an unsightly stain above the passenger side A-pillar trim.

leaking button
The button where the water was dripping out of.
headliner stain

The annoying leak was very embarrassing when going out on dates with supermodels and Bond girls.  I needed to stop the leak!

Leak Found!

I dropped the entire headliner to isolate the leak, which took a while.  Water marks were evident on the headliner above the front passenger seat:

headliner pic

With the headliner down I grabbed a watering can and poured water all over the roof.  The windshield seal did not leak.  I could not get the sunroof to leak.  The sunroof’s four corner hoses were all connected and working fine:

back of sunroof
Back of sunroof showing rear drain hoses

I did not see leaks from the roof rack bolts, or leaks along the roof ditches: 

roof rack mounts
The roof rack mounts were not leaking.

The only leak was coming from the satellite antenna!  Water was dripping off the bolt head:

antenna leaking
The culprit – water dripping from the antenna bolt.

Ford’s two cent antenna gasket cost me a whole Saturday, so hopefully this article will help someone make the same repair in less time.     

NO REPRESENTATION IS MADE AS TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THIS INFORMATION. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY.  CONDUCT REPAIRS ON YOUR VEHICLE AT YOUR OWN RISK.  IF SOMEONE GETS HURT, CALL YOUR MOM OR SOMEONE WHO CARES!

Wear gloves, goggles, an old long-sleeve shirt, and dust mask when performing this task!  The headliner is basically a sheet of foam coated in FIBERGLASS!!  Protect your lungs, eyes and skin!!!!!!!!

To repeat, and in all seriousness:

Wear gloves, goggles, an old long-sleeve shirt, and dust mask when performing this task!  The headliner is basically a sheet of foam coated in FIBERGLASS!!  Protect your lungs, eyes and skin!!!!!!!!

Loosening the headliner below the Antenna

In my case I dropped the entire headliner, but this article will describe only what I think you need to do to access the antenna and conduct the repair.  The idea is to loosen the headliner below the antenna to gain a few inches of access.

I decided to disconnect the car battery.  There are a bunch of wires near this leak, and water and electricity never mix.  Be careful.

I got a container to hold the various screws/bolts/brackets that would be removed.

I removed the grab handle from the passenger side A-pillar by prying out the two rubber bolt covers with a small flat screwdriver. 

grab handle

I then removed the handle by taking out the two 7mm bolts with a small ratchet. I then lowered the black rubber door seal from the headliner and A-pillar area by simply pulling it down.

Next, I pried off the A-pillar trim – see pic for clip locations and angles.  Start at the top and gently pull it outward.  Once both clips are free the trim can be lifted up and removed.  You may have to wiggle it slightly.  Be careful not to damage the lower fins.

The passenger side trim is the lower one – note handle holes.

Next, I removed the dome light console.  The console in my case was held to the white mounting bracket by four clips (see pic).  To remove the console from the bracket I simply pulled straight down, starting with the two front clips (closest to the windshield) and then the two rear ones.  It was on very tight so I had to pull hard!

console mounting clips
Console mount showing the 4 clips on the corners.

I removed the lone screw from the passenger sun visor clip and then the 2 screws holding the sun visor pivot bracket (In my case I needed a Torx T-20 bit for all 3 screws).  You can leave the visor hanging loose for now (Once the headliner is loose you can disconnect its electrical connector if the visor is in your way).

I then removed the rectangular trim around the sunroof.  It just slides out.  Note: there are two grooves in it – one wider groove for the headliner and a narrower one for the sunroof.

sunroof trim

At this point you should have decent access to the antenna mounting bolt.  If not, you may want to loosen the top of the passenger side B-pillar trim by lowering the seat belt and pulling the top out about an inch to remove it from a clip. 

Repairing the leak

Remove the antenna bolt and spider washer (the four legged thing) with a 10mm socket (see antenna pic above).

Note:  There are two clear plastic tabs holding the antenna in place.  Press these in as you push the antenna up and out through the roof. 

The house-shaped foam gasket is what fails.  This gasket needs to be removed.  I scraped mine off using a small screwdriver.  I then used goo-gone to remove any adhesive residue.  You need to get to bare metal.

gasket removal

It was now time to clean the roof paint around the antenna.  I used rubbing alcohol to remove any grease to ensure a good seal with silicone.

I then applied sealant where the gasket was.  I think Ford recommends using high-temp engine sealant, but I used a high quality silicone caulk.  I applied a nice, generous, continuous bead, like this: 

silicone applied

Next, I carefully lined up the antenna and reinstalled it on the roof.

Here you can see a ring of sealant around the hole after placing the antenna back in its location:

I then put a drop of blue locktite on the bolt thread. 

While keeping gentle pressure on the antenna from the top with one hand, I reinstalled the spider washer and snugged up the bolt (don’t over-tighten). While the silicone dried I put everything back together. I then cleaned the inside of the car (seats, dashboard etc.) to remove any fiberglass fibers.

Hint: Before installing the dome light console you may want to replace the old-style light bulbs in it with LEDs (42mm 578).  It is a good time to do it since you can’t really get at the bulbs without removing the console (whoever designed this console was a complete jackass!).

This procedure worked for me.  No more leaks!

If your repair was successful it is time to celebrate a leak-free antenna, and a repair well done!  Do what I did – grab a pizza with a supermodel! 

Antenna Babe
Copyright Sergey Galyonkin

Steve McNichols is a DogHillMedia.com contributor

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