2004 F250 CB Antenna Install

Ford
Super Duty
4×4
CB Antenna


Installation

 

2004
F250 4×4 XLT Sport

 

 

I
wanted to install a CB in my truck but I didn’t particularly like any of the
typical antenna installation options. I didn’t want to run a magnetic
mount antenna or a "through the glass" antenna. I also didn’t
want to drill any holes in the roof, bed, or fenders. I ended up finding a
solution on the Ford Truck
Enthusiasts forum
that KenReb
came up with. I figured I would put up a few pics and explanation for
those who would like to do this. This install is not that hard but its not
that easy either.

 

I really like the location on the driver’s
side cowl because it makes for a really clean install without having to drill
into the fender, roof, or bed. I figured if I screwed up drilling the
plastic cowl piece I could just buy another one somewhere and replace it, as
opposed to replacing (and paint matching!) a fender or patching a hole in the
roof.

 

I chose the Firestik stake hole mount kit
for a couple reasons. First, because it was my second preference for
installing the antenna so I figured if the cowl install didn’t pan out, I could
back off and install it in the stake hole, with some slight mods since I have a
camper top. Firestik does make an extended stake hole mount specifically
for camper top/tonneau cover applications, but not in the mini kit. The
other reason I bought this mounting kit was that it contained the antenna mount
I needed and the length of coax with the FireRing connector.

 

There’s a wealth of CB/Antenna tech info on Firestik’s
tech page.

 

Tools
& Parts I Used
 

-
Firestik antenna mount mini kit part number MK294-R

-
Firestik II 3-foot black antenna part number FS3-B

-
Phillips screwdriver

-
Flat screwdriver

-
Needlenose pliers

-
1/2" open end wrench

-
9/16 open end wrench

-
5/8" open end wrench

-
Small adjustable wrench

-
Tape measure and/or digital calipers

-
Drill

-
Drill bit set ranging from 1/8" up to 1/2"

-
7/8" hole saw

-
3/8" drive ratchet

-
3/8" drive, 6 inch extension

-
3/8" drive, 13mm socket

-
6-32 x 1/2" socket head cap screw, flat washer, lock washer

-
6-32 tap

-
8-32 x 1" machine screw, flatwasher, locknut

-
7/64" allen wrench

-
Dremel tool with cutoff wheel

-
Soldering iron and solder

-
Small round file

-
Wire stripping tool

-
Xacto knife

-
Digital voltmeter

-
Minor fab skills

 

Procedure

The first step is to remove the cowl pieces
on the both sides. Removing the passenger side is not really necessary but
I removed it so I could measure the radio antenna location so that the CB
antenna would be roughly in the same spot, on the opposite side.

 

To remove the cowl pieces you must first
remove the wiper blades. Then remove 8 phillips head screws (4 on each side) across the
top of the cowl.

 

Next, raise the hood and remove the 6 plastic clips, that hold
a wiring harness in
place, along the front edge of the cowl. Then remove the weatherstrip by
simply lifting it off.

 

Now lift the cowl pieces up and pull the
washer fluid tubing off of the sprayers. Then the cowl pieces can be
removed. The picture below shows a good place to disconnect the passenger
side tube. There is a similar connection for the driver side cowl piece,
that you access after lifting the cowl piece up.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have any good
pictures of the next few steps because I decided to write this article after I
had already installed the mount.

Now you can see the metal piece where you
will install the antenna mount. From the factory, this piece slopes
downward. For the antenna mount, you must use pliers or a small adjustable
wrench to tweak the metal piece around until the antenna will be straight and
square. You just need to get this adjustment close at this point because
you can adjust the antenna around until its straight and square after its
installed.

The next thing I did was take some
measurements of the radio antenna location to try to position the CB antenna
mount in roughly the same place, on the opposite side. I started by
drilling a small pilot hole, then worked my way up to the 1/2"
hole required by the antenna mount.

Next, I installed the antenna mount per the
instructions from Firestik.

Image courtesy of the Firestik
Antenna Company

Image courtesy of the Firestik
Antenna Company
 

 

Here you can see the mount after
installation

 

This piece of metal is fairly thin and the
antenna is fairly heavy. That, plus the force on the antenna from the wind
while driving, led me to install a brace at the front corner. I fabbed up
an angle bracket to stiffen it up a little. The bracket connects at
the bottom under the rear most hood hinge mount hole. I drilled a
9/64" hole near the antenna mount, then match-drilled the top part of the
bracket so the holes would line up. I tapped the bracket to fit the 6-32
threads of the small screw I used. Tapping is optional as I could’ve also
used nut on the bottom side.

 

The next step is the important one! I
don’t have much advice other than to measure and test fit a bunch times before
drilling the hole in the cowl. I must have test fit the cowl piece 20
times before finally drilling it with the 7/8" holesaw. I first used a dremel
tool to remove the rib that crosses right where the hole needs to be. Then
I put a little white paint on the top of the mount to help mark where the hole
needed to go. Then
the series of test fits and finally drilled the hole.

 

Now that the hard part is over with, its
time to reinstall the cowl pieces with these steps:

Reconnect the washer fluid tubes

Place the cowl pieces where they go

Reinstall the weather strip piece

Reinstall the 8 phillips head screws on the top of the cowl

Reinstall the wiper blades.

Reinstall 5 of the mounting clips across the front edge of the cowl. Do not install the outer
most one on the driver’s side, you’ll see why below.

Next, install the antenna into the mount and
gently bend around on the antenna mount until the antenna is straight and square
with the truck.

 

Now it is time to finish the coax cable
installation. The first thing I did was use a small round file to file
away some of the plastic on the cowl piece, to allow the coax to lay safely out
of the way of the hood hinge.

 

Then I routed the cable down by the front
edge of the cowl. I used a cable mounting clamp with bolt & nut in the
location that originally had a plastic clip. I used a different cable
mount, but you could easily use the one supplied in the mounting kit.

 

Then I had to choose how to penetrate the
firewall to get the cable inside the cab. There’s a plastic plug on the driver’s side of the firewall that is perfect for
this. I’m not sure what this plug is for (possibly something related to
the clutch for a manual transmission?), but on my truck it was just a blank plug
that easily popped out. I drilled a 3/8" hole in the plug and installed the grommet provided in the mounting kit. I
pulled the coax through the grommet and then reinstalled the plug into the
firewall.

 

Now, as a little sidetrack, I bought a Cobra
18 WX ST II CB because of its reasonable price and that it had the weather
channels built in. I mounted it using the existing screw holes for the
trash bag hook on the lower part of the dash. I had to re-drill the CB
mount to match the bolt hole spacing, and use longer screws to mount the bracket
and CB.

 

Next, I routed the cable behind the dash and
dropped it down just behind where I mounted the CB. At this point its time
to install the coax connector onto the end of the cable. See the images
from the Firestik tech page that illustrate this process.

Images courtesy of the Firestik
Antenna Company

 

Next, I used a volt meter to check
continuity. You should see very low
resistance between the center pin of the coax connector and the body of the
antenna mount. You should also see very low
resistance between the shell of the coax connector and any ground on the truck,
I used the framework behind the dash to get to a ground. You should also see
very high resistance between the shell and the
center pin of the coax connector. Below is a
picture of the instructions that came with my antenna mount, that details the
connectivity of the signal(H) and the ground(G).

 

Finally, you’re almost ready to connect the antenna
cable to the CB! Do not forget to tune your antenna using an SWR
meter. The Firestik II antenna is convenient because it features a tunable
tip. I snagged an inexpensive SWR meter and jumper from ebay to use to
tune my antenna. After reading through the pages, in the links below, I
was able to get the SWR below 1.4 for channels 1, 19, and 40. For what
it’s worth, my SWR reading before tuning was right at 3.0.

See the links below for info about tuning the antenna.

Intro
to SWR

SWR
Testing

Setting
SWR

Now you can connect the cable and you’re done!

Again, thanks to KenReb
for this idea!

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