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53 Buick Skylark antenna switch


Guest Jim Farrell
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Guest Jim Farrell

The antenna switch of the '53 Skylark is below the instrument panel to the left of the steering column. The wiring harness to the switch has 4 wires including a ground strap. The red, orange and black wires each have a terminal on the back of the switch, but there is no separate terminal for the ground strap. (The other end of the ground strap attaches to a bolt on the engine side if the firewall.)  can anyone help me figure out where the ground strap on the switch end of the harness goes? Thank you. Jim Farrell 

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I don't think you need ground at the switch........

The antenna housing is grounded and there are two wires coming from the motor...... one wire raises the antenna the other lowers it.

 

There should be 12V coming to probably the center lug of the switch... you push the switch one way and it makes contact and send the 12V to one of the antenna wires,  push it the other direction and everything is reversed.

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Guest Jim Farrell

Barney: 

You are 100% right about the wiring itself. The 53 Buick Shop Manual at p.288 (figure11-11) has a pretty good picture of the wiring for the power antenna except for where the ground strap at the switch end. On the other end the the Shop Manual shows that that the ground strap attaches in the engine compartment to a bolt on an inspection hole cover. The wiring harness we bought has 4 wires coming out of the pigtail at the switch end including the ground strap. There is no place on the switch for more than three terminals and I can find no other place on the switch to attach the ground strap. The only thing I can think of is that the ground strap on the switch end is suppose to attaches to the underside of the instrument panel somewhere, but I'm not sure that makes sense. Somebody must know where this ground wire is suppose to go. Jim Farrell   

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I just looked at a spare '54 unit I have on the shelf, and it should be very similar.  It has a ground strap that attaches to the electric motor body at one end, and loose on the other.  When I installed one, IIRC the loose end of the ground strap passed with the wiring to the inside of the car at the kick panel,  and was grounded with a screw nearby on the kick panel and not at the switch itself.  So if you have one end already grounded to the body, then the other has to go to the electric motor body.

 

I am also now looking at a  full diagram of the '53 unit in a 1928-54 Buick Parts Book (page 248-A) and it shows the same.  One end attaches to the electric motor, the other end comes inside the car past the rubber grommet where the antenna lead also passes through.  I imagine the loose end then is screwed to the body at a convenient and clean point, and certainly not at the switch.

 

Perhaps this is because...  I'm guessing here ... with all the undercoating in the general area and exposure to the elements, a good clean ground was a precaution.

 

Good luck

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Guest Jim Farrell

Fr. Buck:

Thank you. There is a "tab" under the instrument panel that has a screw hole in it. The ground cable will go to it easily. I suspect that's where it goes if it doesn't ground to the the switch. I wish I knew more about wiring and electricity. Jim Farrell

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I'm suspecting what's adding to the confusion is that the wiring harness they sold you might be applicable to 1954, 1955, and possibly later year Buicks...and not a 1953 OEM setup that includes:

 

1.  The LEAD-IN ANTENNA CABLE without a ground strap that exits the upper antenna body tube and is a direct connection to the radio jack;  

 

2.  The MOTOR CONTROL WIRES that exit at the bottom end of the motor, that include the black and orange wires along with the shielded braid wrapping of these two wires for a ground. This shielded braid ends at the inspection cover and gets bolted to this cover on the engine compartment side. The black and orange wires continue on without the shielded braid to the switch terminals; and 

 

3.  The red POWER wire that runs from the middle #3 switch terminal to the #1 lighting switch terminal.

 

In both my 1954 and 1955 Buick Shop Manuals, Figure 11-6 and Paragraph 11-4d, Item 2, indicate two ground leads...a lead-in ground strap and a motor control wire ground strap.

 

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

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Guest Jim Farrell

Al:

 

Thank you. I suspect you are right about the harness being for both 53 and 54. I hate to show my ignorance, but whether there are 1 or 2 ground cables, but neither actually grounds (is attached to) the switch or the motor, how can  they act as a ground?

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