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How To Replace Your On-Star Dummy Shark Fin

Hey everybody,

I did a lot of reading on here for tutorials on how to replace the shark fin; mine was cracked and decaying and starting to fall apart. I definitely found some helpful stuff but I still had a lot of confusion about what kind of replacement I needed and how to do it. I finally completed the DIY shark fin replacement and it was 100% successful. I am posting how I did it just in case there is anyone else out there who had the same questions I did. At first I was intimidated by the steps involved in loosening the headliner, but it’s really pretty straightforward and it goes quick.

First of all, watch this video, it got me started:
As it turns out, I had the type of antenna that is soft and doesn’t contain the full solid metal on-star antenna. But I couldn’t find a suitable replacement that was exactly the same; all the ones I saw were different looking, shiny, or hard plastic and I really wanted one that looked exactly like the old one, with the soft touch rubber. I went ahead and ordered the solid dummy from Europarts (part #12762122) and this one worked out fine.

And here we go:
-Crescent wrench or a pair of pliers
-Socket wrench with a 3/8 sized drive
-Something semi-flexible to help pry off some of the clips that hold the headliner in place (grab a flat head screwdriver, a butter knife, and a plastic credit card you wouldn’t mind snapping in half and see which one works best for you)

This is what my old antenna looked like once it was removed. Notice what the bolt looks like on the bottom; this is what is securing your antenna to your roof.

You need to get to the bolt that secures the dummy on-star antenna to the roof. This can only be accomplished by loosening the headliner. Removing it completely would be great, but I felt this was too ambitious a job for me to do myself so I managed to get it loose enough to allow me to reach up under it and unscrew the bolt.

1. WASH YOUR HANDS. You are going to have your hands all over that nice clean headliner and the last thing you want to do is get it all dirty.

2. Get in the back seat of your Saab. There is a plastic piece that covers the rear window break light. Remove it by GENTLY prying it off, starting with one of the sides:

3. You will see the underside of the break light that houses a little rectangular piece where your electrical wiring goes in. Apply firm gentle downward pressure to it (you can GENTLY use the butter knife or flat head to help) and it should pop out of it’s clip.

4.Next you need to remove the almond shaped clip in the rear center of the headliner. Push UP on the headliner, lifting it toward the roof. This will expose the clip, allowing you to grip it. Turn it about 45 degrees to the left and gently pull it down and out.

5. Now you will need to loosen the rear pillars. These were a little stubborn at first; your biggest worry is damaging your liner while you’re leveraging with your tool, so just be very careful (I used a grocery discount card that I had on my keychain). Pry the clips that s
ay “AIRBAG” out of the two rear pillars.

6. Once these are out, you will see that there is a bolt that secures each pillar. These are easy to remove with the socket wrench and a 3/8 drive.

7. This should allow you to loosen the pillars on each side and give you more room to work with.

8. Finally, you may need to loosen at least one of the passenger handles that are clipped into the top of the liner on each side. Use your tool (butter knife, discount card, flathead, or other) to pry off the clips on the smaller triangular section of the handle. It will pop out, and then you grab hold of the handle and give it a little yank. It should pop right out of the liner without too much trouble.

9. It’s a good idea to put your rear seats down; I found it gave me a slightly better angle to reach up under the headliner. Keep in mind, this is a tight space and if you pull down too hard on the headliner, you may crease it. Proceed with CAUTION and GO SLOW. You may have a great tool for this task, but if you’re like me and you don’t, if you have a tiny girlfriend or know a kid with steady little arms you could ask them to help you with this.

10. Basically if you cram yourself into the rear window and look between the now loosened headliner and the roof of the car, you will see the bolt that secures the on-star antenna to the roof. This is the hardest part of the whole deal: achieving the angle in that tight space to sufficiently loosen the bolt and then tighten it again without creasing the liner. I was able to loosen it myself by hand. If yours is too tight, you will need your crescent wrench or a pair of pliers to loosen and remove the bolt and the washer. I used pliers; this was a bit challenging. Safe yourself some time and get a wrench.

11. Once the bolt and washer are removed, you can pop the antenna right off the top of the roof, replace it with the old one, and then cram yourself into the rear window again to reach in and put the bolt back on.

12. WASH YOUR HANDS AGAIN (mine were dirty from handling the old antenna and touching the exterior of the car – you do not want to smudge your headliner!) simply retrace your steps and pop all the pieces of the liner back into place, and replace all the clips and bolts right back where they came from.

Some people mentioned they got error messages after replacing the antenna. I had no such issue.

Here is the new antenna installed:

I hope these pictures are viewable; if not, you can also view them in my album on my profile. Hope this helps!
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