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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 08-08-2007, 11:17 PM   #1
NicB.
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Fix Your Bee Sting Antenna for Under $3 - DIY

Hi guys,

I noticed that the base of my bee sting antenna on my 328i was cracked and had concerns that it might leak soon. Sure enough the sucker started leaking after a torrential downpour when I was visiting my bro out of town the other day. After a large volume of profanity, I drove to Home Depot and bought a bunch of assorted plumbing gaskets and such to see if I couldn't make a fix. I ended up finding a really good combination for a fix that will cost you no more than $3. This is a good thing considering BMW only sells the WHOLE antenna component (approximately $85).

Here is what I did.

1. Go to Lowe's/Home Depot and pickup a small thing of plumber's putty ($0.99). Then go looking for a "Replacement Cam Assembly for Delta Level Handle Faucets". The piece I had was made my Danco and had a rubber and a plastic piece in it (see attached pics). I think this part cost like $1.79 or something (cheap).

2. There are 3 pieces to your bee sting antenna. Remove the top piece by unscrewing it by hand. Remove the middle piece with a wrench or the antenna tool. Remove the third piece with a wrench or vise grips. The bottom piece has a gasket ring that is about an 1/8" thick and is like a sticky, gooey tar, so you might have to play with it a bit. This gooey ring is what fails, cracks, and leaks. Mine was so old it fell off in pieces, so once I took off the antenna, there was no going back.

3. On the middle part of your antenna there is an O-Ring type gasket. Remove this. Open up your package of parts from the hardware and take out the rubber gasket. This new rubber piece fits snuggly over the middle part of your antenna and will take the place of your old base.

4. Put the O-ring back onto the middle part.

5. Fill the new base with plumbers putty. Be liberal with it as you can wipe off the excess and it never really dries. Do your best to keep the screw hole free of putty, but I don't think it will hurt if you make a mess.

6. Reinstall antenna by pressing and screwing it firmly into place. Some putty should squeeze out the bottom. This can be wiped off.

7. Leak test it, or if you're like me, wake up at 3 a.m. to another torrential downpour and pray that the work you did kept your car dry since you did not leak test it. Fortunately for me this worked like a charm and saved me $80+.

Let me know if you have any questions, it should be pretty straightforward once you dive in. The only thing i want to note is that my diversity antenna is cosmetic only (not serving any function). Although i doubt the plumbers putty would interfere with the reception, I have not tested it to verify.

Best of luck,

NicB.
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Name:	1. Danco Parts - Rubber Piece Removed.JPG
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Name:	2. Plumber's Putty.JPG
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Name:	3. The 3 Antenna Parts.JPG
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Name:	4. Underside of Rubber Piece.JPG
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Name:	5. Top Side of Rubber Piece.JPG
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Name:	6. Middle with O-Ring and Base.JPG
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Name:	7. New Base with O-Ring.JPG
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Name:	8. New Base with O-Ring Installed.JPG
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Name:	9. Pack with Plumber's Putty.JPG
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Name:	10. Goodbye Leak.JPG
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Last edited by NicB.; 08-08-2007 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:24 AM   #2
jeremysmith1967
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Nice job. When mine started to leak I just taped off around the antenna and used some black silicone. Worked like a charm.
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:31 AM   #3
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Great DIY!
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:55 PM   #4
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wow. i have been trying to fix this forever. great thinking
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:56 PM   #5
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wow, looks like you had someone smart helping you out... ahem... good job bro!
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Old 08-09-2007, 04:01 PM   #6
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my car has an external antenna? never really bothered to look...
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:58 PM   #7
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^^ Your car may not have an external antenna. Even if it does, it might be a shark fin. I'd check though...if it leaks, even a small amount, it will still stain your headliner.
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLandon View Post
my car has an external antenna? never really bothered to look...
only on some 323/328 models. the radio antenna is in the rear glass on all E46 besides cabrios.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicB. View Post
^^ Your car may not have an external antenna. Even if it does, it might be a shark fin. I'd check though...if it leaks, even a small amount, it will still stain your headliner.
Nice DIY. Not sure if you were saying the shark fin could leak, it can't since it's only taped on and no holes drilled in roof for that application.
Once again nice DIY. It would be great if you could do a respot of this in the DIY Forum so when people look it up it'll be there.
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Old 08-13-2007, 09:14 AM   #9
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Wow, thanks for the great DIY! Had the same leaking issue. Only problem seems to be is that the top antenna part, when fully screwed in, isn't flush against the middle part of the bee sting. Is that because the new lower base is shorter, enabling the female screw terminal to stick up higher, etc. etc.?

I just worry that because it isn't flush, it isn't watertight.

Thanks for posting the DIY, though. Spot on!

Any ideas?
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:51 PM   #10
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Yes, I noticed that as well, by like a millimeter. I haven't had any issues, but will let you know if I do. Please do the same!

Thanks
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:24 PM   #11
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Man I wish I had seen this before I went out and bought a shark fin to replace mine. I'm still gonna bookmark this.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubyatlanta View Post
Wow, thanks for the great DIY! Had the same leaking issue. Only problem seems to be is that the top antenna part, when fully screwed in, isn't flush against the middle part of the bee sting. Is that because the new lower base is shorter, enabling the female screw terminal to stick up higher, etc. etc.?

I just worry that because it isn't flush, it isn't watertight.

Thanks for posting the DIY, though. Spot on!

Any ideas?

I had the same gap when i did it on mine. I just grabbed an o ring and slid it on it to make up for the gap. looks fine, cant even tell and mine is leak free now.
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:03 PM   #13
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Poured down rain again a couple of days ago. Still dry!
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Old 10-23-2007, 08:00 PM   #14
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I just sealed my Antenna just 5 min ago. It has been leaking very badly. I have not tested it though. It was very very simple and I actually found the part at Home Depot. THANK YOU FOR THIS THREAD!!
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:29 PM   #15
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Best. Thread. Ever.

Mark me down "me too". 2000 328i.

These directions were great. I ended up going to Home Depot and finding the exact part I needed.

When I assembled the parts, though, there was a gap between the top and middle parts because of the O-ring. I ended up putting the O-ring back where BMW put it and everything fit much better.

Thanks for the tip!

p.s. I also noticed that the weatherstripping under the front wipers is all cracked. So I suspect that BMW rubber and gaskets just breaks down after about 6 or 7 years. I'll have to closely inspect all the weatherstripping pieces now.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:54 PM   #16
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that cover under the windshield wipers is called the cowl cover, and yes bmw rubber components to seem to fail after a couple years, thats why ive replaced all mine, and shaved my antenna off.
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:28 PM   #17
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Bee Sting Antenna Fix DIY for less

I fixed my leak using a rubber O ring. Specifically, Danco #18 O rings are available at Home Depot. They use to sell them individually but they now come in a box of 10 for $2. This ring has an inner diameter of 15/16" and fit the base of the bee sting perfectly. No plumbers putty or messy caulk is needed so the entire job takes about 5 minutes. Also, I want to make sure that everyone understands that there is no need to remove the headliner. You can remove the antenna base to get to the gasket area from above.

Last edited by DrElectron; 01-18-2008 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:02 PM   #18
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Leak, water dripping from the cover under the center brake light!

Ditto. Lowes sells the o-ring pack for $1.58. Five minutes and a 13/16 open end wrench did the deed! Thanks for another great tip.
My back seat is the worse for the wear, however, with seams seperating, etc. Just noticed it this week and thought it through enough to know that the water under the center of my back seat did not come from a door seal, but from that overhead compartment.
Now, I'll take the seat to Custom Upholstery at Myrtle Beach and let the guys recover it. He is really reasonable, does great custom work. At least one local new car dealer lets him put leather seats in new cars sometimes, instead of ordering the oem stuff.
Worth a shot, don't you think?
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:32 PM   #19
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thought it was my drains for the sunroof that was causing my recent leaking issue. guess I'll do this first then see if it still leaks!!
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:58 PM   #20
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phone antenna fix

NicB you are a genius. Fixed mine today. Just like you said, DIY, under $3.
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