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Old 01-15-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
xluben
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Default Visual Garage (VG) Shark Fin Antenna Installation Photos (2011 WRX Hatch)

Last night I installed the Visual Garage (VG) Shark Fin Antenna on my car. It's a 2011 WRX Hatch, but I imagine the process will be the same for all 08+ cars (and maybe even older ones). If you have sat/nav (ie. your OEM antenna is a different size/shape) then it may not fit. FYI - the VG website only has 07-09 Impreza as options. You can just choose 09 for any 09+ and it will work.



So, why would you want this? For looks! I (as well as many others) do not care for how the OEM antenna looks (the term RC car has been used). The VG antenna uses fractal antenna technology to create a smaller/sleeker antenna while still retaining near stock reception (unlike stubby antennas). You can find more info here:

http://www.visualgarage.com/Product_How_It_Works.html

When you order you get to choose from the factory paint options. Then they custom make your antenna and paint it to perfectly match your car! This is what makes the VG antenna such a good value. It honestly amazes me that a color matched item can be sold at this price. Here are a couple more photos of what a black one looks like:





Underneath you can see the small circuit and the fractal antenna. There is also a coiled wire with a ring terminal which is used for attaching the antenna to your OEM antenna. The antenna has a pre-applied 3M adhesive around the bottom edge. Included, but not shown in the photos, is a small M5 and M6 screw and a washer.





Now onto the install! VG has a great write up on their website, and it's also included with the antenna when you buy it. Please review their instructions in detail and understand them fully before starting. I'll post the Subaru specific version below, even though it does not vary much from VG's generic instructions. Here is a link to VG's page:

http://www.visualgarage.com/Product_Installation.html

First gather all the things you'll need. Dish soap, masking tape, isopropyl alcohol (IPA), instructions, a hair drier, shark fin antenna, and hardware. You'll also need a bucket of water, some microfiber cloths, and a flathead screwdriver.



Here is the stock antenna.



Unscrew it by hand.



Then get your bucket of water, add a little dish soap and grab a couple microfibers.



Wash the roof of the car around the antenna base. The dish soap will remove any wax on the car.



Cont'd in the next post...
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:56 AM   #2
xluben
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Next get some IPA and clean it even more. I used some cotton pads for application. This should remove all of the remaining dirt and grime. Do an additional wipe down with a clean microfiber to removing any small particles.



Once it is clean you can start the test fit on the shark fin. Make sure that your placement allows for clearance with the OEM antenna underneath the shark fin. I found it best to point the OEM antenna forward for the most space.

Take your time and carefully align the shark fin so it is straight. Step back from the car and make sure. Then add some masking tape to help with relocating it. I used strips all along the entire edge because I felt this worked better than just using 3 pieces like VG suggests.



Next get a flat head screwdriver and the appropriate bolt and washer. For Subaru you will use the smaller M5 bolt.



Screw the ring terminal onto the OEM antenna. Make sure to attach them in the following order, OEM antenna base, washer, ringer terminal, bolt. Due to the size of the items you need to have the washer between the ring terminal and the OEM antenna or else you will not get good contact (necessary for good reception). Do no overtighten.



I pointed the OEM antenna forward, the ring terminal up, and then bent the lead to it sits flat. This seemed to allow for the best fit. Now it's finally time to install the shark fin for good. Do one last check that everything is clean and dirt free. Then get your hair drier and heat the roof of the car until it is at least room temp (or slightly above).

Carefully remove the backing from the adhesive and apply the shark fin to the car. Be very careful to align properly using the masking tape as a guide. Start by pressing the front portion down for 1 minute. Then press the rear/entire thing down for 1 minute. Once it's stuck on you can pull the masking tape off and you're done!

Here are some photos of it installed:













So far I like it a lot! It looks much sleeker than the OEM antenna. I live in an area with good radio reception, and this does not seem to have changed. It is still just as good (or bad) as it was before. I will try to get updated pictures in daylight as soon as I can!
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:57 AM   #3
xluben
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Crappy camera phone pictures of the shark fin antenna (and a very dirty car). Better ones eventually.



http://www.benjohnsonphotography.com...-MDW4D3n-L.jpg

http://www.benjohnsonphotography.com...-SXZfXg9-L.jpg







************************************************** ********************

New photos:

I grabbed my camera after work a took a some shots before it got dark. These are what I came up with. From my normal (low) angles you can barely even see it from the front, so most of the shots are from the rear. I really like how it flows with the car. Definitely better than the OEM antenna (IMO).













Hard to believe this is the same car as the cell phone pics from earlier. It's amazing what a real camera/lens and a few hours of editing can do! I took exactly 100 shots and each of the shots above is a composite of 5-10 images (multiple polarizations).

Last edited by xluben; 01-15-2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:08 AM   #4
max6spd
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Looks good.

Is it possible to use like a sharpie to color in the whitish adhesive that surrounds the base of the antenna? I have a SWP Forester, so it won't be that much of an issue, but since your's is black it stands out more.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max6spd View Post
Looks good.

Is it possible to use like a sharpie to color in the whitish adhesive that surrounds the base of the antenna? I have a SWP Forester, so it won't be that much of an issue, but since your's is black it stands out more.
It's really not white, it's actually just black foam. The flash makes it look white/gray in the photos in the garage. The studio shots with the white background are closer to how it actually looks. I'm 100% positive you won't even see it under normal lighting on my car. On a white car it will be a black line around the base.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:19 AM   #6
thildwrx
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Great write up thanks
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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Nice write up as always. I'd like to see some shots from further away.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:24 AM   #8
imac6471
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Ever since i got my car ive wanted to do this, good write up and thank god you dont have to drop the head liner and take the old one out
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
luan87us
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Nice write up xluben! Got some more zoom out picture? I want to see how it look with the whole car. Not a big fan so far from your photos.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:54 AM   #10
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I'll definitely get some photos of the whole car once I get a chance when it's light out. I might not be able to do it until the weekend though. We'll see...
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:09 PM   #11
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Crappy camera phone pictures of the shark fin antenna (and a very dirty car). Better ones eventually.











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Old 01-17-2013, 04:09 PM   #12
ofspunk7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xluben View Post
Crappy camera phone pictures of the shark fin antenna (and a very dirty car). Better ones eventually.

Your car looks so much better with the tint! I like the new addition. I didn't really notice the tint as much in the "good" photos... maybe because this one is more "real MN" winter car mode. Anyways. The addition of the tint and this new mod looks very clean!
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:23 PM   #13
luan87us
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hmm I'm not sure I like that look lol. It's just off on the hatch. I think this will look nicer on sedan. Just my $.02. But then I'm the guy that like the clear tail lights on my WRB hatch lol.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:39 PM   #14
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Awesome. Might have to do this in the spring. I need to get in touch with you in regards to a flip key too.

Also... just making sure, as the car sits in these photos your on RCE blacks with Koni inserts, correct?
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
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cool!

I stumbled onto this a little while back and wondered why it wasn't more popular, though I've noticed a few with it in the members gallery sections- not many speak of it.

I am most concerned about it matching the color of the car, supposedly they do a pretty good job of it for all colors. I suppose reception would be the second issue

It looks a lot better than the stock antenna! I've got one of these on my mind for a future exterior mod, it's nice to see your detailed quality photos, thanks!
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:52 PM   #16
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Can't decide if I like it or not. I'll reserve the judgement for some typically good xluben DSLR pics. Wonder how easy this would be with a black wrapped roof. Would you want to order it black, or order it body color and wrap it with the roof. That way you could revert back to body color if you wish.

Anyone have pics of what the satellite antenna looks like? I have sirius in my car, but I thought it was going of a small black box in the corner of my windshield.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luan87us View Post
hmm I'm not sure I like that look lol. It's just off on the hatch. I think this will look nicer on sedan. Just my $.02. But then I'm the guy that like the clear tail lights on my WRB hatch lol.
Yeah I guess it does look better on the sedan but I still think it looks better than stock on the hatch too. I definitely think the silver tail lights look bad! Haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLBO View Post
Awesome. Might have to do this in the spring. I need to get in touch with you in regards to a flip key too.

Also... just making sure, as the car sits in these photos your on RCE blacks with Koni inserts, correct?
Yes. That is correct. And 08-10 WRX donor struts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorDucK View Post
cool!

I stumbled onto this a little while back and wondered why it wasn't more popular, though I've noticed a few with it in the members gallery sections- not many speak of it.

I am most concerned about it matching the color of the car, supposedly they do a pretty good job of it for all colors. I suppose reception would be the second issue

It looks a lot better than the stock antenna! I've got one of these on my mind for a future exterior mod, it's nice to see your detailed quality photos, thanks!
Color match looks perfect and reception seems good. It I have not done a hard test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSchell1309 View Post
Can't decide if I like it or not. I'll reserve the judgement for some typically good xluben DSLR pics. Wonder how easy this would be with a black wrapped roof. Would you want to order it black, or order it body color and wrap it with the roof. That way you could revert back to body color if you wish.

Anyone have pics of what the satellite antenna looks like? I have sirius in my car, but I thought it was going of a small black box in the corner of my windshield.
I'll have better pics soon. Not sure about wrapping it. I'd think you'd want it painted to match the car.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xluben View Post
Yeah I guess it does look better on the sedan but I still think it looks better than stock on the hatch too. I definitely think the silver tail lights look bad! Haha.
It does look very rice in my pictures however the chrome have a grey shade to it in person and I think it goes very nice with the WRB. I saw a 2011 WRX hatch recently at the same dealer and notice their tail lights were A LOT whiter/clearer than mine lol. However it was a DGM WRX sono ot sure if they did a bit of improvement in 2013 or it was the contrast. I do want to put some overlay on it but I will be going for a smoke red color and not just OEM red. However this will be on the bottom of my to do list. So much stuff to do on this car to worry about some damn tail lights lol.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSchell1309 View Post
Can't decide if I like it or not. I'll reserve the judgement for some typically good xluben DSLR pics. Wonder how easy this would be with a black wrapped roof. Would you want to order it black, or order it body color and wrap it with the roof. That way you could revert back to body color if you wish.

Anyone have pics of what the satellite antenna looks like? I have sirius in my car, but I thought it was going of a small black box in the corner of my windshield.
I have a Silver Spark Metallic sedan with a gloss black wrapped roof. I ordered the shark fin in the same color as the vehicle and plan on wrapping it the gloss black, or just spray it matte black with plastidip. I'm lazy.

Either way the antenna hasn't come in yet but when it does I'll let you know how it works and looks.

Xluben, how long did it take to come in from the time of the purchase? The website said up to three weeks when I purchased, it's been about one, curious if it'll be less time.

Looks good!
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gmac03 View Post
Xluben, how long did it take to come in from the time of the purchase? The website said up to three weeks when I purchased, it's been about one, curious if it'll be less time.

Looks good!
I actually got mine from Jive Turkey. You'll have to ask him. Thanks Jive!
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:10 PM   #21
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I don't like smoke tail lights at all, in any form. That's just me though. And this thread has nothing to do with tail lights...
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:20 PM   #22
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I grabbed my camera after work a took a some shots before it got dark. These are what I came up with. From my normal (low) angles you can barely even see it from the front, so most of the shots are from the rear. I really like how it flows with the car. Definitely better than the OEM antenna (IMO).













Hard to believe this is the same car as the cell phone pics from earlier. It's amazing what a real camera/lens and a few hours of editing can do! I took exactly 100 shots and each of the shots above is a composite of 5-10 images (multiple polarizations).
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:25 PM   #23
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I like shots 1 and 4, the shark fin looks sweet. I was wondering why the other photos of the car looked so average
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:47 PM   #24
JcTurbo2800
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that looks great, ill have to grab one
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:44 AM   #25
dinggoo
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Looks really good I like the way it matches the sides of the rear spoiler
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