What tools do I need to drill a hole on top of my Ford fussion 2012

SurgePGH

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Need help drill a hole on my Ford fussion 2012 for a permanent anttenta
What kind of help? If you are going to use an NMO style mount then you would use a 3/4" hole saw. Be absolutely sure there is nothing behind where you are drilling. No not drill too far in as the headliner is right behind the metal. This is best left up to someone that has done a few at the very least.
 

mmckenna

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If your Fusion has a dome light near the center of the roof, try removing that and see if there is roof skin above it. That is a good place to drill the hole. make sure there are not any cross members in the way.

If there is no dome light, you may have to lower the headliner a bit to get a clear view of what you are doing. Sometimes you can pull the trim off around the door and get an inch or two of space to look up there.

A 3/4" hole saw is all you need. The purpose built NMO hole saws have a design that limits penetration so you don't put the pilot drill through the headliner. If you are careful, and especially if there is easy access through the dome light, you can -carefully- use a standard hole saw.

While I have 'official' NMO hole saws, I've had to do some installs where those wouldn't work (stainless steel, etc). I've had good results with these:

If you plan on doing more than one hole, or plan on doing this to other vehicles, getting the correct NMO hole saw will have some benefits. But for one hole, the Klein bit above will work well.
 

SteveC0625

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NMO mounts need a hole that is exactly 3/4” in diameter. The 3/4” hole saws you typically find at home improvement centers, etc. actually cut a 7/8” hole. That is not good. Get one that cuts a 3/4” hole and no larger. The purpose made ones really work well.

I use a Dewalt saw that cuts the proper hole. In some cases, I have better luck with a Greenleaf chassis punch.

One other option is to purchase a 3/8” NMO and then you only have to drill a 3/8” hole.
 

BushDoctor

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I bought one from a Motorola shop(ST-157) and after 50 years it still works. I think it was around 15 bucks for the kit it also has includes a seldom used cutter for low band antennas i have used 2 or 3 times but my 3/4 inch cutter i have used hundreds of times for myself and other hams. As far as i know they probably can order one from their catalog maybe even just a 3/4 inch one since i don't see many low band antennas anymore.
 

mmckenna

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NMO mounts need a hole that is exactly 3/4” in diameter. The 3/4” hole saws you typically find at home improvement centers, etc. actually cut a 7/8” hole. That is not good. Get one that cuts a 3/4” hole and no larger. The purpose made ones really work well.
Yeah, that's the conduit/trade size.

But, the hole saw I linked to above is 3/4". I've used them at work to install NMO mounts on stainless steel emergency phone boxes.
 

mrweather

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If you can access both sides of the mounting surface, a 3/4" chassis hole punch will give the cleanest hole. Many of us, unfortunately, don't so a proper NMO hole saw is your only option. I have an 3/4" Antenex branded one I bought over a decade ago and have drilled about a dozen holes over four vehicles without a hiccup.
 

iMONITOR

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With automotive sheet metal getting thinner and thinner does anyone make something like a fender washer to back up to the body metal to give it a stronger mount? I would think some of these would warp/buckle the roof if it encounter stress from a car wash, trees, snow/ice, ETC.
 

12dbsinad

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If you're just doing 1 hole and have clearance (like at a dome light) go get a step bit that drills to 3/4". You can find these cheap at harbor freight. This will give you the cleanest and most accurate hole if you go easy, much better than a standard hole saw IMHO.
 

mmckenna

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With automotive sheet metal getting thinner and thinner does anyone make something like a fender washer to back up to the body metal to give it a stronger mount? I would think some of these would warp/buckle the roof if it encounter stress from a car wash, trees, snow/ice, ETC.
You can use one of these, it's intended to be a ground plane for a UHF or higher frequency antenna when installed on a non-metallic surface:

Or, if you have a hole saw/chassis punch, you can easily make your own out of some sheet metal. I have heard of people using 4x4 electrical box covers. However, I haven't run across a vehicle yet that really needs one, but my experience is with US based trucks, SUV's and cars.
 

SteveC0625

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With automotive sheet metal getting thinner and thinner does anyone make something like a fender washer to back up to the body metal to give it a stronger mount? I would think some of these would warp/buckle the roof if it encounter stress from a car wash, trees, snow/ice, ETC.
A 3/8” NMO plus a standard fender washer with a 3/8” ID is a good solution if the roof material is very thin or a tall antenna is being installed.

Any backing plate or washer solution requires some access between the headliner and roof. That may require some ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking.
 

FFPM571

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the main tool you need to cut a hole in the roof of any vehicle you personally own is a giant set of, i believe the propper word is, cojones .

Thats why i use mag-mounts.
I drill holes in customers 30-40K police vehicles every day. If you know what you are doing and using the proper tools it's easy. Magnet mounts are for temporary use your performance suffers and eventually will ruin the paint underneath.
 

spacellamaman

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I drill holes in customers 30-40K police vehicles every day. If you know what you are doing and using the proper tools it's easy. Magnet mounts are for temporary use your performance suffers and eventually will ruin the paint underneath.
if, as i implied, i don't have a giant set of cojones, what would make you think i have the proper tools and know what i am doing?

perhaps the paint on the roof may suffer, but other than the guy training the searchlight out of the police chopper, who's gonna know?

of course it sounds to me you got it easy at your job! i drilled a hole in a customers car once. boy was he pissed. one little mistake and suddenly the big boss man says i ain't cut out to be a range safety officer.

pick, pick, pick!
 

mmckenna

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if, as i implied, i don't have a giant set of cojones, what would make you think i have the proper tools and know what i am doing?

perhaps the paint on the roof may suffer, but other than the guy training the searchlight out of the police chopper, who's gonna know?
It's an individual choice.
Personally, I take good care of my vehicles, and I wouldn't do that to the paint job, even if it's where no one would likely see it. I'd know it was there. Then there's a the slight additional loss from the magnetic mount versus the permanent mount. Then there's the grounding issues that can result in RF on the outside of the coax causing issues with other vehicle electronics. Talking about outside, you also have to get the coax inside the vehicle somehow. That can result in damaged/pinched cable, damaged weather stripping, water leakage, etc.

If mag mounts were the 'right tool' for the job, we'd see fire trucks and police cars running around with mag mounts on them.

As for vehicle damage, A few years back I traded in my 2011 F150 that had two NMO mounts on the roof top. I received about $3K more than Kelly bluebook on the trade in.

As for cajones, well, that's my business.

of course it sounds to me you got it easy at your job! i drilled a hole in a customers car once. boy was he pissed. one little mistake and suddenly the big boss man says i ain't cut out to be a range safety officer.

pick, pick, pick!
Next time aim for the fuel tank. Then they won't care about the hole.
 

slowmover

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With automotive sheet metal getting thinner and thinner does anyone make something like a fender washer to back up to the body metal to give it a stronger mount? I would think some of these would warp/buckle the roof if it encounter stress from a car wash, trees, snow/ice, ETC.
Out here in Redneckistan we been usin’ decommissioned radial saw blades long, long time.

And Greenlee Radio Chassis Punches to cut that hole.

.
 

spacellamaman

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Talking about outside, you also have to get the coax inside the vehicle somehow. That can result in damaged/pinched cable, damaged weather stripping, water leakage, etc.
yeah i have never found a satisfactory work-around on that issue, which for me, is the only serious downside, but serious for sure.

As for vehicle damage, A few years back I traded in my 2011 F150 that had two NMO mounts on the roof top. I received about $3K more than Kelly bluebook on the trade in.
hmmmm, i never knew that. shoulda told the customer he owed me money! That's not a .357 diameter hole! it's a 3/8 inch stud mount!

Next time aim for the fuel tank. Then they won't care about the hole.
;)
 
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