Friday, March 12, 2010

Fixing Wiper Overtravel

For a long time (probably a year) my windshield wipers have been smacking into the side post on the drivers side door, and thumping down into the valance at the bottom of the windshield. The constant thump... thwack...was really getting on my nerves. The extra slop in the travel was obviously from some worn part in the wiper drive mechanism. So I finally got around to taking a look..

So I did some research and ordered the parts. About $75 with shipping, but better than the $450+ repair I would be experiencing at the dealer. Once they arrived I began the repair.

The wipers were removed, and the black plastic valence and rubber seal where carefully extracted, their purpose being mainly to divert water away from the engine compartment. Then I took off two bolts, and removed the wiper mechanism.

What isn't shown is how one of the rod arms fell off when I took the assembly out of the car. There's your problem!

Each of these arms translates the rotational movement of the wiper motor into a back-and-forth motion. There are plastic sockets on the ends of the arms which fit over ball joints. The plastic sockets were disintegrating, and causing the slop.

I removed both arms, tossed them in the trash, cleaned the ball joints, and snapped the new rod arms on. The plastic caps came pre-filled with grease. For $75, I'd hope so, since these parts probably cost about 2 dollars to make :)

Back in the car with the new arms - ooh shiny! Bolted it back into place, reattached the valence and rubber seal, and then made sure to "run them" once so the mechanism reset at the normal spot. Reattached the wipers at the bottom of the travel, and problem solved! Now they run nice and smooth. I went ahead and cleaned the wiper blades with vinegar too. It took me about an hour.

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