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  1. TJJ3
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Vacuum wiper motor rebuild

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 50flathead, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. It looks like the vacuum wiper motor on my 37 is going to need some help. What does an rebuild amount to and where are the parts available? I know I'll at least need the main body gasket. Maybe the rest just amounts to a good cleaning. Anybody have a NOS trico laying around?
  2. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,520

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    David Ficken is the best known Trico Wiper guy. He rebuilds yours ... and also has NOS ones for sale. But he does NOT sell rebuild kits ... :)

    Go here
  3. Dooley
    Joined: May 29, 2002
    Posts: 1,943

    from Buffalo NY

  4. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,914


    I hear that automatic transmission fluid works wonders in cleaning and lubing them.
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  5. Shadetree
    Joined: Feb 7, 2003
    Posts: 243

    from Va USA

    It does!!!!
    It made mine work like new.
    Just rook the hose loose, from the manifold, and stuck it in a trans fluid bottle, and worked the wiper arms back and forth a few times, and it did the trick!!
  6. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,426


    I've taken a few of them apart.
    Not much to them.
    Just a big "flag" that gets sucked back and forth because it's hooked up to a valve mechanism that reverses the air flow at each end of the sweep.
    Most of the ones I've looked into had a leather or fiber sealing gasket that dries out and wears down and lets the air leak past instead of moving the flag.
    Like bad rotor seals on a Wankle rotary engine.
    On the leather ones I just soak them with Neetsfoot oil, the same stuff I put on my baseball glove and leather bicycle seats to soften it up.
    That works purty good.
    It's not unlike trans fluid though so that would work as well I guess.
    The ones with the fiber seals got "lost" in the spare parts box....
  7. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,982

    Bruce Lancaster

    I believe the Mac's kit is for the basic Model A--early V8 type, smaller than your '37.
    There really does not seem to be a parts source other than random fleamarket finds for most models!
    There are at least 3 or 4 basic sizes with totally different flapper and gasket sizes...
    As DrJ says, you can USUALLY revive them by simple cleaning everything you have, "Fluffing" the edges of the paddle, and lubing. Loosen screws, let the thing soak for a while, and try to get gaskets out intact...they have lots of tiny notches and holes and making new ones will wear out your eyeballs and about 3 Xacto blades.
    Make a drawing of all the little flip-flap thingies in the valve chamber. The design there is practically surreal, and you'll never figure it out without records! The function is visible up top...little holes under a slide to valve the vac to each side.
    The fuzzy in the middle, a tube of felt, is actually a STOP. Once it is packed down, valve flip flop will go too far and so not get vacuum for the return trip. Rotate and fluff that part...some people replace it with a bit of rubber tubing.
    Another thing...gauge WIDTH of main chamber by cutting a chunk of wood to basic width...sometimes walls warp or wear to wavy, and you are screwed. I suspect a rare one could be massaged back to sem-flat by body work techniques...the stuff is soft.
    If you can save gaskets, soak them in oil and use the old Holley trick of putting chapstick on the metal surfaces so they don't stick.
  8. ***Update*** Very good news. I spent a good share of Saturday removing everything necessary in order to remove the wiper motor. Since I didn't have any ATF, I flushed the motor with hydraulic power steering fluid as a substitute. I forced the stuff into the motor with a squeeze bottle then hooked it up to a vacuum source and pulled more fluid through the motor from the air intake side. I applied a little petroleum jelly to the external mechanism and put the outer cover back on. It now runs like a well oiled machine-no pun intended. The vacuum regulator actually works as it should and varies the wiper speed. This was all accomplished without disassembling the wiper motor. These vacuum motors really make sense. They are light, compact, and simple devices. All the same reasons that air tools are often favored over their electric counterparts.
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 27,574


    They work great, until you have to pass or go up a hill :)

    Good to hear you got it going again, hamb pulls thru again
  10. 4dFord/SC
    Joined: Sep 12, 2004
    Posts: 717


    Just don't get caught in heavy rain on a long hill :)
  11. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,436

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    wonder if there would be a way to modify one internally to use an electric motor and still retain the look of the Vac. unit?
    that would be a cool mod.
  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 27,574


    There is probably not enough room inside for a motor/gearbox powerful enough to run the wipers.
  13. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,436

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    good point..i thought about it after i typed that...kinda came to the same conclusion..
    oh well its fun to dream:D
  14. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,520

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    A vacuum can can HELP these problems. It WILL NOT cure them but it will help.


    I used one off a 1990 Beretta on my 1940 Ford coupe. It is actually only about the size of a 12 oz soda can.
  15. The problem today with anything built up to 1939 is the same one Henry faced in the 30's-very tight space. We'll see how this works as the spring rains come. My 37 has a SBC so hopefully ample vacuum is not a problem. I installed a Newport electric conversion in a 40 a few years ago. It works great and there is ample space under the cowl. I think they just came out with a kit for a 37 that will fit under the header panel.

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