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Technical How do Oldsmobile windshield wipers work?

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by EnragedHawk, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    Alright, I need some help. I've been cruising around for about a year in my 53 Olds with no wipers, and I'm done bribing guys to pass my car for inspection.

    I'm looking at the vacuum mechanism for the wipers. No line was run to it, so I ran one and hooked it up to an air compressor to see if they'd work...

    They do. Kinda. Now on to my question, am I supposed to just move my switch back and forth to manually move the wipers?

    When hooked to the vacuum, the wipers will move up. Then I move the switch back, and they move down. Is that how it's supposed to work?

    Here's the motor and the switch.
    [​IMG][​IMG]


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  2. greybeard360
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 885

    greybeard360
    Member

    Nope.... should run back and forth after you turn them on. You may be able to take the motor apart, clean it out real good, grease up the leather on the sweep. It should divert the vacuum from one side of the sweep to the other when it reaches the end of its travel. Does the motor have a dual diaphragm fuel pump on it? If so, make sure you are using it otherwise the wipers will stop on their own every time you accelerate..... downhill they will work great !!!
     
  3. yes, vacuum probably came off the fuel pump. that motor will have to be cleaned I would think as per^^^^^
     
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 37,741

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    in addition to needing cleaning, you might find that you need some gaskets, there might be some wear in the valve mechanism, and inside the housing, and the leather seal could be in bad shape, etc.

    I've never successfully fixed a vacuum wiper motor, but I've only tried on a few of them.
     
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  5. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    I'm not seeing anything on the fuel pump that looks like a vacuum. It's not the original engine. It's a 70's 455. [​IMG]


    And I can't for for the life of me figure out how to pull this wiper motor. Well, the motor it easy, disconnecting the wipers from it is getting me.


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  6. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    So, I'm starting to guess I'm going to have to change over to an electric motor instead.


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  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 37,741

    squirrel
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    see the spring going across the wiper arm bushings? stretch the spring a little, then pull one end of it off the notch in the post, then do the other end, then lift the linkage arms off the posts. pretty simple, but mind boggling to look at
     
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 37,741

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The vacuum pump on the fuel pump never really does much...vacuum wipers work ok on flat ground and going down hill, but not so good going up hill. With a bigger engine, you'll have more vaccum, so it might work ok if you can get the wiper motor to work well.

    I would investigate electric wipers pretty early on in this game.
     
  9. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    Thanks. Got it. [​IMG]


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  10. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    I'll try my hand at fixing it, but I don't have high hopes. I'll start looking for an electric motor. Maybe I can find one in a junk yard and can make work.


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  11. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,190

    oldolds
    Member

    Squirt some WD-40 in the wiper motor. Then hook it up to straight manifold vacuum. At idle it should make them work, high vacuum. After the WD-40 use some other light oil, such ad sewing machine oil or even Marvel Mystery oil. Something slow to evaporate. You need the oil to seal the fiber seals in them.
     
  12. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    Squirt into the vacuum line?


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  13. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,190

    oldolds
    Member

    Yes and no. lol One side is vacuum one side is a vent, so vacuum pulls thru. So some in each side is ok. It usually works for me. You might have to do it every year.
     
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 21,832

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Inside the vacuum motor through the vacuum port. I've had them apart and cleaned them up and coated the inside with a thin layer of vasoline and they work if they will still work at all. Thing about taking one apart is that those gaskets get real fragile over the years and usually break.
    On replacing it with electric, there are direct replacements for 47/54 Chevy AD pickups that might fit as that looks real close to what the one you showed looks like and might work.
     
  15. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    Holy crap, I think it's working again.

    I pulled this little plastic air valve and oiled the crap out it. Hooked it back up to vacuum and it's rotating back a forth like it should. Just gotta throw it back in and hook it up.

    [​IMG]

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  16. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    So close. Thought I had it. Wipers will go all the way out, but won't return. I can push them and they'll go back. I'm running about 25 Hg. Not sure what intake manifold pressure is. Should I try hooking it up or should I skip to the electric motor?


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  17. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 3,485

    BJR
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    If you can take the wiper motor off and clean the part that is toward the firewall in your picture you may be able to fix it. There is a sheet metal cover over the switching mechanism which needs to be cleaned and oiled. It switches the vacuum from one side to the other, to get the back and forth action of the wiper. Also put some light oil into the port that allows air into the wiper motor, not where the vacuum hose hooks up. That will oil the leather on the end of the paddle that moves the wipers.

    I didn't see you had the motor off already. Now get some light oil into the motor to lube the leather on the paddle.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 37,741

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Getting the motor to run on the bench is one thing, getting it to move the wipers, especially at highway speed, is another.

    Good luck...it is a fun challenge!
     
  19. This! ^^^

    I seem to recall that Vasoline was the recommended lube for the for the leather seal in these vacuum motors. Rambler/AMC was still using vacuum wiper motors into the early '70s. Silicone grease would also probably work well. I'd avoid using bearing grease or motor oil.
     
  20. 36roadster
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,440

    36roadster
    Member

    A squirt of ATF in those vac wipers will lube up that paddle and get it sealed and lubed. There are places who will rebuild your original, but if you want to go down the electric way, have a look at all the other G.M.range around that year. If any had electric wipers, they may be a close (or even exact) fit. A vacuum tank is also a handy accessory to keep these vac wipers working when you step on the gas.
     
  21. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 3,485

    BJR
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Or send it to these guys. http://www.wiperman.com
    We Will Rebuild Your Trico Vacuum Wiper Motor!
    We have Some New Old Stock motors in stock, call for details.
    We also stock many Wiper Arms, Blades, Refills,
    Wiper Transmissions, On/Off Switches & Some Washer Pumps
    Most anything Older, American and Wiper Related!
    Buying & Selling Trico and Anco Products



    Ficken Wiper Service
    132 Calvert Ave
    West Babylon, NY 11704
    (631)587-3332 M-F 9-5 EST

    Sorry, We do not sell any repair kits.

    Robert Ficken
    sales@wiperman.com
     
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  22. Rocky
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 13,867

    Rocky
    Classified Editor

    I've had pretty good luck taking the things apart and lubing with vasoline or red wheel bearing grease. Be very gentle with the gaskets.
     
  23. Fat47
    Joined: Nov 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,033

    Fat47
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Or just buy an electric replacement from Newport. Good people to deal with and their replacement electric wiper motors work great.
     
  24. southerncad
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 569

    southerncad
    Member

    X2 on Newport, not the cheapest, simple to install and work great, use them on my '49...
     
  25. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 37,741

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If they have one for your car, then yeah, that's a great solution. It usually takes some effort to get the control knob to look right, though.
     
  26. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    Cool, thanks for all the input. I'm going to try greasing it this afternoon and see how that goes. If that doesn't work, I'll see about pricing a rebuild. If that's a no go, it'll be on to the electric wipers.

    Thanks again all!


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  27. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 842

    EnragedHawk
    Member
    from Waco, TX

    I've been through just about everything I'm comfortable tackling. The vacuum motor runs better, but still isn't strong enough. If I pull the wipers off, I can watch the pivot points work fine, but the wipers are too much for them. I even tried pulling off the tensioning spring from the wiper just for grins. It wasn't any better. I'll start looking for an electric motor. Hopefully I can find an exact fit.


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  28. greybeard360
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 885

    greybeard360
    Member

    Did you wet the windshield when you tried them? Vacuum wipers have a hard time pulling the blades across dry glass.

    They have a hard time pulling them across wet glass too

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  29. Fill wiper motor with ATF cycle it by hand til it feels nice and smooth with no sticking, hook the vaccum line back on and run it, should last another 50 years. the leather seals dry up ATF swells them back up and lubes the whole thing. Don't even have to remove it. 36roadster and I have the plan.
     

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