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Stupid vacuum wipers.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gromit, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. Gromit
    Joined: Oct 13, 2011
    Posts: 726


    I checked the archive and have found nothing.. probably me... My 49 Plymouth has vacuum wipers. They of course, suck. my old Ford had them... 20 years ago and they seemed better. as I live in a rainforest they are a neccesity, are there any hints of improving them?:confused:
  2. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    Check with Newport Wipers and convert to electric.
  3. Yea electrics is the way to go, other wise your only option is to pull the motor down and make sure that everything is up to par. Well oiled, no leaks etc. they will never compete with electrics but you gotta use what you have I guess.
  4. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    Install a vacuum canister in the system and the lag and stop should be a thing of the past. This was even an option on 46-48 Fords.

  5. Gromit
    Joined: Oct 13, 2011
    Posts: 726


    Looks good, but $200, while reasonable. is npot something I want to do, especially when the system only works on 12 volt. While the car will likely be 12 volt one ain't. An old timer once recommended a vacuum reservoir, any experience here with old school fixes?
  6. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,014

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    With an old fire extingisher or some thing simular plus some rubber grommets, a power brake type check valve and some imagination you could make up a vacuum canister. This plus a rebuild on the vacuum motor should get you by.
  7. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    The big problem with vac wipers is that the grease gets hard and stiff inside and slows everything down. I squirt some ATF into the vac port and force the mechanism back and forth to loosen everything up.


    My wipers worked reasonably well with the six cyl. on my 56 knowing that it had never been serviced since it was new so I found this NORS dual action pump for an Edsel to help. I'm a tight ass and electric wiper kits are too costly for the number of times that I may need one. I've learned to let up real quick on the gas on those long pulls up the mountain side in the rain. 20 bucks for the old chromed electric wipers for a 34 P/U is one thing but 200 bucks for a kit is just too much for me. It was 30 years ago the last time that I got caught in a real downpour that had me worried for a while.
  8. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,257

    from Michigan

    I've learned a couple of things from old-timers about vac wiper motors...

    Just as porknbeaner said: Leaks will kill the performance. And they've gotta be lubricated. Remove the vac-line from the wiper-motor. Spray some WD40 in the vac port. The spray won't wanna go in easily, so stick the little straw into the port, and wrap a piece of tape around the straw and port to seal them, then spray. You should see an improvement. The WD40 not only lubes, but helps to seal the motor too. While you're at it, spray all the rod-links, and where the control-cable is attached to the motor. Be sure you have no leaks in the line. If the line is old and cracked, replace it...could be leaking at the ends or right through the walls of the line. One other thing...some cars with vac wipers could be fitted with a standard fuel-pump, or a double-acting fuel-pump that was actually two pumps in one...the fuel-pump...and a vac-pump. In which case, instead of having the wiper's vac-line attached to the intake-manifold, it goes to the fuel-pump...eliminates any slowing of the wipers during acceleration...when you need it while passing a semi on the highway in rain! I don't know if the double-acting pump is available for mopars...I know they're available for GMs.

    If you still have problems, again...just as porknbeaner said, you may have to rebuild the old wiper motor or get replacement. Just gaskets should do it...they gotta be sealed.

    I've always kept the vac wipers on my cars...I like 'em. Just another feature of old cars, that if removed, take away from that old car feelin'.

    Good luck.

    EDIT: Tommy kinda beat me to it...damn you,
  9. Gromit
    Joined: Oct 13, 2011
    Posts: 726


    Thanks guys, I actually hit the motor with some silicone lube, AND,,, found as I pulled off the line it was hard and brittle. A new line and it works skookum! Thanks!
  10. Skookum?
  11. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,633

    from Chino, Ca

    jcwhitney sells a universal electric wiper motor for cheap. Check it out.
  12. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,519

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus


    Lots of cars have a vacuum cannister. Many different uses ... but you can get one ( even Mopars had them ... 1970 Fury for example ) and install it inline between the vacuum source and the wipers. Then the wipers will work the same even when you are mashing the gas or climbing a hill. I had one on my 40 Ford ... before I upgraded to the Newport system. I wanted the variable delay on the 40.

  13. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,691


    The problem with a universal motor is that it probably turns like most modern motors - in a single direction. Vacuum wiper "motors" go back and forth. I used Newport wipers on my Falcon because I couldn't find 1963 linkage to work with a modern motor. The Newport motor replicates the back-and-forth action of the vacuum “motor” it replaces.

    To me it was a safety thing and worth every penny, but I didn’t have to upgrade from six volt to do it, and I drive my car as transportation (like rainy, nasty today) so it sees a lot more rain than the average.

    As has been said, improvements are often had with lubrication and replacement of hardened components; and dual-action fuel pumps that provide a constant vacuum signal, or a vacuum canister.

  14. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,907


    Vacuum reservoirs work great,,,as well as "double action" style fuelpumps; Those had another diaphram which was connected between the manifold and wipermotor , which assisted the vacuum supply.

  15. You can also add a vacuum pump.

    When Cadillac made that awful 'econo car baby Caddie' back in the 80's (I forget it's name) the little engine didn't produce enough vacuum to run the power brake booster... so they added an electric vacuum pump. Grab one from a wrecked cad and install it to run the wipers. When it rains, turn on the pump and the wipers. Kinda like electric wipers... with all the charm of the vac originals. It's also an easy install.

    Hope this helps someone,
  16. southerncad
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 782


    I have to agree with the lube it up, and vacuum canister ideas...
    ...but don't forget about good old "Rain Ex":)
  17. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,691


    Cadillac Cimarron, they were based on the Cavalier, but he'd still need 12-volt electricals.

  18. BACAGrizz
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 201


    Skookum: (from wikipedia):
    It has a range of positive meanings. The word can mean 'good,' 'strong,' 'best,' 'powerful,' 'ultimate,' or 'brave.' Something can be skookum meaning 'really good' or 'right on! 'excellent!', or it can be skookum meaning 'tough' or 'durable'. A skookum burger is either a big or a really tasty hamburger, or both, but when your Mom's food is skookum, it's delicious but also hearty. When you are skookum, you've got a purpose and you're on solid ground, in good health/spirits etc. When used in reference to another person, e.g. "he's skookum", it's used in respect with connotations of trustworthiness, reliability and honesty as well as (possibly but not necessarily) strength and size.

    A word we used a lot in Alaska that I haven't heard since moving to Oklahoma.
  19. lukey
    Joined: May 27, 2009
    Posts: 668


    I was gonba start a thread just like this! My 58 ford has vacuum wipers. Has a new fuel pump with wiper ports, new line to wiper motor, and a reconditioned motor...THEY STILL SUCK!!!!!!! gonna add a vacuum canister, never heard of shootin wd40 into the wiper motor though. I go through a lot of rain-x! Any more ideas guys?

  20. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    from wisconsin

  21. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,877

    from omaha ne.

  22. Yeah, yeah, ...So there's a lot of good ideas here about keeping vacuum wiper motors working properly. But the real bonus here is that we got to learn the meaning of "skookum"!

    Quite honestly, I think it's a skookum word! :D

    Edit to add: Well this is bit strange but I was just watching Antiques Roadshow and there was a lady on there talking about the Skookum Doll that she'd brought for an appraisal. :eek:
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  23. Rockerhead
    Joined: Nov 16, 2006
    Posts: 321

    Member Emeritus

    The comment about using a Cadillac vacuum pumpis a good one. It turns out that many modern cars use vacuum pumps to boost the power brakes. Check out VW, Saab, Mercedes, Volvo and I do not know how many more. I added a Volvo brake vacuum pump (Hella) from a salvage yard and my wipers now work frantically. I hooked them to the vacuum wiper and disconnected the engine from the wiper. I got the idea after seeing a Trico 6v vacuum pump/tank on ebay. It was an aftermarket item probably made in the 1950s. Don
  24. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,583



    Drove over 400 miles last night and never turned on the wipers...
  25. jdj9410
    Joined: Sep 4, 2007
    Posts: 324

    from Paris TX

    Dorman makes a brand new vaccum pump can pickup if look for under 60.00 with shipping. Dorman 904-214 is part number. Makes 16 inches vac.

  26. Are you talking about the Cimarron, the one that was basically an over-dressed Chevy Cavalier with a leather interior?
  27. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    from Sultan, WA

    I ran thru a Washington winter with a bottle of Rain-x and NO wipers.....

    I bet they had an optional vacumn/fuel pump for those cars.....
  28. Rockerhead
    Joined: Nov 16, 2006
    Posts: 321

    Member Emeritus

    I believe the Dorman vacuum pump is meant for automatic door locks. The electric vacuum pumps for power brakes are larger capacity and pull more vacuum. Don
  29. Mercchev
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 605


    Rain-X is pretty Skookum....
  30. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    Yours is in a tough spot to get to but pull it out and lubricate it through the vacuum port. Keep working it until it starts to free up. Nobody ever services them. If your door started to creak after 50 years, you'd oil it and work in the oil until it is free again and never think anything of it. You wouldn't call the door a POS.

    If you looked inside you'd see a a big flapper that the vacuum pulls to one side. When it gets there a switch diverts the vacuum to the other side and the flapper goes back the other way etc. etc. reducing the friction of that flapper and any other linkage that has dried up over 50 years makes it easier for the vacuum to do the work sorta like a stiff door hinge.

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