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Technical Vacuum wiper tricks?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by squirrel, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 41,978


    I need to get the vacuum wiper motor working better on the 1940 LaSalle. Has anyone been able to get one working well? If so, what are the tricks? What lube should be used, where? Etc.

    Sent from my Trimline
    chevy57dude likes this.
  2. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,420

    from oregon

    #in one oil has worked for me. My dad thought kerosene was best. A few drops in the tubes and work the motor back and forth by hand. My 38 Lasalle came around good.
  3. Took the one off my Merc, not knowing it's condition, etc...... lubed the mechanicals and what not, then figured what the hell- might as well give it a shot of lube inside the vac port. Just a lil spray, and worked it by hand for a bit. Put my vac tester on it, then cycled it..... good so far... Then I let my tester sit with vacuum on it. Didn't leak down, and held. Maybe I just got lucky, which I assume I did.
    Spray wasn't silicone based, of one of those "break away" rust inhibitors, just a good lube that had a slight oily base....Sorry- it's been a few years, and I'm sure the can is gone, but maybe this helps...;).
  4. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,298


    A little bit of ATF on the felt or leather seals usually works well
    Hollywood-East and belair like this.
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  5. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 4,099

    jimmy six

    I've never tried it but a lot of Ford guys use brake fluid. Put the vacuum hose in a jar containing some and manually work the wipers to suck up the fluid. It will soften the leather. I've heard over night. The start the engine without the arms and blades; it will smoke some. I've also heard Marvel Mystery oil works too.
    Make sure you put something under the wiper motor in case it leaks since you know what fluid will do to paint.
    One friend leaves his wipers on during the summer with the arms/blades off to exorcize the motor some.
  6. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 498

    from TX

    I wonder what it would take to create a vacuum pump to run off the fan belt?
  7. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    Inked Monkey

    I added a vacuum canister in my Buick. A little bit extra storage helps when you give it gas.
  8. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 1,438

    from NKy

    Soften up the seal is your friend here . I like KORIL (?) or lighter fluid they have seemed to work very well for me .
  9. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,339


    I have taken them apart very carefully and cleaned the wax/grease out of the chamber and soaked the wick in atf overnight. Ran some brakekleen thru the control valve and worked well when reassembled.Also have sent them off the Ficken Wipers in NewYork--they work well after.
    lothiandon1940 and Hamtown Al like this.
  10. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,453


    A few drops of Kroil can free up anything. That stuff is amazing
    Hamtown Al likes this.
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 1,649


    I’ve taken the mechanism apart, cleaned it and lubed it with air tool oil worked really well after this

    Also had luck just spraying what ever penetrant I had on the shelf in the vacuum port and worked the wipers back and forth

    Seems the consensus is a light weight oil does the trick
  12. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,254

    from SW Wyoming

    Just remember, brake fluid and oil, together, will eat rubber quite well.
  13. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,462

    from Idaho

    First, make a socket that fits those weird bolt/screws holding the lid on. Made mine by squeezing a tiny metric 1/4 drive socket half flat. Loosen all the hardware a couple turns & soak the whole ass'y in something to soften the paper gaskets - they'll work fine if undamaged. Carefully separate, clean each part, & polish the housing inside. If the paddle seems to have shrunk at the lamination from age, dip it in carb cleaner for a few seconds & re-check, soaking until drag is felt. I use RCBS cartridge case lube for final ass'y.
  14. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,546


    I disassembled the one in my '37 Buick and just cleaned it up and greased the seal on the flapper with white lithium grease. When I use the wipers, they run real slow for the first couple of minutes but then the unit seems to loosen up and work really well. Have you tried running yours for more than for a short test? Maybe it'll act the same as mine.

    In the 40 Cadillac I used to have the fuel pump also had a vacuum pump as part of the same unit, which was used to run the wipers on those long uphill climbs when engine vacuum was low. Does your LaSalle have one of those? If not, I have one I can send you.

    When does this next adventure begin?
  15. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,569

    Sheep Dip
    from Central Ca

    My sister drove a 54 Chevy in high school and those wipers were virtually useless.
    My grandfathers cure for everything was kerosene, cuts, burns, scrapes.... hell he even gargled with it when he had a sore throat!
    We took em off and cleaned them with kerosene and got them to working much better.
    Hnstray likes this.
  16. Rckt98
    Joined: Jun 7, 2005
    Posts: 828


    For the small cost involved replace all of the rubber vacuum lines to the wiper motor. You only need a pinhole for them to less than optimum.
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  17. Steves46
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 338

    from Florida

    I put a few drops of 3 in 1 oil in the vacuum motor inlet and also sprayed some white lithium grease on the wiper linkage. Really made a huge difference! Steve
    Chavezk21 likes this.
  18. For that kind of job, I had excellent results lubing the motor and seal with 0W-20 synthetic oil, and adding a vacuum can to allow the wipers to work more smoothly.
  19. My old 88 Ford diesel truck has a belt operated vacuum pump. Since the trucks were designed with gas engines and the P/B booster and heat/air controls use vacuum, the factory needed a vacuum source and therefore the belt operated pump.

    Back to Squirrel's question, I was under impression that the vacuum wiper motors have a leather seal, so a little light oil does wonders to help sealing and make them work better.
  20. boo
    Joined: Jul 6, 2005
    Posts: 492

    from stuart,fl.

    the trick i used w/my vac my 1950 ford, when i puled into the drive-in, i would unhook the vaccum hose and it made my exhaust sound like i had a real hot cam. couldn't afford a hot cam but w/honest charley steel packs it sounded cool... my secret trick....
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  21. Bill Rinaldi
    Joined: Mar 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,583

    Bill Rinaldi

    OK---I'll do it-----After going through all this on 2, 40 Chevys and my current 48 Chevy P/U. I finally gave up and did a Newport Engineering Electric set up and never looked back. 15 years---73,000 miles later it still works same as when I installed it---GREAT Bill Rinaldi
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  22. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 1,796

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    If it’s leather inside, I’d be tempted to try some Neatsfoot Oil on it.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  23. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,339


    Ive done as 302GMC said on a few-smashed socket and all-got them to work pretty well
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  24. a boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,870

    a boner

    Did you try keeping your right foot off the floorboards.....just once?
    VANDENPLAS and Hnstray like this.
  25. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,538


    The seal in mine was leather. I cleaned everything carefully while soaking the seal in Neatsfoot oil, yep the stuff my Dad always rubbed into my baseball gloves when I was a kid. I think I got it at Ace hardware. Took vacuum directly from the plenum with a dedicated fitting. The wipers worked just fine. Adding an accumulator can works well to help during short term low vac situations.
    I also revitalize leather AFB acceleration pump plungers with it. My bottle says Neatsfoot Compound on it.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  26. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,394


    I got the vacuum wipers in my 54 Buick and 49 Buick working great. The trick is to put the oil in the intake port, not the hose port of the vacuum motor. Think about it, the vacuum hose sucks, so it has to get air from somewhere. The intake port is usually under a tin cover, sometimes with a piece of felt used as an air filter. I use WD40 and with the motor hooked to a vacuum source and running or trying to run, squirt the WD into the intake port so it gets sucked into the motor. If it will not run, work it back and forth while squirting the WD into the vacuum port until it takes off on it's own.
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  27. Gofannon
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 453


    I just rebuilt the one in my '55 Chevy truck. I did this first about 15 years ago, truck was a daily driver then, and it rains a lot here. The seals on the paddle were shot so I made new ones from thin rubber sheet. The seals I made 15 years ago went soft and were falling apart. I'm not sure what grease I used last time but I assembled it with rubber grease this time around. If it works another 10 years I'll be happy. Make sure the valve blocks can sit dead flat. The rubber I used is probably neoprene, I don't know what the original seals were made from but it would be worth trying to find out or try using leather. I really don't want to go electric. the noise is terrible. I prefer the swish-swish of the vacuum motor.
  28. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,489


    rain x for windshield and light coat of vaseline inside wiper motor
    egads likes this.
  29. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 1,438

    from NKy

    If you get them workin and don’t want the stop every time you hit to go pedal , look for and electric vacuum pump . Best as I recall it was used on Ford Diesel pickup trucks for a few years . If your runnin 12 volt system this could greatly help the operation of the wipers .
  30. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,839


    I believe GM used an electric vacuum pump back in the early 90s too. My parents had a Bonneville with what I recall as electric vacuum pump operated power brakes. First time I'd ever heard of a power brake booster not running off the engine vacuum.

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