Wiper Assembly Refresh

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Amskeptic
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Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:06 pm

This is actually an important operation, not only for your safety in inclement weather, but for the health of your car. Particularly with the bus, as shown here, your wiper pivot grommets both struggle to keep the blast of 60-70-80 mph rain out of your interior where rust can eat your VW from the inside out AND they are two out of only three responsible for supporting the entire wiper assembly to the car.
Don't like that nasty clonk when you hit the wipers? Fine! Replace the grommets as shown here. Don't like slow wipers? Good! Lubricate the system as shown here!


Step 1) Remove Glovebox. There is a strap that holds the cardboard to the dash panel opening. Sometimes you will find that the radio antenna and rear window defroster wiring has been routed between the strap and bottom of the glove box. Let's not do that. Let's find a nicer, tidier route for those wires when we reassemble, OK? Along the lower edge of the strap, you will feel the phillips screw that holds it all together. (clean the glovebox out and get rid of the toothpicks and napkins and the seeds from your last stash and whatever other detrius accumulates here. Have a small box for fuses, spare set of points, light bulbs, and stick it on the owner's manual which you have in a waterproof ziplock bag next to the dial tire pressure gauge)


Step 2) Remove heater ducts and wiring.
With the glove box out, it is easy to see the heater ventilation ducts that you need to remove. 1973 and later buses with the registers in the dash panel will require that you remove the registers before you can free the ducts. Start with the right side because it is easiest to get to now. Lightly pinch the barbs in the registers with your small visegrips adjusted to not pinch too much and push up through the dashmetal. Once removed, wash the registers in mild soapy water, dry, and treat with a UV protectant. Push the duct down below the hole in the dash and wiggle sideways and free from the heater branch below. Now you will be able to see the left side a little better and you can remove its register and duct. Heck, remove the branch pipe and clean it in soapy water with the other ducts.
Although the below photograph shows everything already removed, it also shows you how nicely a removed glovebox opens up access to the under dash area. Don't forget to wax the intake air plenum to a military shine:
Image

Early buses will need to remove each wire of the wiper motor from the switch terminals. Label as necessary. '72-76 buses have a multi-connector which makes it easier, and the '77 and later buses have the only sensible plug that you merely pull out of the terminal block on the wiper motor assembly. While you are here, go chase down the brown wire to its ground spade and clean the terminal and give it a dab of DeOx anti-oxidant gel.

Step 3) Remove Wiper Arms.
Early buses have acorn nuts, later buses have plastic caps and 10mm nuts under them. Remove the nuts and the wavy (they are wavy, right?) washers underneath. Lift the wiper arm until it is in the extended position. Try to rotate and wiggle the arm to free it from the shaft. If it is stuck, reinstall the nut a few turns and tap the nut with a hammer while repeating the wiggle/rotate simultaneously. In seriously stuck cases, a battery terminal puller will work splendidly to get the arm off.
You should very much have the plastic protector (#211955275A WolfsburgWest $3.00) that just fits over the retaining nut and serves as your first line of defense against incoming moisture. Note please, whether or not it actually does engage with the retaining nut below. Remove it by pulling straight off. Now remove the retaining nuts (below is actually a reassembly photograph):
Image

Your wiper assembly is now being held on only by the lower support bolt/grommet inside the car:
Image

Well? Remove it already. Gently remove the whole assembly from the car. You will need to tug a little to get the threaded wiper shaft "bearings" as Bentley refers to them, free of both the outer metal and the inner metal which is actually the windshield channel support. Here is what you need to watch out for:
* any wires dangling that can get hooked, especially live ones,
* scratching the paint on the air plenum,
* blowing up the radio because you refused to remove the battery negative so you could listen to toons.

Step 4) Replace Wiper Shaft Seals/Grommets.
You could just buy some new Wolfsburg West #311955261A grommets for $2.00 and have some nice new punky grommets that . . . work. You just stick them in where your old ones are torn and bisected through the windshield channel. But what if you were in the middle of nowhere and needed new grommets . . . right now, the rain's a coming? You could walk over to the local parts house and get some GM door stop rubbers for $2.00 and no shipping:
Image

With a little dremel action, you can mow off the cap and open up the hole and most importantly, for those of you who found that your black plastic cap protectors were not reaching the retaining nuts in Step 3, make the outside slightly thicker than stock by offsetting the groove you make with your Dremel cutting disk. That makes the retaining nut sit higher and engage the plastic protector with authority:
Image


Refer back to the already-assembled picture of the wiper shaft, now with an informed eye:
Image

Notice how nicely that seal surface extends past the washer and nut? That's our General Motors doorstop modified to serve as an IAC Hurrikane Sertified Volkswagen wiper assembly support grommet/seal (this method requires some modification effort/time, no warranties implied as to merchantability).
You will find that new support grommets help prevent leaks, yes, but they may also help the wipers track more smoothly. I have noted less chattering or build up of wax stripes at the end of their travel on the glass that like to hang the wipers and beat up the linkage.

Step 5) Lubricate Wiper Shafts.
First you need to carefully pry the links from the ball ends of the wiper shaft levers. Leave the links on the motor crank. You can bend the socket ends of the links easily (and don't want to), so use well-placed prying screwdrivers or chisel or whatever works.
There are cruel little c-clips where the shafts stick out of the threaded bearings. You must wrest these clips off to pull the shafts out. I use two small screwdrivers. Lay this assembly out on a towel and be alert to any flying c clips. Hold the edge of the c clip with one screwdriver. Now, pull the other edge of the c clip with the other small flat bladed screwdriver. As you pull, the c clip comes free of it's groove a bit. You need to rotate the second little screwdriver under the c clip and let it "walk the clip out of the groove around the circumference. Tiny expanding pliers would make this easy. Pull the wiper shaft out of the "bearing" and note the washer down at the other end. Clean out the threaded bearing hole and the wiper shaft. I then use a 45* cross-hatch sanding with 220 grit on the shaft to give lubrication grooves. Clean thoroughly with . . . I dunno, GumOut? Find the little splines on the wiper shafts and pick them clean with the edge of a razor blade. There are many splines, and you are going to do each one. This is to help you, so deal with it, Every one. The shafts have very little leverage to move the ten pounds of snow off the windshield that you were too lazy to clear off, and the splines are the only way the wipers will have a chance.


Image

What sort of lubrication should you use as you reassemble? Cold climate people may find that pure gooey grease gets too resistant. Engine oil is too thin. This grease also serves as an adjunct to keeping water out. My solution was to use thick but well-behaved Valvoline DuraBlend Semi-Synthetic molybdenum disulfide grease. I dipped my finger into the oil base of the grease (it is usually in a little pool at the bottom of the container) with just a dab of the "real grease" smeared in. This lower viscosity should help you in cold weather.

Step 6) Lubricate/Adjust Gearbox.
You have to remove the 13mm nut on the drive lever and let the lever just fall off as it may. The cover has a ground spade under one perimeter screw, and the receptacle for the blessedly sensible later bus wiper terminalplug sort of hiding another screw. Loosen the perimeter screws all about two turns and free the cover a bit. Try to see which surface the gasket wants to stick to. Whichever surface is more favored, the cover or the body, use your razor blade to *make sure the paper is freed from the other surface all the way around*. The limited freedom of the cover is to make sure you don't accidentally fold the paper or tear it. Remove the cover with the little copper tracks,and marvel at the ingenuity before you, which I just could not photograph. There is a copper record album sitting on the big plastic gear. Every time you shut the wipers off, the "off" position of the switch actually sends voltage to this record platter. The motor will remain energized until the copper platter rotates to it's designed-in dead spot. That should correspond with the lever on the outside of the gearbox being horizontal to the linkages' dead spot.
See any grease? Good. 95% of that grease has been blasted away from the operating surfaces and you can borrow as much as you like from the coves. If it is horribly filthy and contaminated with small rocks and metal burrs (haven't seen this ever), I recommend that you get the Sears Garage Door Opener Grease (white, safe for plastic!!) and pack the plastic gear teeth anew after a good cleaning. It is acceptable for the plastic gear shaft and bushing as well. Just pull the gear up, dab the shaft, stick it back down. See that the little cover-to-platter copper fingers are clean at their ends, a buff with the edge of the razor blade is fine.
Check the endplay of the motor before it's disassembly. Endplay . . . an inescapable part of VW life. What is .008" endplay, anyway? Men who adjust their own valve clearances know all about this. It is the same feel as slightly loose valves, a nice click click, but not a minor tick tick and certainly not a tonk tonk. HTH.
By moving the plastic gear back and forth a smidge, you should see the motor shaft rock up and down a smidge. .008" is called for. You can loosen the locknut, screw in the nub screw a tad to snugger up a little, then tack with the locknut.
Reassemble the gearbox. Snug on the screws, but not stupid-tight.
You can now check and adjust the endplay of the plastic gear shaft.

Step 7) Make Wiper Motor Happy, UNLIKE POPTOPTOM.
There are two bolts holding the motor to the gearbox. Make a note of the position of the housing to the gearbox. Please also note how the little tab/nuts were slipped into the motor housing, as you loosen the bolts. Temporarily slap the drive lever with the dangling links on the plastic gear shaft and snug it up so you can hold the plastic gear from turning. Pull the motor housing off the armature which will stay put, since the plastic gear will hold the worm gear. You will be battling the mysterious force of magnetism as the pole shoes relinquish their field against the armature. Inspect the bearing surface of the motor shaft for cleanliness and smoothness. If yours is dried and scored, just sand it down smooth with 220 grit in bad cases followed by 320 and even 600 to polish. Achtung! Protect the armature from sanding contamination. Wipe clean with GumOut impregnated paper towel.
Removing the motor shaft from the brush housing is occasion for anxiety if you do not like stuff sproinking. Rotate the armature to see which way unravels it from the plastic gear. See if you can pull the brush plate with the motor housing from the mounting plate. There are three(?)rubber mounting divots for the brush plate that will have to release from the mounting plate as you pull the motor away. If it screws up, the brushes will all pop out like jack in the box and the springs often intricately knot themselves amongst each other instantly. Oh well. Clean the armature with 600 grit sandpaper. Stripe the stripes with a razor blade to undercut from the working surface just a tad. Wipe with a GumOut impregnated paper towel. Wipe down the brush plate and see if all of your brushes are similarly sized.

Step 8 ) Reassemble This Mess
You can put each wild spring and brush in its cage and pull the wires *gently* to keep the brushes retracted as you sort of stick it on the commutator/stick the commutator through the brush plate. Expect six or six thousand tries.
Slap a dab of grease-with-base oil Valvoline DuraBlend Semi-Synthetic molybdenum disufide carefully upon the motor shaft bearing points.
Move the motor shaft and brush plate like you are docking the space shuttle . . . slow . . . deliberate . . . accurate . . . and with awe, towards the mounting area. Rotate the assembly to line up brush plate with the rubber divots and the through bolt holes for subsequent motor housing. Screw the motor shaft to allow it to go past the plastic gear. Hold the plastic gear again via the dangling linked lever, because now you get to battle magnetism again as you get the motor housing onto the armature and pray that the shaft goes into the bushing at the bottom of the motor housing shell. Find your indexing and get the through bolts in while you slip those stupid tab/nuts aligned through the slots in the motor housing. Tighten the bolts as you shimmy the housing to its favored assembly spot.

Step 9) Set Park Position.
Review underdash for any wires that should not be touching bare metal. Replace ground strap on negative post of battery if you removed it. Remove the lever (with the dangling links) from the gearbox/motor. Bring the gearbox/motor to the car and get the wires all hooked up to the wiper assembly. Us '78-later buses just have to plug in the plug. Ha ha, a small benefit in the midst of cheaped-out plastic. Turn on the ignition and then turn on the wipers. The motor will jerk to life in your hand. Smooth, peppy, nice, huh? Shut it off at the switch. The motor will stop momentarily. This is your park position. Install motor to the wiper assembly. See how your wiper shaft arms with the ball joints can pivot to the left side as installed in the car? That means you want the lever to now be installed to the left as far as it can, i.e. horizontal-to-the-left on the gearbox output shaft.

Step 10) Back Together
Dab a little grease in your wiper support grommet/seals. When you install the refreshed wiper assembly, you may need to bend the shafts a little to get them through their holes. There is a radius to the front of the car that the shafts must find.

Image

Bolt the lower support grommet to the intake plenum and do not overtighten. Screw down the washers and nuts on the threaded wiper shaft "bearings" and again, not too tight.
Reassemble ductwork and glovebox. Lubricate the inside holes of the black plastic caps so they don't try to work the retaining nuts loose over time.

Adjust your wipers to horizontal for the left wiper and to stay clear of the lower right edge of the windshield seal even under a downward pull for the right wiper:

Outside View:
Image

Inside View. See? Sort of follows the dash curve:
Image

Try out your wipers only with a wet windshield.
Colin

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Hippie
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Post by Hippie » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:30 am

I am watching this tutorial intently, as this is exactly what I need to do....in the springtime.
My Bus has the slow wipers on cold days and occasional moisture intrusion from what I now believe is the wiper grommets.
The underdash, for me, is a dark and scary place...the stuff of nightmares where I'm stranded at the Boundary Waters with hands full of wire and ducting, face full of tears, while everyone else get to go canoeing.

Ever thought about making a series of videos--kind of like the Bug Me videos--for market?

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:26 am

Hippie wrote: Ever thought about making a series of videos--kind of like the Bug Me videos--for market?
I am a crabby classicist, reading and writing. The love of doing the project would be so totally thoroughly FUBARed if I had to do it front of a video camera.

"Hi everybody, first strip down to your shorts, you like it hot . . . well I do, hang on a sec. OK, I cannot open the tool box before opening a nice warm Diet Coke. Look, I have to water my cactus. Cactus? Ever have to take a pee out in the middle of nowhere desert? I'm shy too, we need to drive 134 miles back to that seedy gas station, be back in a jiffy."

Some video. :cherry:
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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Hippie
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Post by Hippie » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:07 pm

Hmmmm...Well maybe keep the pants on. :blackeye:

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:22 am

Hippie wrote:Hmmmm...Well maybe keep the pants on. :blackeye:
Shorts are pants. Truncated pants. We are in a technical forum. Do you have a technical question regarding the above?
PrissPants
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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BellePlaine
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Post by BellePlaine » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:43 am

Last summer, while driving at night during a strong rain a really bad whining noise came up from under the dashboard. Soon, like within minutes, the noise became alarmingly loud and the wipers began to get really jerky. I thought that I was going to burn up the wiper motor, so I found a suitable location to pull off from the two-lane road. I got out my flashlight and squirt bottle of motor oil to shoot oil at the wiper assembly. It took awhile, but the lubrication finally found the right spot and the wipers went back to operating normally.

This rap reminded me that I'd better address the system properly. It's one of those things that I wished that I had serviced before it had become a problem.
1975 Riviera we call "Spider-Man"

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chachi
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by chachi » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:50 am

getting to this, my old wipers were in abysmal condition. i pulled a really good condition wiper assembly out of my parts stash and was looking it over and one post has pretty good splines on top while the other looks pretty stripped and smooth. how important is it that the splines that mesh with the wipers be intact? obviously you want the best you can get, but how much can you get away with? i have one good post on each assembly, so i can make one good set, but the parts unit is in such good shape (shaft lubricant looks brand new) i'd rather just leave it whole if the splines are passable, even if a little rounded off.

my humblest apologies if i did not use IAC approved parts terminology.
1974 transporter panel, 2.0 dual solex
1991 vanagon NAHT, RJE 2.3

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asiab3
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by asiab3 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:18 am

Is this for your late model Vanagon? I'm not sure what the spline shapes/sizes are, but if they're anything like the early Vanagon splines, you need absolutely clean splines and clean arms with no indication of stripping to have a 100% good setup. I think the wiper arms are still the "softer" metal here, right? So you should be able to do Colin's razor blade trick to get the aluminum arm metal out from the steel splines on your current shafts. Dashboard removal is required for you, right?

I would try their Van Tricks listed here.
http://www.gowesty.com/tech-article-details.php?id=145

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

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Amskeptic
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:00 am

asiab3 wrote:do Colin's razor blade trick to get the (trashy pot metal) arm metal out from the steel splines .
Robbie
What he say . . .
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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chachi
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by chachi » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:05 pm

no no, this is for my bus. i should probably put it in my sig i guess that i have a bus, cause no one's ever seen it except hal and bob. '74, all bus rules apply. i will check out the link though cause i'll bet i get there eventually. if i post about the vanagons i will post in OFF TOPIC.
1974 transporter panel, 2.0 dual solex
1991 vanagon NAHT, RJE 2.3

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asiab3
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by asiab3 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:35 pm

I just looked into some parts catalogues; your question (and our subsequent responses) would be identical for your van. In this case, post away! But get those splines cleaned up first. I'm 2-for-2 in fixing people's wipers at shows/campouts and winning free beer bets in the process with that razor trick.

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

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chachi
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by chachi » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:29 am

this razor trick is gonna work great on the spindles but the arms are toast and damn they are kind of expensive for what they are.

my apologies for even posting. the answer to my question is indeed buried in the original post. sometimes the verbosity glazes me and i just skip to the pertinents, in this case lubricant.
asiab3 wrote:I just looked into some parts catalogues; your question (and our subsequent responses) would be identical for your van. In this case, post away!
oh mon dieu! i would never. what is the name of this site anyway?
1974 transporter panel, 2.0 dual solex
1991 vanagon NAHT, RJE 2.3

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asiab3
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by asiab3 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:10 pm

Wiper arms for my new-ish Jetta are $75 each. Your van embodies the air-cooled Volkswagen spirit much more than that, in terms of quality, taste, usefulness, and certainly economy as shown here.

Enjoy your new wiper arms,
Robbie :)
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

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chachi
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by chachi » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:18 pm

Amskeptic wrote:There are cruel little c-clips where the shafts stick out of the threaded bearings. You must wrest these clips off to pull the shafts out. I use two small screwdrivers. Lay this assembly out on a towel and be alert to any flying c clips. Hold the edge of the c clip with one screwdriver. Now, pull the other edge of the c clip with the other small flat bladed screwdriver. As you pull, the c clip comes free of it's groove a bit. You need to rotate the second little screwdriver under the c clip and let it "walk the clip out of the groove around the circumference. Tiny expanding pliers would make this easy.
i got these off easily enough, but is there a trick for getting them back on? one goes on easily, of course, but that second one...
1974 transporter panel, 2.0 dual solex
1991 vanagon NAHT, RJE 2.3

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Amskeptic
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Re: Wiper Assembly Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:30 pm

chachi wrote:
Amskeptic wrote:There are cruel little c-clips where the shafts stick out of the threaded bearings. You must wrest these clips off to pull the shafts out. I use two small screwdrivers. Lay this assembly out on a towel and be alert to any flying c clips. Hold the edge of the c clip with one screwdriver. Now, pull the other edge of the c clip with the other small flat bladed screwdriver. As you pull, the c clip comes free of it's groove a bit. You need to rotate the second little screwdriver under the c clip and let it "walk the clip out of the groove around the circumference. Tiny expanding pliers would make this easy.
i got these off easily enough, but is there a trick for getting them back on? one goes on easily, of course, but that second one...
A simple toothed needle nose plier should allow a compressive squeeze without launching it into low earth orbit. Can you see the groove that it it is trying to find? You may need to press the shaft upwards for better engagement of the c-clip with the groove.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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