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Vaccum wipers not working

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  • Other: Vaccum wipers not working

    Ok, so narrowed down the break issue..now the wipers...
    I AM getting a vaccum on the line, but wipers still don't work.
    Took the unit off the firewall and took it apart the "flap" on the inside doesn't exactly move 100% freely and don't know if it's even supposed to. Cleaned everything as best I could..is there some lubricant to put in there to get that flap moving easier? Trim the sides a bit?
    any advice is greatly appreciated

  • #2
    Contact Ficken Wiper Motor Service in Babylon, New York. They did a superb job of restoring the vacuum wiper motor on my 1947 Champion several years ago, using original Trico parts. I would NOT recommend trying to overhaul the motor yourself, as Ficken's parts and know-how are far better than what most of us have available.

    Bill Jarvis
    Bill Jarvis

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    • #3
      Do not trim anything! It's a vacuum seal that certainly will not seal better if part of it is removed.

      See if you can revitalize the leather with Neetsfoot oil or maybe use silicone spray. Do not use WD-40 or any petroleum product. (I have no idea what Neetsfoot oil is made of, but it is designed to preserve and treat leather).

      Have you tried grabbing the socket/mount on the car with your hands to see if you can operate the wipers manually with finger pressure? The vacuum motor does not deliver pressure significantly higher than what you can do with your fingers. The wipers may be non functioning because the wiper motor is not up to snuff. Or... they may be non functioning because the wipers themselves and the associated pulley system is rusted/gummed up and needs to be freed. You can use penetrating oil almost everywhere on that system.

      Save yourself some grief and do not disassemble the pulley system, no matter how tempting that might be.
      Last edited by RadioRoy; 06-26-2020, 02:21 PM.
      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

      17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
      10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
      56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
      60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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      • #4
        When you re-install the motor, getting the tip of the cable from the dashboard knob in exactly the right position in relation to the slide on top of the motor is critical.

        I agree with RadioRoy --- do not work with the cable/pulley system unless you are certain something is broken (such as a broken cable) or stuck! Also, having the wiper arms at exactly the correct position on their shafts is critical.

        If there is a broken cable, that almost always means that something else is wrong, because those cables are sturdy.

        Bill Jarvis
        Bill Jarvis

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        • #5
          You say you narrowed down the brake issue. Does that mean you fixed the brake issue ? If not, then back to the brake issue. LOL

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          • #6
            Highly recommend Bill Ficken, the "wiperman"; as well as determining nothing is binding in your cable or pivots.

            Bill's URL has changed.
            https://rebuildingtricowipers.com/
            "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

            Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
            Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
            sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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            • #7
              Some years ago I had a 1958 Land Rover with vacuum wipers. On advice of an ol’ timer, I made a vacuum tank. This holds “vacuum”, helps wipers on acceleration, and seemed overall to improve operation. This was made from a Dole pineapple juice 1 quart can. The Can is emptied from two small holes on the top. Solder 1/4” copper tubing into these holes, leave an inch out. Between the wiper motor and vacuum source, patch in the can. I had mine rigged to sit under the seat compartment.

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              • #8
                Vaseline seems to be close to what was originally used to lube the flapper. I have had several where the lube dries up and I have taken them apart, cleaned all the dried lube out, used vaseline to lube, and they worked great
                Milt

                1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
                1961 Hawk 4-speed
                1967 Avanti
                1961 Lark 2 door
                1988 Avanti Convertible

                Member of SDC since 1973

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                • #9
                  https://www.mafca.com/downloads/Tech...um%20Wiper.pdf
                  Mine were working very sloooooly. I poured a little Marvel M. O. in the vacuum tube and coaxed it with compressed air into the motor. Now the wipers work great. Need to do this 4 times a year.

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                  • #10
                    Neatsfoot oil is a yellowish oil derived from the shinbones and feet (not hooves) of cattle. It is the best lubricant for leather, which is what the flap in the wiper motor is made from. As RadioRoy said, do not use petroleum products such as Vaseline as they will damage the leather.
                    Bill Jarvis

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                    • #11
                      I originally was concerned about using vaseline until when I did some research and found that a lot of the leather conditioning products contain some form of petroleum. Earle Haley did an article on vacuum wiper motor rebuilding many years ago for Turning Wheels and he is the one that suggested the vaseline to me.
                      I have often wondered what the jelly like lubricant used in the motors when they were built was.

                      As a kid I remember using Neatsfoot oil on baseball gloves and on work boots.

                      My concern was that anything liquid would dry out too fast where the vaseline hangs around a lot longer.

                      I wonder what the wiper motor rebuilders use?
                      Milt

                      1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
                      1961 Hawk 4-speed
                      1967 Avanti
                      1961 Lark 2 door
                      1988 Avanti Convertible

                      Member of SDC since 1973

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Before you send your wiper motor out for repair I have several new and used Studebaker vacuum wiper motors that may be a more cost effect solution. What year and model do you need one for?
                        Dan Peterson
                        Montpelier, VT
                        1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
                        1960 Lark V-8 Convertible (parts car)

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