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Old 10-17-2004, 12:15 AM   #1
deckeda
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EXT: Wiper motor linkage rods replacement

Maybe your driver's side wiper hits the end of the windshield on the chrome edge. Perhaps one or both wipers reach too far on the down stroke. Replacing the two motor linkage rods fixes all of that. The total tab should be somewhere between $45 and $55, and you'll have eliminated one of the most annoying things about your car.

The problem has (in most cases) nothing to do with the wiper arms' acorn nuts becoming loose and allowing the arms to swing too far. Unless you have reason to believe the acorn nut has been loosened it's probably still tight enough.

The linkage rods attach with nylon fasteners at each end --- so that's four total --- and they are shot. The nylon fastener is permanently attached to the linkage arm, so the whole rod gets replaced.

Tools needed:
14 mm wrench or socket
10 mm socket

One or more of the following:
Tiny (or small) flat blade screwdriver
Medium flat blade screwdriver
Large flat blade screwdriver



Parts needed:
Short rod: 76540-SM4-003
Long rod: 76550-SM4-003

Note: I may have the two part #'s above mixed up. Doesn't matter; just get one of each. Also know that because the short rod is the one that connects to the motor, it gets the most abuse on its one end, so that rod may be the only one your dealer stocks. For God's sake don't cheap out now, get them both --- do you really want to have to do this procedure again?

Optional:
(7) Cowl clips, top: 91508-SM4-003
(6) Cowl clips, bottom: 91501-SM4-003

The cowl clips are re-usable, much in the way a banana peel is. In other words, in theory you think it'll work, but in the end you'll bust some, especially if they are the original, battle-weary soldiers.

The two rods are approximately $22 apeace. Yeah, I know, but you need them, OK? The clips are a little more than --- wait for it --- $1 each. Precious, they are. I got everything at my local dealer; you might save a few bucks buying online if shipping doesn't get you. These parts apply to my '91 Accord SE Sedan; parts and procedures for other models/years will be similar if not identical.



1. Open the hood and remove the wiper arms.
Work under the hood when unscrewing the acorn nuts, not near the windshield. After the acorn nuts have been removed, you'll need to shimmy the arms off carefully. Use two hands; one to keep the wiper off the windshield and the other to wiggle the arm off the spindle. If the arms won't budge move them back and forth a bit first.

2. Remove the cowl cover.
a) Top: I used a tiny jeweler's flat blade screwdriver to get under the edge of the clip's pop-up portion. If you squint you'll see a small slot in the cowl at the top-edge of each clip. I first pried under that, and holding the tiny screwdriver in place slipped a regular (medium) flat blade screwdriver under the exposed edge to pry the entire pop-up portion up. One that's popped up, pull the whole clip out.

b) Bottom: These clips are one-way clips. You'll bust them all probably, but if wish to attempt saving them, squeeze at the bottom (after locating the two "arrows") --- the part of the clip still poked through --- with pliers.

3. Disconnect the wiper motor harness.
The pinch-release for where it connects to the car's wiring is on the passenger-side of the connector. Notice that the car's harness is what gets removed --- the motor harness is still attached to the fender. That release is harder to reach, but you'll see that the harness needs to get pushed back towards the firewall. Bend the connector out so that you can get a screwdriver behind to release the clip.

3. Remove the wiper motor assembly.
Work under the hood when unscrewing the 3 motor bolts, not near the windshield. There will be a little wiggling involved but in general the motor end is the first to leave and the last to enter the area. Know that in addition to the 3 bolts securing the assembly, at each end of the assembly are U-shaped openings that fit on short rods on the cowl, so wiggle them off first before attempting to lift the unit up and out.

4. Remove the two linkage rods with the big screwdriver.
a) Merely use the screwdriver to pry each end off --- there is nothing to unscrew, unbolt or unsnap. Don't worry about hurting anything. In other words, the rods are softly press-fit onto the rotating bits.

b) Remove and retain the rubber washers at each of the four places the rod ends were. Rubber washers do not come with the new rods.



5. Clean up some of the grease and dirt.
I sprayed some brake cleaner on some items (but not the motor). The spindle covers are an example of something hiding dirt.



6. Install the new linkage rods.
a) The short rod attaches to the motor, but read this paragraph before doing so. The short rod has a longer flat area on one end. That's the end you attach to the motor --- the longer flat area is there so that it better clears the motor's nut. The other end of the short rod attaches to the opposite bracket so that when attached, that bracket is pointing sort of downwards as viewed in the picture (upwards if in the car).



In the picture below, we see the end that connects to the motor. Notice that the old rod is wasted, and in fact its nylon fastener easily broke off. That thing that looks like a separate washer isn't --- remember, everything should be in one piece. Also, the orange stuff inside the white nylon's center is the pre-installed lubricant (slick idea, eh?). When the rod gets pressed on it squishes out a little lube.



To install, just press the rod onto the ball attached to the bracket. Don't forget the rubber washers first, pointing up. Once on, the rods will wobble a bit. That's normal and necessary. Verify you've got it on there by pulling on it. You should only be able to remove it with a screwdriver for example.

BTW here's a shot of the motor at rest, which is how yours will also be unless you happened to cut the ignition while the motor was running prior to removal. Note that the rubber washer that goes over the bracket ball has been removed for the photo.



b) The long rod is mercifully symmetrical. The bad news is, it can still be installed incorrectly. Install it on the bracket nearest the motor so that the bracket is pointing mostly downwards. Again see earlier picture.

7. Reinstall the wiper motor assembly, reconnect the harness and reinstall the cowl. It may help to feed the wiring harness through its hole first. Don't forget to fit its rubber grommet properly in the hole.

When pushing the cowl clips back in, use a medium or large screwdriver to press each clip's base into the corresponding cowl hole. If it doesn't want to go, rotate the clip a little, verify the cowl is still lined up decently with the firewall body and do it again. After the clip seats, you can then (and only then) press the pop-up portion of the clip down with your thumb.



8. Reinstall the wiper arms.
Do the driver's side first. Aim the wiper end near the base of the windshield (perhaps 1/2" - 3/4" from the cowl top) and screw down the acorn nut. Test at both low and high speeds. If you like what you see attach the passenger-side wiper arm. Now, my driver's-side arm stops a good 2" or so from the edge. This gap will of course narrow somewhat when the alternator is sending a bit more juice to the wiper motor, when the arm is being pushed by wind at speed and as the new rods wear with use.

Odds and ends:
While the cowl was off, wipe it down with Mother's Back to Black or similar to bring some life back to it.

Similarly, while the wiper arms are off, remove the blades and spray the arms. I used a flat black from Rust-Oleum, which is too dull. You should seek semi-gloss or at least a satin finish because that's what's correct. The arms should have the same smooth finish as new wiper blades. Use something designed for metal/outdoor use. My only available alternative was gloss which I thought might be too shiny, but with a flat finish on there at least I won't get any glare and can easily go back later when I find the right paint. See Wallace's DIY for more on painting the arms. http://www.cb7tuner.com/vbb/showthre...&threadid=2206

Finally, here's the wrong way to install the rods. Notice the long rod is incorrect:


... again, the correct way:

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Old 10-20-2004, 01:15 AM   #2
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nice diy and i didn't know those pieces existed. hah. this will come in handy some day for me.
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Old 10-20-2004, 09:32 AM   #3
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Excellent! Bitchin' DIY!
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Old 10-20-2004, 10:05 AM   #4
deckeda
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Thanks guys.

Update:

Drove it for the first time in some rain yesterday. Man, what a difference! It's nice to know even a tiny portion of the car can be made literally as good as new.

I also treated myself to a set of Bosch Micro Edge Supercalifrigic Double-Throwdown DeLuxe Imperial Storm Trooper Executive Limited Edition XXX wiper blades. Very nice, but not cheap (like $35/pr at Pep Boys).

The wipers are now also completely silent and skitter-free on the windshield, but it helps to have had a recent windshield replacement too. New glass does wonders for visibility if what you had was pitted from years of highway abuse.
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Old 10-22-2004, 02:22 AM   #5
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I paid $90 at dealer.. (parts and labor included)
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Last edited by accordmaniac; 10-22-2004 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 10-22-2004, 03:17 AM   #6
deckeda
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Quote:
Originally posted by accordmaniac
I paid $90 at dealer.. (parts and labor included)
OK, this is me being dumb here --- your emoticon is the "angry" symbol but at first I thought you were poking fun at the work involved (or lack of) here, because to me $90 for the whole job would have been a good deal.

The rods are like $44, and I spent about 2 hours doing --- and redoing it due to a fuckup --- not including picture time. If I did it again I'd say it's about a 1/2 job but for the learning curve. It's prolly one of those jobs that unless you anticipate needing to do again on another car isn't worth your time. But I'm glad I did it myself.
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Old 11-06-2004, 01:32 PM   #7
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wow, that took an awsome lot of time. 3 hours from midnight to 3am.

rods cost me 7.89 for the short one and 13.16 for the long one..
dealer was out of clips so I told him to book me some and i'll come get them next week.

The motor had a fugly time budging. Took a lot of sillicon spray and elbow grease to get it slidin'.. turns out the shorter rod plastic had gave way...

Sure does make a helluva difference now. Just that my hands are raw thanks to grease and washing machine grade soap.

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Old 11-06-2004, 05:24 PM   #8
deckeda
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Quote:
Originally posted by Indecided
rods cost me 7.89 for the short one and 13.16 for the long one..
Awesome prices. Wonder why my dealer charged so much ... hrumph.
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