Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,298 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Searching the 164 forum for “windshield wipers” turns up a myriad of posts on the incorrect sweep of the wipers, either overshooting or acting erratically. I’d suspect that if we took a poll on wiper "parking", probably about half of the BBers would say they have the problem while the other half would ask "what's that?" 

Thanks to our dear friend Alex in New Zealand for illuminating this subject to me (about six months ago), Alex and I are now pleased to share our experiences on how parking works and most importantly how it can be restored without even removing the wiper assembly.

First, to those of you who may not be acquainted with the design, here is how it works:  

1) in OFF position the wiper blades should be partially hidden under the rear edge of the hood, almost completely out of the driver's sight line, each wiper arm resting or almost resting against the black washer nozzle, a post which acts as a sort of stop.

2) turning ON the wipers, they first do an initial sweep that is about 2 1/2 inches short of a full sweep; coming down they stop about 2 1/2 short; from then on they sweep between this "raised" position and a full sweep.

3) turning OFF the wipers, they go first to their full open position, then on the downward sweep they go 2 1/2 inches further, stopping in their “parked” position under the hood area. (the motor/circuitry actually has a “reversing” design)

If yours don’t do this—and barring some other possible problem including electrical—the fix may simply be a matter of removing the crank arm from the wiper motor, disassembling the intricate plastic ball joint, sanding it down, and popping it back in place with new plastic-to-metal grease.

First, remove the thin black plastic cover that hides all the HVAC components; remove one 10mm bolt holding left wiper bar to crank arm; remove one 13mm nut (and washer) from motor, and pry up the crank arm with a blade screwdriver (while wiggling the arm with your other hand) and remove it from the splined shaft (to aid in the reassembling, note position of arm!) This is really quite easy: 1 bolt and 1 nut!

Here is how Alex describes the mechanism:

"The motor crank has a special eccentric clutch (under the black plastic cover), made in Germany with the usual German complexity. When the motor runs in reverse, the eccentric flops around so that the effective length of the crank changes. That puts the wipers down to their lowest position. When the motor runs forward, the eccentric should go back to the previous position so that the wipers park in a slightly-raised position between sweeps.  At its core, the eccentric is a plastic balljoint with an offset pin running through it. The problem is that the plastic balljoint becomes really stiff as the plastic seat hardens with age, and no longer spins around as intended.

The solution I found is to take it all apart (a very small 'E'-clip comes off the pin) and pop the centre out of the balljoint, which takes a couple of hammer taps in the right direction, and then sand it down (280-grit sandpaper, etc.) so that when it is popped back in, you should be able to turn it around with your fingers. Don't bother trying to remove the seating from the metal arm - it has probably become far too hard to remove.

There is also a spring-loaded plastic pin that creates a one-way ratchet, necessary to make the reverse rotation move the centre. My plastic pin had a broken spring, so I cut down a spring from a ballpoint pen to replace it. When you put it all back together, use some silicone grease and make sure the E-clip goes back on the pin properly.
"

Alex provides this picture of the assembly (n.b. the dust boot has been removed on right side):



And here is my photo showing all the parts (degreased), laid out in exploded fashion (n.b. the same dust cover boot is not shown):




I actually used 220 grit sandpaper to sand down the ball and then “polished” it with 600 grit, however I had to do it three times in order to get the right, somewhat loose, fit (Alex probably did it once). Note that the tapping out of the ball is best done laying the metal crank on an open vise, with each edge cradled by the vise; tap the short side of the ball with a rubber mallet or the wooden handle of a hammer, it takes only a slight tap. (remember you are dealing with 20-year-old plastic!).

I reassembled everything using generous dabs of white Molykote 33, the best product for plastic-to-metal fittings, rated for very cold temperatures, and easily found online. Popping the ball back into the socket can be done with your thumb. Be sure that the hole where the little pin slides in is clean and greased.

One important advice: don’t forget the top rubber seal on the crank arm before you reassemble the arm in the car—you may not be able to attach the seal in the car, I couldn’t, and had to remove the arm again. You will probably have to readjust both wiper arms to get them perfectly regulated. Then give yourself a treat—invest in new blades. If I am able to ascertain if the crank arm assembly can still be sourced somewhere new (who knows, miracles do happen), the information will be posted to the BB.

Good luck and happy parking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,063 Posts
Thanks for taking the time writing that up. I need to look into mine again. It works fine right now, but I need to go in there and make sure it's not binding and has plenty of lube so that it stays in working order.
Charles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,298 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Charles, I remember reading your elaborate and useful report on your wiper mechanism repair and particularly the point about having to tweak the contacts in the motor. That's part of the flip side of correct wiper functioning, i.e. having the motor properly "reverse" on shut off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I did this job I don't recommend doing this to anybody if the ball joint is binding up spray some wd 40 or penetrating lubes that you can pick up at a local autozone or what not. Now its not as easy unless you have small hands which I do and its a pain in the A$$ to get the Rotating arm not off But back on point, even if you do pin point where you left off because as you pull it off the motor itself does turn throwing you off so you have to go back in and turn ignition on and resetting motor again which you can't go from the Off position because arm on motor keeps you from getting to nut so you have to pretty much go in and start wiper halfway shut ignition off so you can have enough clearance to get the nut off believe me Its Not as easy . If you don't get this right on where factory preset was YOU WILL bend and twist arms themselves and perhaps crack and break like mines did, so today I had spent $80 on a whole used wiper assembly and I am very mechanically inclined Ive owned my "92" 164 for 6 years now and its my daily driver. My gut told me "dont touch it" because I had some wiper issues but nothing out of this world, still did its job. BUT i was tempted and I went in there did everything cleaned the ball joint rotating nicely lubed up put back together double checked and doubled checked and only snugged the arm nut and bolt just in case and now a cracked arm which eventually broke off and a whole used wiper assembly on its way from Oregon. I believe that these mechanisms are factory preset and shouldn't be touched unless its has to be really. To lube it just pop off plastic cap off rotating arm once in a while and spray some spray grease with little hose tube its better than nothing and it will keep it lubed without having to loosen anything and trying to reassemble on pin point. Well if you decide to take a shot a it, its WAY easier if you pull the assembly out. Well hope this helps just my take on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,298 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Danny, I beg to differ. Let's go point by point. First of all, WD 40 is NOT the lube to use, you must use a very specific lube that has a special formulation for plastic-to-metal parts, one that is not too drippy (and would dry out), one that is a real grease, and one that is good for low temperatures. Secondly, the ball joint MUST be removed and physically sanded to make it smaller. The problem is, with age the plastic expands slightly, causing the binding. WD 40 may work for a while but you are going to end up in worse shape eventually. Finally, the job is NOT difficult to do. Doing a timing belt or timing belt detensioner or strut replacement, or you name it, is much harder and unforgiving. I am not sure why you had problems reassembling the arm to the wiper motor spline in its correct position; if in doubt that you didn't put it in the right position, then, as a simple precaution remove the wiper arms before you turn the wipers on for the first time. If your theory about "factory presets" had any credence at all, we might as well sell all our Alfas, we'd be hopeless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,063 Posts
That's probably a good point to make here, working on any wiper assembly, run it the first time after disassembly without wiper arms installed. The mechanism will find it's own start and stop which may or may not be where it was when you started. I have had one of my wiper mechanism arms break as well and not from any thing other than normal use, so it does happen. We don't even have snow or ice here normally, so not much stress on them from that sort of thing. I welded mine back together several years ago and it has been fine since.
Charles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,063 Posts
Thank you so much for this post Pinino. I had a wiper rack rotate around oddly so the arms were hitting the pivot and locking up the whole shebang. Happened when I reinstalled the wiper rack after replacing the HVAC wires with insulation failure. Anyway, I put in a spare wiper rack and it was acting erratic. So I did this pivot mod and used Molycote 33 as suggested. Still has acting wonky (arms moving back and forth when they should be parking) so I pulled the plastic cover (with circuit board in it) off the motor and cleaned out the old grease, replaced with Molycote (at the worm gear as well as the contacts and rings) and bent the three wiper contacts up a bit for better electrical contact with the ring tracks and it is working perfect now. Also popped off the other pivots and greased those as well. I then went back and fixed the original rack and it is fine now as well. I just had to pop off the pivots and put the arms back to proper orientation. It is super easy to just plug a wiper rack into the harness without installing the wiper rack to test. The wire harness has no problem reaching a loose rack laying on top of the false firewall. It is a good idea to run a rack and then let it park before installing it (and attaching wiper arms). Then you are sure of its status and you can install the wiper arms exactly where you want them to rest when parked. Some cars you cannot mount them that way, but this car works that way, no problem.
Charles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,229 Posts
OK, so the wipers on mine just began operating only on slow speed and refusing to park or sweep fully to the usual limit. They seem to be permanently wiping for only the initial limited arc, then repeating that limited arc.

Is this the steering column switch, the wiper motor or something else, would you say?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,298 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Charles, and for adding valuable information to the thread.

Michael, you may have two different problems here (slow speed only and no parking), so it might be helpful to solve them one at a time. If your ca. 25 year-old car has never had its wiper ball joint lubricated, it may be time to address that first following the tips in post #1. Then address the speed problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
Thanks for all the wiper input. One of our arms broke, so I put a used replacement arm assembly from the APEman on the working motor, but screwed up the orientation of that eccentric cam. I have successfully popped the arm assembly off the motor, in situ, and put it back on, but I still don't have the thing positioned correctly. I need to go back to the broken arm assembly and play with it some more so I know exactly how the cam works, with the stop. I think in fact the assembly in the car is working a little backwards - it does a funny 3/4 sweep BEFORE it parks. I did remove the wipers and run the motor, then reattach the wipers, but I still didn't get it quite right. The wipers work, that's the important thing.
V
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,063 Posts
Thanks for all the wiper input. One of our arms broke, so I put a used replacement arm assembly from the APEman on the working motor, but screwed up the orientation of that eccentric cam. I have successfully popped the arm assembly off the motor, in situ, and put it back on, but I still don't have the thing positioned correctly. I need to go back to the broken arm assembly and play with it some more so I know exactly how the cam works, with the stop. I think in fact the assembly in the car is working a little backwards - it does a funny 3/4 sweep BEFORE it parks. I did remove the wipers and run the motor, then reattach the wipers, but I still didn't get it quite right. The wipers work, that's the important thing.
V
I can take a picture of it parked to give you a pretty good idea of were the balljoint pivot arm orientation should be when parked if that will help? On your rack, it should probably get the 200,000 mile service. :wink2: Pull it out, do the ball joint pivot service described by Pinino and then pop all the arm pivots off and grease, then pull the whole plastic housing off the motor (4 tabs) and clean the old grease out. Re-grease and bend the three contacts up a little bit to help them get better contact with the rings. You will see what I mean when you get in there. Do not install the rack fully into the car, but just rest it on the top of the false firewall and intake, plug it in and from the driver's seat watch how it is behaving. If good, then install the rack, turn it on again and let it park, them reinstall the wiper arms. 1 to 6 hours is all that it should take! :wink2:
Charles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
A pic would be great! Thanx
V
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,298 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Veronica, I may be able to spare Charles the inconvenience. Here, from a current ebay listing are five photos. One can be pretty sure that the unit was in parked position when it was removed from car. Charles can comment if photos are dubious.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,063 Posts
It should look something like this when parked. Hope this helps. What I would do is set the arms similar to this and mount the motor arm (with the plastic balljoint and the rubber cover) so that it almost blocks the mounting nut. Leave just enough space to install that nut through the top hole in the bracket. You can tighten it down tight by jamming a screwdriver between the arm and one of the motor mount bracket bolt heads. Make that nut tight so it sets the tapered splines really well, just like the wiper arms.
Charles
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
Thanks - now I can look at the arms on my car and see if the links look like the ones in the picture in park position. Good to know that when they are correct you almost can't get to that bolt.
Thanks to both of you!
VM
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,861 Posts
I like this! Good info here!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,861 Posts
Danny, I beg to differ. Let's go point by point. First of all, WD 40 is NOT the lube to use, you must use a very specific lube that has a special formulation for plastic-to-metal parts, one that is not too drippy (and would dry out), one that is a real grease, and one that is good for low temperatures. Secondly, the ball joint MUST be removed and physically sanded to make it smaller. The problem is, with age the plastic expands slightly, causing the binding. WD 40 may work for a while but you are going to end up in worse shape eventually. Finally, the job is NOT difficult to do. Doing a timing belt or timing belt detensioner or strut replacement, or you name it, is much harder and unforgiving. I am not sure why you had problems reassembling the arm to the wiper motor spline in its correct position; if in doubt that you didn't put it in the right position, then, as a simple precaution remove the wiper arms before you turn the wipers on for the first time. If your theory about "factory presets" had any credence at all, we might as well sell all our Alfas, we'd be hopeless.
I have to agree. WD-40 is a water displacement lubricant. It will destroy these components since it is the wrong application. WD-40 is great for some things like squeeky hinges and spraying down engine on your seadoo after use but other than that it should not be used on plastic to metal, bearings, moving parts of any kind really. Hope that helps Danny.

Sil-Glyde Silicone Lubricant, Tube, 4 oz - AGS Company AGS Company
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,564 Posts
I have used just 3 in 1 oil for a few decades on all my Alfas for hinges and this type of linkage, with no problems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Alfissimo Int.

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,298 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
3-in-1 oil for this type of linkage? I suppose lots of things could used, but when I do repairs I like to go the full monty, with the hope that the repair can be enduring and will not have to be revisted. That is why I'm an advocate of Kytox which I learned about from this forum; when the appropriate spec is applied on a new bearing properly, it becomes "a bearing for life". My personal experience with 3-in-1 is that, with heat—and heaven knows that the wipers in a brutal rain storm really get worked into a frenzy—it dries out. Eventually you end up with a sticky glue which isn't going to perform very well at 20°. Look at the old vacuum cleaner bronze bearings, you constantly have the tear down the unit every couple of years to re-oil, and no matter how much you soak the bearing, you'll be back. So in the end I think Molykote 33 or an equivalent that Jason carries (Sil-Glyde), good for plastics, hot, cold, subfreezing, is well worth the effort for the Alfa wiper linkage repair. It's not just a repair, it's an upgrade! Who knows what Alfa originally used, perhaps 3-in-1—to save a few cents!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,564 Posts
Using a top quality grease would be the way to go if one had to pull things apart for some reason. If I had to pull the mechanism apart for some reason, I'd probably do just that, but since as I've never had to do that, I leave them be.

Having used 3 in 1 for decades on these wiper mechanisms now and then without having to do any other maintenance or any repairs, I'm reasonably satisfied that it is not harmful or detrimental, even though you may be theoretically correct for more extreme environmental conditions. Maybe the Puget Sound environment is more benign than that of NY, ie, NY being hotter in the summer, colder in the winter.

The wiper mechanisms on the Alfas in which we have put close to 200k miles each, such as my original Sprint GT (260k before we sold it), the 78 Alfetta sedan, and now my 91S, always worked as they should with no evident problems, no loose link joints, no repairs needed. I just have the habit of oiling all the hinges and joints like these about once a year. Seems to have worked.

But yes, if you have to pull the stuff apart, why not use a quality grease when reassembling.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top