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Vacuum Wiper Motor Service

Posted By Rusty_S85 Last Week
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Rusty_S85
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I replaced the wiper motor on my '56 a few years ago with a rebuilt unit from Macs, I installed this unit and everything was fine was able to slow the wiper arms down to almost barly moving which was great.  After the first year of little use since I dont drive the car much in the rain but I do try to run the wipers for a little with some water on the windshield to use it from time to time, but this didnt help as after the first year the wiper motor slowed down where its no where near as fast as it was when I installed it.  Now this is the third year and it is a little slower than last year but the new issue is when switching the motor off the arms just hang in the up position as you hear the vacuum slowly venting.  It took running the wipers for about 5 minutes straight to get it to park a bit quicker but it still takes some 30 seconds to vent the vacuum before the arms park on their own.

I believe there has to be some kind of service that I havent done on this motor and my original shop manual says its a whole unit and doesnt make mention of servicing or repairing the unit and my owners manual makes no mention of servicing the wiper motor but it does make mention of servicing the clock.

So my question is what kind of service should I be doing on this wiper motor to get it back in proper working order?

I did some online reading and some have said clean the old grease out and apply new grease when this starts happening, some say to put some ATF or brake fluid in the unit and it will soften the leather seal back up and make everything work smooth again.  I dont know what to do in this case cause this is a rebuilt unit I got from macs some 3 years ago and I dont believe the leather seal could have dried out in 3 years and I dont know if there is grease in the unit or not from the rebuild.  I also hate taking the unit apart cause with 3 years I just know the gaskets will most likely rip apart trying to disassemble the unit.

1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan - 292 Y8 - Ford-O-Matic - 155,000 mi

DryLakesRacer
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Hate to say this but the next time you go under the dash .... install Newport electric. And if you do I can tell how to get them in in 10 minutes after the old unit is out . I’ve never been sorry.
Trying brake fluid is ok but keep something in the floorboards for drips. Put the what ever your going to use in a cup, put the vacuum hose in it, and move the wipers by hand to suck the fluid up. Good luck..

56 Vic, B'Ville 200 MPH Club Member, So Cal.
55blacktie
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Drylakesracer, I have the electric wipers conversion kit, but I have not installed it yet. The old vacuum unit has been removed, as well as the seat and steering column, so I have considerably more space to work in. I'm not a big guy, but I know how tight it can be to work under the dash with the seat and steering column installed. I would appreciate any installation tips for the wiper kit, anything that will save time and effort. I'll look for your PM. Thanks.
Rusty_S85
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Rusty_S85 (11/8/2020)
I replaced the wiper motor on my '56 a few years ago with a rebuilt unit from Macs, I installed this unit and everything was fine was able to slow the wiper arms down to almost barly moving which was great.  After the first year of little use since I dont drive the car much in the rain but I do try to run the wipers for a little with some water on the windshield to use it from time to time, but this didnt help as after the first year the wiper motor slowed down where its no where near as fast as it was when I installed it.  Now this is the third year and it is a little slower than last year but the new issue is when switching the motor off the arms just hang in the up position as you hear the vacuum slowly venting.  It took running the wipers for about 5 minutes straight to get it to park a bit quicker but it still takes some 30 seconds to vent the vacuum before the arms park on their own.

I believe there has to be some kind of service that I havent done on this motor and my original shop manual says its a whole unit and doesnt make mention of servicing or repairing the unit and my owners manual makes no mention of servicing the wiper motor but it does make mention of servicing the clock.

So my question is what kind of service should I be doing on this wiper motor to get it back in proper working order?

I did some online reading and some have said clean the old grease out and apply new grease when this starts happening, some say to put some ATF or brake fluid in the unit and it will soften the leather seal back up and make everything work smooth again.  I dont know what to do in this case cause this is a rebuilt unit I got from macs some 3 years ago and I dont believe the leather seal could have dried out in 3 years and I dont know if there is grease in the unit or not from the rebuild.  I also hate taking the unit apart cause with 3 years I just know the gaskets will most likely rip apart trying to disassemble the unit.


Problem is I cant justify the cost of the electric conversion.  Its why I stuck with the vacuum  wipers and invested in the double action fuel pump and reproduction hardlines and hoses.  I dont plan to drive the car in the rain so for me the vacuum wipers are enough.  I just cant find any service information on regular service you should do to them.  I know the clock should be oiled every 6 months from the owners manual but nothing about servicing the wiper motor itself.

If I can get it working back like it was when I first installed it ill be fine.

1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan - 292 Y8 - Ford-O-Matic - 155,000 mi

paul2748
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I have the Newport Kits in three cars (54 Ford, 56 TBird and 48 Ford ) and they are well worth it.  The trick to working under the dash, if it is something that takes time,  is to remove the front seat.  Then you have lots of room to work.


54 Victoria 312;  48 Ford Conv 302, 56 Bird 312
Forever Ford
Midland Park, NJ

DryLakesRacer
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55blacktie... Sorry this is pretty long...

I just moved my seat back and my radio was out for a conversion. The instructions tell you to mount the unit on the original brackets which have threads. The problem is the new electric unit mounts on the opposite side and you can’t see the holes and hold up the new unit at least I couldn’t.

My fix(which I sent Newport) is to take 2 longer screws (I think 10/32’s) and screw them DOWN thru the brackets making them studs. Then attach the electric unit with nuts which is ez. Of course the longer screws and nuts I had.

I fought their way for an hour and couldn’t both in, only 1. My way 2 minutes max.

Also your defroster ducting to the far left one (there are 4 on a 56) now hits the electric unit which remember is on the opposite side sticking farther out. I used a PVC adapter to a smaller size and bought smaller hose at Home Depot to keep it
With slight rerouting. You could just cap it off since it’s on the far left

Lastly I did the test with no arms or blades on the car to watch them move and go to the rest position. If your old spring device holding the arms on the unit under the dash to the new electric unit is not good they are available from one of the suppliers.

Hope this helps. This was on a 56.. 55’s may be easier or different.

56 Vic, B'Ville 200 MPH Club Member, So Cal.
55blacktie
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Thanks, DLR. The longer screws sound familiar; maybe we've had this conversation before. If I encounter any problems, I'll holler. 
blocky
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with my limited expertise on vacuum wipers i know you do have to keep the vent port open and clear. maybe this will help good luck
Rusty_S85
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I got a reply from Wiperman that rebuilds these wiper motors I figured my rebuilt unit most likely came from him as he is the only one that has the stock of remaining gaskets and rebuild kits.  He told me do not add anything to the wiper motor just turn it on and let it run it will disperse the grease that is most likely stiffened up.  Going to give that a try tomorrow since its supposed to rain all day.  I know the little running I let the wiper motor run when I made my post it did get better with venting the vacuum so I am going to give that a try before I take and get another rebuilt unit or sending my old unit in to be rebuilt.

1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan - 292 Y8 - Ford-O-Matic - 155,000 mi

Rusty_S85
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blocky (11/9/2020)
with my limited expertise on vacuum wipers i know you do have to keep the vent port open and clear. maybe this will help good luck


Ill check the vent tomorrow, I would like to try and get this resolved if possible and then I will know if this happens again if its something I need to worry about or if its just something as simply as letting the wipers run.  I might even take the wiper arms loose from the motor on the inside and just let the motor itself run and see if it works.

1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan - 292 Y8 - Ford-O-Matic - 155,000 mi



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