How To: Fix broken windshield wiper motor linkage
Have you ever accidentally turned on your windshield wipers when your windshield is covered in ice and snow? No? Well I sure as hell did the other day.
Got in my 08 G6 SE, hit the lever, and all I hear is... Whirrrrrrrr...SNAP. Didn't know what the hell happened, but no more wipers.
Here's what happened; The motor tried to move the wipers, but met resistance from the snow and ice caked on the glass. The ice won, and a bushing on the arm assembly broke off disconnecting the linkage from the motor to the arms. There is a steel ball that goes into a plastic bushing, and the plastic bushing broke, seperating the linkage.
Here's how I fixed it. Sorry no pics, was racing to beat the incoming BC snow storm before tommorow and thought about documenting this one too late. I am in no way a mechanic, but with a bit of backyard mechanics and the right tools under my belt, I found a way to make it work if you are totally screwed.
I got the job done with:
- 10MM short socket
- Some sort of puller, I used a 3" puller to get the wiper arms off
- Flathead screwdriver
1. COVER THE WINDSHIELD AROUND WHERE YOU ARE WORKING. You do not want to break your windshield with a slipped wrench. You will need to remove your two windshield wiper arms, which are both fastened with a bolt, 15mm socket needed. Undo the bolts, and lift up on the arms so they are facing up.
2. Using your puller, remove the arms at the spline and place off to the side, **note which arm comes from which side**. The arms will probably be seized on, so a puller was needed in my case. The hood must be closed for this part. Be careful not to damage the hood by having the puller rest against it while pulling. Cover where you're working with a blanket or towel to avoid any scratches.
3. Once off, open the hood. Remove any trim, and with a flathead remove two clips on either side of the car holding the black plastic shield that goes over the two splines for the wiper. Lift up the black plastic shield over the splines, and you'll see the motor assembly underneath.
4. You'll see 3 10mm bolts securing the motor assembly. Undo these, but undo them evenly, a bit at a time, going around in a circle until loose. Lift up on the motor to expose the clip for the electrical. Gently pull down on the clip, and slide out the connector. Remove the motor from car.
5. You should see the arm with the small metal ball that has come loose from it's bushing on the connecting arm. Here's what I did;
- Snap off the plastic bushing from the lower arm, and remove completely.
- Locate the metal ball on the upper arm. I cut off the ball with a sawzall, and used a bench grinder to smoothen that spot off.
- Securing on a bench, I used a cordless drill to make a hole in the end of the upper arm. Straight through where the ball would have been. I can't remember what size I used, but started with a smaller bit and worked my way up. The metal ball was on a swivel on the arm, so you will have to work your way up to cut a big enough hole in the arm to remove the swivel part right out of the end of the arm.
6. Once that swivel piece had been drilled out, I secured the two arms together with a nut, washer and bolt. I used a bolt with a 10mm head, and used a washer (you'll see why), and I also added some rubber bushings over top of the bolt between the top arm and the washer, don't know if it actually does any good, but my hope was to cushion the connection as it gets jerked around alot.
7. CHECK YOUR NEW BOLT CLEARANCE ON THE ACTUAL WIPER MOTOR ITSELF. I can't stress this enough. Your bolt head needs to be small enough to clear two bolt heads below it on the motor itself, or else it will catch, bind, and probably break. I made this mistake, and had to take it all apart a 2nd time to get it right. Once you have the bolt in, gently move the linkages the full swing of the motor to make sure it doesn't hit anything.
8. Reinstall motor. Reconnect electrical. Reattach arms, Turn on the car and test the wipers. I had to make sure the arms are in the right spot on the splines in relation to motor position, so the arms will sweep across the right spot on the windshield. While they're going, watch the motor for any unusual binding or other issues.
9. Reinstall trim pieces, and bask in the glory of victory.
Keep in mind, I am not a professional, and take no responsibility for damage if you choose to try this. All I'm saying is that this method worked for me in a pinch, and saved me $75 from the wrecker. I'm cheap, what can I say.
PS: Keep your bolts organized at all times. Thanks for reading.