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#2742284 - 08/04/13 10:20 PM Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas?
TheJudge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 493
Loc: Somewhere in Texas
Hi everyone, I have a unique dilemma: my windshield wipers only work when it's NOT raining.

The MFS seems to work for now (the multiple speeds and the spray works most of the time) when I test it in the dry...

However, when I use it in the rain, it is very fickle; any ideas what could be causing this problem? Just to note, I have already replaced the wiper motor a few weeks ago.

I have a theory though - in the pic attached, the driver side wiper cowl is warped...can water get under there and short out the motor?


Attachments
warped1.jpg

Description: Notice the gap


_________________________
1999 CV LX - 4.6l nPI engine with an aftermarket dorman intake (yes, yes I know violin ).
Stock for now; 2.73 RAR, Single Exhaust

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#2742348 - 08/05/13 03:43 AM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
disston Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 1141
Loc: Maryland
Doubt that the motor is being shorted by water but I guess if it was cracked or had some other problem it's still a possibility.

Are you sure this is what is happening and you are not just pulling our legs?

I think I would clean and protect the wiring and check the switch and other wires in the entire system. Sounds like somewhere there is a dirty or loose wire.

Also the combination switches wear out the rheostat that is the timed part of the control. You may need a new switch.

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#2742487 - 08/05/13 04:39 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: disston]
TheJudge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 493
Loc: Somewhere in Texas
Originally Posted By: disston
Doubt that the motor is being shorted by water but I guess if it was cracked or had some other problem it's still a possibility.


I doubt the motor is cracked - I bought a rebuilt Cardone version from Autozone less than a month ago. What else are you referring to?

At first, I thought it was the motor causing the problem because it wouldn't park when off and it only worked on 'high'. Now it parks, but it usually works when it's dry out and may or may not work when it is raining arcade

Also, how would I check for a loose or dirty wire? My knowledge of electronics is limited.
_________________________
1999 CV LX - 4.6l nPI engine with an aftermarket dorman intake (yes, yes I know violin ).
Stock for now; 2.73 RAR, Single Exhaust

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#2742539 - 08/05/13 07:51 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
disston Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 1141
Loc: Maryland

"Also, how would I check for a loose or dirty wire? My knowledge of electronics is limited."

The key to your problem is probably in this sentence. BTW technically this is not electronics. It is DC electricity.

Ford windshield wiper motors are plugged into the wiring harness and can't be wired wrong unless you try really hard. There is a tricky clip that holds the motor to the wiper arms. It has to be correctly installed. If you don't know how to remove and replace them they can be difficult. You should replace the motor the same way the old one came out.

The combination switches on the steering column do go bad.

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#2742611 - 08/05/13 10:48 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
disston Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 1141
Loc: Maryland
What I meant by the statement of clean and protect the wiring is to put the wires together with dielectric grease. The same stuff used on spark plugs is used on wire plugs and terminals to keep moisture off the wire. This prevents corrosion. Dielectric grease is sold at parts stores.

It is a good idea to always use this stuff when putting wires on but of course not always handy and/or you forget. Most helpful around ignition systems, battery terminals and alternator wires.

I really have no idea why the wiper motor would only work when it is not raining. I suspect the switch may be intermittent and you merely think it is not working because of the rain. Those switches are expensive but you may find a good one in a wrecker. We have cheapo junk yards, pull your own type, where I live.

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#2742699 - 08/06/13 09:43 AM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
Ieatpeople Offline
Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 109
Loc: MD
if you need a wiper stalk/switch rockauto.com has it, its only $45.

part# 1S3642


I would check for loose or shorted wiring first.
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#2742791 - 08/06/13 02:19 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
Osmossis Offline
Climber

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 849
Loc: Milton, Ontario, Canada
could be loose wire in the stalk heard of this before
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#2742998 - 08/06/13 11:58 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: disston]
TheJudge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 493
Loc: Somewhere in Texas
Originally Posted By: disston
What I meant by the statement of clean and protect the wiring is to put the wires together with dielectric grease. The same stuff used on spark plugs is used on wire plugs and terminals to keep moisture off the wire. This prevents corrosion. Dielectric grease is sold at parts stores.

It is a good idea to always use this stuff when putting wires on but of course not always handy and/or you forget. Most helpful around ignition systems, battery terminals and alternator wires.


Hmmm, I've never considered putting dielectric grease on those wires, only spark plug tips. I shall try that first and if it doesn't work, then I will have to replace the MFS; thanks for the idea.
_________________________
1999 CV LX - 4.6l nPI engine with an aftermarket dorman intake (yes, yes I know violin ).
Stock for now; 2.73 RAR, Single Exhaust

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#2743285 - 08/07/13 06:44 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
disston Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 1141
Loc: Maryland
Dielectric grease on wires is to prevent future problems from corrosion. To cure a current problem you may have to clean and tighten wires. Sometimes the plugs are stretched or enlarged. The wires should fit tight in their plugs. And be clean. Then using dielectric grease helps to keep water out.

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#2743640 - 08/08/13 04:20 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: disston]
TheJudge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 493
Loc: Somewhere in Texas
Great idea disston; can I use battery terminal cleaner on those wires or is it too harsh?
_________________________
1999 CV LX - 4.6l nPI engine with an aftermarket dorman intake (yes, yes I know violin ).
Stock for now; 2.73 RAR, Single Exhaust

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#2744013 - 08/09/13 07:49 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
disston Offline
Over the Hill

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 1141
Loc: Maryland
There are special cleaners for wires and electric motors. Most of them say they leave no residue, at least the ones sold here at parts super stores. I actually like electric cleaners that do leave a residue. Almost anything works I think. I'm no expert. I looked in an electronics supply catalog once and it was confusing the number of wire and contact cleaners, really.

Use any cleaner. Wipe with clean rags if you can. Then use dielectric grease to protect. This seems to work for me.

Sometimes the combination type plugs found on wiper motors may need help. This doesn't seem to be as much of a problem any more but in the old days the plugs would be loose and you had to crimp the terminals to make them make contact. Probably had more problems with this sort of thing in the wiring for two way radios, now that I think of it.

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#2785380 - 12/05/13 05:35 PM Re: Wipers only work when it's dry out - any ideas? [Re: TheJudge]
TheJudge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 493
Loc: Somewhere in Texas
Update: It turns out that my original theory is correct - that gap in the first picture let water under the cowl and caused problems.

I bought a new left cowl (~$100) and replaced the old one, and the problem went away!

I didn't have to clean the electrical contacts for the wipers to start working properly again.

Here's a pic of the new left cowl (if you have a '03 or higher, the cowl is one piece).


TL;DR: Something else caused the problem, I did not have to replace the MFS


Attachments
fixed.jpg


_________________________
1999 CV LX - 4.6l nPI engine with an aftermarket dorman intake (yes, yes I know violin ).
Stock for now; 2.73 RAR, Single Exhaust

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