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one windshield wiper not working
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Author:  WilliamNoble [ Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:33 pm ]
Post subject:  one windshield wiper not working

The last time I had my '48 Custom our for a drive, I unfortunately didn't make it back home before it started raining. While I was happy that I even remembered the location of the windshield wiper knob - because it is in an unusual location - I was not happy to see that my passenger-side windshield wiper was no longer working. (At least it was on the passenger side of the car, and not on my side!) I'm guessing that there is a rod or cable that connects the two wipers, and that this has broken. I looked in my shop manual, but didn't find anything about how to repair the wipers. Any helpful hints and/or suggestions? Is this going to be an under-the-dash job? Or is access via the engine compartment? Thanks in advance for your help on this matter.

Bill

Author:  TimBowers [ Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: one windshield wiper not working

Did you find the exploded view of the wiper (motor?) and mechanism in your manual? The wiper motor in the '49 is electric and the info is in the electrical section of the shop manual. Is that the same for the '48? Or is your system vacuum?

I guess until you know what's wrong, it will be hard to say what needs fixed. It might be easy to remove the motor from the equation because the left side is working. It could be a broken clip that holds the actuator arm to the passenger side pivot, or whatever.

Did you check the tightness of the passenger wiper arm onto the pivot? Maybe it's loose and allows the pivot to spin inside the wiper arm.

And yes, I think all of this is going to be found under the dash. In a very quick peak at images of '48 DeSoto engine compartments, I don't see a wiper motor on the firewall.

When testing the wipers, it's good to spray some water on the glass. A dry wiper has a lot of friction against the glass and may skew the results.

Author:  BrentJacobsen [ Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: one windshield wiper not working

Hello William.

Chrysler's shop manuals for cars before about 1956 were pretty sparse on all accessories.

The wiper motor and linkage for all post-war split flat windshield cars is under the dash immediately behind the cowl ventilator and below the wiper switch in the center of the dash, although 1949 and later cars moved the switch down to a more contemporary location. It consists of a motor mounted crosswise with a gearbox on both ends. The gearboxes have cranks coming out of them with short metal links that run from the cranks to mating cranks on the wiper pivots. The switch actually controls a relay of sorts in one of the gearboxes that parks the wipers before turning them off when the switch is turned off. If only one wiper is working, it is likely that one end of its link has come disconnected, or as Tim suggests, the wiper arm is not secure on the serrated shaft coming out of the pivot. The links are held to the shafts with squeeze type spring tension clips, and with age those frequently break or come loose and fall off. Working on the wipers is a bit of a gymnastic adventure, particularly if you have the comfort-master heater with ducting around the cowl ventilator.

Section 23 of the illustrated parts book for the 1946-1948 DeSoto has a good blow-up diagram of the wipers. Those books have been reproduced, but are still pretty expensive.

Author:  WilliamNoble [ Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: one windshield wiper not working

Tim and Brent,

Thanks for the hints. My shop manual doesn't have an exploded view of the wipers in the Electrical System section, but my parts list book does. Now all I have to do is convince myself to get out there and up under the dash.

Bill

Author:  BrentJacobsen [ Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: one windshield wiper not working

Bill,

Good luck- might be a 4th of July weekend project. Let us know what you find. I Think a lot of us enjoy stories from the DeSoto garage, I know I do!

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