Windshield Wiper Repair
1987 Dodge D150
(should also work for 1973-1993 trucks – can anyone confirm this?)
2 hours (or 2 days if you clean and paint parts)
Shortly after my truck’s 20th birthday, while in a driving rainstorm (isn’t that always the case?) my passenger side wiper stopped mid-swipe and just hung there, stuck in the middle of the windshield. Dang!
After arriving home and pulling off the louvered cowl cover, I discovered that the plastic bushing connecting the pivot to the drive link assembly had disintegrated. 20 years seems like a pretty good life for a cheapo plastic bushing. Unfortunately the other 3 remaining bushings looked like they were at the end of their useful life as well; time for an overhaul.
Removal of the wiper system is pretty straightforward. The hardest part is getting the wiper arms off the pivots. On my model, I used channel-lock pliers and a rag to protect the arms. Cover the arms over the pivot with the rag and firmly pull the arms off. You might need to do some gentle rocking to get them moving. They have been seated for 20 years!
You may have a different style arm (aftermarket or stock) that may require moving or sliding a tab to remove the arms.
Once the arms are off, remove the louvered cowl cover by raising the hood and remove the 5 or 6 screws holding it in place. Gently pull the cowl towards the front of the vehicle to remove.
Remove the bolt that attaches the crank arm to the wiper motor. If you need to replace the motor, now would be a great time to do it!
When removing the crank arm from the motor, DO NOT allow the motor shaft to turn. This could damage the internal “park position” switch in the motor.
Use the appropriate size wrench to remove the pivot assembly bolts. There are three on each pivot. The whole assembly should now be loose. Although you can remove it all together by easing it out an access hole, it’s easier to break it apart before removing. Use a wide screwdriver to pry the various pins out of the remaining bushings. The bushings are likely brittle and will break apart easily.
Once the components are out, use a screwdriver and pliers to break apart and remove the remaining bushings. There are 4 in all.
There was quite a bit of rust on my main drive link. I sanded, primed and painted the drive link parts. I scrubbed and cleaned the pivot assemblies (they were nasty) and lubricated them with lithium grease.
Time for new bushings! The bushings are readily available at most auto parts stores. You will need 4. I bought some from two different places just to compare (they look identical).
NAPA part #: 665-1537 or “HELP!” #49440.
They are generic “Chrysler” or “Dodge” bushings. I believe Chrysler started using the bushings in trucks beginning with the 1973 models. They were used until at least 1988, possibly later.
The bushings are a bit of a pain to seat. Be patient. Use a pair of pliers or channel locks to help push them through. A bit of wiggling, squeezing from different directions and experimentation will get them seated.
Make sure you install the bushings in the proper direction. Lay out all the parts on a table like I did in the photo to make sure you know which way they should go. If you put a bushing in the wrong way, you’ll probably need to replace it after removal.
Reassembly: the fun part is seating the pivot assembly and drive link assembly pins into the bushings. To help avoid binding down the road, I shot a bit of lithium grease in each bushing.
To seat, place a pin into it’s bushing and press by hand. It will go in just enough to stay there while you grab the channel locks. Using the channel locks, squeeze the pin into the bushing; squeeze hard. You’ll know when it’s seated; you will hear and feel a definite “pop”. If you shot lithium grease into it, you’ll also hear the excess being squeeze out.
Installation: carefully insert the whole assembly through the access hole as pictured. A bit of maneuvering and patience is required to get the pivots back through the holes. Once in place, secure the three bolts in each pivot assembly.
Reconnect the crank arm to the motor making sure it’s connected the same way it was before removal. This assures the park setting is correct.
Run your wiper motor a few cycles to assure everything is moving smoothly.
Reinstall the louvered cowl cover.
Before attaching the wiper blade arms, run the wiper motor one more time then turn it off to make sure the pivots are in the park position.
Attach the blade arms in the park position. After I installed mine, I ran them while spraying water on the windshield. When turned off they didn’t park exactly the way I had hoped. I removed and reinstalled the arms to get them just right.
Enjoy 20 more years of worry-free windshield wipers!