Wiper System Replacement

This job was done in the intervening days between removing and refitting the turbo charger, and it was horrible – not so much the amount of work involved but the fact it had to be done outdoors in sub-zero conditions!

I had hoped it’d be a relatively simple affair to replace the wiper spindle boxes – wiper arms and splined hubs off, dash top panel out and then just undoing a handful of nuts to separate the wiper drive cable and guide tubes from the boxes, undo the exterior retaining nut on the spindles and out…

In fact, the wind screen demister vents are in the way, so also need to be removed.  That means the instrument panel has to come out to get at the driver’s side demister, and that requires removal of the steering wheel and steering column shroud.  On my much modified 109, I didn’t have direct access to the four screws on the passenger side demister vent either – they are hidden behind the black painted Defender fascia trim panel, and removing that required the removal of my MudStuff centre console, complete with the initial removal of the stereo and CB.

Once all of that was stripped out, I was able to remove the demister vent diffusers above the black steel panel and access the spindle boxes.  Just two nuts hold their backs on, and with the backs removed, the drive cable guide tubes are free.  However, the curl-over of the boxes’ main casing prevents the cable from being simply slipped out sideways – the wiper motor has to be disconnected and unclamped so that the motor and drive cable can be withdrawn, pulling the cable out until it clears the left side spindle box.

Once that was all done, removing and replacing the spindle boxes was very simple.  The nuts all came undone without any trouble – I had applied grease to all the studs and nuts during the rebuild.  A comparison showed the Britpart units were near identical to the new genuine one, and the gear wheels share the same diameter.  Unless the spacing of the teeth is different, which is a small possibility given how the drive cable’s helical wire is springy, then I can’t see much improvement coming of this – the same diameter wheel will produce the same angular movement from the set length of drive cable travel.

What has become apparent is how much play there is on the Britpart wiper arms’ hinge rivets – probably 3-4 degrees of sweep.  Better quality arms with less play may help; the over sweeping is worst on very wet screens (minimal resistance) at higher speeds, where the airflow over the windscreen may be pushing the wiper blade and arm further than the spindles rotate.  If that doesn’t cure it, I may have to down size from the optional 11″ blades to the more standard 10″, but I’d prefer not to – the 11″ blades sweep to within 1/4″ of the top of the screens and the central vertical frame member, clearing a noticably bigger arc than on out Lightweight (which has 10″ blades).

At least all this work allowed me to repair the broken speaker lead from the CB to the speaker selector switch (a double-pole two position flip-switch on the upper right corner of the centre dash console which connects the front right speaker to the CB or stereo, avoiding the need to fit more speakers to the vehicle) and adjust the CB mounting so that the mass of wiring at the back isn’t trying to force the stereo and CB out of the front of the console.  I was able to cure a couple of rattles, too – one was the fold-down front panel of the stereo that allows the CDs to be inserted, cured by a strip of neoprene on the back of that panel, and the other was the passenger door which was knocking against the windscreen frame’s internal fixing clamp nut, just to the left of the dash, which just needed a tap with a mallet and wooden drift to make sure the large nuts and the stud were driven as close to the windscreen and as far away from the door as possible.

At least some of the extensive efforts paid off…

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