fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

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miker
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fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by miker » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:48 pm

Lubricated all the moving parts in the arms.

Added a 14 gauge ground wire between the wiper motor mount and the cowl on which all the wiper bits are mounted. Sheet metal screws hold the cowl in multiple places, ensuring that one has a good ground from the motor to the body.

I also installed a new motor (adapted from a 128) but it didn't improve things over the Spider motor I had, but I had broken my original motor as I fiddled.

So before you try anything else, lubricate all the moving parts in the arms, and add a ground wire. It's cheap and may solve your slow wipers too.

Thanks to Brad, whose post on adding a ground wire I found in the archives, and of course to Dwight Varnes of Dwight's Rule: "It's always a bad ground".
MikeR (mirafiori.com since 1995)


1977 Fiat 124 Spider
Previously owned:
2012 Fiat 500 Prima Edizione #236 (now owned by my son David)
'86 Bertone X1/9
'81 Fiat Spider 2000 #236
'78 Fiat 131 four door
'76 Fiat 128 4 door
'74 Fiat 128 4 door
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by fp55scca » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:40 am

miker wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:48 pm
(1) Lubricated all the moving parts in the arms.

(2)Added a 14 gauge ground wire between the wiper motor mount and the cowl
----------------------------------------------------------
--Mike, very good guidance. If I were to add a ground wire to the wiper motor, I would attach the lead to the chassis, vice the cowl. Both would work, but the chassis would make a better ground.

--A note for lubricating the moving parts:
---Remove the wiper blades and arm assemblies, and remove the screws from the cowl. Leave wiper motor wires connected and invert the cowl on a suitable pad/blanket. While operating the wiper motor, lubricate all moving parts. (I use synthetic motor oil.) After reinstallation of the cowl, lubricate the wiper shafts for each blade.
Jim Scurria
Norfolk, VA

1972 Fiat 124 Spider
1971 Spider - SCCA FP-24
1974 CSA Abarth Replica
1981 Fiat Spider Ratrod
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by spider2081 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:34 pm

The later wiper motors with the three 2 pin connectors, the black connector has a wire the connects to the G2 grounding pod on the passenger side fender well. If these connections are clean and tight that should suffice the wiper motor on hi speed draws about 3 amps.. I don't know if all Spider wiper assemblies have a ground wired through their connector.

Using sheet metal screws is not the best for making ground connections.. A machine screw nut, washers, and star lock washers is the better way to make a good clean solid ground that will last a long time.
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by Jon124 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:52 pm

I used a motor from a 98-10 VW beetle. It’s a bolt in motor and was $5 from a junkyard. Much faster than original. On high speed it’s fast enough that it sometimes can’t be shut off because the motor has enough inertia to continue spinning back to the park contact. I rarely need to use high speed even in heavy rain.
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by spider2081 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:02 pm

spider2081 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:34 pm
Sheet metal screws hold the cowl in multiple places
The later wiper motors with the three 2 pin connectors, the black connector has a wire the connects to the G2 grounding pod on the passenger side fender well. If these connections are clean and tight that should suffice the wiper motor on hi speed draws about 3 amps.. I don't know if all Spider wiper assemblies have a ground wired through their connector.

Using sheet metal screws is not the best for making ground connections.. A machine screw, nut, washers, and star lock washers is the better way to make a good clean solid ground that will last a long time
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by bartigue » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:07 pm

Jon124 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:52 pm
I used a motor from a 98-10 VW beetle. It’s a bolt in motor and was $5 from a junkyard. Much faster than original. On high speed it’s fast enough that it sometimes can’t be shut off because the motor has enough inertia to continue spinning back to the park contact. I rarely need to use high speed even in heavy rain.
As in, bolts into the factory mounting holes and you wire it up and go? No modifications? This would be quite nice if so.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Brad Artigue
1969, 1969, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1982 124 Spiders
1969, 1970 850 Spiders
77 X1/9
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by spider2081 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:07 pm

On high speed it’s fast enough that it sometimes can’t be shut off because the motor has enough inertia to continue spinning back to the park contact.
First thanks for your post great information.
I think there might be slight wiring issues if this is occurring. The park position of most wiper motors depends on the collapsing magnetic field of the armature to act as a brake. Stopping the rotation almost instantly.

Referring to "Spider 2000 Electrical Diagnostic Manual 1980-81 Wiper motor diagram on page 50, I had put together the following circuit description for my own use.

WIPERS turned OFF, BLADES IN THE PARKED POSITION: ( this written description is not in the manual)
Refer to Page 50 . When the drive gear has rotated to the point that the blades are in their parked position, the cam lobe on the drive gear depresses the parking switch, operating the switch. Now, rather than the 12 volts being applied to the fast/slow switch, as before, ground is applied through the switch to the brush, shorting out the armature windings. The magnetic field that had built up in the windings when 12 volts was applied will now discharge through the “park”switch contacts, in very much the same manner as the operation of the primary windings in the ignition coil. This discharge current will be in the opposite direction as the normal current flow, and will tend (try) to reverse the rotation of the motor. Because the windings are now short-circuited, the discharge takes place very quickly, and the reversing energy lasts just long enough to stop the motor. The energy in the discharge is such that the motor will stop immediately! Looking at page 50 wire diagram the path for the park current is: from G3 through the wiper steering column switch “off” position contacts, through the yellow wire to C21. There it becomes the light blue/white wire and continues to the wiper motor assembly connector and on to the assemblies internal park switch. Then from the movable contact of the park switch to be gray/black wire back to the fast/slow switch onto the motor brush.

I am not sure all Spider model years have the wipers wired similar. I do know most wiper motors depend on the collapsing magnetic field to stop the motor. Also at some point Fiat changed to the permanent magnet type motor for the wiper. In time the magnetic will loose some of its force contributing to the slower operation
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by Jon124 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:14 am

bartigue wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:07 pm
Jon124 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:52 pm
I used a motor from a 98-10 VW beetle. It’s a bolt in motor and was $5 from a junkyard. Much faster than original. On high speed it’s fast enough that it sometimes can’t be shut off because the motor has enough inertia to continue spinning back to the park contact. I rarely need to use high speed even in heavy rain.
As in, bolts into the factory mounting holes and you wire it up and go? No modifications? This would be quite nice if so.
It mounts up with no modification. The wiring does need to be adapted. And there is a contact in the cover that grounds the park circuit in the park position which needs to be removed. This motor is 5 wires: high, low, gnd, park +, park NO. It works as a replacement to the original 6 wire motor.
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by kmead » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:00 pm

Relays for the wiper system would likely greatly improve the speed of your wipers, take the load off your ignition and wiper switches.
1969 850 Sport Coupe
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Re: fixing slow wipers - 2019 edition

Post by miker » Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:14 am

A new motor, lubrication of the mechanism and most of all a good ground seems to have done the trick. Granted, I do have the brown wire fix and headlight relays so there isn't much competition for juice from the 95A alternator. The wipers are actually fast enough so that the slow setting and intermittent setting are useful.
MikeR (mirafiori.com since 1995)


1977 Fiat 124 Spider
Previously owned:
2012 Fiat 500 Prima Edizione #236 (now owned by my son David)
'86 Bertone X1/9
'81 Fiat Spider 2000 #236
'78 Fiat 131 four door
'76 Fiat 128 4 door
'74 Fiat 128 4 door
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