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Windshield Wiper Help (Switch? Module?)

This is a discussion on Windshield Wiper Help (Switch? Module?) within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Wouldn't you know, my inspection goes out this month and my windshield wipers started acting up a week or so ...

  1. #1
    1 of 188 1stbird's Avatar
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    Windshield Wiper Help (Switch? Module?)

    Wouldn't you know, my inspection goes out this month and my windshield wipers started acting up a week or so ago! It's a 2001 Pontiac Formula, bought used last August.

    Here's the problem. When I twist the turn signal end to intermediate or low, I get nothing. Sometimes... when I put it on high... they work and then I can switch down to low and they work then, too. I just went out and tried them and it came on when I switched it to high, but it only cycled once and then quit. It didn't even return to the rest position.

    If I hit the windshield washer switch, it works just fine, (as well as the cruise, turn signals, high beams and such) so I'm thinking switch, not motor. I did a search on wipers and Pete2k_Z28 posted a reply to someone else's question stating it might be a wiper module problem. Wiper Module? I never knew there was such a thing.

    I'm old school... Fuse, Switch, Motor. Now I have to wonder about a "module"? I replaced the turn signal lever on my Ford Ranger recently and of course the dealership wanted over $100.00 for it. I got one at a wrecking yard for half that. I bought a Chilton's manual and know where the hook up is, so I would try the switch first before I went to all of the trouble of pulling it from the steering column. I don't want to spend money for one part when it might be another... Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    1stbird

  2. #2
    Member mikeaford's Avatar
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    Disconnect the windshield wiper motor connector. Connect a test lamp between the accesory voltage circuit and a good ground. Inspect for a poor connection at the windshield wiper motor connector. These are just some of the MANY steps in the Haynes manual? I know it's not much but maybe it can help you let me know if I can look anything else up. Good luck!

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    Thanks for the reply, mikeaford! I wish I knew what Haynes Manual you have, because mine (#24017) doesn't have a section or trouble-shooter on the windshield wipers. At least your advice to TEST the switch made more sence to me rather than the other reply I got that said, "I think it's the motor." Why? How? Help??? My manual has the wiring diagram, but WTF! Like I can read this thing?!?

    So I tore it down to the connector and this is what I learned. There are 5 wires on the connector. Black, Yellow, Green, Gray and Purple. I hooked a test light to a ground and each wire and this is what happened.

    Black Wire-No Light (Ground)
    Yellow Wire-Always on when the key was on
    Green Wire-Light came on when the washer/wiper button was pushed
    Gray Wire-Nothing (Is this the intermediate wiper?)
    Purple Wire-High, the test light came on. Low, the test light went off.

    So I slowly put everything back together and tested it each step of the way. It seemed to work. High, Low, and intermediate (as much as tested and worried about THAT setting... ) I even put the wiperblade arm back on and it worked... for awhile!

    What caught my eye as I was testing everything is the fact that where the motor is (suppose to be?) attached under the windshield, it kept moving from side to side, almost an inch each way! Is that right? Should the back of the motor be attached to something or just move from side to side?

    I had the driver's side fender replaced by the dealership that I bought it from because it was cracked... who knows what they did or DIDN'T reattach when they did that!

    The switch "seems" to be working. I don't know which wire should be doing what. The motor "seems" to be working. But the way the back of it doesn't seemed to be attached worries me. Maybe that's causing it not to ground and only work some times.

    Any thoughts? It's suppose to get cold for the next week here in Texas, so I'm sure I will have plenty of time to think about it, just not much time to work on it. And my inspection sticker is WAY past due!

    Help!?!
    1stbird
    Last edited by 1stbird; 02-16-2006 at 02:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Sideways to da next light redline's Avatar
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    so are you saying the cruise, high beams, turn signals and such work only sometimes as well? Because if so it sounds more like a multifunction switch

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    Member mikeaford's Avatar
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    things that make you wonder

    Well the manuals I have are the three green service manuals that the actual dealerships have - they ran me about 115 but so far with torque specs and details there worth every penny. the windshield wipers have numerous pages of troubleshooting but I just don't have time to type it all in. If you live in the No. Va area please feel free to drop me a message and swing on by I just put a lift in the garage and am wraping my clutch bleeding up tonight so it will be empty. Mikeaford@gmail.com let me know if there's any specific question you may have and I will try to look it up for you. People have helped me so the least I can do is return the favor. now Im intersted to know what it is... Again let me know if I can help any further.

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    Member mikeaford's Avatar
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    Im reading it here's what it says Intermittent, Faulty electrical connections or wiring may be the cause of intermittent conditions refer to testing for intermittent and poor connections in wiring systems - Obviously. But here's some more data for you. wiper motor blk ground yellow accesory voltage ppl windshield wiper motor high speed dk green windshield wiper sitch on signal and grey windshield wiper sitch low/pulse signal. looking at the connector straight on it should look like from top left to bottom right in order a = black b = yellow c = purple d = dark green e = grey 3 on top two on bottom. I hope that made some sense = it's had to describe drawings. then the C215 connector for multi function lever wipers / washer switch looking at this straight on from Right to left this time Yellow - accessory voltage dark green - windshield wiper switch on signal grey- windshield wiper sitch low pulse signal purple - windshield wiper motor high speed pink - windshield washer switch signal grey and black - crusie control resume / accel switch signal dark blue - crusise control set / coast switch signal grey - crusise control on switch signal pink ignition 1 voltage and the last two pins on the left are not used and these are in straight line. I hope this helps some.

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    Member mikeaford's Avatar
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    ok didn't notice the it's going to get cold here in Texas sorry dude you drive that far Ill label you as Psycho heh heh. Hmm doesn't describe the theory of how it works as far as I can see If it smells like something wrong probably is. Hopefully you find the iussue. Let me know.Thanks.

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    I glad to see that I am getting some replies to my problem and thanks guys for the help! Like I said, I'm WAY past due on my inspection and I would like to get this fixed. I'm going through withdraw here and my daughter is tired of me driving her around in the 4 door Saturn! (LOL!)

    Redline: The cruise, high beams, turn signals and such work just fine. The only problem I am having is with the windshield wipers. I was thinking that it was the switch, but after I looked under the hood and saw the way the motor was banging back and forth, I'm starting to wonder. Is the motor SUPPOSE to do that? Shouldn't the back of the motor be attached to SOMETHING?

    Mikeaford: Thanks, Mike! So far you have been the best help. And between the two of us, hopefully we have explained what wire does what! I'll have to sit down and clear my mind, because after spending the last two hours bent over my car trying to figure this out (and getting no where!) it's time for a break. At least today it was sunny, clear and 70 in Texas, so the windshield wipers didn't stop me from at least taking a cruise! Fire it up, roll down the windows and let the wind blow!

    I'll figure this out... I just don't want to be stupid and replace part after part until I finally get it right. If I wanted to do THAT, I'd just take it to the dealership! LOL!

    1stbird

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    if you have not already figured it out it sounds like you need a multi-function switch. you can replace it yourself very easy to do and very common failure. if you turn on the wipers and wiggle the switch, if it is intermittant you should get the wipers to operate at least for a second and confirm this is youre problem. as for the wiper movement there are bushings between the motor and the cowl and the rubber dries out and falls off allowing the motor to shift all around, i have mot replaced them in a while but i believe they are still available from gm.

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    Thanks for the reply, mo gomez!

    I just went outside and did a "cold" test on the Formula. I drove the Saturn today, so the car has been sitting since last night. (And yes, it's COLD in Texas, just like everywhere!)

    I turned the switch to High first, because it seems to at least work that way when I do. It worked just fine. Then I switched it to Low and it kept on working. So far, so good. I turned the wipers Off and started again. On High, it went up and down once and then STOPPED! I switched it Off, to High, to Low.... NOTHING! The only thing that seems to work is when I push the Windshield Washer Switch. THAT works just fine! It seems like after I had taken everything apart this last week, when it DID quit working, I could at least "jump start" it by getting it going with the Washer switch and then going back to High. It didn't work today!

    I'm still stumped! I did the test like mikeaford said and based on that, I'm not so sure it IS the switch. (IMHO) Everything ELSE on the switch works. I'm not trying to put your opinion down, but the switch seems to be sending voltage to the connector (as least somewhat!) so now I'm leaning more towards the motor. Especially because of the way it bounces around under the cowl! Who knows how much damage has been done to it?!?

    Thanks for the advice on that! I think in my searching for parts, I saw the grommets for sale. Now if I can just figure out WHERE I saw them! (Thank goodness.. I save every link!)

    Thanks again, mo gomez! If it wasn't so damn cold here, I might be able to work on this! (No Garage!) I could flip the sticker from the Saturn, but that still doesn't help me when it starts raining! I would just give me more time to figure out WTF is going on. In the mean time, the Formula sits or I drive it as an OUTLAW! (LOL!)

    1stbird

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    Update: Same Old Sh*t, New Problem

    Like I said before, I did the electrical test like mikeaford said. I was getting voltage to the connector. I finally decided to just pull the wiper motor and see if I could get it working, since that seemed to be the problem. I messed around with the plates on top (see picture)



    plugged the motor back in and it seemed to work about 90% of the time. So I put it in the chassis, hooked the linkage up and everything seemed to work just fine. Then I put the wipers back on... The wipers would go back and forth about 4 or 5 times and then the linkage would pop off! I went back and forth with that and finally decided that I had screwed up the motor by messing with the plates on top.

    Three websites, two months and over $200.00+ later, I got the new motor. I put it in yesterday and it's the same old sh*t as the old motor. The motor works just fine... The linkage works just fine... UNTIL I put the wiper arms back on! I put the passenger side wiper on and everything worked just fine. Then I put the drivers side wiper arm on and the likage popped out again! I know it's not hitting on anything on the windshield. The passenger side had a spacer underneath the wiper arm and the linkage. The drivers side doesn't and never did have that spacer. I can post pix to explain what I am talking about. So what's the problem?

    I know this might not be enough info to diagnose the problem.. So ask any questions. I just can't understand why the linkage keeps popping off! Pontiac Dealership here I come??? $$$$

    1stbird
    Last edited by 1stbird; 03-30-2006 at 12:07 PM.

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    My "stupid" on this one! The linkage has a socket that the ball on the top of the motor snaps into. You can push it in one click, but it's not properly seated! You have to get a pair of channel lock plyers and squeeze the ball ALL of the way into the socket. I knew it took me more effort to get it apart and something just didn't look right. Now I guess we'll see if it works long enough to pass inspection!

    FYI!
    1stbird

    Update: Yeah... it freakin' passed inspection!!!! Watch out ricers... 1stbird IS back!
    Last edited by 1stbird; 03-30-2006 at 02:00 PM.

  13. #13
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    I got a question related to this subject. My windshield wipers on my 98 formula go to the up position when I turn them off rather than to the down position. They work normally at all other times though.

  14. #14
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    If the wipers go to the up position when off, the motor assembly needs replacing.
    I has the same problem bought a rebuild at the local auto parts and problem solved. You can try and mess with the plates as pictured above, but I had no luck and needed to replace it.

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