by TigerTom in the December 2003 RootesReview

This is an addendum to build on Eddie (Cool Cat) Esslinger’s Windshield wiper lubrication article in the February 2002 RootesReview.

The “wheelbox” (official Lucas term for the gear box with the knurled nut that the wiper arm is pressed on to) desperately needs lubrication now that our cars are old. Even if the wipers work OK and to your satisfaction, the wheelbox should be lubricated for preventive maintenance.

Slow running wipers may be attributed to binding of the bearing in the wheelbox. How can you tell? If they are installed in the car, remove the wiper arms. The knurled nut should be easy to rock back and forth to feel the play with the internal wheel and drive cable. If out of the car, the wheel should spin freely. It is impossible to lubricate the bearings with conventional means, but there is a trick.

  1. If the wheelbox is installed on the car, remove the chrome nut and bezel.
  2. Slide a hose that will withstand 20 to 40 pounds air pressure over the housing. Heater water hose will do OK. Have a co-worker hold the wheel – box from the inside or use a screwdriver blade to hold it on the outside.
  3. Secure hose with a hose clamp.
  4. Pour in about 2 ounces of automatic transmission fluid or other similar viscosity lubricant.
  5. Apply 20 to 40 pounds air pressure in hose while wiper system is running until oil is purged from the hose. This will take about two minutes. This forces the fluid through the bearing, flushing and lubricating at the same time.
  6. Place rag under wheelbox to prevent dripping on car interior.
  7. Remove the hose, wipe off excess oil, reassemble and drive the rest of your life without a worry…..at least about wheelbox failure.

If the wheelbox is out of the car, rotate wheel by hand while pressure is applied. Also, remember before assembling it back into car, there are left and a right wheelboxes. Each box provides a different amount wiper arm arc. If you are uncertain, assemble it outside of the car and compare arcs. On a left hand drive car, the wiper on the right will have the larger arc and the wheelbox driven wheel will be slightly smaller. This will be opposite on a right hand drive car.

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