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Reoccurring intermittent wiper problem

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Old 06-21-2004, 01:32 PM   #1
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Reoccurring intermittent wiper problem

I'm posting with the hope that someone has dealt with the same issue on their 3rd gen. The problem is that my front wipers will work perfectly normal for weeks, maybe even months, and then will suddenly start parking at different heights. In other words, once the intermittent cycle is selected, the wipers will work fine, then every other sweep will cause them to park 2 or 3 inches above normal. This will go away for a while only to reappear and cause frustration on my part. When the truck was still under warranty, I took it to a nearby dealer and was able to replicate the problem with the service manager. He was confounded and did what any self-respecting service manager would do - asked me to make an appointment so the wiper motor could be swapped out. I did this, and found out that even with the new motor in place, the wipers were still acting as if drugged. When I noticed that the tech(s) had added a few nice gouges in my firewall, I opted to never return to the dealer. How hard is it to unbolt and replace a wiper motor without scratching the surrounding paint??

Anyway, the problem has been dormant for the better part of a year and just recently surfaced again. The wipers will do this regardless of which timed setting is selected. They do work perfectly normal in the steady slow and steady fast modes.

Does anyone know how many components control the operation of the front wipers - i.e.: motor, stalk switch, relay(s)? To me it seems as if electrical contacts , either in the switch, or in the motor, are dirty. If there is a general consensus that its either the switch or the motor, I'll tackle the replacement myself. Thanks in advance!

Andreas
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Old 06-21-2004, 01:51 PM   #2
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I have this problem as well. It usually happens when I shut them off. I can induce it on a few tries especially in winter when they freeze up and snow and ice stick to them. I don't mind it though, for that reason I like that it does that.
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Old 06-21-2004, 02:28 PM   #3
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well i had a similiar problem with my 91 the day after i bought it. it started from sprinkling to raining really hard on my way to school so i turned them from intermit to low then to high, and when i got there and tried to turn them off they stayed at low (even though i had them at off or intermittent position both stayed at low) until i killed the engine. and i started it up a few times and they stayed on so i went to class anyway and got back out a few hours later and it wasn't doing it and hasn't since. But then again ive only had it for 2 weeks :-D
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Old 06-21-2004, 03:13 PM   #4
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maybe there's a little computer or controller in there that is getting to hot and not working correctly...or a gunked up switch??
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Old 06-21-2004, 03:50 PM   #5
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After the dealer's failed attempt to diagnose the problem, I took my frustration out on the wiper stalk and repeatedly spun the intermittent collar back and forth. It seemed to spin easier after this high tech trouble shooting. I then had problem-free wiper action for months. So at that point I thought there may be contacts within the stalk that were dirty. Regardless, it has come back numerous times. If the stalk assembly were not so bloody expensive, I'd swap in a new one and see if the problem disappeared.

When it first happened, the truck was less than a year old, and really had no chance to get anything trapped in the internals of the stalk.

Keep the thoughts coming - maybe someone has dealt with this already and found the problem.

Andreas
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Old 06-22-2004, 08:46 AM   #6
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Mine did the same thing about a month ago and stuck around for several weeks. Just as you described, mine has gone away also. I don't know what to tell you. I'm just gonna leave it alone until they quit working altogether.

Matt
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Old 06-22-2004, 10:23 AM   #7
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correct me if im wrong (i usually am ) but arent the wiper positions controlled by motor?

i remember hearing on car talk a long time ago that there is (and i could be remembering wrong) a motor to turn them on and a motor to turn them off / stop them and return them to their position.

a woman was complaining that her chevy's wiper blades often stopped in the middle of the windshield.. if memory serves me, they said to put in a new motor.

just a helpful / potentially unhelpful tip.
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Old 06-22-2004, 12:34 PM   #8
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Lee,
Yes there is a wiper motor (left side of firewall) as well as an attached gearbox. This asembly typically has a series of contacs inside that determine where the motor shaft starts and stops. In my case, I think the problem is in the stalk or in a separate timer, as the wipers operate just fine in slow and fast modes. They just get confused when in any of the intermittent modes.

Andreas
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:51 PM   #9
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Well it looks like my wipers are doing basically the same thing and I finally got to the bottom of the situation. They seemed to get slower and slower and finally they siezed altogether.....finally coming to rest mid windshield. I took it all apart today and fully expected to need to get a new wiper motor, but to my surprise the motor was in great shape and spun well unloaded. Next I decided to test the wiper linkage. I tried to pull the linkage arm back and forth and it did not budge (and I mean not at all). At that point I decided to just pull it all out so I could get a better look at why it was binding up. After futher inspection it turned out that one of the triangular wiper stalks was totally siezed up (the bearing was absolutely solid and there is no way to disassemble for service). I was able to beat it free with a hammer, vice, channel locks and alot of WD40, but it needs to be replaced because the motor is still laboring to move the wipers (you can see it move against the rubber bushings) and I don't want to have to pay for a motor too.

Has anyone else ever had to replace the linkage? are there multiple pieces?
Any idea on the cost of this item?

You can see here (the triangular wiper stalk in the middle of the windshield was siezed up solid):

Last edited by MTL_4runner; 01-30-2006 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:41 AM   #10
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Man alive those linkages are expensive.....it gonna cost me $250 CDN for one, but at least it beats buying a wiper motor (I was told they were $300-400 each also) if I just let it go. There is also no way to buy just one piece of the linkage, you need to buy the entire thing (both wiper stalks and the linkage arms). Hopefully it comes in soon (I was told 2-3 days) because the storms are not over in eastern Canada for sure.

......it's still cheaper than a car payment!

Last edited by MTL_4runner; 01-30-2006 at 04:56 AM.
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2001, 4runner, 91, intermittent, problem, problems, stalk, switch, testing, toyota, volvo, windshield, wiper, wipers, work, working

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