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Wiper Wheelbox Restoration

12/28/02 -- With Christmas behind me for another year and my wife out of the house for the afternoon, it's time to get back to work in my attempt to put this car together and get it on the road soon. About the only item not fitted to the body are the wiper wheelboxes and associated cable that connects to the wiper motor, and the washer jets, which I've purchased and will fit today as well.

This project is pretty easy, and needn't be intimidating.

I picked up a used wiper and wheelbox assembly on eBay last year for this project and restored the wiper motor to nice condition (cosmetically, at least). The wheelbox assembly was as you would expect after 30 years -- caked with oxidation on the aluminum parts and partially rusted on the tubes that sheath the cable which slides back and forth in the sheathing.

The photo above shows the assembly before dismantling. I had already begun lightly sanding the sheath on the left side, and you can see how it glimmers in the sun. The far left end and securing nut had significant surface rust however, and rather than continuing to sand them, I opted to cover the nut and sheath in etching primer, followed by a light coat of Eastwood's Silver Argent spray paint, which should keep this piece protected and looking good for the long haul.

This was my first opportunity to try out the handy-dandy pin wratchet, that uses spring-loaded pins to conform to the size of the fastener you're removing. My son Alex gifted me with this neat tool for Christmas. It can be used to tighten or loosen any sort of fastener ranging from 1/4" to 3/4" in size up to 100 ft lbs of torque. The tool worked very well to remove the nuts from the wheelboxes, but a word to the wise -- the surrounding pins tend to scuff the surface around the head of the bolt you're removing, so best not use this tool for any sort of finishing work, but for today's application, it worked just fine. In fact. this thing is really cool. This wheelbox assembly has obviously been apart before. One of the wheelboxes was missing lock washers under the nuts. I replaced them upon reassembly.

The chrome nuts and covers that fit over the wiper studs were cleaned up with CLR (an excellent product to quickly bring back a high lustre to chrome) and cycled through the vibratory parts tumbler with corn cob media to finish up the cleaning and polishing. These turned out excellent.

I dismantled the wheel box assembly for better cleaning, wiped as much grease as I could off the internal cable that turns the cogs in the wheel boxes, cleaned the latter with a few blasts of brake cleaner (man, I love that stuff), then placed all the parts that would fit into the parts tumbler for additional rust and corrosion removal.

Here's what the wheelbox looks like once you remove the
two securing nuts and the backing plate

...and here's a better look at the cogs inside the wheel assembly that the cable actuates.

To remove the wheelbox from the cable, simply pull it along the length of the cable.

Here is the wheelbox assembly completely dismantled.
It looks more complicated than it is.

After leaving the smaller parts in the vibratory parts cleaner for a few hours, it was time to reassemble. I opted to grease the cable this time with white lithium grease, rather than axle grease, and hope that I won't regret that decision. The whole idea here was to make for a smoother operating assembly.

The only thing I didn't have were the oval shaped washers that go between the chrome caps and the paint on the scuttle deck. My friend Gary had what I needed in his garage. A figure-8 shaped piece of rubber that looks like the rubber piece that holds a snorkle to a diving mask. Using an exacto knife, I cut around the openings to form a perfect set of flat rubber washers.

I'm in no hurry to track down a set of wipers, since I have no plans to ever drive this car in the rain. I'll pick up some chrome caps for the splined cams and chalk up this project as almost finished for now.

Now, I just have to clean out the inside of the wiper box, re-grease and attach the cable! I discovered that when the PO bead blasted the motor (or was that me?) he (I) didn't do a very good job of keeping the glass bead out!

Please. Always wear your seatbelt while driving -- and that goes double for your children if you have any.

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