The MGA With An Attitude

At 04:23 PM 8/18/03 -0400, Joe Kaiser wrote:
>"The MGA Coupe .... when an unexpected shower hits the wipers are not much help. I have new blades, arms and had the motor unit rebuilt. I have not tackled the stuff under the dash so I guess what I'm asking is, will it do any good or this the best I can expect from MGA wipers?"

Boy, is this a trying subject. The wiper blade carriers are sort of non-standard by current standards, and the rubber bits you could otherwise buy locally do not fit directly. So you get stuck buying wiper arms blades through the British parts suppliers. The OEM type blades currently available from those sources have rather crappy rubber material that seems to deteriorate rapidly. My MGA is garaged when not in use, but still the blades are noticeably less than new after one year and generally crying for replacement within two years. Through a little creative reforming of the fingers on the blade carriers you can modify them to hold "modern" configuration blade inserts which are available anywhere. The MGA blades are 9" long, so if you buy 18" replacement inserts you can cut them in half and double your mileage.

If the blades are stiff they have a hard time conforming to the shape of the glass. As such, it helps to pay attention to the material and the stiffness of the new blade inserts. Silicone wiper blades are generally a bit softer and more pliable than other materials, so more likely to conform to the glass better. Silicone is also more expensive, but when you apply the 2 for 1 deal and consider that silicone can last much longer with exposure to the environment, it's not a bad price to pay.

The next problem is that the springs in the arms are not as strong as we would like, so the blades aren't held very tight in contact with the glass. I haven't figured out (yet) how to improve the spring force in the arms, but that's definitely on my wish list for a future tech investigation. If the springs seem particularly weak, then it may be time to buy new wiper arms.

The wiper drive in good condition will crank along at a stately pace of about one cycle per second on wet glass. That should be fast enough to handle light to average rain storms. If your wiper drive runs much slower than one cycle per second on wet glass, then you might get some improvement by opening the gearbox for cleaning and re-lube, and opening the motor case for cleaning and a touch of oil on the bearings, and maybe replacing the brushes if they're getting short.

If you get caught in a real gully washer you might as well pull over and wait it out. This is after all an antique car, as much as I hate to admit it. It's difficult to upgrade everything on the car to modern standards, so occasionally it's pragmatic to make due with what you have. Otherwise you get into the realm of upgrading the wiper motor to some newer multi-speed unit, probably 1968 or newer MGB, and figuring out how to adapt the motor mounting hardware, and a multi-step switch to go with it. I have not done that (yet), and probably wouldn't bother doing it for myself, but if someone else nearby was inclined to do so I would be happy to give it a jolly good try.

Otherwise, yeah, that's about all you can expect from the MGA wipers. Sorry.

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