Coming back to the topic of old cars, I thought I’d share these useful tricks with you! Recently I performed these simple, cheap modifications to my 1962 Beetle to make using her as a daily driver more comfortable and convenient! Let me show you what I did!
Windshield wipers are probably one of the things people think about last – like for example, when they need them and they don’t work! This is pretty odd considering that keeping the windshield clean and clear is a vital function!
Here then are a few useful tips and tricks – or “hacks” for your old car windshield wipers!
Make 2 Smaller Wipers From A Large 1!
Dolly – that’s my ’62 bug – has really small wiper blades, but that’s okay because she also has a really small windshield! Finding new blades in that size for older Beetles has been a really frustrating battle – although you could substitute Land Rover wiper blades since they’re virtually the same size.
I improvised by taking a single ordinary sized car wiper blade (say for example, for a citigolf) and cut it neatly in the middle. I then removed the two halves from the main bridge that held them together, and fitted each half to a wiper arm on Dolly using the original fitting!
Add A Spring For Extra Tension!
The next issue I had to deal with, was the weak springs in the base of the wiper arms. These are there to press the rubber blades against the windshield so that they wipe the glass surface clean, but over many years – and Dolly being almost 60 years old now – these can lose some of their tension and then of course they tend to smear stuff across the glass instead of cleaning it.
It’s not as easy as just buying new springs or new arms for cars this old! Sure there are tons of newer Beetle wiper arms lying around – for sale on Facebook marketplace etc, but they won’t fit the original 6 volt wiper motor! They’re also thicker and bulkier and would alter the original appearance of a beautiful original car!
Instead of replacing the whole shebang, arms and wiper motor, I rummaged in my parts bin and pulled out a pair of springs large enough to hook around the wiper arm axle and the arm itself, to pull the wiper blade tightly against the glass! This works perfectly!
All together now: I can see clearly now, the crap has gone! La la la…
Add Intermittent Wipers!
This is my all-time favorite in this department: install an intermittent wiper circuit so your car’s wipers can do the job without needing your input every few moments!
Why would I do this? Well, for several reasons. Dolly is a 6 volt car I upgraded to 12 volt, meaning I replaced the bulbs, generator and battery with 12 volt items – as far back as 2015, roundabout the time I decided I was fit enough and there wasn’t much of a view bent over pushing Dolly every other day!
This change meant that some items were still 6 volt – the starter, several relays which weren’t affected by the change, and the wiper motor.
Dolly’s wipers are single speed – which basically means they have two settings: on, and off. Because of the resistor I had to install in the feed line that supplies power to the wipers, the wipers start off slow, then as it warms up, faster. In PE sometimes it rains so hard I could swear I have to dodge fish and cetaceans – I had to swerve to avoid some crayfish that ignored a red light the other day! Other times, it’s light drizzle that goes on all day long – light enough that if you leave the wipers on, they dry the windshield to the point where the blades drag across the glass and make that familiar rubber-dragging-on-dry-glass sound!
If I turn them off, less than two minutes later the windshield is full of rain droplets again… and so I have to pull the wiper switch on the dash for one wipe, turn it off again. And again, a minute later. And repeat. It’s annoying – and distracting, which isn’t a good thing for a driver.
So I had enough of wondering whether I could improvise a sort of intermittent wiper circuit like what came as standard in some of my other cars, and decided to make it happen! I spoke to a friend who is much more into electronics than I am, and cajoled him into building one for me – which he very kindly did. It took him about 3 weeks of research and tinkering, but I eventually received the finished item, neatly built into a small plastic box!
Photos: (1) That little white project board lying on top of the tester circuit in the photo is the actual device (2) the rocker switch to select between intermittent timer/normal wiper speed and (3) the box in place behind the dash. The relay attached to it in front is part of it.
On the next Saturday morning I fitted the completed intermittent wiper relay to Dolly, at the back of the dash out of sight! Just the necessary wires were sticking out of the box, and it was easy to figure out and install (albeit with a little muted swearing)!
To give you an idea of the complications involved, the wiper motor is an original 6 volt unit running on an upgraded 12 volt system with resistors fitted to drop the motor voltage to prevent burn-out!
The video below shows a trip in Dolly up Cape Road in a light shower with the intermittent wipers working perfectly! All these little improvements add up to make using an old car much more pleasant and relaxing!
Pictures and videos included – enjoy!
Have a DIY week!
This website is about Christina Engela’s inspiring and innovative DIY projects. Follow Innovation DIY on Facebook.
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