windshield motor

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    I am working on putting together a 30 Model B 7 passenger sedan.  I have one vacuum motor that works but needs some attention and one that doesn’t that the pot metal is in tough shape.  I am considering going to something like an 6V electric or I saw a very clever pneumatic cylinder version in a previous post.  I am trying to keep the car as original as possible but think that given its hidden away it would be nice to get something that works and maybe find a second original vacuum motor.  Any thoughts on this are appreciated.




    There are two vendors listed in the Parts and Services Directory that deal in Windshield Wipers. They might be able to help you.

    Body & Trim (External)
    Windshield wiper motors, blades, etc.
    – Rebuild kits, NOS
    David Ficken
    132 Calvert Avenue
    West Babylon, NY 11704


    Body & Trim (External)
    Windshield wiper repair
    2633 SW Obsidian, Unit #15
    Redmond, OR 97756
    [email protected]



    Yes, I would check with them first. I did the conversion to pneumatic cylinders, it took some scrounging and head scratching. First choice is to get an original working. The question probably being whether yours or one of the two people above have a good enough zinc motor casing that isnt too screwed up. Maybe the motor of the 1930 was common enough to have more parts around. When I called David Ficken about mine his first question was what year Pierce?. When I told him ’35 sedan, he immediately said that motor is unique, only used on 34-’35 Pierce and a rare Buick model and he hadn’t run across any parts in 30+ years. He indicated he could grease mine up and it might work for a couple weeks but that I had already done that. I should note that  my motor looked perfectly fine but it didn’t have enough oomph to make a cycle. Part of it was also I am at about 4400 ft elevation so there is less vacuum to work with. My Packard’s won’t cycle anymore but started working on a trip close to sea level.

    The 6volt electric is probably the most practical but I was concerned there wasn’t enough space in the cove above the windshield for it, I would check that out. I dont know if the electric is compatible with the configuration of how it fits and drives. My ’35 is a single motor driving the passenger side via a push rod and gearing rather than two seperate motors.

    My pneumatic cylinder scheme started out to be trying to use the pneumatic cylinder as a simple booster to help the original Trico system  tapping off from it and still using the original valving. It didnt work, still not sure why. There was enough room to fit the cylinder in the cove but I had to go to an electric system controlling with solenoid air valves and limit switches. The Trico system is just there for the ride now. It was running so fast originally that I had to throttle it down for fear it would break the zinc gearing of the Trico system. Then it went to the upholstery shop and when it came back it didn’t work, they had bent the limit switching installing the headliner, and after I fixed that it still won’t do a full cycle, won’t do the full return. It is buried behind the fresh headliner and I don’t know why.

    The best solution is Rainex, but I might move to a state with annual safety inspections and it won’t pass unless the wipers go back and forth, regardless of how ineffective they are when they do run properly.



    I use Rain X on all of my pre-electric wiper cars. The coverage area of early wipers is small, but Rain X covers the entire windshield. My early cars never had wipers to begin with.

    I apply twice at beginning of each year, then reapply before each long tour. It works far better that the wipers ever could until the rain stops and all you get is a dirty damp spray. But then you’d need the non-original windshield washer or look for big puddles to run through anyway!

    If you actually want wiper parts or repairs, Dave Ficken is the guy


    Gentlemen thank you for your direction.  I will give it another go with trying to rebuild and get Mr. Fichens involved.  I really appreciate your help.



    Meant to also say and use Rainex.



    Let us know what you find out, good luck!


    Hi Jim,

    I talked to David Ficken.  I mentioned that it was recommended that I talk to him about the wiper motors and rebuilding them for my ’30 Model B sedan.  He said he had bad news and experiences with the type of motor in that particular car.  Long story short is that he says they are not rebuildable due to the pot metal. He also said that they are hard to find. I attached a picture of mine.  The one on the left fits as it should.  The one on the right does not and has broken flanges where it would be fastened to the wood. The shaft is also longer.  I dont know the history because I didn’t take the car apart. His suggestion was to save my money and use Rainex.  Note the one that fits can be manually operated he said that would be good enough.  The one on the left that doesn’t fit is not manually operated.

    There are some swap meets coming up so I will probably try and find a motor like on the left so I have something to hang the wiper blade on.  Or if any one has a working or not motor like the one on the left please let me know.

    Take care,




    If you haven’t checked with Clean Sweep, I suggest you also try them.  I spoke with the original owner several years ago and he was very knowledgeable and helpful.  I believe that he is out of the business now and I think it is run by his daughter. It wouldn’t hurt to talk to them.


    Updated contact information for them:

    Now run by Melissa Klein it is at 3395 NW Elm Ave, Redmond, OR 97756


    [email protected]




    Clean Sweep did a great job of supplying and rebuilding wiper motors for my ’33 a few years ago.  You might consult a Trico manual for correct part numbers.



    I contacted Clean Sweep to make sure they are still in business. They are.

    Melissa Klein
    Clean sweep Wiper Motors
    3395 NW Elm Ave
    Redmond, OR  97756



    I wanted to let you know that your help is appreciated.  I received my rebuilt wiper from Clean Sweep today and it seems to work fine after Melissa’s rebuild.  She turn it around very quickly.  I am still looking for a replacement for one that is not rebuildable so i have another good reason to go to the swap meets and car shows this summer.

    Take care,




    Thanks for the feedback.

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