Better Windshield Wipers

Upgrading The Cable-Driven ’53-’62 Wiper Assembly

Andy Bolig Jul 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

Step By Step

Don’t try to fool any NCRS or Bloomington judges with this wiper assembly. But, if you’re like the owner of this ’58 and prefer to drive your Corvette with some of the niceties of modern technology, this windshield-wiper swap may just make the drive more enjoyable.

These wipers won’t keep water from coming in the car, but they’ll keep it off the windshield so you can see!

You can mount the wiper motor anywhere (remember, this is NOT an original replacement), but we wanted to keep it in the original position.

All we needed to do was notch the hole with a rattail file for the bolts to clear.

The next step is to remove the wiper arms and transmissions. Once they’re removed, trial-fit the new wiper transmissions in their place. You may need to modify them a little on the bottom side to make sure they fit solidly to the underside of the cowl.

Also adjust the threaded mount so the nut on the topside of the shaft threads on completely, but with no extra threads showing. There’s a gasket supplied in the kit to prevent water from leaking into the cowl.

While not necessary, we removed the pedal assembly to gain better access under the dash.

The drive cable moves inside a tube to get to the transmissions. Do not bend this tube tighter than a 6-inch radius or the wipers won’t work properly. Because we wanted the motor in the original position, the tube came out on the driver side, and we needed to bend the tube back around to get to the transmissions.

Once the tube is positioned properly you can cut it to fit, and you’ll have to flare the ends. This keeps the tubing from slipping out of the transmission.

Once you have the tube flared and positioned to the first wiper-arm transmission, simply repeat the process to the second transmission.

The second transmission connects to the tube from the first transmission.

There is a small section of tubing that must go after the second transmission to protect the wire as it moves past the gear in the second transmission. If you removed the clutch and brake pedals like we did, you can now install them once all of the tubing is in place.

Before you install the wire into the tubing, grease the wire liberally. This will ensure smooth, reliable operation. Grease the wire as you feed it into the tubing so you don’t get any grease on the interior of your Corvette. The wire is the proper size for the tubing. We didn’t have to cut the tubing, but if you find you need to, make sure the wire doesn’t stick out of the tubing on the end. Also, do not install the wiper arms yet because the transmissions will spin 360 degrees several times as the wire is installed. It may help to have a friend spin them as you feed the wire.

Once the wire is installed, you’ll need to fasten it to the motor. The wheel on the motor has several holes, depending on how much travel you want the wipers to have. We suggest checking the travel of the wiper shaft before you put on the wiper arm. Once you get the proper travel, install the wiper arms and the plate that covers the wheel and wire end.

Wire the motor using the connections supplied in the kit.

They are marked, so there is little confusion about how they hook up.

After hooking up the power source and the ground, we decided to put the switch under the dash because it wouldn’t fit into the space for the original. This keeps it out of the way and retains the look of the original switch.

Driving a straight-axle Corvette can be a real thrill. These cars are the earliest history of Corvettedom, but the price for being a historical figure is the procession of time. As time rolls on and technology increases, each “new thing” gently slides into antiquity. What that means to the early Corvette owner is that amenities like intermittent wipers are more than a decade into the future.

Enter Corvette Central. They carry two windshield-wiper kits that cover the entire spectrum of straight-axles. The upgrade kit is not a direct bolt-in application. It will require some planning for routing the wiper drive under the dash but, when it’s finished, you’ll have a reliable set of wipers with intermittent operation, and you will have rid yourself of the drive cables that can snap or lose tension.

Follow along as we upgrade the wipers in a ’58 driver Corvette.

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