We all love a super-sanitary engine bay where all the clutter has been relocated, covered, or otherwise hidden. Until recently, the options regarding the wiper motor were to either live with the bulky, unsightly motor stuck to the firewall or forego running wipers altogether. Unfortunately, running without windshield wipers can cause you to run afoul of the law.
The Raingear Wiper System from Pacific Western Design lets you have your proverbial cake and dine on it as well. It locates the wiper motor in the unused—and more importantly, the unseen—void of the cowl area. In this location you get all the functionality of wipers and a super-clean, clutter-free firewall.
The kit runs $455 with the standard two-speed motor and $500 if you want the version that has intermittent and delay functions. This is a complete system that comes with the motor, wiper transmission, and wiring. In fact, the only parts not included in the wiper system are the arms and blades. They also offer a washer kit for an additional $65.
To try out the system, we grabbed our 1967 RS and few hand tools. We recently did a makeover of the engine bay, and the old wiper motor was dragging things down. The total install took under four hours, and we found the Raingear system easy to install and very well thought out. Of course it might be some time before we get a chance to test it out here in California.
1. The kit from Pacific Western Design included everything needed for the install, and was specific to our 1967. The parts included the drive unit assembly, pivot shafts, drive arm link, bridge, motor plate, motor, motor spindle, motor brace, firewall cover plate, wiper motor wiring harness, and all of the required grommets and hardware.
2. Stock wiper motors are pretty bulky and certainly aesthetically challenged. We got started by unbolting the motor from the firewall and disconnecting it from the wiper transmission.
3. We then pulled the wipers and removed the rear cowl panel from the Camaro. You can get the wipers off with a flat head screwdriver and some patience, or you can pick up a tool designed for this very purpose at just about any auto parts store.
4. The wiper transmission is attached to the cowl at the two pivot shafts by two bolts per shaft. We removed these to free the transmission from the car. None of the old wiper system parts, except the wipers, can be used with the new Pacific Western Design wiper system.
5. Working in the cowl is a bit of a pain, but with a little finagling, the old transmission pulled free.
6. Following the instructions, we drilled a 5⁄8-inch hole in the firewall using a step bit and installed the supplied grommet.
7. The new drive assembly was then slid into place. If you're worried about scratching the new parts, you can wrap them in tape or even a bag.
8. We then secured the new transmission at the two pivot shafts using the stainless hardware supplied with the kit. At this point we left the countersunk screws a bit loose.
9. The bridge was then inserted into the airbox.
10. After rotating the bridge so that it fit under the drive assembly, we secured it using two 1⁄4-inch bolts on the passenger side and one on the driver side. These bolts were also left loose for the time being.
11. The wiring harness was then plugged into the motor assembly. It was better to do it at this point since reaching the plug once it's in the cowl void is a bit tough.
12. We then slid the motor assembly into the cowl and secured it to the bridge bracket using two 1⁄4-inch bolts. With this installed, we went back and tightened up all the other fasteners on the bridge and the pivot shafts.
13. Before inserting the motor brace, we installed the supplied rubber bumpers at the three contact points.
14. It's hard to show, but the brace cradles the motor with the two feet facing down and the single bumper facing up. It was secured to the motor assembly using another 1⁄4-inch bolt.
15. We then removed the nut on the motor spindle, and after orienting the drive arm, we lowered it onto the motor spindle and loosely reinstalled the nut. Utilizing the small 1x2-inch rectangular hole in the top of the cowl, we used a Phillips screwdriver to align the C-shaped notch in the drive plate with an unused 1⁄4-inch hole in the motor plate. The hole is used as a
16. We used the block-off plate to seal up the factory hole in the firewall. If you're more ambitious you could weld up and bodywork the hole for a super-clean look. The factory wiper wiring isn't used by this kit, so we snipped off the wires and properly terminated the ends.
17. Our kit included a two-speed intermittent wiper control switch. Wiring this in was straightforward, and the provided wiring diagram was easy to follow. The switch does include a push function to activate a washer pump (sold separately). For 1969 Camaros there's a switch adaptor plate to mount the 1969-specific switch behind the plastic dash panel.
18. With the system installed and wired, we followed the instructions and ran the wipers without arms, using tape to simulate the arm position. This was so we could make sure they were parking in the correct location before installing the arms. To celebrate our new hidden wiper system we popped for some new chromed arms from Ground Up (PN WIPERKIT-15, $55).