The Tri-Five series has got to be one of the sexiest line of cars Chevy ever produced, but they are all plagued with the same Achilles heel-the wiper system. Back in the day, GM engineers thought it would be a great idea to use cables and spools to drive the wipers. While the system does work when everything is new and tight, once those cables start to stretch the wipers become lazy. Even worse, the cables can snap and then you can guess what happens-you have wipers that don't wipe anymore.
You can restore the factory system if you are a total purest, but unless you are building a 1,000-point resto, why repair something that is a bad design to start with? Pacific Western Design (PWD) has the same mindset: Instead of dealing with just adequate, it came up with something much better. The company's RainGear wiper system is a lever-and-link style set up (like that found in cars built from 1960-up) that is specifically-designed to replace the older stuff with no modifications to the car.
One really cool feature of the RainGear wiper system is it fits entirely under the dash, so you can remove the old firewall mounted motor entirely. This will free up engine compartment room, or you can leave the old wiper motor in for authenticity. The system is designed to install in fully finished cars, but we used one in the middle of the build process to get uncluttered pictures.
The heart of the RainGear wiper system is a beefy 12-volt, 10-amp, two-speed electric motor supported by heavy-duty brackets. The motor drives new link arms that, in turn, actuate new wiper pivots. The kit also includes either a new standard or intermittent wiper switch that can use the original knob and information bezel to keep the dashboard looking stock. Outside, the kit will use original arms, blades and trim.
"No one will know you have the RainGear wiper system installed, except when it rains. Others will be struggling to see while you will have a clear view of the road ahead," says Tom Jensen, co-owner of PWD.
PWD offers systems for '53-57 Chevy cars, '47-59 Chevy trucks, and '53-62 Corvettes. It even makes single-arm systems for street rods.