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Rear wiper malfunction

The rear wiper on my 2001 Subaru Forester only moves a few inches when it’s turned on. I don’t hear any noise, such as a straining motor. I can move the wiper by hand when it cycles, but it doesn’t have the power to move on its own.



When taking off the access panel inside the rear door, I don’t see any place to apply lubrication. If the motor is shot, how do I remove the wiper itself? Does it require a special puller? it doesn’t budge when I try to pull it off the shaft. Thanks!

Just guessing because I can’t see it. But the fact that the wiper moves at all would cause me to suspect that the motor works. If it does, the most likely problems would be that there is a linkage between the motor and the wiper that has frozen up. Or that the wiper connection to the motor has slipped and the wiper now only moves the last couple of inches of what it thinks is its normal travel. Or that the connection between the motor shaft and the wiper is so loose that the wiper is mostly slipping instead of turning.

As for removing the wiper. My first guess is that there is a set screw in the wiper that clamps down on the motor shaft. Maybe someone with a Subaru either knows or can check.

Just to understand what you’re describing here when you say you can assist it to move …

What happens if you leave it mid span with the motor running? Does it “pulse” just like it does from the parking position? If YES, then I see the drive:arm interface being shot/ground out. If NO, then you may indeed have some motor fault.

I agree with most of the above in your circumstance. Most rear wipers are direct drive. They design a fail safe in many wiper arms. They may use a gray metal (soft) that the splines of the drive embed into. This can grind away in some situations.

I don’t know your wiper arm configuration. It may have a nut under a flip up cap, or lock tabs that can only be moved when the arm is sprung back at the hinge.

They can and will seize/corrode in place at times. At that point you drill the center of the wiper arm at the drive and use something like a battery post puller. Attach it to a smaller slide hammer if need be. The battery post puller has the advantage of keeping all stress between the drive and the wiper arm and not transmitting it to any fasteners or sheet metal.

There is a nut holding the wiper arm to the shaft. Lift the lower portion of the wiper arm to expose the nut. It pivots on the same pin the wiper arm pivots on.

Before you remove the motor I suggest you may sure the motor is getting 12 volts to it while it is running. There may be a broken wire going to the motor. The wiring that goes to the motor at the top of the hatch may have broken over the years due to wear causing a high resistance connection.

There’s a new twist in the wiper problem. Cincinnati is having its first day of warm weather, and the rear door is facing the sun. When I just went out to observe the wiper again, it seems that if it stops in mid cycle, it will pulse again and try to complete the cycle. If I pull the wiper away from the glass, it does the entire cycle on its own, though slowly. If the wiper blade is touching the glass, it goes farther than earlier today, but then stops. If I pull the blade away from the glass, it will finish the cycle eventually, but not right away. It seems as if it has to wait for the cycle to begin again, no matter where in the “wipe” arc the blade is.

I’ve looked carefully and do not see any nut holding the wiper assembly to the shaft. The cover over the shaft does not pop us, and there is no visible set screw. I’d be happy to send either a close up picture of the area where the blade arm attaches, or send a short video showing the wiper action.

Thanks for your help.