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Wiper Woes

I have a 1997 Chevy half-ton pickup with a wiper problem. I can turn the wipers on, but the “delay” feature doesn’t work, and when I turn the wipers off they just keep going. When they finally do turn off, they usually stop somewhere out in the middle of the windshield. Also, the fluid will not spray onto the windshield. Are these problems related? Will fixing/replacing a part remedy both issues? And specifically what part do I need to fix/replace?

There is a possibility the problems are related. My guess would be the wiper control stalk needs to be replaced. It can be verified prior ro replacement.

Based on my experience with a Camry, the lack of “delay” and the lack of auto-stop/park are related – failure in the switch that is driven by the cam on the bottom end of the wiper motor. Most places will want to sell you the entire motor. With the Camry, I was able to disassemble the housing at that end of the motor, and see the failed switch armature on the printed wiring board. I “fixed” it with solder once or twice, but that did not last. Eventually I found a salvage yard that would let me take the PWB from a motor (free!).

However, I think that would not affect the sprayer. Either there is a second problem (did all these failures happen at once?), or Waterboy is right, and it’s the control stalk.

When you say “the fluid will not spray onto the windshield”, do you mean it’s not spraying at all, or it goes over the top of the cab, on the bottom of the window, or something else entirely?

It sounds like the switch, however almost all GM cars from your generation have problems with the wiper control board located on the back of the motor assembly. You can buy a replacement board for about $25 from any autoparts store.

The malfunction started happening at the same time the sprayer stopped spraying. That is why I thought they might be related. The windshield washer fluid reservoir is full. It used to malfunction intermittently (i.e. it worked flawlessly when I tried to show a mechanic the malfunction), but it has been two months since the last time it functioned properly.

It could be the switch that is causing the failure or the pulse board. The next time it is acting up, try taping on the back of the wiper motor assembly on the fire wall and see if it gets better. The problem with the pulse boards involves the soldering of the board coming loose, and often resulting in an intermittent failure.