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Discussion Starter #1
I've already tried two brand new sets of wiper blades on my '98 Eldo and I can't seem to stop the chattering. (I used Trico NeoForm and Trico Teflon Blade). The first wipe is okay, but the return trip causes both blades to skip about six times on the way back. It throws up more water than if I hadn't used the wipers at all!

I tried Rain-X prior to this but did not really see any benefit. I'm thinking that the windshield may still have some contamination on it, because the water beads up and rolls right off. (I've been told that it should sheet off for proper wiper operation.) Cleaning the glass with Bon Ami, vinegar, and all sorts of solvents did not make it any better. The wiper arms seem to exert as much force as anything else.

My '86 IROC has the same style GM wiper system (hidden beneath the cowl), and I have to say that those totally suck, too. Is there anything I can do to fix this?
 

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I'm thinking that the windshield may still have some contamination on it, because the water beads up and rolls right off.
That's what Rain-X does. I use it all the time and rarely ever use my wipers. Do a search for "Chatter" or "Wipers". This has been discussed before with many suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do a search for "Chatter" or "Wipers". This has been discussed before with many suggestions.
Unfortunately, I already did that. I've also looked at countless websites that offter tips, but absolutely nothing has worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nope, the arms aren't switched.

I came across a few threads related specifically to this problem on Eldorados, but it doesn't look like anyone came up with a clear solution. Come to think of it, I recall the wipers on my parent's '00 ESC doing the same thing years ago. And that was leased, brand-new.

To date, I've done the following things:

-- New wiper blades (twice).

-- Switched orientation of wiper blades (upside-down, right-side-up, etc.)

-- Bent arms slightly to increase wiper pressure.

-- Removed one spring from wiper arms to reduce pressure. (There are two springs.)

-- Tried Rain-X to possibly make glass smoother and fill imperfections.

-- Thoroughly cleaned windshield with Stoner Invisible Glass, Glass Plus, Bon Ami, white vinegar, and acetone. (Not all at once.) Water still beads; does not sheet.

-- Cleaned wiper rubber with isopropyl alcohol "until all of the black stuff is gone." I don't know how many times I've read that suggestion.

The symptoms are exactly the same as described by 97ETCPowerHouse, Patrick7997, and mtflight in various threads. Like myself, they all own Eldorados and their wipers chatter on the low-speed setting. In my case, the wipers are fine when the windshield is dry -- but as soon as they touch water, all hell breaks loose. I am at a total loss right now.
 

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2004 Escalade, 07 Road King, 08 Challenger SRT8
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I found the solution...

Removing the spring to reduce the tension is exactly the opposite of what you want... it's chattering because of NOT ENOUGH pressure...

What I did on mine was this: oil up and excercise the hinge at the base of the arm. That has to move. Mine was kind of rusted in place, thus the spring was unable to pull it down and keep it down on the window.... it has to be held down! The chattering is the blade skipping over the surface, without enough downforce....

With the hinge lubed & freed up, I haven't heard a chatter in over a year. Worked awesome.

On my neighbor's STS, that improved the situation, but didn't totally cure it... so he got new wiper springs, to replace the worn out ones, and that worked great.

Now, you may be experiencing a different problem... but in your list of what you've done so far, you haven't done what fixed mine yet... you shouldn't have to bend the arms to increase the pressure. The hinge at the base should move, to provide the pressure via the springs...

Hopefully I'm explaining this correctly.... good luck. It's been so long since I've seen or heard a wiper chatter, I forgot what it's like... is it annoying?? Sorry, just kidding... mine was driving me nuts. SO glad it's fixed...

Edit: let me also add I'm not a big fan of Rain-X, but to each his own. I like to just get the glass clean with windex, and then things seem to work fine... Also, the wipers on my Envoy were pathetic, and I just replaced them with Bosch Icon... they're like $20 apiece, but wow, nice wiper.... sort of "pre-tensioned" with a built in curve... also, they have a little "spoiler" on the back of the wiper, which I speculate would catch air from the moving car and provide additional downforce to the wiper....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Patrick, I saw your mention of lubricating the wiper arm hinges on another thread, but didn't bother because my arms move freely and have absolutely no rust on them. The previous owner must have never driven this car in the rain -- now I know why!

Anyway, I tried lubing the hinges but it didn't help.

I'm still unsure of the spring tension. My service manual shows a way to check it, but I don't have a pull spring scale like the kind it calls for. The arms are MUCH tighter than anything I've ever seen in the past. Removing one spring reduced the force to something about as equivalent as other cars I've had, but I saw no noticeable change (good or bad).

Now I'm begininng to wonder if the problem doesn't lie with the wiper attachment. That's really where it's bouncing around... the wiper blade can move a few degrees on the pin relative to the arm. The U-hook style removes that extra inch of leverage provided by the pin. Maybe I'll just make my own custom wiper arms... but that seems a little extreme.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OK, I did some more testing and came up with some interesting results.

I was able to swap wiper arms with my mother's '05 Grand Prix. It uses 22" blades (like my car), but they're of the U-hook style. The arms are a little too big to clear the hood on the Cadillac, but the Caddy arms fit the Pontiac just fine... and guess what? No chattering.

This leads me to believe that the wiper and/or arm are NOT the problem.

While I had the driver's side arm off the Cadillac, I turned on the wipers to see how it behaved with only one blade functioning. No chatter again! Then, I removed the passenger's side wiper and installed only the driver's... and it chattered!

So, here are my conclusions:

-- Something is making the wiper on the driver's side skip and chatter. This motion is transmitted through the wiper assembly to make the OTHER wiper chatter in the same manner. Based upon my findings, only the LEFT wiper is at fault.

-- Perhaps there is a film on only half the windshield, but I find this very, very unlikely. Granted, I did use Rain-X on only the driver's side of the glass for testing purposes, but the windshield has been thoroughly cleaned since that time. And, the problem existed before I even bought Rain-X to begin with.

-- The wipers on the Grand Prix work perfectly, and the water does not "sheet off" like it's supposed to. In fact, it beads up fairly well. I don't think sheeting water is as big a deal as some say.

-- Perhaps the geometry of the driver's side arm isn't optimal, causing chatter. That doesn't seem viable, though, because that exact same arm produced perfect wiping on a vehicle it was never designed for. In both cases, the blade squeegeed correctly across the surface (pull-flip-pull).

-- Some part of the wiper linkage is worn, allowing the driver's side wiper to have more movement than it's supposed to. I haven't looked closely at the one in the Cadillac, but I replaced those little linkage bushings on a '93 Concorde before. They had a TON of play in them. Granted, they were so bad they actually fell off and the wipers stopped working, but still... :)

-- I think I can rule out the motor at this point, since the passenger's side wiper works individually.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Try lubing all the linkage joints.
Already did that... no luck. The wiper linkage beneath the cowl isn't loose, either. It operates as smoothly as ever, even while the blades are chattering.

Today I put the passenger's side wiper arm on the driver's side. It's not bent the same way (actually it's opposite), but at least I could see if it operated smoothly. Sure enough, it did.

So, the arm that chatters on the Caddy works fine on the Pontiac. And the other Caddy arm works fine on the chattering side of the windshield. In other words, I can't disprove that ANY wiper blades OR arms are bad, since they all work properly in one place or another.

I stopped at the auto parts store and bought a set of regular, OE direct replacement wipers. These are the kind that only work on pin-style wiper arms (they aren't universal, like most aftermarket wipers). They seem to work a little better, but only marginally -- and I mean marginally.

I tried spraying some soapy water on the windshield, which made the wipers operate very smoothly. Windshield washer fluid did the same thing. But as soon as it washed away and only plain water was there, the wipers started chattering again.

Now it really sounds like an issue with the windshield being too sticky, despite the fact that I've cleaned the hell out of it. Are there any treatments that will make the glass a little smoother? What about coating the wiper blades with silicone spray? What about silicone wiper blades?
 

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I haven't seen a chatter this stubborn. When I use a cleaner like Bon Ami or Comet, I scrub it using steel wool. You should scrub it hard over the entire windshield, rinse thoroughly, and after it dries, use the Rain-X.

No, the steel wool will not scratch the glass. I need to do this to my Subaru, brand new wiper blades causing a chatter.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Glad you got it fixed. I have not had that problem in 20 years, and I had forgotten how bad it was.
Well, not exactly fixed. I was doing some more testing and it's even worse than before. Maybe I'm just destined to never have functioning wipers, I dunno.

cadillac_tech, I used fine steel wool and Bon Ami during my cleaning frenzy. I know it cleaned the windshield, but it didn't fix the wiper problem.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to find some 303 Windshield Wiper Treatment. It's supposed to "make old wipers like brand new," so maybe it'll do something. I'm really not holding my breath, though.
 

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As Cadillac Tachnical Assistance Center would say, "well, let us know what you find".
In other words, you are on your own and we'll all learn from what you report back.---good luck.
 

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Another remote possibility is that the innards of the wiper motor assembly and connecting rod that sweeps both arms has a worn bearing. Unfortunately, this is all under the cowling. If say any of the several bearings were even slightly worn, one or both directions of sweep could "jump" or chatter, as you say. This seems a likely possibility - especially since you've removed the arm and tested it on another car. In older cars, there's a connecting arm under the cowl that actuates the passenger's blade. Like you suggest, if a bearing under the drivers arm was bad, it could "transmit" jumping to the passenger's side too. I've had this wiper chattering on many cars and just lived with it. Maybe someone here knows how to check for that and how to remove the cowling to inspect the entire assembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
greg-sls, you must be a mind-reader! Last night I spoke to a fellow from another Cadillac message board, and he said that lubricating the wiper transmission (linkage) stopped his chattering Eldorado wipers. This morning I removed the entire wiper linkage from beneath the cowl to inspect for worn bushings. I popped each one off and re-lubed it with white lithium grease, but I didn't find anything unusual. As I expected, the wipers still chattered after I put everything back together.

I also removed the motor to check its operation, but it seems to be functioning properly. No weird noises or sluggish performance.

A fisherman friend of mine lent me his spring scale (used for weighing fish, of course) so I could check the wiper arm tension. My Cadillac service manual states that the allowable range is between 29-36 oz. The scale only had a resolution of 0.5 lb, but that's good enough... it was 2.0 lb even (32 oz).

As a last resort, I pulled out the Bon Ami and steel wool again. I scrubbed the windshield for literally an hour, one spot at a time, until ALL of the water sheeted off. At this point, I really don't care if I scratch the windshield, because that's probably the root of the problem, anyway. I've only owned this car for about a month and the previous owner must have used some crazy water repellant on the glass.

The wipers seemed to work a little better, but they still chattered. I tried four kinds of blades: Trico NeoForm, Trico Teflon Blade, Trico Exact Fit, and SilBlade. The Teflon Blades worked the best. By "best" I mean the ideal combination of water removal and wiping smoothness.

Either way, it still wasn't a good situation. After about five wipes, the horrific chattering came back. In a fit of rage, I pulled out the Rain-X again, this time DOUSING the windshield and applying several coats. I'll have to wait until it rains for the full test, but it seems like this helped. The wipers still judder a little going across the glass, but I can attribute that to GM's poor hideaway wiper design. Now they operate about as well as the ones on my '86 Camaro, which are of the same type.

Of course, I still don't consider this a true fix. I guess there must be some contamination on the windshileld that I can't totally remove, which is causing the wipers to chatter. Short of replacing the wiper motor, everything mechanical has been checked against my service manual and looks perfect. Maybe I'll have a real answer if I ever get my windshield replaced.

I'll be sure to post my final results when it rains again (probably in a week). You guys have really been great with all of the suggestions. Thanks so much!
 

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iroc86, I can relate to your comment "In a fit of rage"

I think anybody who works on cars or truck at one point or another have had them kick our A**.:rant2:
For all that you've been through, I agree, it that it may be something strange goning on with your windshild.
Good luck
 

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ok, my .02

Being an older car guy ( older cars, not older me,lol) we see this all the time. The windshield has some miles on it from traveling is all. Side note, if you see an old car in pristine condition and the windshield looks like it's been snadblasted run away. Anyways... the grit from normal road debris has flecked the glass. Bright sunlight on the windshield shows this with no problems. The spring pressure has not degraded. It's just that these micro flecks are grabbing at the rubber in the wiper is all. Depending on how you drive it could be the driver's side or pass. side or maybe even both if you're constantly on somebody's tail. Go to the autoparts store and pick up some glass rouge. It's typically 3,000 grit cream type compound and comes in a kit with a big stupid blue pad buffing thingy that attaches to your drill. You can also use this on the plastic lenses if they fog over and yellow, btw. Try polishing the affected side and then clean REALLY REALLY good with isopropyl alcohol. It *should* bring new life back to everything and release the chatter.

Basically, the rain-x ( I hate that stuff too ) filled in the voids in the fleck as that's what it does. As it degrades and becomes more apparent, the wipers will grab. Therfore this leaves you indebted to the illustrious rain-x people to keep re-applying until the end of time. It's great stuff in an emergency but totally useless between the speeds of 10-35 until the water removes itself. Half way through it's degraded life it gives you nothing but problems because it becomes patchy. I've learned my lesson too many times with that stuff over the years. When the windshield gets "talky" I just buff it out and not worry about it for another 10 years is all. I hope that helps and fixes the problem.
 
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