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2002 Impala 3.4L 189.6k: Passenger Wiper Arm Doesn't Move

 
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ColtHero
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2002 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject:  2002 Impala 3.4L 189.6k: Passenger Wiper Arm Doesn't Move Reply with quote

2002 Impala 3.4L 189.6k: Passenger Wiper Arm Doesn't Move

Almost embarrassed to post this because I've done so many other much-more-involved repairs (LIM gaskets, Front Cover gaskets, etc.), but the wiper motor "post" is turning inside the arm, but the arm is not moving. Appears that the arm itself is stripped?? Surprisingly, there is no plastic cover over the nut, so I just removed the nut (13mm), but then I could not budge the damn wiper arm trying to get it off. So I sprayed it with PB Blaster a couple of weeks ago and haven't touched it since.

Is the only fix for this a brand new wiper arm? What's the deal here - is the metal on the motor post harder than the metal inside the wiper arm ... and it just ends up stripping the metal away in the arm hole? It is that soft "pot" metal on the wiper arm? I realize I'm at almost 190,000 miles, but I've never had a wiper arm fail on me like this. Some have rusted and requiring painting, but never metal failure like this.

And what's the trick to popping off the arm? I put a crowbar underneath and starting softly prying, but underneath was just the plastic, flexible cowling. Do I have to remove that, too, then use a block of wood underneath or something.

Talk about a PITA for such a trivial thing.

Lastly, anybody bought the Dorman knockoff? Does it look different from the OEM one? The GM OEM part is around $50 while the Dorman is less than half that, but if it's going to be obvious that it's not original or is just plain 'cheap', I'll get the genuine GM part.
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Frank
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2001 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:44 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Can't comment on what the issue is really but I suppose it could strip. If the nut isn't tight it will also have a tendency to just spin underneath the arm. I think I put a dab of loctite on mine years ago for that reason.

I've carefully used a small puller on mine in the past while trying to keep it centered on the stud but it's real tricky.

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98ss
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2002 Chevrolet Impala
2011 Chevrolet Silverado


PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:14 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Back the nut for the wiper arm off a bit till its flush with the end of the stud. Tap it with a hammer a few times while prying gently. It will come off. That or try and tighten it.
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ColtHero
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2002 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:10 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I've been inspired to try to tighten it down more. Silly that this thought never occurred to me. I just saw that post spinning in the center and immediately assumed the splined teeth had stripped away. Now I'm thinking there ARE NO splined teeth - just a tight nut holding down on the arm.

But if re-tightening doesn't work, I may try looking for a special washer with biting teeth that I can put underneath the nut to try to get it to grab that way.

Just ridiculous to have to replace the entire arm because of this...
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ColtHero
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2002 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:09 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Well, just tightening it did the trick (it appears). Shop manual said "22 ft-lbs" of torque, so that's what I gave it. Turned the wipers on with a dry windshield and it moved normally. Also checked the driver's side and it took a couple quarter turns, too, to bring it up to torque. So I hope that's all it is. I didn't bother to add the special washer, but I'll be trying that later if it turns out it starts slipping again.

One thing I *did* notice - and it's only cosmetic, but the Shop Manual shows plastic caps atop these arm nuts. No caps on my Impala. Wonder if they fell off or someone took them off. I remember about 10 years ago driving this vehicle up to my parents house in MA and finding the black plastic tube inserts from my LeBra sitting in the wiper cowling area. Some wise guy had pulled them out and put them there as a joke so they'd go flying off the car as I drove along. I just happened to noticed them sitting in there (somehow). Maybe this person took the plastic caps on me. Anyway, I thought the exposed nuts looked odd because my Taurus has molded black plastic covers over it's arm nuts - giving a very finished look.

Thanks guys for saving me from needlessly buying a new arm
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