Monday, December 28, 2015

Restoring the Wiper Bay Area — Part 2

Since there's no way to clean and detail the wiper bay area without removing the wiper arms and mechanism, I did that. Plus, I also felt that the right thing to do was to detail all components so everything would look fresh.

As the photos show, the wiper arms, actuator rods and everything else, was in a pretty sorry state.



The only way to make parts look new again, was to wash them thoroughly, then sand them to eliminate as many imperfections as possible, then paint them with the right finish.





The windshield washer hoses were either cleaned or replaced. This one in particular was a bear to thread back into place once the wiper arm was ready to be reassembled.



These are the windshield stop tabs, and whatever they used on them was caked on and beyond salvageable. The only solution was to scrape that gunk off, sand the metal tabs, then paint and coat the areas that touch the glass with Plastidip.








Here's one of the wiper arm posts and part of the mechanism after paint.




Other wiper system pieces. Before and after photos.





One of the windshield wiper arms after paint. I used Eastwood's Underhood Black since—I feel—has the right sheen.



The wiper motor had to be removed in order to detail the wiper bay area properly, and since it was as dirty as the rest of the related components, I gave it a good cleaning and polish.



Properly masking and taping the area is crucial, as you  DO NOT want any overspray, especially truck bedliner overspray.

First I left the hood surround lip exposed so I would not have to mask the same area twice. For this piece I used a semi-gloss black paint by SEM. The finish on the hood surround lip is smooth, so bedliner spray was out of the question.

By the way, a little bit of semi-gloss black overspray in the wiper trough was not a concern. As a matter of fact any overspray in that area was a bonus, as some of the recesses are hard to reach.

I applied several layers of semi-gloss black paint to the area and allowed it to cure for a few hours. Then I masked and taped the freshly-painted hood surround lip to prevent bedliner overspray.







Truck bedliner spray looks best when applied in several coats. I started by trying to get some of the stuff in hard-to-reach corners and then sprayed the visible areas. This approach worked well.

Out of all of the truck bedliner spray products I have tried, I like using Dupli-Color's paint since it dries fast and it gives a very nice and uniform textured finish. As a matter of fact, I've even used this product to restore camera-case-textured dashboard panels on a 1984 Trans Am, with outstanding results.




I used Dum Dum tape to make a waterproof gasket for the wiper motor where it contacts the wiper bay. I then secured it in place.




When all wiper arm pieces I chose to paint had cured, I started reassembling the system. As you can see, all parts look like new. I also lubricated all moving parts to ensure trouble-free operation.



Windshield washer clamps were ready for the garbage can, so I used some aftermarket ones I happened to have handy, after I sprayed them with under-hood paint.



And here's the finished product after everything was reassembled. A HUGE difference from what I started with. And, when everything was bolted down, I tested the system and everything works as intended by Chevrolet.

Of course after detailing this area, the firewall stood out like a sore thumb, so that area will also be addressed in the future.






I spent about two weeks completely restoring my '76 Corvette's windshield wiper bay area and windshield wiper system. I worked on and off as time allowed, and if I had to guesstimate the total number of hours spent on this project I would say it ranged from 50 to 70 hours total.

These are the kind of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that most car owners can do while saving themselves a whole bunch of money. So, if your C3 Corvette's wiper trough looks horrible, I hope this article will provide enough information—as well as motivation—for you to tackle yours.