Replacing RV Wiper Blades

Photo Credit: E. Don Smith

Seeing is a basic necessity for the road, so don't procrastinate on replacement wiper blades.

E. Don Smith
April 13, 2013
Filed under Tech Tips, Top Stories

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Last year it seemed as if every time I drove my motorhome it was raining, which led to the realization that I needed new and better wiper blades. All it takes is a few hours behind the windshield in a torrential downpour to give you some perspective on the significance of good wiper blades. In our October 2009 article “Clear Vision,” we covered in great detail how important it is to use windshield water repellent; we hope you are already following that tip. Combine that with a great set of wipers and you are ready to hit the road no matter how hard it is raining.

My coach (a 2008 Tiffin Phaeton) came from the factory equipped with a large wiper arm and J-hook that made finding replacement wiper blades difficult and expensive. After a little research I found out the OEM now offers a new upgraded wiper arm that allows the use of “traditional” automotive-size wiper blades, which is exactly what I wanted. Next, I ordered a set of new wiper arms and installed them, something I will describe in this article. With the new arms in place I could select wiper blades from one of many stores, including department stores, auto parts stores and Camping World.

There are several different types of connectors used among wiper arm and blade manufacturers, with the most common being the 9-by-3 or 9-by-4 J-hook. The 9-by-4 is often used on larger vehicles but sometimes you can even find a motorhome with the side pin or bayonet style. After a careful examination of your wiper arm and current blades, you should be able to identify the correct replacement blade. If in doubt, take a photo of the blades and take it to your local dealer; a service person should be able to help you pick the right model.

Going back a few years, most coaches had slightly smaller front windshields and they used 26- to 28-inch wiper blades. Today, however, many of them come equipped with 32-inch blades just as our Tiffin did. The larger size gives you a larger pane of clear glass to look through, but honestly you don’t normally need or use that entire 32 inches of viewing area. We mention this because locating 32-inch wiper blades can be difficult while 26- to 28-inch models are plentiful. 

Another advantage noted on the 28-inch wiper blades is they seemed less likely to chatter and shimmy back and forth while in use like the 32-inch models did. I assume this is due to their shorter and perhaps slightly stiffer design. After installing numerous pairs of wiper blades, as well as testing and researching them, I concluded that for my purposes a 28-inch blade is plenty long and cleans a huge area of the windshield significantly above and below my normal viewing area.

Years ago, buying a wiper blade was a simple matter with only one or two choices for each size and the nice person who filled up your car with fuel would also check your wipers and install new ones for a dollar or two. Today the search for blades will present you with more options than you ever imagined. The traditional style blades with a metal frame and a rubber insert are still available but they are now less common than the new flexible-style frameless blades. This new design promises better contact between the glass and the entire length of the wiper blade. The old metal frame style relied upon four, six or even eight pressure points along the blade to keep it pressed securely against the sometimes-curved glass windshield.

Iif you are driving with old, worn-out wiper blades that are wiping against untreated glass, get them taken care of now. Not only is it a safety issue, but you will notice an improvement in your fatigue level when driving in the rain once you are able to see better. Don’t delay any longer and be sure to use a wiper blade cover when the blades are not in use. This greatly reduces wear and UV damage on the rubber blades and increases their lifespan.

Flip through the guide below to see the basics of installing your own wiper blades. 

Old Blades

After five years of use these wiper blades were tired and in need of replacement. In order to allow for the use of standard wiper blades we decided to replace the wiper arms with a universal fit style at the same time.

Loosen Old Blades

To remove the wiper arms, simply raise the plastic cover and loosen the bolt shown here. If your wiper arms have a rubber hose connected for the washer fluid, you will also need to disconnect it from the fitting on the coach.

Remove the Wiper Arm

After the bolt is removed you will need to remove the wiper arm by rocking it back and forth as it slips off the splined shaft that drives the wipers.

Blank Slate

Once the old wiper arm is removed you can start the reassembly process.

Affix Wiper Blade To Arm

Before attaching the arm to the coach you will first need to install a wiper blade to prevent the metal arm from rubbing against the windshield. This Anco blade has a simple, easy-to-use connector that allows you to slide the J-hook on the arm into the new wiper blade. Most of the wiper blades will snap in place, indicating it is fully seated. Make sure this is the case or you risk the wiper coming off while in use.

Level New Wiper

When installing the new arm, make sure you position it so that it is level with the bottom edge of the windshield. In this photo you will notice that the new arm doesn’t have splines like the old one. The arm is soft metal and it will conform to the hardened steel drive stud and create its own splines when properly torqued to the stud.

Tighten Wiper Arm

After the arm is in place and level, reinstall the washer and nut on the threaded drive stud and tighten.

Torque and Reconnect

The manufacturer of this particular wiper arm (TRU Vision) recommends that the new arm be torqued twice to ensure it is properly seated. Then reconnect the washer fluid hose and you are ready to move to the other side and repeat.

The Finished Project

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Comments

4 Responses to “Replacing RV Wiper Blades”

  1. Jim Freshwater on April 14th, 2013 9:07 pm

    I have the same chattering problem with 32 inch blades. Can I not simply replace the 32 inchers with 28 inchers using the existing arms???

    Thanks,
    Jim FH2O
    Colorado Springs, CO

    [Reply]

  2. Laszlo Halmos on April 18th, 2013 10:01 pm

    I have a 2008 Phaeton. I just replaced the wiper blade to a 28″ TRICO
    67- 284 Camping World # 70912 fits on the original arm.
    Yes this are expensive $30 each.
    I would purchase the automotive arm mentioned in the article, but no part number I find. (what is 9-by-4 J hook, this is a part number??)

    Thank You

    Laszlo

    [Reply]

  3. Silhouette Replacement Blade | Complete Automotive on May 17th, 2013 8:32 am

    [...] replacement blade is compatible with all Silhouette electronic cutting tools. Contains one blade and instructions for [...]

  4. Earl on June 2nd, 2013 2:14 pm

    For chattering blades check and adjust a couple of things. Be sure the wiper arm is tight enough against the windshield surface.
    Check the operation of the wipers. The blades should drag backwards across the glass, and when they return the blade should flop over and drag the other way. If they “push” in one direction and drag in the other, carefully bend the arm with pliers longitudinally, so that the blade flops over at the end of travel and drags rather than pushes across the glass.
    The blades should ‘wipe’ not push on the surface.

    [Reply]

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