Watch Those Wipers

I keep a list of things to check on the coach. Things like loose body panels, loose slideout motor mounting bolts, loose bolts pretty much everywhere around the coach. I’m adding a few more loose bolts to check.

The bolts that secure the windshield wipers.

I’ve posted before about the questionable design choices in Class A motorcoaches. In many cases, subsystems within coaches are needlessly complex due to poor design, poor systems integration and poor ergonomics.

A case in point is the lowly windshield wiper system.

Most drivers have figured out how to use the windshield wipers in a car. They are generally situated on a control arm below the steering wheel.

Here is an example:

A lot of functionality packed into a small control module but generally straightforward to use. There is a definite on and off mechanism, some form of intermittent speed control, and a pull to spray windshield wash. Some car makers are even thoughtful enough to include an automatic function that will control the wipers when the sensor detects rain.

Most Class A coaches ignore the automotive approach. The windshield controls are typically embedded in the steering wheel.

Like this one on our coach:

There is an OFF button but how do you turn the windshield wipers on? See that embedded section marked HI/LO? Give that one a try.

It will engage the windshield wipers. There is a trick. Stopping the blades to rest at the bottom of the windshield. Aside from the fact that the windshield wipers do a very poor job of clearing the rain, they will often not return to the bottom of the windshield. You have to time the pressing of the OFF button just so. Perhaps the blades will rest at the bottom of the windshield. Perhaps they will stop in the middle of the windshield. You just never know where they might land when you press the OFF button.

I’m not sure how these coach builders get away with delivering such a poor system.

An added feature of this system is that the wiper arms can break (photo from an owner of a Dutch Star):

The wiper arms are steel and the part that bolts to the motor post is steel but the insert that the arm tightens against is aluminum. The nut that holds it together can come loose and when that happens, the arm will rotate around the insert and the arm might snap off, or, you could get lucky and the arm will wrap itself around some part of your coach.

From this thread on the iRV2 forum I found out that the arms have a torque specification and I have now added this to my list of things to check. Here is an excerpt from that thread posted by an owner of a 2017 Dutch Star:

The passenger side wiper arm came loose while driving in the rain last week (and parked itself around the windshield pillar around the mirror).

I talked to both Newmar and Diesel Equipment about the problem and proper torque seemed to be the consensus. I got a diagram from Newmar Customer Service with the proper torque settings for the bolts. You can also get this from Diesel Equipment if you have the “kit” number for your particular wipers. It is on the wiper motor.

The torque for ours is 65 ft-lbs, which was hard to do with a normal socket wrench on the side of the road, but easy with long torque wrench. Both of mine were loose, so this is just another thing to add to the periodic maintenance check list.

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