2-Speed Intermittent Wipers Upgrade

The Project The wipers on a lot of the early cars (50's and 60's) were vacuum driven. My 54 Ford has just such a system. Great at idle but sucky at speed. Sucky is the clue here, it's a vacuum thing! And a lot of the early electric units were single speeds. With the later cars (70's and 80's) dual speed wipers and intermittent's become the norm. So updating an old ride is right up our alley.

There are some kits out there but they run up in the $150-200 range. New old style electric motor and switch $100ish. "Cubic Dollars" say we can find a way to do this cheaper! Cheap is good. Pick And Pull/Parts Galore aficionados take notes! Here are some Ford choices.


In the case of the early 60's Fords, Falcons, Mustangs and the like, if you can get a replacement 2 speed versions to swap, great! My 65 Mustang came with them. But, if not, it turns out that the 1 and 2 speed wiper motor from a late 70's Ford cars and pick ups is a real close match for size and mount fitment. Just need 1 or 2 speeds? Simple swap. Want to splurge for 2 speeds and intermittent's to go with that? The cool part is that the intermittent feature is a separate part from the wiper control switch and motor. Sweet! Want intermittent's? Then snag the governor box, too! The matching 2 speed dash switch and/or the intermittent part, or governor, are found in many Ford late 70's thru early 80's cars and trucks. The governor unit plugs directly into the back of the dash switch and is a black box with a short Y harness attached to it. Get them as a pair. More detailed sources later.

A short list of extra parts you are going to need for this install are listed here.

The MECHANICAL Installation

The dash switch is pretty straight forward, out with the old and in with the new. Most early dash switches usually have some sort of front screw-on bezel and many times a bell shaped spacer behind is used to compensate for different dash contours. Keep this rear spacer handy. You will need it for the transplant. The only other side note is that when removing the origonal electric switch identify the factory keyed hot line and label it. Reinstalling the new switch may require some spacers (washers), or trimming, to fit right in the dash but no biggie.

For transplanting the new motor in the old system there are a couple of logistical notes.

First - Before you get started compare the two motors for the parking location of the bell cranks. This is critical to getting them to park in a similar location. Some can be 180 out! Transplanting the old bell crank onto the new motor in the correct matching orientation is usually an easy task. Some mechanical adjusting may be required but usually not a lot.

Second - The actual mounting bolt locations for the units may vary. Some Ford units , like a Falcon / Mustang / Galaxie, are almost a dead match for the later units named here. And most use some sort of rubber grommet mounting system for vibration isolation. Others, like my 54 with vacuum wipers, may require a bit more fabrication and adjustments (redrilling the mount holes) to pull off. But still very doable. After the old bell crank is transferred to the new motor then it is a simple matter to reinstall the factory plate with the new motor back into the original location.


Like most electrical wiper motors the Ford two speed has its' own harness attached so you can plug the motor into the appropriate wiper switch connection. If you chose to include the intermittent feature then the motor plugs into the governor black connector and the other plug, usually red, then goes to directly to the back of the mating wiper switch. Just the way it came out of the donor vehicle.

Here is where the wiring differs a wee bit. Early wiring provides power through the dash switch. Late wiring power is supplied directly to the wiper motor. Vacuum wipers had none. So, it is usually a simple task to reconnect the power line that used to go to the switch to the power lead on the new motor. Make sure ou compare the fusing requirements from the old to the new. Any fusing / wiring updates need to be tackled at this point. Now in the case of my 54, an upgrade from vacuum to electrics, a correctly fused keyed hot wire is all that was required. Grounding is critical. Make sure the motor is effectively grounded and that any grounds associated with the dash switch and/or delay box are also complete and sound. Common grounding works best. Basic Electrics 101.

Voile! Electric wipers with a delay feature! Done Deal!!

Good Reference Links - Falcon Tech Page 64 Falcon two speed intermittent wiper installation.