Conversion to electric wipers

The vacuum windshield wipers are cute and an ingenious construction but oh so ineffecient and when you need them the most they stop or drag themselves slowly along the surface and usually stop in the most irritating position right in your field of vision. I have now had this experience in my former 58 convertible, and now again in our 56 Coupe so finally I´ve had enough!

So I decided to do something and investigated a bit on the internet for tips and trix, but there wasn´t so much info on how to convert from vacuum wipers to electric.

However I got a tip from a site which I forgot now that you actuall can use a cheapish ordinary universal electric wiper motor that can be bought from a decent car parts store (or actually also boat parts store). I choose a 2 speed with return to park position. 

A surprise was that the hard part actually was to get hold of a decent wiper wiperswitch with 2speed/park function, that didn´t look like a modern switch of a BMW or Volvo. I finally gave up and searched and ordered one from

After unboxing of the wiper motor I had to dissassemble it partially to understand how to fit it to my 56 Cadillac. I realized soon that the driveshaft would have to be shortened to fit under the hood, and that I had to manufacture brackets, fixtures and also a drive hub to fit the old wiperdrivepulley on the firewall.

So I measured the required cutoff length which ended up to approx. 3/4″ (If you do this you need to measure a precise length to fit your car.)

I made cardboard templates to fit and then cut out stainless steel sheet metal bracket for the motorsupport.

I had to cut off the main outer guide shaft to fit and shortended it to fit. Had to cut of a piece in the middle to be able to use the outer guide bearing and connected the threaded shaft with a nut and Loctite thread fixing strong.

After several trial and error and finally getting the dimensions of the brackets right I then cut the drive shaft and made a drive hub out of an old piece of old piece of steel, cut a “groove” in the end as connector to the driv hub.

The 3 cables for slow, fast and park was connected and covered with shrinktubing for protection and looks. Now only the switch has to be placed and I will continue the story after some endurance test.

Enjoy the pictures below:

Also see my electric wipers in action on this FB clip.

(If you have any questions pls contact me on FB or via PM.)