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TF wiper not working

Moss Motors
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pmcmain Avatar
pmcmain Silver Member Paul McMain
Kokomo, IN, USA   USA
I purchased a '55 TF 1500 and it was delivered Christmas Eve (Merry Christmas to ME). There are various things to be addressed but one thing is the wipers do not work at all. The seller told me this beforehand and it wasn't a big deal since it was not driven in the rain.

I would like to take a shot at resolving the problem. The seller thinks it is probably the motor but just guessing.

Is the wiper motor fused ?

What would be the best way to test the motor in place ?

I checked in the Moss catalog and they do not offer a motor for the TF. Is there a business that rebuilds these motors ?

Thanks in advance.

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LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
1979 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
Check the keyed fuse first. If you find the fuse is ok the chances are very good that the contacts in the switch are filmed over. It's easy to test the motor since it has a hot wire running to the motor and uses the switch for the ground. If you have a test light.....remove one of the incoming wires that go to the wiper motor and check and see if it is hot with the key on. If not check the other lead. Once you find out which one of the two wire is the incoming power plug it back in and run a ground wire to the other lead and the motor should run. If it doesn't and you still haven't blown the fuse, you will need to remover the motor and service it. They come up for sale from time to time and are quite pricey. Abingdon Spares shows one for 265 bucks plus your core or another 50 bucks. If yours does work...don't expect much and you won't be disappointed. If it does work with the ground test, you will need to remove the drivers side glove box to gain some limited access to the switch. I run a two speed Midget wiper motor myself with a hidden toggle switch.

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Paul J Avatar
Locust Grove, OK, USA   USA
Paul, rebuilding the original motor will give it a little more boost, but don't expect too much, they were never the best of motors. I would recommend taking out the cable assembly, the grease congeals over the years, remove the inter cable, clean all the old grease off of it along with inside the external housing and lubricate it, I used white lithium grease. Clean and lubricate the spindles also. I rebuilt the original motor, but, like LaVerne, I also converted a later model motor, mine from an MGA to get a more powerful motor and the results were amazing. PJ

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DR-2 wiper mounted in TF.jpg    42.2 KB
DR-2 wiper mounted in TF.jpg

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ArchieMcAllister Avatar
ArchieMcAllister Gold Member Archie McAllister
Cleveland, TN, USA   USA
Hi Paul. Seems this discussion comes up at least once a year. Since my car is more of a driver than a show car and I don't fret too much about originality, I just installed a Midget 2 speed wiper motor where the original motor was mounted. As Laverne and PJ have said, the original TF wipers are next to useless and wither the MGA or Midget motor is a huge improvement. In any case, cleaning of the drive cable and housing, as PJ has explained is something to put on your "to do" list, whether now or sometime in the future. That 64 year old grease is certainly gumming up the works.



Archie McAllister
1955 MG TF1500
68 Austin Healey Sprite


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MGAdavid Avatar
MGAdavid David Werblow
Portland, CT, USA   USA
1954 MG TF
1959 MG MGA
I have found that the compression fitting on the blade-arms slip on the spindles, so even if the drive cable and motor are fine the wipers will not move.

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pmcmain Avatar
pmcmain Silver Member Paul McMain
Kokomo, IN, USA   USA
This morning I looked into the non-working wipers. I'm attaching pictures. The bottom line is there were no wires connected and NO motor, which I'm guessing is the root of the problem. If I get another motor like others have done is the fitment the same between the Midget or MGA electric motor and the wiper drive housing with the gears? Is fabrication required or just bolt on 'plug n' play' ?

Can someone attach a picture of the stock TF configuration ? I looked at the Moss catalog to get an idea of what I'm missing.

Thanks everyone


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LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
1979 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
The assembly would look something like this. The MGA/ early MGB motors would be the closest to fitting without a lot of work...however....The MGA wiper motor has a 122 degree sweep and is not suitable for the TF. Paul would need to give you more info on his installation


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lbritsh cars 066.jpg

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LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
1979 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
The last image has the correct motor but I do not know what the cover on the gear case is from....

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pmcmain Avatar
pmcmain Silver Member Paul McMain
Kokomo, IN, USA   USA
LaVerne, in the second pic (green car) there are two wires (grey) going into the end of the electric motor. Do you know if these are two hot wires?

I can see a ground wire connected to the wiper mechanism. I looked through a box of parts given to me by the prior owner and found the wiper motor. I plan to do a temporary connection to see if it works but I'm not sure why there are two grey wires.

I ordered a wiring diagram but have not received it yet

Thanks to everyone for your guidance thus far.

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LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
1979 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
The wiper motor has one wire coming to it that is hot. The wire leaving the wiper motor goes to the switch which is the source for the ground. The case also acts as one of the ground connections for the wiring loom.

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pmcmain Avatar
pmcmain Silver Member Paul McMain
Kokomo, IN, USA   USA
Now that I have removed my grille shell for repair, I'm back to the non-functional wiper motor. It was in a box of parts that came with the car. I looked at the pictures LaVerne posted which were very helpful. I'm posting a few pictures of my motor. The red wire I am assuming is the 'hot' wire. I don't have a second wire that would be the ground. The picture of the green car LaVerne posted I could see the second wire but it wasn't clear to me what it attached to. I see a hole so I thought I might see a broken wire or a screw if I removed the cover from the motor. I'm still not seeing it.

My two main questions are:
- where does the ground wire attach ?
- in the pictures you will see two bare wires coming through the cover and attaching to the brass set screws. I really don't see the purpose of these wires. Inside each is soldered to a separate screw head. One of them fell off mine when I removed the cover. When they come from underneath the cover the two set screws hold them in place, but nothing externally connects to the wires. On the underside of the cover nothing is connected to the set screw posts. If externally a positive 'hot' wire connected to one and a negative ground to the other, then I could understand. In LaVerne's picture a wire comes out of the top left hole. I have a red wire coming out at the same position so I'm assuming that is the hot wire.

Maybe looking at pictures will help clarify what I am asking.


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Wiper Motor.JPG

Wiper Motor #3.JPG    30.2 KB
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LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
1979 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
Ok, lets start with the motor. The two solid wire leads go through the case and sit under the set screws. As seen in the first photo....You can see in the second photo that they both lead to connections to the two motor brushes. Ordinarily you would run the incoming hot wire from the wiring loom (should be green in color) to either one of those two terminals on the motor....make no difference which one....just place it under the set screw along with the solid wire lead to the brush. This was the incoming "hot" wire I was referring to, but since you did not have the motor connected to anything I can see why it did not make sense. Under the other set screw you need to run a wire (they do not come in any of the looms I have seen) and it should run to the drivers side wiper knob in the glove box. That switch should have another wire that runs from the other side of the contacts that goes directly to a ground. When you rotate the knob to engage the wire gear the bevel on the switch shaft will move and allow the contacts to come together and complete the circuit. The points often become pitted and filmed over and make a bad wiper motor even worse or totaly non functional. The last image is actually my original wiper motor ( two different TF's and the are both green...but not the same shade) . Somebody in it's past ran two short wires with bullet connectors directly out of the case and as you can see there are no solid wires under the grub (set) screws. You can test your motor by putting it back together and running two wires as shown in the first photo to a good 12 volt source....like a battery or a battery charger. In fact that was what I was doing in that photo after cleaning up the motor assembly


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LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
1979 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
In these images you can see where the wires were cut off of this switch on both of the contact points. The second image shows both the blade which is on one of the points that pushes them apart when the knob is pushed in. The last photo better shows the knob shaft and the bevel relationship to the blade on the points. If the shaft knob is turned and released towards the cockpit, you can see how the blade will follow down the bevel portion and allow the points to come together to make the electric connection....in theory grinning smiley


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Bill's TF 212_LI.jpg

Bill's TF 214_LI (2).jpg    41.2 KB
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Paul J Avatar
Locust Grove, OK, USA   USA
Back out the grub screws enough to insert the hot wire and ground wire, one on each terminal and tighten. One comes from A4 on the fuse block and the other (the ground) goes to the wiper switch. This is for positive cars. Because of a positive ground system, the wiper motor is insulated from the sheet metal with rubber grommets in the firewall holes where the bolts go through and the motor sets on an insulated pad, I used 1/4 inch rubber, the original insulated pad is some sort of other material. PJ


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pmcmain Avatar
pmcmain Silver Member Paul McMain
Kokomo, IN, USA   USA
Thanks guys. I'll work on getting the motor functional and then I'll connect to the mechanism. All screws are missing, every one of them. So when the hardware store reopens I'll have to find screws for everything. Hopefully the threads won't be anything strange.

Thanks again.

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