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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Wipers on my 98 outback not working . . . I blame irony or some such thing

98 outback front wipers

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3 replies to this topic

#1 bobs98subaru



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  • san francisco, ca

Posted 06 September 2017 - 02:39 PM

Four days ago I returned to my 98 Subaru, it having been parked in 
Yosemite Valley for sixteen hot days. Not only did the car start without 
complaint, but I used the front wipers to wash away a lot of dust. No 
Two days ago, while hanging with a few friends, I gave the car to my friend 
and her car mechanic brother to not only drive to the market, but also to get 
his impressions on the overall health of the car. He reported back that it ran 
well, sounded good, etc . . . 
Last night I went to use the wipers and they didn't work. Back one 
works fine, fronts, not---I can flick them on and hear the motor running, but 
there's no action from the wipers, which are bolted down snug. 

So who broke my wipers? was it my friend, or maybe her nervous mechanic 
brother, or maybe--as things do just break---the wiper mechanism just 
decided to die? Should I no longer allow mechanics who I am not already 
paying, sit in my car? 

I stopped wondering if I could fix it when told to remove or check under the 
"cowling" which took me a few trips through the index to figure what that is . 
. . . Could I have blown a fuse? unhooked a wire? flipped a switch? Thanks for any 


#2 gbhrps


    20 Year Subie Fan

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 08:34 PM



If you are certain that the wiper motor is running when switched on, and the wiper arms don't move, .... then either the wiper motor gear box has stripped a gear, or the mechanism (several arms and pivot points) has come apart. The solution is to replace the motor or the entire system with a used one from a wrecking yard.


Its an easy replacement for a DIYer who is a wrencher. Good Luck!



#3 lmdew



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  • Colorado Springs

Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:54 PM

With the car off, try moving the wipers through the normal arc,  If they move they are disconnected from the motor.  The nylon bushing fail.  The one at the motor most often.  


Three 10mm bolts hold the motor in.  You can remove it and then turn the wipers on to watch the motor arm run.


Get good used arm/s from the yard,

#4 idosubaru


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:32 PM

what he said - used parts and they're not hard to install, although the arms/mechanisms are kind of wonky seeing them the first time. 


buy an entire contraption from a yard.  



It's 20 years old, this is not a rare enough failure to start blaming people and pointing fingers.  


i would hesitate giving a car to someone to "assess" it for no compelling reason, whether they're a mechanic or not.  you're better off sticking to excellent subaru specific and intentional service over random opinions.  


if the guy knew that vehicle (meaning a Phase I 4EAT, and EJ25D, et.al.) really well and was well versed in those vehicles - he would have asked platform specific questions, maintenance history, any symptoms, and practical things like that over a test drive.  many of us on this forum could do that - give you a very thorough synopsis of where you're at and which direction you should go.  a test drive is hardly needed or helpful on a car with zero symptoms. 

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: 98, outback, front wipers

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