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71-72+ Full Size Wiper Switch Repair


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One nearly every car I've owned, I've had some sort of problem with the wiper switch. Most of the time, this is due to the inner contacts getting corroded or dirty. You have two choices - find an NOS one, or repair the one you have. The switches can be disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and reassembled fairly easily. Here is a look at one I just took apart this afternoon.

FIRST - to remove the switch from the dash:

- To remove the dash bezel, you have to remove the headlight knob. Reach under the dash with one hand and find the headlight switch. On the side of the switch somewhere is a button. Push the button down and pull the headlight knob out at the same time. It should pull out fairly easily. NOTE: this will leave your headlights in the ON position. Disconnect the battery or replace the headlight knob once you pull the dash bezel off.

- Once the knob is out, unscrew the chrome headlight switch bezel. Now you can pop out the dash bezel.

- I'm going from memory at this point. There are 4 small tangs on the wiper switch itself. To effectively get to this, you may need to remove the screws that hold the dash vent in, and move it aside you you can fit your hand behind the switch. There are 2 tangs on top, and 2 on the bottom. Once you get those tangs pushed in enough to remove the switch from the dash, unplug the wire harness.

- Now we're at the fun part!

- This is not a required step unless you need to get to the "WIPER" script and fix the lettering there. If you do, the first thing you should do is pull out the little black finger switch on the front. You may have to wiggle the knob some to get it out. It is just a pressure fit inside the wiper switch.

- On the back of the switch, there is one philips head screw. Remove it.

- At this point, the back of the switch can be removed. BE CAREFUL and lift the back off the switch face so that the face of the switch is facing DOWN. If you do not do this, you might lose the springs and contacts inside the switch.

- Everything can simply fall apart once the back is removed.

Here is the switch completely disassembled.


- To access the WIPER script, you need to file or grind the plastic that secures it to the face. The factory melted the window into place.


- This procedure works well with minorly damaged text, but sometimes you either have to find anotheer switch or try reprinting new text and pasting it to the plastic window. I've not done that myself, but if you can find the right font, it can be done. With this particular switch, there was only one blemish above the W. I simply used a very fine paint brush and some flat black paint to touch it up.


- This is the most important part - CLEAN THE CONTACTS. Use some sort of emery board or copper cleaner. For this application, I used 1000 grit sand paper. In the foreground in the photo, you can see one of the small contacts that came off the inside of the switch. One is cleaned, one is not. Don't forget to use dielectric grease on the contacts before you reassemble!!! This is the goopy brown stuff you wiped off the contacts when you took it apart. It's the same stuff you use in bulb sockets.


Don't forget the back spades!!!


Here is the back of the movable portion of the switch where the small contacts and springs go.


Assembled part:


- Before you reassemble the switch, take the time to completely clean all the parts while you can get to them. Take the WASH button and clean out the lettering and outer grooves with a toothbrush. Same for the plastic housing and front face of the switch. It's amazing how good it looks once you've got it all cleaned and put back together. It looks as good as NOS!




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