Have you seen this pair of Ford wipers on eBay? TRICO wipers that claim to be made for the Ford are not rare, but the actual Ford/TRICO unit doesn't show up every day.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-Late-Model-T-Factory-Accessory-Trico-Vacuum-Wiper-M otor-Rare-piece-/321328013893?pt=Vintage_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item4a d0a46245&vxp=mtr#ht_593wt_1121
I would not call them "NOS" as the seller claims. One is missing the manual lever, mounting bracket, mounting nut, and pieces have scabbed off the pot-metal body, but I think it can be restored. A replica brass lever can be turned on a small lathe and nickel plated.
What's interesting is the one beside it. It's obviously a Ford (or a TRICO Junior), but it's missing the Ford plate over the valve assembly and the lever. The ON/OFF valve and associated vacuum passages are completely missing. They are not included in the mono-bloc top casting. It was obviously made to be an auxiliary or secondary wiper for the passenger side. The driver's side unit has always been easy to convert to a master wiper feeding an auxiliary unit by removing a brass plug and driving in a short brass tube. This is the first time I've ever seen a TRICO that may have been specifically intended for passenger side in a Ford.
Did Chevrolet or a similar light car from 1927 use the same type TRICO wiper with a passenger side unit?
What's the function of the disc screwed to the right side (with the wiper upside down) of this unit?
From Ficken wiper service. I think I would have picked a different name.
Even fully restored and working at their best, vacuum wipers are the wipers from Hell. I was shocked to learn that even in 1955 Packard was still using them. Maybe that's what put the company out of business.
I can't tell you that you are wrong, Steve. With the TRICO vacuum wiper, there is a very thin line between a wiper that is merrily flailing at the windshield and one that is utterly stalled. They are extremely fragile, seals are hyper-critical, and the valve action demands unreasonable precision. These are reasons why the Ford automatic wiper, an official accessory built by TRICO, is so rare. Most were thrown away by the end of 1928.
And, that's what makes the Ford automatic wiper such a dandy addition to an Improved Car. I study and cherish them and try to coax them into operation. They are rare and interesting and challenging.
Bitching about vacuum wipers is like bitching about tires that have to have air in them.
A vauum wiper system will outlast several sets of tires.
When they crap out just fix them.
The cars that had a vacuum booster on the fuel pump would keep the wipers going when lugging up a long hill.
Chevrolet still had vacuum wipers long after Packard went out of business.
My '48 Nash has vacuum wipers and they've been working just fine the last 19 years.
Same for my '51 Ford F-1 pickup.
My '29 Nash needs the vacuum motor overhauled as the don't work well but I know they can be fixed and will last several decades.
Even electric wipers sometimes need a new motor.
I'm not that old but I remember many of my dads cars having vacuum wipers. The reason I know they were vacuum is that during a heavy rainstorm, they would always pick the worst, most critical time to slow down to a crawl. Some would even stop as I remember!
The problem in todays world with 87 year old vacuum wipers is (hope I get this right)inner granular corrosion caused by the lead in the die-cast castings. The bodies are often so warped that the seal can't seat and the wiper can't be fixed.
A vacuum wiper usually stalls going up hill in high gear. In that condition, the throttle is wide open, so a minimum vacuum is developed in the intake manifold. With the throttle partially closed or in idling condition, there is always a net low-pressure in the intake structure. Not so if it is fully open to the atmosphere.
I was hoping that someone could recognize the odd TRICO that has no ON/OFF valve. The TRICO "Junior," which was designed specifically for retrofit into the small hole in the windshield frame of the Model T, was unique to the Ford. Was it possibly used on another economy car made in the narrow time period of 26-27? In the middle of 1927, the valve assembly on the TRICO wipers was completely redesigned, and the Model T automatic wipers were probably unique to the wide range of TRICO vacuum wiper motors.
Yes, a major problem is aging of the casting metal used to make the main vacuum chamber in the TRICO. It warps, bubbles up, and pieces can literally blast off the surface. Screw-lugs crumble
There are a few remaining specialists who can straighten the vacuum chamber and restore it to working condition. It's amazing.
If Chevrolet was still using vacuum wipers after Packard folded in 1956 I'm not surprised. In 1973 their seat belts were a pathetic joke compared to the ones used by VW, Renault, and Toyota five years earlier. My 1951 Dodge Pickup is old fashioned in some ways, but it has electric wipers that don't bog down when you step on the foot feed. Apparently Chrysler was a little more advanced than Ford and GM.
That's why they make rain-x. KGB
I remember a friend of mine bought a new '57 Chev 6 cylinder wagon and he ordered it with only one accessory-electric wipers.
It was the first Chevy I ever saw, and the only '57, with electric wipers.
The Ficken family has been in the Trico and vacuum wiper business for years and ARE the "go-to" people for repairs and parts. Reliable with a great positive reputation.
My 1959 Continental has vac wipers never a problem.
And the MEL engines only ones in the world that
has integral vac. pump built into the oil pump. We
had a 1960 Lincoln also had vac wipers. My biggest
bitch with electric's is that they usually go too
fast, I think the best was a 61 Lincoln my mother
had that ran off the power steering. You could
dial it in to a creep for mist...
There were lots of different technical solutions to the wiper problem in the 50's, the 1958 Opel Rekord and Kapitšn had the wipers driven by a speedometer style wire from the camshaft. From what I've heard they almost never had just the right speed.. In '59 Opel got two speed electrical wipers that worked OK, well lots of on/off flipping the switch in a drizzle like with all electrical wipers until they got the intermittent speed option later well into the dull modern age.
My '58 Thunderbird had a massive vacuum wiper under the dash. My '65 Lincoln also has the hydraulic system that Samuel Pine describes. Plus the power steering pump is crankshaft mounted so there is no belt.
I have a '28 Model A that came from the factory with an electric wiper. The die castings on these wipers are worse than the vacuum wipers. Look at Snyder's catalog to see how many base plates they offer to fix them. I have come to the conclusion that no one drove their cars in the rain until the modern wiper standards were created. The solution to all this is simply to use Rainex.
I didn't know my Junk box was worth so much I have several vacuum from trico and others even off my '26 Buick best description of vacuum wipers if it is raining and you have to go uphill your wipers will stop in the middle of the windshield if you are slowing down they go so fast they just skim over the water. best solution I've found is a 6 volt trico vacuum motor produces constant vacuum at any speed I have 1 and it is the only one I have seen.
My '60 Ford pickup had vacuum wipers. The fuel pump had a vacuum pump on it that ran the wipers. It worked fine.
GM also attached the vacuum pump to the oil pump for a few years. I know the 57 Buick had this design.
The mid-60's Thunderbirds had hydraulic wiper motor. They worked great! variable speed control and lots of torque. I think the only reason they went away was the invention of the intermittent wiper.
Returning to my original inquiry, I asked Ficken about the mysterious second wiper. He responded, confirming that the second unit was never intended for a Ford. (I had since noticed that the shaft is too short to fit through the Ford closed car windshield frame.) He offers it because it has a good vacumm-chamber casting, and it can be exchanged for the distressed casting on the other wiper motor. The strange disc screwed to the top is the ON/OFF switch.
I still don't know what car the odd unit was built for. The drum-shaped valve on the motor was built only for about a year at TRICO, and it was replaced by a different design that became a TRICO standard for the next 40 years or so. It was used on the very small, economy vacuum motor that was adopted by Ford in 1926. I have seen the same valve on the TRICO Junior, which was sold off-line by TRICO for use on the Ford. The existence of another variation of the Junior indicates that it was used on another car of the period.
I always liked driving a car with vacuum wipers. I thought it was fun to watch the speed vary as your speed changed. Of course it did get a bit annoying when the rain was light and you had to keep adjusting the knob to keep from smearing the mess on the windshield. But when pulling a hill, whether the rain was light or heavy, and the wiper just sat there as the windshield got more and more opaque? All you needed to do was pop your foot off the gas pedal for a fraction of a second and then push it back again to the floor. That would give a few quick swipes and clear the windshield nicely, yet hardly slow the car a bit.
Like I said. I like vacuum wipers.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Here's a NOS unit in the original box from our collection I posted a while back.
ACCESSORY OF THE DAY 02/28/11 TRICO JR. WINDSHIELD WIPER SETUP
You collection of accessories always amazes.
The TRICO Junior is very interesting. It is different from the official Ford wiper in a couple of ways.
1) The Ford wiper had a different logo plate, showing the Ford name and a very small TRICO. It had the same peripheral decorations as the TRICO plate, and both types of plate used black lettering on photo-etched brass. The wiper for the closed car used black on a polished brass background. The open car wiper was black on a nickel-plated background.
2) On the Junior, the manual lever is pressed on to a straight-knurled shaft. It points up. The Ford lever points down, and it is held on with a set screw.
The Junior 621-A has the mounting bracket for an open-car windshield. The closed car windshield mounting bracket (used to counteract torque and prevent the motor from spinning on the shaft) was larger, to accommodate the big, square-cross-section frame. Both brackets worked on the same motor case, keying into different slots on the front. I would guess there is a 621-B that fits closed cars?