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2003 Forester XS- excessive play in wipers - SOLVED!

4899 Views 8 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  aka_elvis
Since I purchased my Forester last month, I noticed the wipers don't normally go all the down to the park position (over the heating elements) and they don't go all the up to the up position near th edge of the driver's side of the windshield (they go up most of the way, stop for a split second, then go back down. It seems the the motor is pushing them up, then the blades stop while the motor goes a tad further, then reverses, then the blades start moving back down. Also When the wipers are off, you can move the blades several inches freely (both wiper blades move together).

I'm guessing either the wiper arm bushings are worn out, or perhaps it's an issue with the wiper motor itself?

Also, i tried removing the driver's side wiper arm and it's no go. Don't want to use any brute force on it, but I've spayed it with PB Blaster and gently rocked the arm back and forth as well as lightly tap on the stud with a hammer, but it doesn't budge. Also, it doesn't look like there is any space inder where the arm mounts to the stud to get a battery post puller and any other puller under there. Looks like another job to farm out to my mechanic.
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No problems removing the wiper arms on our Foresters. We pull them, once a year, to get under the cowl & to paint the wiper arms.

Just to make sure... did you remove the retaining nut before trying to remove the wiper arm? :confused:


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
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Yes, definitely removed the nut! Tried on several different occasions to remove it with no luck.
Sounds like the arm is seized to the splined, cone shaped shaft. :confused:

On our Foresters, I remove the nut, rock it a bit & it pops right off.


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
Finally, success! I guess more PB Blaster did the trick. I was able to rock both arms and pull them off. Might take the plastic trim off and look things over during the long weekend. I also saw a complete spare assembly with linkage and motor on Ebay for not that much so I grabbed it so I can replace the entire thing (assuming the Ebay one is better, but I can't imagine it having more slop in it than what I have now).
If you decided you remove the cowl, you're in for a shock! Take a look a look at this post in our Member Journal: :icon_eek:

What's under that windshield trim piece?


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
I'm sure I'll find a forest under there!. I can can look around the wiper shaft and see the is junk down there. The OCD in me can't wait to remove the trim and clean it all out.

In the Youtube video a guy made of repairing the wipers on an '03, it looked like a forest down there.

Also, I know this one will be bad by the amount of organic matter I scooped out of the rocker panel skirts when I removed the lower plastic trim to paint it.
So my Ebay wiper mechanism arrived today. Everything felt nice and tight. I went in and removed the old one and found that the bushing where the output link from the motor ties into the main linage was gone basically. Put the new unit in and wipers work like a charm- the travel is correct and the consistently park over the heating elements in the windshield. I may try the $5 busing kit from Autozone and fix the old assembly one day when I'm looking foir something to do and I now have a good spare wiper motor as well.

I made a short YouTube video showing hows easy the replacement is:
@Boxer_Steve63 I had to replace the same bushing on my 05 XS. After replacing the same bushing you found to be worn (I used Dorman bushing kit #49774 which was suggested elsewhere) everything felt tight. However, after getting everything re-assembled the wipers still have some play, tend to park above the heat elements and the driver side wiper stops short of where it should. The bushing kit was about $4 so it's worth buying another to replace the remainder of the OEM bushings but it sounds like a replacement linkage is in my future. I'd like to use an OEM part if I can find one at a reasonable price. Has anyone used an aftermarket linkage such as the Dorman or Ultra-Power?

If you end up rehabing your old linkage, I'd be interested in knowing which bushing kit you used and it it was successful.
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