Over the week I put another 8 or 10 hours in the car sorting my windshield wiper system and getting the area under the scuttle squared away. The windshield wipers are a PITA, I’ve got three full Bug setups disassembled to make one Spyder rig, and even then I’m going to need Trico universal wiper arms to make it go.
The reason for this is simple enough: these cars seldom came with wipers (one of the early ones—number 7 or 8, I believe—got the factory wiper treatment in its initial “Bucklewagon” design in 1954; a couple others may have had them added for rally use). The replicas have a sunken plinth system that is most often paired with a long, tall later model wiper bearing pivot and fairly thick mid ’70s wiper arms. It works but I hate the look….
No matter how you dress it up it looks like a heavier-duty, later model (and actually better) wiper than anything you could get in the ’50s. If we absolutely must do this, I want the spindly, marginally effective wipers that were period-correct.
I bought original ’57 Beetle wiper arms and Pre-A Porsche blades, thinking “what better?” Answer: anything. They are squared off at the business end and, with the short bearing shafts used on earlier cars, would gouge into the divot plinths in the Spyder and bind. No go.
Speaking of binding, the assembly itself bound up when I tested it with a battery.
I puzzled it out for half a day, flipping the tie-rod thing over, disassembling and reassembling the works several times with various different bits before I changed which side the cranking arm part was on. That did the trick.
A little wire testing, a little soldering, a new internal fuse for the light switch Thunder Ranch supplied to work as a wiper switch…
Plus some proper o-ring gaskets underneath, a little contortion to get the dang thing situated, some cursing, et voila.
Back under the dash, I re-arranged the wires and ziptied them up, then greased all the shafts and joints on the pedals. I’ll dust and wipe down the paint under there fairly soon and test the seat heaters before buttoning up the floor.
Today I got a gallon and a half of 92 octane gas and started the engine to make sure all was still good there, and tested the clutch to make sure I could get to the gears with the engine running. I could.
Ordered some 6-32 and 8-32 rivnuts and stainless screws to affix the glass windshield for the constabulary’s edification, and also to make the rear aluminum underpan later.
I also got my friend Bruce Stumpp’s wife, Norma, to hem the tonneau cover so it will work with the plexi windscreen.
With that, there are 67 items remaining on the punch list.