Tech Q&A - Windshield Wipers
By Rick Black
Model A windshield wipers are described in detail in the "Restoration Guidelines & Judging Standards" published jointly by MAFCA and MARC. Since The Standards doesn't have photographs of wipers, just line drawings, this page includes photos of original wipers and era replacements.
You'll notice that some photos are missing. If you have a Trico wiper not photographed on this page, please send a photo with a description of the vehicle to the webmaster.
From many years of research, I've found that Trico used the letter "R" to start Model A vacuum wiper model numbers. In the 1930s, Trico improved the design of the Model A wipers and used the letter "K" to start part numbers. For example, the most common 1930-31 Trico wiper was used on Coupes, Tudors, Closed Cab Pickups and Straight Window Fordor Sedans. The original Trico Part number was RCX-1. The replacement wiper was KCX-1.
How to tell an "R" series original motor from a "K" series replacement
It's easy. The tops of the two differ; check patent dates. But the best way is to simply look at the front of the wiper.
The original "R" series wipers had two screws holding the oval cover over the return mechanism (left wiper in the photo.)
The "K" series wipers had a press-on cover with only a dimple at the 6 o'clock position (right wiper in the photo.)
Rebuilding and Maintenance
I've discovered a few articles regarding the rebuilding and maintenance of Trico wipers. These may assist you in your restoration.
The first is a reprint from "Skinned Knuckles" magazine.
The second is the August 1932 issue of the Ford Service Bulletins on page 46. Read that article here.
The third is Lubricating the Trico Wiper.from the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village Research Center. Note however that the article mentions using brake fluid as a lubricant, but this is not recommended by Chuck Christensen, MAFCA Technical Director, as spilled brake fluid can damage the car's paint, either during the lubrication or afterward during wiper use.
If you have comments, suggestions, better photographs, or contributions for this page,
please contact the author.