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Wiring path for upper windshield wiper motor for 1959 Jeep CJ5

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  • Moses Ludel changed the title to Wiring path for upper windshield wiper motor for 1959 Jeep CJ5
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CUTRNU2...The 1959 Jeep CJ5 came stock with a driver's side wiper only.  The right side wiper was still a hand operated wiper or sometimes a vacuum motor upgrade.  (Unless you use a dual diaphragm fuel pump, running two vacuum wiper motors with an F-head 134 engine does not produce good results.  The wipers will be sluggish under wider or heavier throttle.)  A right side electric wiper setup was often dealer-installed.  My folks had a right side wiper installed on their new 1964 CJ5.  The driver side wiper remained vacuum operated, an oddity but period correct. 

If your restoration is authentic, you will be installing a vacuum wiper on the driver's side.  Many restorers, however, opt for a more functional electric wiper conversion at both sides.  I did a dual electric wiper conversion on the 1955 CJ5 featured in my Jeep® CJ Rebuilder's Manual 1946-71 (Bentley Publishers).  On the 1955 CJ, my other modifications made an OEM wiper restoration unimportant. 

The "dealer-installed" right side electric wiper was essentially a common Bosch-design motor installation.  The current aftermarket conversion sources use an off-shore "universal" motor and other parts for the conversion.  The wiper mechanism is not complicated, so this works.  Kits usually come with installation instructions.  If you prefer better quality motors, the later Kaiser/Jeep® era (late-sixties to 1971) CJs provide some ideas.

On my '55 CJ5, the wiring method for two electric wipers was my choice.  For your purposes, the rule of thumb for electric wipers begins with mounting the motors in place of the original unit(s).  Once mounted, I would route the wires along the path of the original vacuum line to the left/driver's side.  This is not only aesthetically right, you also will be following the OEM protections that permit dropping the windshield down.  You want protection for the wires and flexibility where the harness routes between the windshield and dashboard.

If there are no rubber grommets at the hose routing openings, install a rubber grommet to protect the wires.  It is essential to either route the wires in a plastic loom or tape wrap the wires.  I prefer tape wrap for an "authentic" period look.  If you're not familiar with taping, practice lapping tape before wrapping these wires.  They will be visible.

You may need clamps to hold the "harness" in place at the windshield.  I would use metal half-clamps to emulate a 1959 "look".  Plastic or full metal clamps may work well but not look original.  I use Philips head sheet metal screws, either anodized metal or stainless.

The wiring can be carefully routed beneath the dash to an electric switch (usually two-speed, depending upon the wiper type).  The switch should be mounted in place of an OEM vacuum or electric switch if such a switch is already in your dash.  If no switch exists, determine whether you want the switch mounted in the dash or on a bracket below the dash.  The switch will operate both wipers if you have installed two electric wipers. 

Make sure you fuse the power lead to the wiper switch and wipers.  Determine whether you want the wiper switch hot at all times or only when the ignition switch is in the ON position.  I took the latter approach and used a common Bosch 5-terminal relay to accomplish this safely.  My wiper switch is only hot with the ignition switch ON.  Some installers simply route the wiper switch to the battery via a correct amperage fuse, using the correct (i.e., heavier) gauge wires throughout the battery-to-wipers circuit.  This enables running the wipers with or without the ignition switch ON.  If you want to interrupt the wipers with the ignition switch, consider using a Bosch relay and choose the correct wire gauge for the wipers' amperage draw and the length of the wiring.

12V 10/20 Amps Bosch Relays | Bosch Automotive 0332201107

Unless this is a museum level restoration, you can improvise according to the Jeep's overall wiring schematic.  Make sure the wiper wires can carry the amperage safely, use the correct gauge wire and make sure you have a fused circuit.

If you need more details, we're here...


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  • 8 months later...
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You're welcome, ferdinandxe...The Bosch relays are a good way to reduce long runs of heavier gauge wire.  The device (wiper motors, etc.) has the required, heavier gauge wiring.  Switching the relay on and off can be done with less amperage and lighter wire gauge.  Bosch relay boxes are popular because they save a lot of copper while providing safe wire sizes to the devices.  In addition to the relays, the device wire circuits still require fuses.  This is why modern factory wiring circuits have relays and fuses.


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