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Old 04-08-2019, 07:49 PM   #1
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Replacing hard to reach windshield wiper motors

I am looking for ideas on how to replace or re-condition two hard to reach windshield wiper motors on my boat.

The boat is a 1988 Ocean Alexander and the motors currently trip the circuit breaker if I attempt to use them. I can see a spike of almost 50 amps DC when engaging one motor, so they clearly are not doing well.

I've poked around everywhere I can think of beneath them, and I can trace wires going into voids, but can never find a way to access the back of them. Much of the inside of the v-berth and head where I believe they are housed is covered by leather covered headliner boards that have tiny teak trim nailed/glued around the edges, and are notoriously hard to get out without major damage.

The previous owner said everything he had seen indicated they needed to be cut out of the outside of the boat to be replaced, and the more I look at them, that seems likely. However, I also am always shaking my head that OA didn't *really* design these so poorly that I have to cut the front of my foredeck open to replace them....

Any crazy ideas for how this could be done?
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:53 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. s. Cutting the outside would be my LAST option. Repairing any damage you may cause INSIDE will be a lot easier and less urgent than having to do repairs and resealing from the outside IMO. Any inside pictures?
Might there be a way to remove that housing from the outside? The high current draw is probably due to the shaft (on the left) binding on an internal bearing surface.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:58 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. s. Cutting the outside would be my LAST option. Repairing any damage you may cause INSIDE will be a lot easier and less urgent than having to do repairs and resealing from the outside IMO. Any inside pictures?


That was my initial reaction too. Cutting holes in the nice outside deck would be a pain to fix.

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This is the head ceiling. I believe one motor is behind this although it is the port side and less important. It appears to be some sort of press Formica board they used in all watery areas with a teak edge glued or nailed in.

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This is where the starboard one is. Leather headliner with lots of teak trim.

I can see no way to remove the headliner without some major surgery.

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Another view. Iíve tried getting to them from the sides which I have a few tiny access areas to use but I canít even see the motors let alone get one out through the holes.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:06 PM   #4
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I would look at installing an access panel on the inside. Absolutely not cut the outside.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:07 PM   #5
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I would look at installing an access panel on the inside. Absolutely not cut the outside.


Oh hey thatís a good idea. Yeah I thought the previous owners plan to cut them out from the outside was ... bad.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:18 PM   #6
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A hole saw sized for the access panel will work and not go in as far as a jig saw. If you are going through headliner run the hole saw in reverse to cut through the headliner so it won’t grab. Give it a test on scrap headliner first to get a feel for it. If you have an inspection camera you can drill a small hole to get a look inside to see if any wiring is in the way.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:35 PM   #7
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Wish I could help you with this. I can tell you that OA left you access but needing to pull down the head liner wouldn’t surprise me. You can call Alex Marine, if anybody knows it will be them.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:39 PM   #8
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If it takes pulling down the headliner, I would definitely install an access panel because it wonít be the last time you will need to get in there.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:42 PM   #9
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Got a contact with the local OA dealer?
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:49 PM   #10
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Got a contact with the local OA dealer?
Alex Marine is both the local and the national importer.
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:06 PM   #11
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A hole saw sized for the access panel will work and not go in as far as a jig saw. If you are going through headliner run the hole saw in reverse to cut through the headliner so it wonít grab. Give it a test on scrap headliner first to get a feel for it. If you have an inspection camera you can drill a small hole to get a look inside to see if any wiring is in the way.
Ah good idea. I've used the "run the hole saw in reverse" trick for a number of other things. That should work here too, although it would be great if I could figure out some way to just pop it out, although doubtful.

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Wish I could help you with this. I can tell you that OA left you access but needing to pull down the head liner wouldnít surprise me. You can call Alex Marine, if anybody knows it will be them.
Thanks, sent you a PM on the details around them. I will definitely try them.

I've been told by several OA owners that pulling the headliners down will result in replacing them in the area you're working in. They are fiddly and hard to get back in once you remove them. I would really like to avoid that as the v-berth, where this is, is pristine and has a lot of corners, a hatch cut into it, and tons of teak work that would likely have to come down as well.
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:59 PM   #12
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Alex Marine is both the local and the national importer.
Hmmm, sounds like it is time for a road trip to the factory to learn the secrets behind working on the windshield wiper motors.
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:02 PM   #13
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Hmmm, sounds like it is time for a road trip to the factory to learn the secrets behind working on the windshield wiper motors.


Good thing itís a mile from my boat and home
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:19 PM   #14
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I have used one of the oscillating tools, Rockwell, for similar projects. With some care to not go to deep you may be able to cut the panels for a good sized access port for each wiper without making a big hash of it.
Then once the work is done on the wipers sort out some teak trim strips to cover the cut.

I also agree that if the O.A. guy is close talk to him first.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:20 PM   #15
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I have used one of the oscillating tools, Rockwell, for similar projects. With some care to not go to deep you may be able to cut the panels for a good sized access port for each wiper without making a big hash of it.
Then once the work is done on the wipers sort out some teak trim strips to cover the cut.

I also agree that if the O.A. guy is close talk to him first.
Good suggestion.

I have chatted with the OA guys, but they've said "just remove the panel!" so a visit in person is going to happen next, as it is clearly a bit more complicated than that or I would have figured it out.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:35 PM   #16
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Just because it's a pain in the ass doesn't mean that's not the way to do it.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:47 PM   #17
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Removing the panel is usually the easy part, getting it back in and having it fit correctly is the hard part.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:51 PM   #18
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Let's see the OA guys "just remove the panel" without damage.
The panel could be held up with industrial strength velcro. Finding a way to break loose the velcro can be tricky..... Need an access point, maybe a light fixture to slide your hand and work the velcro loose? If not, then find out what special tool OA personel use to work the velcro loose. Sounds like the entire panel must be lowered to get at the motor. The wood trim will come away with the panel. This is going to be a "more than 2 people job."
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:25 PM   #19
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If worse comes to worse, just clean the glass carefully and use Rain-x, I use it and don’t use the wipers. Repeat as needed.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:30 PM   #20
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If worse comes to worse, just clean the glass carefully and use Rain-x, I use it and donít use the wipers. Repeat as needed.
I actually have already done that, and it works reasonably well, but it isn't perfect. My windows are at a pretty steep angle, close to the angle of my foredeck, so the rain doesn't slide off them as quickly as I'd like.
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