W220 S430 Wiper problem, wipers HELP PLEASE - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 02:21 PM
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Question W220 S430 Wiper problem, wipers HELP PLEASE

Hello all,
I am new to the forum but have learned a great deal about many nagging ongoing issues with my 2002 S430... thanks to all of you.

PROBLEM I have with WIPERS : I am unable to resolve even after 3 return visits to mercedes. My wipers, while gliding across the windshield hop, or shutter, or flutter... what every the proper term may be on the low speed or sensor setting but not the fast setting which they than run across smootly. Very annoying racket and vibration which makes it uncomfortable to drive any distance in the rain.

I feel it started when my windshield was replaced last year, although the dealer says that was a coincidence and that nothing is bent or out of spec with the wipers from the windshield replacement. They have re calibrated the wipers and have replaced the blades 3 times... they claim they are stumped and can not fix it.

Any suggestions, advise, explanations would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You in advance

PS: I am also a victim of the early W220's and have put $14,000 in my 2002 S430 over the last 2 years between 60k-85k miles, air suspension, command center, multiple control modules throughout, motor/transmission mounts, etc... all this and I am happy with my car and have never been able to sell it or trade it in. It is our long road trip road car and we are pleased every time we take a trip, this while owning a 2008 S550, which is wonderful, but honestly not enough of an improvement to have bought the new one... oh well.
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#2 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 05:31 PM
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The same thing happened to one of my wipers, it would judder in one direction but was smooth in the other direction. I fixed it by twisting the wiper arm slightly. I figured out that when it judders, the angle of the blade to the windshield is slightly acute rather than perpendicular. I just took a crescent wrench to the flat wiper arm and bent it appropriately. It is made of spring steel so you cannot bend it much but just enough to correct a slight difference in angle.
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#3 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 06:46 PM
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Have you checked if there were any chemicals ever applied to the windshield or the wipers themselves? Have you ever taken them to the car wash? It could be related to chemicals. I have not come across from this problem (yes we are victims too, but isn't bad compared to yours - we only had minor problems: example - squeaking chair, broken sunroof button).
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#4 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 10:21 PM
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Thanks for the immediate suggestions.

Chemicals? I have tried to think of everything possible as it would pertain to something on the actual glass such as a chemical because it always seemed like there would have to be something tacky on the glass causing the wipers to shutter across the glass like that. I cleaned the glass with rubbing alcohol many times as I was told that would take off any possible chemical or residue.... nothing, same problem. I even questioned the RainX I put on but I use that on all my cars without issue. I even went down the road that maybe the new glass they put in was processed incorrectly causing something to be wrong with the surface, but the mercedes dealer said that made no sense.

Bent Arm?
I just went and looked, surprisingly the drivers side has a very identifiable bend in the flat part of the arm and when looking at the passenger side there are no bends. Fist thought was; ya but both shutter across and the other is not bent... then the more I thought about it maybe the passenger did not and I just assumed it was as well because of the drivers side. No way to tell now as it quite raining and it only does it with rain or water on the glass. Anyway, tried to bend it as suggested and it will just not budge no matter how many times I tried. I looked it up and the good news is the drivers side arm cost is $76 where the passenger is $162 because of its more complex structure. So if indeed it is the drivers arm bend causing the problem it would not be horrible to have to replace. So will run the hose on it tomorrow and see if only the drivers side shutters, and if so would be worth replacing to give that a shot.

What annoys me is that I very specifically mentioned to the Mercedes dealer that maybe something got bent when replacing the glass as that is when this problem began, but they assured me that everything was true and nothing was bent. I just took their word and really did not look into it myself until tonight following your suggestion. And if it is simply a bent arm, how on earth could they tell me they are stumped and can not figure out how to fix this problem? Unless they feel a small bend like that could not be causing the problem... just seems strange the mercedes techs can not figure this out.

Anyway, appreciate the help and welcome any other thoughts.
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#5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 10:42 PM
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Any thoughts on the plastic gear, which connects to the wiper motor possibly being worn out or cogs stripped causing a staggered movement, hence transferring this movement to the blades?
Again, on fast speed it does not shutter across the glass, pretty smooth. It only happens on slow speed or intermittent . Wondering if this dynamic can help in identifying the problem.
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#6 (permalink) Old 08-09-2009, 01:14 AM
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When I adjusted my wiper arm, I was able to twist it slightly (should have used the word twist rather than bend in my previous post) so that the blade presents itself perpendicular to the glass. If the blade is not perpendicular, there is no way of measuring it other than noting in which direction the blade is travelling when it judders. For instance, my driver's side blade was juddering on the way up but was smooth on the way down. If the edge of the blade is following the arm, it cannot judder. If the edge of the blade is ahead of the arm, then it will judder. In my case I twisted the arm slightly clockwise (looking down the length of the arm towards the pivot). My car had the same problem as yours when I first got it. The dealer replaced both blades and adjusted them (according to the work order) but they still juddered until I figured it out and adjusted it appropriately. When I adjusted mine, it did not seem to budge as you said, but it does just enough to make the very slight adjustment
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#7 (permalink) Old 08-09-2009, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redc320s View Post
The same thing happened to one of my wipers, it would judder in one direction but was smooth in the other direction. I fixed it by twisting the wiper arm slightly. I figured out that when it judders, the angle of the blade to the windshield is slightly acute rather than perpendicular. I just took a crescent wrench to the flat wiper arm and bent it appropriately. It is made of spring steel so you cannot bend it much but just enough to correct a slight difference in angle.
This is the correct answer and Mercedes Benz have the special tools to do it but maybe your dealership is a tool and does not know, perhaps you should inform them of their lack of technical capability

ERIC.

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#8 (permalink) Old 08-09-2009, 09:41 AM
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again, thank you redc & eric, i appreciate the response. Got the hose out this morning... stopped the blades at various points along their route, indeed both blades (from top to bottom) were connecting with the glass as they should, not ahead of the arm in either direction and look perpendicular.
Analyzed it much more closely to specifically describe it. Both blades judder terribly on the way up and on the way down on both ends of both blades. Yet when the glass is dry they do not... the minute the glass gets wet the juddering and racket begins, then move it to fast (3 position) and it subsides (not completely but 80% and bearable). It is almost like when the windshield gets wet the blades meet this immediate friction... like they are traveling across invisible goo, almost like when you slide rubber against rubber, but obviously my glass is not turning to rubber when wet so it has to be something else. Again, It is not in one spot or the other, on one blade or the other, literally judder down both blades?
This is why I am starting to wonder if wetness is enough restriction to cause; say a worn out or stripped plastic cog on the gear to slip or skip slightly causing broken transfer of steady power throughout the lineage and arm, Or if something else could do this.
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#9 (permalink) Old 08-09-2009, 04:36 PM
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As I read this, it seems the most likely explanation (improper blade angle) isn't the case for your car.

In your case, when there is some drag on the blades, they don't chatter. Yet, when the drag is decreased by water, they do. To me, this suggests contaminants on the windshield. The blades are hitting small areas of contaminant (higher drag), then clean surface (low drag), then contaminant (repeating) - the contaminant often being oil or other road scum that isn't easily apparent in a thin layer. I had it start recently after installing brand new blades - which did fine for a short time, until I drove in heavy rain over roads having a lot of oily buildup after a long dry spell. The oil floated to the surface, and was splashed onto the windshield - and after a time, the blades started to chatter. I could see the traces of oily deposits at the upper corners, where the blades would chatter. You cannot see the deposits when the windshield is dry.

I have sometimes been successful getting rid of this junk by using Bon Ami cleansing powder - a non-abrasive cleaner made for use on fiberglass. It cleans without scratching, and it does a good job cleaning windshields. Use it liberally, but be sure to get it all off after using it. Get Bon Ami (or other low-abrasive powder made for cleaning fiberglass) at your local grocery store.

I used to experience this problem more when I used Rain-X - whether it was the old Rain-X itself, or whether junk bonded to the Rain-X, I don't know.

If that doesn't work, try twisting the blades as recommended - not just judging by looking at them.

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Last edited by Skylaw; 08-09-2009 at 09:59 PM.
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#10 (permalink) Old 08-09-2009, 09:55 PM
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Thanks skylaw, this is intriguing. i just made a trip from N.D. to Ohio 1,100 miles in one straight shot, it has been extremely dry for weeks and it picked the day I traveled to rain every single mile of the trip through 6 states and a ton of construction. My whole car had a film of grime over it when I arrived... even after I washed it the finish seemed very dull. The wipers did it before this trip but this is the only thing we use this car for, long road trips like this and maybe oils have been accumulating added with old rainX unknowns. So I will scrub it down tomorrow with BonAmi and give it a whirl.

We have never had anything remotely close to this annoying problem with any of our other vehicles which makes it so hard to comprehend.

Still puzzled the mercedes techs at my dealership have given up on solving this for me, first time I have ever had them tell me they give up and can't fix it. Actually is nagging at me as I bought a new S550 from them last year, you would think they would treat it as a special problem that needs to be solved rather than simply telling me sorry we can't fix it. Now, they have been nice about it, but still, I have bought 6 cars from them in the last 12 years, you would think I would be worthy of making sure this gets fixed.
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