Piston Slap: Chevy Venture Minivan's Two-Fingered Salute

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC commentator deanst writes:

I have a question about the windshield wipers on a 2002 Chevy Venture minivan. The wipers function as expected, except that when they are turned off, they park in an upright position – not horizontally at the bottom of the windshield. This first occurred two winters ago, and they miraculously fixed themselves when summer came. This winter they again started parking in an upright position, and continue to do so. My mechanic thought a new wiper motor should fix the problem, at a cost of three or four hundred dollars. A quick search on the internet suggest that there is some reset procedure which might cure the problem. What is the best course of action?

Sajeev replies:

When I started Piston Slap, I wanted to overstate the value of model-specific forums on the Web. They help your pocketbook, safety and general well being. Think of it as a Wellness Program for you and your ride. Well, maybe not.

Wiper motors that don’t “park” in cold weather stems from a problem with the ground. Sometimes the ground is internal to a wiring harness, other times the ground is built into a wiring harness. Or the case completes the circuit when it bolts to the firewall. I would clean your ground by removing “it”, cleaning the mating surfaces and applying a dab of dielectric grease to help prevent this problem from happening again.

This should be a quick and almost free fix. But you’ll have to do your homework as to where your particular fix is located under the hood.

[Send your technical queries to: mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Gardiner Westbound Gardiner Westbound on Jul 30, 2009

    The Asian manufacturers espouse Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement. The domestic automakers seem to do it the other way around. If something doesn't work, they ignore it. If it does work they cheapen it until it doesn't work any more. GM has been putting windshield wipers in cars for a very long time. You would think they would have the hang of it by now.

  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Jul 30, 2009

    jaje- hey sorry to upset you buddy. Actually the "legendary" comment is simply a reaction to the way many of the bowtie believer act about it. I can see how you would think it applied to you as a misquote. My sincere apologies. That enigne family is just, admittedly, a pet peeve. I consider it to be, not awful (see Vega alum block), but possibly the most overrated engine in history. Some GM diehards have built a stunning level of undeserved mythology around a lame, outdated lump. IMO. Take care. Best regards. Back on the wipers-I guess a "two-finger salute" is an improvement over the number of digits many of their customers have received.

  • Jaje Jaje on Jul 30, 2009

    Thanks Bunter. I'm definitely no fan of GM's OHV v6 - they had a powerband of a tractor, had the fuel mileage of one too, would basically make a true car enthusiast take that car and engine for a along drive on a short pier. They were completely uncompetitive compared to the competition - but they were cheap/cheap to produce - GM could market we have V6 over your competitions little 4 bangers (even though those 4 bangers would embarass that V6 - but didn't matter b/c most people are kinda stupid and figure v6 > 4 cylinder and there'd be no exceptions), and they were somewhat reliable and would last over 100k miles (almost running on pure spite of its owners wishes for it to blow up so they can get rid of the car with that engine).

  • Paul_y Paul_y on Jul 30, 2009

    @ menno: I noticed this phenomenon too, a long time ago. Damndest thing. As for the original issue at hand: I seem to recall a Cartalk call dealing with this, and they suggested not worrying about it as long as the wipers still work when you want/need them to. I advocate as much.