how do I check if my wiper system is electric or vacuum


Asked by Sep 05, 2014 at 10:19 AM about the 1963 Ford Thunderbird

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have some wipers that work fine but when I turn them off ( anti clockwise on switch) a buzzing noise continues almost as though they are electric. I need to know which then I can tackle the problem,
if its electrical I can check for the switch NOT cancelling if vacuum I can check the feed system???

13 Answers



Looking at that page the 1963 Bird is not listed under electric motors, so apparently it's vacuum...but there were overlaps. They went hydraulic in 1964

Best Answer
146,515 .. there is a ton of diagrams for T-Birds there but they want $15 just for a dang download


It is vacuum! Electric wipers didn't come in until after 66. To prove it, just go turn on your wipers without the engine running. If it is electric, it will run at a steady rate If it vacuum, it will run down as the vacuum tank is drained.


Oldtimer, thanks for that the reason for asking a rather naive question is that when I turn the wipers off I can hear a "buzzing" from under the dashboard, I assume that if they had been electric i would be able to run them with the engine off. the car has sufferef by a previous owner messing with the electrics so thats my issue. what could the buzzing noise be aftet ive turned of the wippers , they work well by the way


I also read that some systems use oil from the steering?? Neil


There is a hydrolic system also that is powered by the power steering pump on some Birds like my 65, but again, when you turn them off there is no noise.It may be the noise you hear is the wiper motor "parking" the blades. Other than that, I am lost as to what the sound could be that you are hearing.

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Thanks Oldtimer37, the sound a low "hum" continues after I turn the wipers off untill I switch off the car???


I just checked my1963 Thunderbird, it is hydraulic, I have two steel lines coming through the fire wall that run to the power steering pump.

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Thanks geujag, Ive found those pipes going through the firewall so perhaps it is oil driven the next thing will be/ may be to see if its got air somehow trapped inside or something, if anyone has any ideas Id welcome them, meanwhile thanks geujag

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Are you hearing the "hum" with or without the engine running?


Oldtimer only when the engine is running AFTER I turn the wipers OFF Neil

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I am wondering if you may be low on power steering fluid. Check it and if it is low, be sure 1. use the proper fluid and 2. don't over fill it..

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