Wiper motor on 97 getting power and appears fine, but wipers only wiggle?

Asked by Jun 01, 2015 at 12:29 PM about the 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis 4 Dr LS Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hello everyone. I first want to say, thanks to any who try to put out helpful
information!! As a female self taught mechanic, I LOVE this site!
I have tested the wiper motor and it is working properly, I went so far as
removing the motor and retesting with nothing attached and it seems to be
functioning properly with all settings from the controls, including slow,
intermittent and fast. The motor and components seem fine. I have not tried to  
reinstall and see if just cleaning out all the debris (A LOT of debris all around
the transmission (correct term?) as well as the moving parts including the
wiper arms and everything else under the plastic cowl...any ideas before I just
go for it, putting everything back in and hope cleaning nearly 20 years of debris
takes care of this?

17 Answers


Check the inside to the wipers collar where it slides onto the motor shaft. Sounds like something let loose inside of the wiper retaining collars. If the motor is actually turning left and right, then the collars must be split.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks...going to do that right now!

Well...now I am stuck...they seem fine, but unsure how to confirm without putting it all back together. Ugh!


Are the spline grooves on the inside of the wiper collars all stripped out? Seems weird that if the motor turns, the wipers are just barely wiggling. Put a blade of the motor spline right now and see if it will turn the with the blade on it. Maybe the motor gear has enough power to just move the shaft, but under load it may just spin.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Grooves are clear and pristine on all...the wipers each move when operated manually and individually. Now what? ha ha ha...thanks so much btw!

crap...will do as you suggested hooked up...I am getting frustrated and didn't do exactly as you suggested...will now. Thanks for your patience and help.


I would guess that whatever was causing the issue has been resolved by removing everything. You may have had a loose ground or loose wire. I would just clean all the debris out and put everything back together. Sounds like there's no reason why they shouldn't now work.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Fingers crossed! Thanks so very much!

well....reconnected everything, including the arm that connects to the motor (fits on and is held with a c clip?), have not put the wipers back on yet and when I tested to see if there was any improvement, found that the motor seems to be slipping unless i put pressure on the arm at the clip, then it seems to work and move properly. ???


That's what I was suspecting. The motors ran normally with no load on them. But as soon as they have to start pushing with force, they just lose the ability for some reason. Something is worn in the motors. Never opened one up to see how they work.

Best Answer

Guess a new motor it is then...oh joy!!


I'm guessing this is the type of set up you have? Maybe the center bushing on yours is to far worn to make the wipers go back and forth? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_ImTgIiRR0

This is what i watched...exact same setup as mine exactly. Think the transmission is shot...motor is strong... https://youtu.be/4m_h5pAJAhs


Yup, makes sense.....


Hello, Now that you know, All Lincolns, Ford Crown Vics, and Grand Marquis's use the same setup. The transmission, plastic housing w/ the arms, bushing and all come as an assembly, and are Regularly replaced on these auto's. The first symptom is usually the wipers won't park...they go all to the left and stay up...then, they will quit all together. And yes, no Crown, Lincoln, or Merc should every be parked under TREES... BTW, this transmission is not bad...don't over pay...EEEE bray has some good deals...and the motors RARELY go bad. Hope this Helps, AskTrannyMan

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

So I should be looking for what part exactly...? Feel like giving up and throwing the money at dang thing...and a hammer...and a shoe...


The motor works, so I would buy the entire assembly. According to Trannyman, you can buy the whole assembly. That will be a dealer part only or Ebay. Not something the auto store will have on the shelf. You can always try your local salvage yard as well.

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