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Upgrade Your Windshield-Wiper Motor

Sea Clearly

Upgrade your windshield-wiper motor and add peace of mind to your next cruise.

As I stood at the helm of a new trawler while navigating out of the Cape Cod Canal into an incoming tide, with 20 knots of wind on the nose, and a soaking rain pouring down, an unforeseen problem arose: The windshield wipers quit. So, within seconds, I found myself driving with my head out the window like a sorry-looking golden retriever and reminded of the fact that windshield wipers are the unsung heroes of any good boat. And more to the point, they are essential for safe and comfortable cruising. Which is why the editors have opted to install Vetus-Maxwell HDM windshield wiper motors ($650 list price) on our Grand Banks 42 project boat, Arawak

Like many things on Arawak, our old motors were obviously in need of repair or replacement. And if your motors are more than 10 years old and you have a long cruise ahead of you, or your current motors are performing inconsistently, you may want to consider a replacement yourself. 

The claim to fame of these 24-volt motors is they are nearly silent, operate at two speeds, and can park on either side of the windshield.

Vetus-Maxwell HDM windshield wiper motor

Adjusting wiper angle: The rubber blade of a wiper should evenly touch your window, but avoid having so much tension that the blade is pushing into the glass. That will shorten the life of the blades and put too much strain on the motors. On a model like this the wiper angle is adjustable between 62 and 92 degrees.

The motor is made from corrosion-proof 316 stainless steel, but the business end of the motors should still be rinsed with fresh water periodically to avoid a buildup of salt crystals.

The HDM motor from Vetus Maxwell can accommodate windows up to 2.5 inches thick and is sized to replace the brand’s earlier HDMA and HDMB models.

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.