Land Rover Defender Wiper Repair Guide

Defender’s wiper blades not giving you a clean sweep? Martin Domoney of Land Rover Owners magazine explains how you can fix them...

  • Tools & Kit: Socket and spanner sets, 8mm ratchet spanner, Screwdrivers, Trim tools, Side cutters, Fine file, LM Grease, Threadlock, Pliers
  • How Long? Three hours
  • How Difficult? 2/5 - Easy
  • Product(s): Defender Wiper Drive Cable 1987-2002, Defender Wiper Drive Assembly (OEM)
  • Safety Advice: Disconnect the battery before starting work. Wear eye protection when cutting the cable.

Many of the quirks we appreciate (and sometimes endure) on our beloved Land Rovers would be arguably unacceptable on any other vehicle. The operation of the windscreen wipers is a case in point.

Because a Defender’s windscreen is quite short, it doesn’t allow fitment of very long wiper blades. Due to their diminutive size, it’s vital that the blades travel through their full intended stroke to clear the screen properly of rain and debris. Thanks to the Defender’s unusual cable and gear operated wiper system, this is quite often the opposite of what happens.

Martin’s taking on the 90’s wiper system today. ‘The later TDCi dashboards are all in one piece, which can make this job a bit trickier,’ he says, blissfully unaware of the wiring nightmare that lurks in the LRO Defender’s dash.

Over time, the ridges on the wiper cable that locate on the drive gears wear out, causing slack in the system. The same thing happens with the gear teeth themselves, and a small amount of play here is amplified at the end of the wiper arm where the blade connects. This problem is made worse when the system runs dry; a common issue, as the old grease dries out and no longer provides lubrication to the gears and cable.

So if your Defender (or the similarly-equipped late Series IIA & III) wipers do an even poorer job of keeping the screen clean than usual, it’s entirely possible your wiper cable and wheelboxes need replacing.

Luckily, after a bit of a stripdown, it’s an easy job to carry out.


Passing the screen test

Look at that! The wiper blades now park perfectly parallel to the bottom edge of the windscreen, and the swept area is noticeably larger than before. This is one of those jobs that’s probably put off for a long while – but once it’s done you’ll wish you’d done it ages ago. For a few hours’ work and about 70 quid, the wipers are as good as new. Result!

This article originally appeared in Land Rover Owners Magazine and has been reproduced with permission. Article is written by Land Rover expert Martin Domoney.

Click here to find the items you need to repair your windscreen wipers.

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