Ferrari Lusso Wipers

One of the things on the To-Do list for the Rubino Lusso was to get the wipers working. Nothing was happening when the switch was turned, and if this car was expected to drive in a road rally, it had to be ready to see some rain.

The Lusso hides its wiper motor above the driver’s left shin under the dash, and with one quick look, I quickly discovered our problem: the motor wiring was not connected! Unfortunately, simply plugging it back in was not going to be easy.

The wiper motor wiring is supposed to be color coded, but as usual, the Lucas wires were faded and the indiscernible. I also wanted to check the motor, because there had to have been a reason the motor was unplugged.

The first step was the wipers had to be removed, and I found another problem. One of the wipers had stripped some of the splines on the shaft. I would have to address this when I got the rest of the system working.

When I disassembled the motor, I found a pretty dirty commutator with some slight pitting on one spot. The darkened wires also showed signs that this motor got hot in its past. I just hoped nothing got hot enough to short a wire.

I chucked the piece in the lathe and cleaned the commutator with some fine sand paper.

With the pig tail to the wiper motor wiring exposed, I could trace each wire into the motor and identify what it did, and guess which color it could be.

Looking at an old Lucas wiring diagram, and the Ferrari owner’s manual, I figured out the color coding and installed the motor, but when I plugged everything back in, the wiper wouldn’t stop running! I soon realized an extra ground wire was added to the wiring loom, and was the cause of the run-on. This also explained why the motor was disconnected! When the previous person gave up trying to figure out why the wipers wouldn’t stop moving despite the switch position, they simple unplugged everything. Besides, who needs wipers in Los Angeles? Lucas motors are isolated from ground and integrates it as part of the park mechanism and washer single swipe. Something was obviously wrong here, but once I eliminated the ground wire, the switch would give me stop, slow, and fast. The only problem was the switch would have to turned off at the right moment to put the wipers in the park position. The owner and I decided this was fine for now without delving further into Lucas/Ferrari wiring!

The stripped splines on the wiper shafts were a little more complicated, but I found a simple solution. Finding matching wiper arms, let alone the correct length, angle, and style that would fit the wiper arm shafts could be quite a challenge. The two parts still had splines that matched, but had slipped at some point (perhaps when the wipers wouldn’t stop working from before) so I wanted to see if installing a thin piece of soft shim stock between the wiper arm and shaft would be enough to hold the two parts together without slipping. I took some brass shim stock and slipped it in between the wiper arm and the shaft. The brass was soft enough to deform between the splines and hard enough to lock the splines together. How much shim stock to use determined how tight I could get the fit. If these arms become available, I would consider replacing them, but for now we have working wipers!