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1978 El Camino, 383 crate engine, TH350 and a spool in the rear. "The Helamino"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I am 17 and just bought a 1987 El Camino.
I need to get the wipers working for an inspection sticker and I could use some help. I already replaced my signal lever and wiper switch in the steering column. That was my first guess of the issue. (The previous signal lever was cracked and the plastic was falling off, you couldn't activate the washer fluid motor.) The washer fluid motor can now be activated, and with a multimeter I found that the washer motor was getting 12V. The plug for the wiper motor is showing no voltage. Every time I test to see if the motor will work I just burn the fuse. Any ideas?
 

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Have you tried bench testing the motor to see if there's an internal short in the motor itself?
Otherwise you could always try wiring up a quick bypass harness from the switch to the motor so you can pass inspection. Not a good long term solution but will help get them working while trying to find the short in the stock wiring.
 

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Great to see young owners who are interested in these classics!

Good that you are familiar with using a multimeter. Another tool is a test light. That being said, have you tried applying 12v power directly to the wiper motor to verify that it works and is not shorted inside? I would try using a test light as the hot lead and touch each of the terminals. Be sure the motor is grounded. If the motor runs, then you can go on to tracing where the short is located. There is no easy way but to trace each of the wires in the plug backwards.

Good luck! Spark chasing requires patience!
 

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1978 El Camino, 383 crate engine, TH350 and a spool in the rear. "The Helamino"
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback,
I connected the motor to a power supply and could get it to spin. I might go with your idea for now squag27, I only have a few more days to get it inspected.
 

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Thanks for the feedback,
I connected the motor to a power supply and could get it to spin. I might go with your idea for now squag27, I only have a few more days to get it inspected.
If you need any help putting together a quick and dirty harness setup shoot me a PM. I did the same thing to get my wipers working a few months ago when I really needed the truck in rainy weather.
 

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1978 El Camino, 383 crate engine, TH350 and a spool in the rear. "The Helamino"
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you need any help putting together a quick and dirty harness setup shoot me a PM. I did the same thing to get my wipers working a few months ago when I really needed the truck in rainy weather.
Ok thank you for the offer. I’ll try a couple more things before setting up new wiring. If I can’t get it to work I’ll let you know.
 

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This might help you. The yellow wire is the power feed from the fuse. The other wires are grounded by the wiper switch to complete a circuit.
 

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Be sure you put in the correct switch- In 1984 GM completely changed the wiper system, but the old switch fits the newer cars

The power and grounds are completely flipped between the two systems, so I could see the year wrong switch blowing the fuse.
 

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This might help you. The yellow wire is the power feed from the fuse. The other wires are grounded by the wiper switch to complete a circuit.
The '87 Camino uses a different wiper motor than earlier models (an issue which caused me a number of headaches when I first bought my '87...). On the '87 wipers, the switch powers the motor, and the motor grounds through the case (there's a jumper attached to one of the rubber mounts to compete the circuit). I've got the factory Electrical diagnosis service supplement, which clearly shows the wiper fuse connected directly to the switch using a white wire.
 

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1978 El Camino, 383 crate engine, TH350 and a spool in the rear. "The Helamino"
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just got the wiper motor to spin, woohoo!
The ground where the motor assembly bolts on wasn't connected well.
Unfortunately, the fuse is still popping, now it is when I try to use the washer fluid motor.
 

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1978 El Camino, 383 crate engine, TH350 and a spool in the rear. "The Helamino"
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have tester the fluid pump, that isn’t causing the short. It is somewhere between the fuzebox and the pump. I just noticed a loose connector coming out of the back of the fusebox, I’m not sure what it’s for. View attachment 135805
 
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