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MG TD TF 1500 - TF Screenwipers (a 'fix'?)

Well I got around to doing something yesterday that has been on "my list" for years. "Izzy" was re-wired years ago with some "forethought" given to being able to disassemble without having to cut the harness this time and also giving me some convenient "test" points for inserting replacement smoke. I was not amused that when my engine was re-built the shop kind of ignored these "disconnect" bullets and cut my wiring putting it back together with those horrid multi colored napa butt connectors, so I am now fixing this....again! I digress...back to screen wipers.
As we all know the TF was equipped with those silly (& temperamental) Bakelite knobs in the glove boxes to enable the wipers. You "engage" one wiper and then attempt to "start" the other one so they are in sync. Frustrating to say the least, (as has been discussed on this BBS many times) even more frustrating if, like my car, you figure out that your "drivers" wiper (must be engaged first!) is actually in your passengers glove box! Add to that that I have installed some old period wood grain locking glove box lids, (love the way they look) and you can bet by the time I get covers unlocked and off, get wipers engaged and in sync, (so they don't slap against themselves) was done raining!
The simple fix: toggle switch installed in wiring to wiper motor.
Now I can disseminate a squashed bug's innards evenly over my windscreen with the simple throw of a switch!
Cheers & Best Regards....
and also a heartfelt thank-you to all members of this board that have served in our armed forces.
Sincerely , David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

Dave - Your explanation of trying to engage the wipers on a TF, should be copywrited and sold to RainX for advertising. You need to do what I do - keep the windscreen well treated with RainX and forget about the wipers. Cheers - the other Dave
David DuBois

Further advertising for Rain X:
A single 6oz. bottle is a 5 year supply for a "T" car! (10 years if you only do the outside of screen)
I use Rain X for rain..."T-car" wipers are only good for 2 things:
1: disseminate squashed bug's innards evenly over the windscreen.
2: satisfy the legality of "working wipers" during state roadside inspection to obtain sticker you don't really want on your windscreen in the first place.
(Last tyme this happened to us OSHP was laughing so hard watching me try to sync the wipers he told me not to drive it when it's raining!)
Cheers, David
David Sheward

This is a lot of hoop,de,do....(just kidding) my wipers on the TF work fine and always have. In fact I had them "on" over the weekend. I must admit they are a PITA to get started. Its a special technique !
A couple of years ago I tried to get new blades for them and could only find the ones for the TD, which are shorter, the TF blade is 7.00" long. It has no nomenclature, just a bunch of Patent no's. the original rubber was like Bakelite, so I bought some squeege rubber and made new wiper blades and inserted them into the metal blade assy. I also cleaned out the gunk from ther gearbox and cable and greased it with lubri-plate.
I do carry a bottle of Rain-X just in case.
colin stafford

Always value your input..because you have the best unmolested TF I know of!
Something on mine I have always wondered about, maybe you can clear up for me.
In the "manual" it explains how to get "drivers" wiper engaged first, then the "passengers" side.
As you are LHD you engage "left" wiper first or, (as mine is) do you have to engage "right" wiper first?
I have always wondered if this was changed on these cars for LHD vs RHD.
Much like the location of "Tach & Speedo" that,BTW was also reversed on my car when purchased! I have been suspect for many years that the entire dash on my TF was swapped at some point in her life.
My main reason for the mod is so I do not have to fumble with my locking glove box lids to engage the wipers....and secondly that my "engage" is somewhat "intermittent" in function!
(Normally they would not "engage" untill back in dry garage the next day!)
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

You push in the LH knob and twist counter clockwise until it hits a detent, which turns on the motor. The RH wiper does not go on until you push in the knob and turn slighty counter clockwise, it then sync's with the LH wiper. You do not have to run both wipers together.
colin stafford

Thanks Colin,
Hmmm so something is fishy here motor definitely turns on from the RH knob!
So I have to have pass working before I can get driver to work.
(took me a while to figure that one out as I was following exactly the process you describe above when I first got the car)
Anybody out there with a RHD TF that can confirm yours starts from RH knob?
Dash has always been a question (at least to me) on this car. Does not appear to be same one as in some of the old photos I got from my PO.
David Sheward

Might have been set up for RHD Dave. The gear boxes are interchangable with the wired one being on the drivers side. Would be a bitch to swap with the dash in place. I have two unused toggle switchs under my dash I have in place for the heater and water valve that I was thinking about wiring in one to the wipers and the other to the fuel pump. I also have a good MGB two speed wiper motor that I would love to hide under the dash and use but the sweep is too wide. Would do a much better job of keeping the rain off.


I had a late TF1500 and the switch for the wipers was on the left (drivers) side. The car was unmolested but also not very well cared for so I am sure that is the way it left Abingdon.

It's also on the left in my present TF1500 but the car is definetly molested.

With a great deal of effort you could move the gearbox to the other side. They are interchangable. One of the problems with that setup is the inner cable is no longer available in the correct size. I got a new cable from AS and had to return it because the dimensions were not correct and when I tightend the clamps that hold the outside sheath it stopped the motor from running. So I stayed with the original.


R. K. Jeffers

Hi David,

I can confirm that RHD TFs from my experience,have the switch on the right hand side.As Colin has found, if the Wiper Motor is cleaned out and regreased,these motors generally work very well without trouble.Then again,Western Australia does not have rains like Ohio!!

Cheerd for now.
Rob Grantham

Thanks all...
This is starting to make some sense to me now. I have been suspect for some time that Izzy did not come to me with her original dash. (old photos that came with car showed Tach & speedo in right place for LHD but in others these were mounted for RHD as they were when I purchased).
My "main" knob for wipers (activates motor)is the RH one. I wonder now that maybe wiper motor & controls were not swapped at the same time the dash was changed. I think I might have figured out why. My wiper motor is mounted to tub resting on a thin piece of wood. Wonder if they didn't burn up the old motor when converting to negative ground, replaced with complete system from a RHD and isolated it from tub with the wood piece.

Do others have the wiper drive motor isolated from tub this way?

Anyway the wipers have always worked fine (once you got them set correctly) my biggest reason for adding a simple toggle switch is so I will not have to unlock the glove box lids to activate them now!
(see image)
Cheers, David 55 TF1500

David Sheward

My TF wipers run off the 'A' (accessory) switch. Now since I added fog lights I'll probably have to run them off a toggle.

In the pic above you can see the "aux" panel I made for extra switches & such, (underside has added fuses also). Four of my toggles are "pre-select" for the "AUX" switch on the TF. Depending on what of those is "engaged" I use the "A" switch to turn on any combination of:
1: Hunting Lamp
2: Map Light (seen center of dash in pic)
3: LH Lucas driving lamp
4: RH Lucas fog lamp
Works real well for me.
PS: The "aux panel" is a bolt on. Wanted the switches...did not want to drill holes in the dash!
There is a new toggle on the panel for the wipers now.
Next owner can remove it if they don't like it and no harm done.
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

Dave Sheward -- Both of my TF's had a rubber mounting. It was made from grommets with rather large flat washers inside the cowel. Don't remember much about the wiper side of the cowl. I do remember that the wiper motor was always live and the switch grounded the motor. The schematic in the WSM did not show the switch. If wired per that schematic, the wiper would run at all times the ignition was ON.

Never had a problem getting the wipers "in sync".


R. K. Jeffers

This thread was discussed between 25/05/2009 and 28/05/2009

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