A Tri-Five Wiper Upgrade With Danchuk Manufacturing

There is no arguing the Tri-Five Chevy is an iconic hot rod. Every Chevrolet enthusiast either has one, or they want one. But, one thing is certain, while the cars look great, the 1950s technology could use a little updating. Case-in-point: the windshield wipers.

Updating a classic Chevy is not hard, as aftermarket companies like Danchuk Manufacturing offer a multitude of parts to do just that. Take for instance the windshield wipers. It’s not very often enthusiasts consider them upgradable – until they quit working.

Start by removing the wiper blades and escutcheon nuts with the supplied wiper escutcheon nut tool. Next, remove the original pivot shafts, wiper motor, and the center-drive unit from the firewall. You will need to remove the instrument cluster and clear the wiring away making room for the new wiper unit. Loosening the steering column from the dash might also be necessary. Finally, remove the wiper-control knob and cable from the dash with your wiper-switch tool. Save the knob and wiper bezel for use with the new electric switch.

When the OE-system technically works, it’s not actually up to par with what we are all used to having in our daily drivers. Let’s face it, they are cable-driven nightmares. The system is either on or off. There is no intermittent setting, and you don’t have much of a choice in wiper speed. A Tri-Five wiper upgrade is a wise choice.

Tri-Five wiper upgrade

The OE system was comprised of a few cables, pulleys, and usually, a vacuum-operated motor.

Often, when restoring a classic Chevy, enthusiasts will find the original wiper system doesn’t function properly or is missing altogether. That’s understandable. They never worked very well when the car was new (if compared to a modern system), because the system relied on engine vacuum that fluctuates with throttle position. Instead of trying to find OE-replacement pieces to rebuild your originals, why not upgrade to a modern-style wiper system that uses solid shafts, and never requires adjustment?

Danchuk has what all Tri-Five owners need for their cars, and it’s called the RainGear wiper system. This safety upgrade relocates the wiper motor from its centrally located firewall mounting to a new location under the dash and out of sight. Not only does Raingear offer modern functionality, but it also helps clean up a cluttered firewall.

After connecting the wire harness to the wiper-motor drive assembly (left), raise the wiper-drive assembly up under the dash to the left of the steering column and guide the pivot shaft through the wiper hole in the cowl (left-middle). From the outside of the car, place the rubber washer, aluminum spacer, and nut on the pivot shaft (middle right). With a 3/4-inch deep socket or box-end wrench, tighten the nut so it is snug. Finally, secure the wiper-drive assembly to the firewall. The assembly bolts into the hole where you removed the dash support rod.

The $500 (standard two-speed motor) might sound a little high priced for something to replace a part that technically works, but the functionality of the updated system will certainly help you forget about the initial cost. FYI: if you want the version that has an intermittent function, it will cost you’ll need to add $50 to the cost.

tri-five wiper upgrade

Install the long link to the pivot fitting on the passenger-side pivot shaft. Make sure it moves freely on the shaft. Then, install the supplied washer and secure the link to the shaft with the J-clip. Place the left end-link on the driver’s side wiper-drive unit and pass the passenger side pivot shaft through the cowl (refer to figures 3 and 5 in the instruction sheet). Install the rubber washer, aluminum spacer, and nut on the passenger-side pivot shaft and attach the long link to the driver-side wiper drive and attach it.

What you get for your money actually makes it a great value. It is a complete system: the motor, wiper transmission, hardware, and wiring. You will need to retain your factory wiper arms and blades or get new ones.

The folks at Danchuk were installing a RainGear system in a 1956 model (1955 installations are identical, and 1957 installations are very similar), and offered to have us follow along to show how it’s done. It’s not a hard-to-do upgrade, and you will love the results.

Install the new wiper switch in the original location using your original bezel and knob. (If your car was originally equipped with a washer system, you can retain the original washer button, just cut the rod off the push button and slide the push button back into the knob.) Place the supplied OE-motor cover over the hole and the wiper escutcheons and nuts in the reverse order of removal and install the nuts with your wiper escutcheon nut tool. Every attempt has been made to position the drive arm on the motor so the unit will park correctly at the end of the stroke. If the wipers do park early or late, then an adjustment will be necessary.

While this is not a step-by-step tutorial, it does give you some insight into how easy this upgrade is to complete. The install will take you the better part of an afternoon, but it can be accomplished with a few simple hand tools and some common sense. Now’s the time to update those intermittently functioning wipers on your Tri-Five and contact Danchuk Manufacturing for a set RainGear wiper kit for your hot rod.

Article Sources

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
Read My Articles

Hot Rods and Muscle Cars in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Street Muscle, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Street Muscle articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Classic Ford Performance

Street Rods

Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Classic Ford Performance
  • Street Rods
  • Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading