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Wipers and Rain-X

Wipers and Rain-X

On screen wipers , I agree that they are a bit weak and can be dangerous at night. If I remember my old 120, there are two problems: 1 the motor is not powerful enough. There must be a way of rebuilding it with internals from a more recent one (150/ MK2) or ask an electrician to rewire it. 2 the springs of the blades should be replaced with stronger ones. Has anyone done it ? Regards - Michel GOSSET

Regarding wipers, it's been mentioned before but bears repeating: Rain-X is a very feasible, economical alternative to going through the aggravation of rebuilding or rewiring wiper motors that work but are just old and slow. I've used Rain-X on various old cars and rarely need to use the wipers at all. The only time I've ever pulled off the road under an overpass was when the top was leaking so badly everything inside the car was getting soaked, and it didn't make sense to press on. But the visibility was fine, other than condensation on the inside of the windshield (I believe there is now a product to cure that as well). Maybe the best advice even for those who intend to rebuild the wiper motor "someday" would be to apply Rain-X or a similar product every 6 months or so. It doesn't hurt to give it a try. - Dick Rowley

There is a product on the market called "Rain-X" which is sold in most auto part stores. It puts an invisible film on the glass to "bead" the water. This stuff is amazing. You really do not even need wipers after applying this. I have used this in a heavy downpour with the wipers off, and you can still see pretty well. It really makes a poor set of wipers work good. I know a lot of street rodders use this product also. I keep a bottle of it in the door pocket of my 120. - Hugh Leidlein

I think the problem with the wipers is not helped by the fact that the throw of the motor's gearwheel is so short and the wheelbox gears so small. I've heard that a possible modification is to use an MGB motor and wheel boxes with the longer XK120 shafts. If I can bear to strip out the dash again I might give it a go. - Roger Learmonth

Dick, A number of others have mentioned Rain-X but I frankly never believed they were serious. Is it really that good? Is it obtainable in the UK and pardon my ignorance what what exactly is Rain-X? If it does the job it will save me a lot of hassle pulling things apart. - Roger Learmonth

This company also makes a product called "fogX" which is supposed to eliminate the fog on the inside of the glass. Many snorkel and deep sea divers use this to keep the inside of their face masks clear. I believe the "rainX" is a silicone product. I will look to get you an address. Although I have not used the fog X, between these 2 products, who needs to improve on poor demisters and poor wipers? - Hugh Leidlein

Rain X is available in Australia. I tried it once when having problems with the 150 wipers, it helped. - Regards, John Elmgreen

Roger, The container I have says it is made by Unelko Corp., Scottsdale, AZ. 85260 (USA). Let's ignore the obvious question about a company in the desert making a rain repellant! I would think someone must sell it in the UK. It has been available in the US for at least 10 years (or so). The active ingredient is acidified ethanol/isopropahol, whatever that is. Sounds like some sort of alcohol but maybe there's a chemist out there. I vaguely recall receiving it as a gift long ago; my assumption was that it was a "gimmick" product and I wouldn't have gone out and bought it myself. I think I was assuming that it wouldn't work or would work once, would cause weatherstrips to disintegrate, eat up paint, or some other horror. But it worked fine on the daily drivers and I'm a believer. It's on all the cars. The only problem is remembering to renew the coating. The more the car is washed or the windshield washers used, the more it needs to be renewed. A little does go a long way so a 7 oz container will do many coatings. The container says to renew monthly but I'm lucky to get around to it every 6 months. It's a bit of a ritual to apply and easy to put off to another day. I didn't notice any impact on visibility, glare or clarity through the windshield. The coating doesn't build up on the windshield, meaning it isn't like a plastic coating. It's clear and the consistency of water. Haven't noticed any effect on weatherstrips, and that includes Jaguar, Healey, Porsche and various American cars over many years. I was a skeptic at first but it really works. Most importantly I believe that driving is MUCH safer due to the increased visibility out of 100% of the glass surface, not just the area swept by the rather puny wiper blades. Same goes for the side and rear glass. Foul weather driving can be done with much more comfort and confidence because visibility is no longer the primary concern. Others have said they basically don't even use the wipers anymore, and I find that to be the case as well. Seriously, that isn't a stubborn macho "look at me ma, no wipers!" claim; you really have no need to turn them on because you just don't need them. The one caveat is that if you are on a busy highway in a MAJOR rainsquall, the spray off 18 wheelers can give you an instant of reduced visibility. But that's no different with a good pair of wipers going at full tilt. The same company makes an Anti-Fog solution which I have only used on the inside glass of the Jeep Wagoneer so far; the Wagoneer is a real beater with some glass leaks so there is always moisture inside the truck (yes, another thing to fix "someday") and the resulting condensation/fogging inside used to be a serious problem, especially in the winter and inside the back windows which don't get much heated air and can't be reached from the driver's seat for a quick swipe. The Anti-Fog did eliminate the fogging so it should be a good product to help the feeble demisters on any old car. Last comment- I would imagine that on out and out show cars the various processes for polishing glass would probably remove the Rain-X coating. My suggestion would be to pick up a small container and try it on the family buggy. I guess I need a disclaimer! If the stuff makes your windshield fall out you're on your own! - Dick Rowley

Hugh and Roger, I gave the Rain-X ingredient in a prior message. It didn't appear to have silicone in it (acidified ethanol/isopropahol). Hugh, I suspect you are correct on the Anti-Fog which has ingredients called ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, glycols, and siloxanes in it. At the risk of driving this topic into the ground and making the rest of the list crazy, I have a vague recollection that while products with silicone may work well, heaven help you if you ever try to paint a part that has been exposed to any solution containing silicone, without going through some very extensive preparation first. Anyone have any more intelligent insights on that? Old wices' tale? I have made a practice of staying away from silicone when it comes to anything non-mechanical. Right? Wrong? - Dick Rowley

Rain-X leaves a coating of alcohol-based residue on your windscreen, which resists water adhesion; the result is water beading and the flow of these beads across the treated surface, dramatically improving visibility. I'm very enthusiastic about Rain-X or its clones. Amway distributes a similar product, as does one of the major automotive chemical companies. A historic aircraft museum in a Dallas, TX, suburb uses it on its display planes, because it also prevents dust from settling on painted surfaces; I wouldn't recommend it for automotive paint without experimentation, however. Definitely try some! Cheerio! - Larry Schear, Twin Cam, Inc.

I can recommend Rain X and Never-Fog, made in Atlanta, Georgia as great products that I use on and in my 50's and early 60's cars. One caution with Rain X--don't use it on the side or rear windows. It reduces the surface tension of the glass and unless you have the wind to blow the little droplets off, your side and rear window will have the little droplets which will greatly reduce otherwise clearer vision. - Larry J, 660636

I seem to reacll products like this from living in the boonies of Tennessee. Never knew exactly what they were .... I thgink they were manufactured by Dow Corning so that makes a a long-chain polysilane (now there's my chemistry degree doing something useful for the first time in 25 years!) a very likely candidate.

It's probably a "clean the galss thoroughly, dry and wipe on from a clean, lint-free cloth" trick. They do work, but I haven't seen any for sale over here ever. A source might be some of the importers of US drag racing components etc as I think a favourite trick of dragster jocks is to use the stuff on their visors. - Dick Clements

Dick et al ... I knew a degree in Chemistry would be of use some day ... it's only taken 25 years to arrive! From my investigations the products mentioned ARE based on Silicones. They have a very high vapour pressure so for sure you won't be smelling them, just the solvents that carry them (alcohols etc). The clue here is the specific mention of a Siloxane (an organo-silicon compond structure) and the fact that they are made by Dow Corning.... the world's largest producer of Organo-silicons. The warning about excessive application is true. These compounds are VERY capable anti-wetting agents and should be applied with care. If you can avoid spray applications, do so! If you think that it's hard to get paint to stick to a surface that's been caoted with a silicone wax try painting somthing that's been coated with a siloxane anti wetting agent! - Dick Clements

Dick, Right on...and Silicone is even more of a problem when you have to bond components such as commonly done on aircraft etc.. It is extraordinarily difficult to make sure the stuff is fully removed. - Klaus Nielsen

Dick, Thank you for taking the time to spell out the Rain_X information so clearly. I will put out some feelers in the UK and if all fails will write to the manufacturer in the US. I grow more confident by the minute that you may have solved the wiper problem on all my XKs and the SS. Once again many thanks for your valuable information. - Roger Learmonth

I isolate any auto product that is silicone-based from my other products. As those who have "enjoyed" the experience of painting their own car know, silicone, as Dick Rowley noted, is a nightmare if it has contaminated surface to be painted. Talk to any good painter about the silicone issue and you'll probably get a very lively discussion. I spilled a few drops of silicone brake fluid on the frame of my gray 120 OTS under the reservoir and later had great difficulty in getting this area repainted. It's so slippery that the paint moves to small puddles like miniature craters. In the contaminated area you can't get the paint to flow properly. There is a countermeasure but it only adds steps to any rework you're doing. While I like the concept of Rain-X and don't know the chemical composition, if it's slick like a silicone product, I get concerned about the possiblity of future paint problems. I suppose I'm spooked. But I know what problems can result. - Bob Oates

Rain-X even works on my XK120 windshield in SNOW! Guess how I know, hee, hee. I don't think you need to try re-engineering the whole system. The trick with XK wipers is getting the right amount of bend in the arms so the force on the glass is enough to press the rubber blade down so it lays over a bit, but not too much. And of course you need good blades. - Rob Reilly

Rain-X also makes scraping ice and frost a snap on the Land Rover driven in winter. I reapply it almost daily to my cycle helmet visor too, riding in the rain all I do is turn my head to the side, and all water is whisked away! - Dave Gomes

Warning: This is a thinly disguised continuation of the Rain-X thread so for those who've had enough, delete now! Keeping it brief, I wanted to clarify that Rain-X (the stuff for the outside of the windshield) does not mention siloxanes in the ingredients. As was pointed out by several folks, siloxanes are difficult to remove from a surface prior to any painting. Unless the Rain-X formula changed since I bought mine, it would appear that using Rain-X does not pose the siloxane problem. HOWEVER, and here is the important part....It is Rain-X Anti-Fog, which is used INSIDE the car, which DOES contain siloxanes, so that's the stuff you'd want to think about before getting too sloppy with, especially if you get it on anything you're planning on painting or varnishing. I'd even be concerned about touching the inside glass, then the wood or even the outside of the car. I have no factual basis for the cautious approach but thought I'd better mention it. I will say no more of the subject, promise! - Dick Rowley, '54 FHC, '62 Mk II

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