Ford Mid-Size Cars 1971-1985 Repair Guide

Windshield Wipers


For maximum effectiveness and longest element lift, the windshield and wiper blades should be kept clean. Dirt, tree sap, road tar and so on will cause streaking, smearing and blade deterioration if left on the glass. It is advisable to wash the windshield carefully with a commercial glass cleaner at least once a month. Wipe off the rubber blades with the wet rag afterwards. Do not attempt to move the wipers by hand; damage to the motor and drive mechanism will result.

If the blades are found to be cracked, broken or torn, they should be replaced immediately. Replacement intervals will vary with usage, although ozone deterioration usually limits blade life to about one year. If the wiper pattern is smeared or streaked, or if the blade chatters across the glass, the elements should be replaced. It is easiest and most sensible to replace the elements in pairs.

There are basically three different types of refills, which differ in their method of replacement.


See Figure 1

Original Equipment Type
  1. Lift wiper arm up as much as possible.
  3. Insert a small prytool in the slot at the middle of the blade. Push down on the spring lock and pull the blade assembly from the wiper arm pin.
  5. Using a small prytool, and twist it slowly until the element clears 1 side of the jaws. Slide the element out of the jaws.

To install:
  1. Slide the element into the jaws, starting with the second set from either end of the blade assembly. Slide the element into all the jaws to the element stop.
  3. Insert the element into 1 side of the end jaws and with a rocking motion, push the element upward until it snaps in.
  5. Push the blade assembly on the wiper arm pin so the spring lock engages the pin. Make sure the blade assembly is securely attached to the pin.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Wiper blade insert replacement

Aftermarket Types

There are several different types of refills, and your vehicle could have any kind, since aftermarket blades and arms may not use exactly the same type refill as the original equipment.

The Anco® type uses a release button that is pushed down to allow the refill to slide out of the yoke jaws. The new refill slides back into the frame and locks in place.

Some Trico® refills are removed by locating where the metal backing strip or the refill is wider. Insert a small prytool between the frame and metal backing strip. Press down to release the refill from the retaining tab.

Other types of Trico® refills have two metal tabs which are unlocked by squeezing them together. The rubber filler can then be withdrawn from the frame jaws. A new refill is installed by inserting the refill into the front frame jaws and sliding it rearward to engage the remaining frame jaws. There are usually four jaws; be certain when installing, that the refill is engaged in all of them. At the end of its travel, the tabs will lock into place on the front jaws of the wiper blade frame.

Another type of refill is made from polycarbonate. The refill has a simple locking device at one end which flexes downward out of the groove into which the jaws of the holder fit, allowing easy release. By sliding the new refill through all the jaws and pushing through the slight resistance when it reaches the end of its travel, the refill will lock into position.

To replace the Tridon® refill, it is necessary to remove the wiper arm or blade. This refill has a plastic backing strip with a notch about 1 in. (25mm) from the end. Hold the blade (frame) on a hard surface so the frame is tightly bowed. Grip the tip of the backing strip and pull up while twisting counterclockwise. The backing strip will snap out of the retaining tab. Do this for the remaining tabs until the refill is free of the arm. The length of these refills is molded into the end and they should be replaced with identical types.

Regardless of the type of refill used, make sure that all of the frame jaws are engaged as the refill is pushed into place and locked. If the metal blade holder and frame are allowed to touch the glass during wiper operation, the glass will be scratched.