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Series Land Rovers

Windscreen Washers

Original Author: Alan J. Richer (OVLR)
I know what you're thinking - Richer's lost it this time. Why would you want to put windshield squirters on a LAND-ROVER, for Heaven's sake?

Actually, there's a lot of reasons to invest the 25 bucks and an hour or so of work. Keeping the windshield clean can be damn near impossible in northern climes because of the salt spray and crud thrown up by other cars, and that translates to less-than-safe visibility. Mud from other vehicles when off-roading has the same effect, so it's not just the citified types who have this problem. Also, if you do it with the part I recommend, you buy yourself a radiator pressure tank too, and can convert your system to catch and return coolant and cut down on the environmental mess your Rover makes, little as it may be.

But, on to the task...

First things first, make a junkyard run. The prize we want is the windshield washer tank and radiator overflow bottle from a mid-80s Toyota. The tank I used was out of an 85 Celica, and came complete with the pump built in. From what I could see, that same tank was used in all models of the Toyota line for at least 10 years and probably more. You also want to scavenge the washer nozzles and the rubber tubing from the donor vehicle, and get the power connector to the pump so you can do a tidy job of the installation.

I paid $20 for the tank I got, but I think that was high. Negotiate - you can probably do better.

On the way home from the junkyard, stop off at the auto-parts store and buy a suitable pushbutton for the dashboard - should be about $5. Also pick up about 3 feet of tubing of the same size as the overflow tube on your Rover. We'll use this to replace the overflow tube from your radiator, plumbing it to the tank. Don't just reuse the original from your car - if it's like the one I had, it'll break when you take it out of the clips down the side of the radiator.

Once you get it home, clean it up before you install it. I had to brush 10 years of old coolant crud out of the overflow tank and its tubing, so it's worth it to was it before you install it.

Now come the fun bits. To install it and the nozzle (I used only one - second one will go in when the temperature warms up this summer), first bolt the tank to the driver's side inside wing next to the radiator. By a happy coincidence, my Rover had holes already available that fit the tank mounts perfectly - no drilling. I believe these holes are already there on most older IIa vehicles - check and see.. Run two wires up to the dashboard area - one for ground and one for +12 volts. Bring these into the panel area, and tap the wiper power connections for power for the unit, putting the pushbutton in line to control it. I would recommend using green for the +12 and black for the round to observe the Rover color code for the wipers.

Mark the schematics for your car (and you really should have them) with the changes you've made.

NOTE: If you use the part I did, the pump is polarity sensitive. This means that if you confuse the + and - lines, the pump will spin quickly and will not spray. If this happens, reverse the leads at the pump connector.

The nozzle goes into a notched cutout in the bonnet. I placed mine an inch back from the steel brace on the underside of the bonnet at the back edge and centered on the driver's window. The opening was not a simple hole, so you'll need to waste the metal out with a drill then file to shape. It sounds worse than it was - it only took me about 10 minutes to do so.

TIP: Bring a piece of paper with you to the scrap yard. Trace the outline of the hole you remove the nozzle from, and then transfer the shape to the bonnet of your vehicle where you want it with a piece of carbon paper, machinist's bluing or whatever you find handy. Saves a lot of work figuring out what goes where.....

Once this is done, hook up the hose from the pump to the nozzle and fasten it down using wire ties. Leave the loop at the bonnet long so it doesn't foul when the bonnet is put straight up.

The overflow tank hookup is straightforward. Remove the old tube from the radiator overflow and replace it with the new tubing, routing it behind the tank and around to the inlet stub on the tank's cap. Fill the bottle about 2/3 full with coolant, and top it up after the Rover fills its lines.

It's a quick and simple task, and well worth the few dollars it takes to do. Enjoy! -ajr


Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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