Monday, November 23, 2015

How to replace the rear wiper motor on a Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager or Chrysler Town and Country 1997-2003

    This post will cover replacing the rear wiper motor and applies to many 1997 to 2003 Chrysler Corp. minivans such as the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Chrysler Town and Country. I struggled mightily on a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan to simply remove the wiper arm, as it was seized onto the motor shaft. Next the inside lift gate cover or liner must be removed. Finally, the motor is accessible. I have also included is a section on troubleshooting.

                                                       The job at a glance
  • Tools: Philips screwdriver, large straight blade screwdriver, right angle or stubby phillips screwdriver, 10mm socket and ratchet. 
  • Materials: none
  • Parts: wiper motor  
  • Cost of parts: motor
  • Time: 1 hour

1)  Remove the wiper arm from the motor shaft. I think it's a good idea to mark the position first with a piece of masking tape. My 2000 Caravan uses a bolt-less mount to hold the arm in place. Pivot the arm upward and then use a large flat blade screwdriver to pry up the locking lever. This lever must be all the way up before the arm is free to pull off. I found mine to be corroded to the shaft. Some models use a nut on a threaded motor shaft.

The first step of removing the wiper arm proved challenging on this van

2) Remove the lift gate inside trim cover. This may vary a bit from model year to model year. On the 2000, first remove the inside lift handle (2 phillips screws).Then pry up on the cover over the rear brake light. When it is off there will be two phillips screws visible. The one on the left requires a stubby or right angle screwdriver to remove. Now lift the gate and from the outside remove 5 phillips screws.Next, with the gate up, give a good tug from each end to unsnap the panel fasteners. To avoid having the panel hang from the wiring for the inside courtesy lights close the gate. From the inside unplug the two lights. There are red locking clips on the connectors that must be released first. Remove the panel. 

3) Unplug the motor.


    Let's do a test to confirm that the motor is bad. While the motor is the most likely cause of the rear wiper not working, it isn't the only one. The best way to isolate the motor and confirm that it's getting power is to measure the voltage at the end of the connector that plugs into the motor. There are three wires on this connector:

                                    Black: Ground
                                    Brown/pink: Ignition 12V
                                    Brown/light green: wiper control 12V

Testing for the ignition 12V (black and brown and pink wires)

    Stick an appropriate size wire into the socket for the black wire (ground) and connect to the negative of your meter. Likewise connect the,meter to the Brown/pink wire and check for 12V with the ignition on. Finally, check the Brown/light green wire for 12V with the rear wiper turned on. If all is good at the end of the connector, the motor is bad. If these voltages are not present, the motor is good and the trouble is elsewhere, possibly a fuse or wiring or relay.

We have power at motor control...bad motor

4) Remove the motor. Remove the three 8mm mounting bolt.


1) Mount the replacement motor with the three 8mm replacement. Make sure the rubber bushings remain in place. Snug up the bolts but do not over-tighten.

2) Plug the motor back in.

3) Mount the lift gate trim cover. Start from inside. First plug in the courtesy lights. Make sure to lock the red locking tab. Now flex the panel outward to get it to fit under the side pillars. Snap the panel fasteners into position on each side with a good hearty push. Screw down the top cover and snap the brake light cover back in place. Install the handle with the two phillips screws. Now open the gate and install the five outer screws.

4) Install the wiper arm. Put some anti-seize lubricant on the motor shaft and the contact surface inside the arm.  Slip it over the motor shaft so that the blade aligns with the tape on the rear glass. Lock it down into place. 

5) Test operation. Good job!



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  3. Did you do anything about the rubber gasket? I am needing to replace my gasket. Can I just remove the arm and do it from the outside or must I completely remove everything like you did?

    1. I didn't do the gasket. I would think you should only have to remove the arm and that's done from the outside. As long as there's room to work it off around the motor shaft, that should be all you need to do.

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