1997 suburban wiper board help - kinda long

Hello all, Sorry if this is a dead horse I'm beating but even after reading the threads on wiper boards I just wanted to get more feedback on my problem.
Truck: 1997 Chevy K1500 Suburban ( 125,000 Miles ) - Bought used 6/03 at 65K
Bout 2 years ago I was driving in the rain when my wipers stopped ( they were on low ) I switched to high and they worked fine but from low through all intermittent and wash was dead. About an hour later they all worked fine.
The problem would pop up very rarely until about this past summer when it started again but now the high speed would die with it also. When it would happen all I had to do was my Arthur Fonzarelli on the wiper box and they would work fine :) At this point I started looking for the problem and found many resources that suggested the wiper motor board.
One person though said it was the motor and I basically put it off until now to really think about replacing it, especially since they died for what seems to be for good this time. I did call GM and they said the service was done and I was SoL with them ( although the repair didn't seem to match what others said should have been done, ie, sealent around cover and the board matched the desc. of the original ones, ie white board ).
Basiacally I guess I'm just looking to see what people think as to if it's the board or the motor before I order a new one online.
Many thanks, Matt
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Possible recall on this part, check with a dealer.

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Shep wrote:

I got off the phone with them and they said they had my vehicle as "closed" meaning the work was done in 03 but only covered 12 months :(
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many post have been provided in the past. Apparently the boards were not soldered well and you can just replace the board with a newer one, or as i did, resolder all the board joints.(tricky, but it worked for me) old john 1999 tahoe

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Mid-90's Chevy and GMC Wiper Module Circuit Board Replacement and/or Repair Procedures
The fault in this circuit board is quite common and is attributed to bad solder joints from either design error or manufacturing flaw. Symptoms which indicate a bad circuit board include (but are not limited to): wipers will not work at all or work intermittently; wipers stop working for no apparent reason, maybe even in mid-stroke; wiper function is erratic, with no delay feature, delay is the same regardless of setting, or no low- or high-speed setting; wipers may start to work if you tap on the wiper module or move the electrical connector.
You have a choice of either Repairing your existing circuit board yourself, or Replacing it.
Replacement - You have at least three options available to you, depending on your relationship with your dealer and how much of a stink you want to put up.
1.. Pay for the replacement part plus the labor to have the dealer install it (~$50 for the part plus ? for labor. Most expensive, least work). 2.. Pay for the replacement part and install it yourself (~$50 for the part, your labor is free. Takes about 15 minutes.). 3.. Have the part replaced under recall if applicable (Free, minus the time your truck will be in the shop. Least expensive, most work.). 4.. (Repair it yourself - Instructions below after Replacement)
Option #1 is very straightforward, just go down to your local dealer and have him do the work and pay the bill when he is finished. You don't even have to read any further.
Option #2 is also very straightforward. Have the parts department research the correct part number for your model year circuit board, purchase the part from them and install it. The wiper module is a small 2"x 4" black box attatched somewhere near the top of the firewall on the driver's side. It has the wiper motor mounted to it, and an electrical connector plugged into the end. Remove the electrical connector first, and using a Torx (6-pointed star) driver, remove the cover from the module. The circuit board sits directly underneath the cover and will be coated with grease. Gently pry the circuit board out of the module, do a little spring cleaning inside the case and add a dab of grease to the drive gears if needed. Install the new circuit board in the same manner as the old one was. Clean the inside of the cover and reinstall with the same Torx head screws. If you purchased a "kit" that included a new cover along with the new circuit board, make sure to use the new cover and screws provided as the new circuit board is thicker and the new cover has been altered to fit it.
Option #3 gets a little involved. First you must find a recall notice for your truck. Start by checking on the internet at www.nhtsa.gov and drill down thru the links for recalls to determine if your truck is actually listed (there are other sites to check as well). Just because your truck may not be listed doesn't mean it's not under recall. It could easily depend on how your truck is described. For example, a 1995 Chevrolet C1500 Pick-up could easily be listed as a C1500, 1500, 1500-3500, C-Series, C/K Series, Chevrolet Truck, GM Truck, C10 (the old designation), etc. It would pay to look under as many designations as you can think of before giving up.
If you find your truck as listed, so much the better. Print out a copy of the recall and wave it at your dealer's service manager and they should fix it No Questions Asked. If they still refuse, contact Chevrolet/GMC Customer Assistance and/or the NHTSA's hotline (both are toll-free and listed on their respective web sites).
If you do not find your truck specifically listed, all hope is not yet lost. Search for the same truck under a different model year, or a substantially similar vehicle which does have a recall (For example, the Chevy Blazer shares the same wiper components as the Chevy S-10 and Astro, the GMC Jimmy, Safari and Sonoma, the Olds Bravada, etc.). Print out a copy of the recall for the other vehicle and go to your dealer's parts department. Have them search for the part number of the circuit board for the recalled vehicle, then for the part number for your truck. Odds are in your favor that they will both be exactly the same. Hence, your wiper module is one of the faulty ones being recalled and should be covered but your truck may have been left off the recall list. Take this info to the service manager and depending on how much he wants to keep you as a customer, he will find a way to have the board replaced under the recall. If not, then you still have options #1 and #2 above, or you could fix your existing board yourself.
Repair - You can easily repair your existing board if you know how to turn a screwdriver and know which end of a soldering gun to hold. If you haven't mastered either of these skills, then have someone else do the job for you.
Step 1 - Locate the wiper module and remove the circuit board as described in Option #2 above. Be VERY careful removing the circuit board. Do not crack, bend or break it or you're outta luck and will have to buy a new one. The circuit board is approx. 2"x 4" and has two distinct sides. The top is the side where all the components live, especially the large black socket for the electrical connector (more on that later). The bottom is where all the lead wires from the electrical components poke thru the board and are soldered to the printed circuit. Carefully wipe the excess grease off the board.
Step 2 - The fault in the board is caused by bad solder joints holding the large socket onto the printed circuit. If the board itself is cracked or broken, then you will have to get a new one. Carefully inspect the tiny mounds of solder underneath the large socket on the bottom of the board. Each drop of solder connects a lead wire from the socket to the printed circuit. A bad solder joint may look like it has a tiny circle in the drop of solder around the wire end, a chip or crack in the little mound of solder, or it may be too small to see. At this point you will need a soldering gun and solder, and a steady hand. (Note - Plain or rosin-core solder has been recommended to me. Do not use acid-core solder as it will damage your work.)
Step 3 - Set your circuit board bottom side up so you can see the solder joints for the socket onto the printed circuit. Heat up your soldering gun and apply just a tiny drop of solder to the tip. Place the hot tip with the melted solder directly onto the existing solder joint in question just long enough until the gun melts the existing solder and the new solder mixes in with it. Remove the gun from the work and allow to cool. Remelting the original solder and adding some extra should repair the joint and make continuity again and reinforce it. Repeat for all the solder joints in question, and/or all the solder joints for the socket. Don't overheat your work, or solder may run down and create a short to another circuit, or you may unknowingly fry a component on the other side of the board.
Step 4 - Allow everything to cool, then reinstall the board as listed in Option #2 above.
Good luck - Jonathan

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On Tue, 03 Jan 2006 00:23:22 GMT, "Jonathan"

Is this the same problem with a 98 Suburban where the wipers don't stop when turned off?
Thanks, Jeff
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Greetings,
It very well could be. There are only two things that could cause these symptoms - the wiper circuit board or a bad switch in the steering column. Needless to say, the switches are much more reliable than the circuit board, so I would suggest performing the repair on the board first (since it's cheap and easy) and see if that helps any. If not, then consider the switch.
Cheers - Jonathan
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On Thu, 05 Jan 2006 14:54:37 GMT, "Jonathan"

    Thank you, I appreciate it.
Jeff

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Just an update, After finally locating my soldering Iron ( love that little Blue Point portable but I always misplace it ) I re-soldered the joints and it's working fine.
Now should I just keep fixing it as needed ( if it happens again ) or is a new board needed ?
Thanks again for all the quick replies !
Matt
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Greetings,
From what I understand, a new board can be had for about $30.00 for the board alone, and about $50.00 for the entire kit used for the recall (board, new cover, new screws). Now that you have it working, my opinion is if it lasts 8-12 months then you should be able to resolder it again. But if it only lasts a few months (because the cause is vibration on the wiring harness and it's too much for the repaired solder joints to hold up) then I'd get a new board. The new boards are thicker and the socket joints are heavier in order to take the stress from the harness and the vibration.
In addition, make sure that your current harness is fastened down in such a way that there is no tension pulling on the plug.
Cheers - Jonathan

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