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The Saga of Towing in the Rain

Sep 7, 2020
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It’s been about 15 years since I last towed a caravan and we had our first outing in our new van just a few weeks ago. My stress level was slightly higher than usual when towing and went up a few notches when we encountered heavy rain. Imagine then my situation when on our journey home the sky opened up and we drove into torrential rain – and the windscreen wipers stopped in mid wipe!

We were on a secondary A road that we know very well and fortunately on a straight stretch with little traffic. Visibility was down to a watery zero so we slowed right down and knew that there was a layby just ahead. Of course we couldn’t see if there was any room for us but we made it in.

So, what options do we have. Neither of us fancied being strapped to the bonnet so after pushing every conceivable control to do with wipers and knowing that these days everything has to have a computer to make it work I rebooted the engine and the wipers sprang into life. We cautiously drove on and made it home.

The dilemma then was what to do since we had another two trips planned in just a few days time, one being a very important family get together – the first in 18months.

It seemed likely that the problem was either with the wiper motor or linkages causing a stall condition which the silicon brain detected and then shut down. A few hits on the internet seemed to confirm this might be the case. It was unlikely that a garage would be able to fix it within a couple of days so I took the wiper assembly out and yes the motor was giving the problem. The drive shaft had so much play on it, it was binding and causing the stall.

I ordered a new motor but it never arrived in time before our next trip so I just packed as much grease as possible into the old motor and refitted it. It worked and we had good service from it on our next very wet trip. BUT…on the way home and in a light shower it died completely and couldn’t be brought back to life. Fortunately we drove out of the shower and made it home.

The new motor had been delivered but not the right one. The online supplier I used wanted my registration number and then gave the recommended part. Unfortunately it couldn’t work out that I had a RHD drive motor and so it sent me one for a LHD version.

With time ticking away for our next important outing I turned to Amazon which had plenty in stock for next day delivery. I chose one with the least stupid name – such as Ladieshow or Sanon or Shigi or iFCOW. Etc. It arrived the following day – I fitted it – it works.

Typically our last outing to see the family was in fantastic weather and we never had to use the wipers once.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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That’s a right to do with what used to be a simple electro mechanical system totally self contained apart from its 12 volt supply.

Our daughters Focus gearbox ( dreaded Powershift) has been replaced twice now with mechanical problems, but it’s now developed a hesitancy in very wet conditions and all the dealership could offer was a diagnostic that pinpointed nothing. “Think it’s a sensor Madame”. She’s now planning to change it and get a lease car via the NHS so h er outgoings are fixed and if it goes wrong it is not her problem.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Yes the old reboot, fantastic thing. My Citroen C5 used to get itself into many a muddle. There seemed to be a mad way of curing them with a series of seemingly unrelated switches which had to be done in a certain order. Drivers door window was one of them.

One day it totally refused to start. I called for rescue. The chap scratched his head and admitted he could find nothing wrong and was just to put it on the back of his lorry. Then, out of desperation, he tried disconnecting the battery for 30 secs. It then started first time.



John
 
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Oct 21, 2020
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I’ve got a VW Golf GTD for my work commute, it’s just 6 weeks old.
Last week, I got a complete digital dash failure, pretty much every warning was beeping and the SOS light went red.
Took a few days to get VW to book it in, had it back yesterday with a receipt for the £3.500 warranty work (replacement ECU)
I really dislike tech.

Kev
 
Jun 16, 2020
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One of the grandsons got a new Mercedes A class. Full digital dash board. He drove to St Ives with his girlfriend and the dash failed. Mercedes took it in locally. But they could not supply a loan car as he is under 25 and their insurance will not cover. So they had to lay on a taxi back to Gloucester, then arrange a Renault loan car.

John
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
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My 2013 Ford Fiesta runabout relies a lot on 'fly by wire' technology and not long after I bought it the car seemed to sporadically go into limp mode.
I couldn't understand why this was happening and I booked it in to be investigated.
The evening before the Fiesta was due to go in a fellow motorist opened his window at some traffic lights and shouted across that my brake lights were 'stuck on'.
I reported this to the garage the next morning and they agreed to get their auto electrician to have a look.
£80 later it transpired that a tail / brake light bulb that I'd replaced a couple of weeks before wasn't the correct one for that particular car.
The onboard computer 'thought' that I was depressing the footbrake because the brake light bulb was on and it overode my throttle input.
80 quid for a dodgy bulb, come back old school auto engineering, all is forgiven ☹
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Points....plugs.....condenser….. CO2, poor MPG, short servicing intervals, considered dead at 100,000 miles, low power output, regular breakdowns. Yeah, the good old days. 😁

John
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Points....plugs.....condenser….. CO2, poor MPG, short servicing intervals, considered dead at 100,000 miles, low power output, regular breakdowns. Yeah, the good old days. 😁

John
Plus the regular weekend work of applying Holts cataloy, only to be reduced slightly as Waxoyl came along.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Remedies from a long time ago if wipers pack up. Cut a potatoes in half and wipe it across the windscreen. If no potato, urine on the windscreen is also supposed to work. Never tried second method but first does work to an extent. Not 100% vision, but at least you can see where you are going.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Remedies from a long tiem ago if wipers pack up. Cut a potatoes in half and wipe it across the windscreen. If no potato, urine on the windscreen is also supposed to work. Never tried second method but first does work to an extent. Not 100% vision, but at least you can see where you are going.
Must remember to pack a few King Edwards for future trips out. 😂
 
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May 7, 2012
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I have heard of the potato trick but never had to use it.
I do remember problems with my old Mini. The distributor was just behind the grill and often ended up covered in damp. WD40 arrived about the same time and became essential kit.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I have heard of the potato trick but never had to use it.
I do remember problems with my old Mini. The distributor was just behind the grill and often ended up covered in damp. WD40 arrived about the same time and became essential kit.
My minivan stopped in torrential rain near Chepstow on the A48. Along came a policeman, oh gosh I thought. But he had brought an aerosol of some new found stuff that he drenched my electrics with. Thought it would never start again. But like you say Ray WD 40 was a lifesaver.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Once, driving into Keswick in an Escort. Very heavy rain. There was an almighty bang. We both thought it was a gun. Took a short while to start understanding. I had put new windscreen wipers on. Slimline with the spring built into the shape. One had snapped. It was the noise of this resonating on the windscreen that shocked us.

John
 
Sep 7, 2020
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I think generally cars are more reliable these days and more efficient thanks to the technology. However they can be expensive to fix. I'm sure that cars with a lot of sensors behind the bumpers and grills must be more expensive to insure as well since even a small shunt could damage various cameras, radar, lidar and other stuff situated there.

Some of it though needs a bit more thought though. My daughter's new Hyundai had the wrong time on the clock. They couldn't figure out how to set it so went back to the garage. Much scratching of heads and eventually someone found a setting in the on board GPS.

My Qashqai just has a twiddly knob.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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It’s been about 15 years since I last towed a caravan and we had our first outing in our new van just a few weeks ago. My stress level was slightly higher than usual when towing and went up a few notches when we encountered heavy rain. Imagine then my situation when on our journey home the sky opened up and we drove into torrential rain – and the windscreen wipers stopped in mid wipe!
I'm glad you came to no harm!

I am a huge proponent for the use of rain repellent windscreen treatments as they make driving in rain much safer in terms of visibility. I often drive in heavy/torrential rain [at motorway speeds] with the wipers turned off; water beads on the screen rather than smearing, and rolls off at 60+mph.

Most ubiquitous is Rain-X, which I used first, but it lacks longevity and needs to be applied weekly in my experience. I've found that GTechniq G1 is excellent and lasts upto a year, but needs ideal conditions for application (no problem if you have a garage) and is tricky to apply. I currently use GTechnic G5 which can also be applied to plastic/acrylic windows, as it performs well, lasts a few months and is applied like a polish/wax in a few minutes.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I'm glad you came to no harm!

I am a huge proponent for the use of rain repellent windscreen treatments as they make driving in rain much safer in terms of visibility. I often drive in heavy/torrential rain [at motorway speeds] with the wipers turned off; water beads on the screen rather than smearing, and rolls off at 60+mph.

Most ubiquitous is Rain-X, which I used first, but it lacks longevity and needs to be applied weekly in my experience. I've found that GTechniq G1 is excellent and lasts upto a year, but needs ideal conditions for application (no problem if you have a garage) and is tricky to apply. I currently use GTechnic G5 which can also be applied to plastic/acrylic windows, as it performs well, lasts a few months and is applied like a polish/wax in a few minutes.
Interesting but the majority of drivers will not bother with having either in the vehicle as overall windscreen wipers are generally very robust and outlast the vehicle. We used to use the old wiper motors when doing a roast pig spit as you could control the speed for rotating the pig over the fire. LOL!
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Interesting but the majority of drivers will not bother with having either in the vehicle as overall windscreen wipers are generally very robust and outlast the vehicle. We used to use the old wiper motors when doing a roast pig spit as you could control the speed for rotating the pig over the fire. LOL!
Buckman you are on a roll :) Just clicked on new posts you are on every thread available ;)
 
Sep 7, 2020
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I first came across rain repellant coatings in the aerospace industry where it's not that easy at 8000m altitude to lean out the window with a rag.

Wiper motors are pretty reliable but the linkages maybe not so, but in more than 50 years of driving this is the first time I've had this problem.

Yes we made it home but it's going to take a while before I stop thinking about what if it happens again.
 

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