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Old 10-22-2004, 09:23 AM   #17
96 Flat Four
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 41302
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Columbus, Ohio
1996 Impreza Outback
Navy & Silver

Default Old Old Skool Variable Intermittent Wipers

Ok, Here is the last word on converting a 93-97 Impreza to variable intermittent wipers. The mod is much like the mod for the 98-01 cars explained above, but the switches are slightly different. First, variable intermittent wipers were not available on the 93-01 Imprezas but were on Legacy L, LSi, and GT of the same vintage and the part is a direct swap. Further just like the newer cars all of the electronics to convert a 93-98 car with intermittent wipers to variable intermittent are contained in the wiper swich. So, depending on whether you have a Impreza sedan, with no rear wiper, or a wagon, with a rear wiper, you need to obtain either Subaru part # 83113AA520 (wagon) or 83113AC480 (sedan).

As for installing the part, the conversion is only slightly more involved than the change for the 98-01 cars. Unlike the 93-01 cars for which the combination switch plugs right in at the column, the switch for the 93-01 cars has a wiring pigtail that threads down along the column and plugs in just under the dash. Don't be discouraged the change is very easy. Here are the steps:

1. Remove the four screw from the bottom of the steering column cover and then gently pull the 2 halves apart being careful not to break the clips that hold it together. When they come apart, gently stretch the bottom half over the ignition switch, remove it and set it aside. Next, drop the tilt column all the way down so that the top half can be pushed out of the way. I could not get the top half to come completely off, and was afraid to force the hard plastic. As it turned out, the job did not require the top half to come off.

2. Remove the steering wheel. This is relatively easy and I won't go into detail, as this is discussed elsewhere in these forums. Just make sure that if your care is an airbag car that you unhook the battery and wait about 5 minutes before unplugging the airbag. The airbag plug is a little tricky but play with it and you will figure it out.

3. Once the wheel is off, remove the 2 brass colored screws that hold the wiper combination switch to the combination switch cluster. These 2 screws are on the backside of the switch, that is the heads of the screws face the front of the car and it is a little tight. I found that if I removed the 2 large screws at 11 and 5 o'clock that hold the entire combination cluster to the column I could pull the cluster toward me and get better access to the screws holding wiper switch in place. I found that a small ratchet style screwdriver worked best for these screw.

3. Once the 2 screws holding the wiper switch in place have been removed you will need to follow the wire from the switch down along the column and clip the wire ties and tape and release the reusable wire clamps that hold the wiper switch pig tail to the other wire groups going down the column. I found that removing the kick panel at the bottom of the dash and pushing it out of the way helped with access to the wiring. The kick panel is held in place by 3 screws, 2 push-to-fit clips and on the left side of the dash by 2 plastic push clips that look like philips screw. Once the ties and tape are removed, you are ready to remove the old the combination switch.

3. To remove the old switch, unplug the connector at the end of the pigtail and thread it up along the column. Once the pigtail is free from the column the switch can be removed by pushing it toward the front of the car and up and out. It comes out very easily if the 2 screws holding the combination cluster to the column are left out so that the cluster can be pulled slightly toward you as the wiper switched is pushed forward.

3. Installation of the new switch is just the opposite of removal of the old one. Be sure and tie the new switch pigtail snuggly to the other wires going down the column and be sure that nothing binds before you put the column cover back on.

4. Once everything is back together, you have variable intermittent wipers. One issue of note: It appears to me that the variable function on the new switch works backwards form the diagram on the switch. In other words, when I rotate the variable switch toward the longer dashes, the wiper interval is shorter and when I rotate the switch toward the shorter dashes, the interval gets longer. This probably a polarity problem with the new switch that swapping a couple of wires in the plug would fix, but since one doesn't normally actually look at the switch when adjusting it while driving, but makes the adjustment by feel I am going to leave it alone.

Finally, I wish to thank AVK for all his help with this project. His insight and knowledge of the older Imprezas was invaluable and he supplied the part numbers listed above.
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