Fixing of the Mazda RX-7 2nd Generation Main Wiper
Switch (Original page was located at: http://www.zapta.com/tal/rx7/wiper/main.html
from Tal Dayan. -RETed)
Disclaimer: The information presented here is provided
'as is'. Every attempt has been made to verify the information contained
within. We are not responsible for any property damage, personal injury,
death, or any other consequences. Use common sense and your own judgment.
Remember, we are not experts, just RX-7 owners like you.
Copyright notice: this article is a copyrighted material of the its
writers. It can be freely copied and distributed as long as it remains intact.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please don't modify the document
yourself, and instead forward your request to the document administrator
(listed at the end of the document). Our intentions in setting this
restriction is the wish to make any future changes/updates to the entire RX-7
This document describes how to fix the wiper switch. It is
applicable only to Mazda's RX-7 2nd generation (model years' 1987 through
1991). I have done it on my '87 RX-7 (turbo, tilted steering wheel) and it
cured the problem. The symptoms were that the windshield wiper works only in
LO speed but not in INT and HI positions. This document describes how I
performed the fix based on directions posted by several people in the "FC3S List". It is up to you to
decide if this fix is appropriate to your case.
The wiper switch controls the main windshield wipers as well as controls
the rear window wiper, misters, and hazard lights. The wiper switch seems to
have a problem common to many 2nd gen. RX-7's. In my case, the main windshield
wiper did not work in the HI and INT but works just fine in the LO
setting. New wiper switch units are available from Mazda dealers and Mazdatrix; but due to their
high cost (over $200) some RX-7 owners might choose to fix them instead. The
problem in my case, as pointed out by people on the FC3S list, was bad
contacts in one of the relays. The FC3S FAQ suggests to clean the relay switches; however some
individuals on the list mentioned that this fix is only temporary. In so
being, I decided to replace the damaged relay with a new one. The relay I
used, as suggested by Mike Gordon, is G6C-2114-US-DC12 made by Omron Electronics Inc. This is
a 12V, PCB relay, 8A SPST-NO/SPST-NC which which is a drop-in replacement and
its pin-out is identical to that of the original relay. A good source for the
relay is Digi-Key
(1-800-344-4539) which carries this relay as item Z950-ND. It can be ordered
using Digi-Key's on-line ordering system, and it costs $6.24 (plus a $5
penalty for small orders) plus the actual shipping cost.
The main difficulty in performing this fix is to access and remove the old
relay. The FC3S FAQ
suggests to remove the wiper switch printed circuit board (PCB) by
de-soldering it. Another approach which was suggested on the FC3S list is to
cut, using a Dremel tool an
opening in the wiper switch cover; this is the method which is described in
The rest of this document describes how to replace the faulty relay with
the new one. It also contains a sections which describes how to verify that
the relay in your wiper switch is indeed bad.
REMOVING THE WIPER SWITCH AND ITS
Removing the wiper switch and its back cover are done in the steps
outlined below. When done, you will end up with the 'naked' wiper switch as
shown in Figure
Figure 1 - The wiper switch taken apart.
Note that the instruction below are for an FC3S with tilted steering wheel
which might make the removal of the wiper switch easier. If your car does not
have a tilted steering wheel, follow the instruction in the Shop Manual to
remove the unit.
- Disconnect the NEGATIVE battery cable (with negative ground cars like our
FC3S, always disconnect the negative cable first and connect it last, this
reduces the risk of causing short circuit by touching the car body with the
Note: the switches should be plugged in and out only when the
battery is disconnected and the ignition switch is off. We will not mentioned
it again in the rest of the document so it is your responsibility to remember
- Remove the cluster switch panel (the unit that contains the wiper, signal,
light, and cruise control switches). Note that the cluster switch panel is
held in place by five screws (2 at the bottom and 3 near the instrument panel)
and is connected by four (in my FC3S which has cruise control) electrical
connectors (two at the right and two at the left).
- Remove the wiper switch buttons. This is done by holding them firmly and
pulling them away. You may also push them with a screwdriver from the inside
of the cluster switch panel while you pull them away.
- Remove the wiper switch. It is held in place by two screws. In my case, I
had to remove also the cruise control switch to clear the way for the wiper
- Remove the wiper switch cover, this is done by praying on it with a
screwdriver. Be careful not to damage electronic parts under the cover. The
cover does not seem to break easily and even if it is breaks, it is not a big
problem as you can glue it back without affecting the performance of the
If everything went OK, you will end up with the parts as shown above in Figure
CHECKING THE RELAY
Before you replace the relay, you might want to make sure this is indeed
the cause of the problem. First you need to identify the relay. The wiper
switch has three relays: Relay 1, Relay 2, and Relay 3. The three relays are
mounted on the component side of the PCB. Relay 1 is fully exposed, Relay 2 is
partially exposed, and Relay 3 is fully covered. Figure3
shows the three relays after exposing relay 3 (more about it later). Relay 3,
which is the one we are going to replace, is shown on the lower right
corner in Figure
3 (this relay is the bottom relay when the WSC is installed in the car).
Now we need to identify the six pins of Relay 3 on the back side of the
PCB. The six pins, which are directly below Relay 3 has the following pin out
Figure 2 - Relay 3 pin out (bottom view).
Contacts are shown in the normal (rest) position.
Before we start with the check, note that this is a brief check that tests
only for the common symptoms of malfunction, that is, that one of the switches
of the relay does not connect when it should. It is also assumed that you are
using a digital voltmeter with automatic polarity setting. If not, no problem,
if the voltage you measure is negative, exchange the position of the two
Relay 3 contact check:
- With the battery disconnected, connect the wiper switch to the car (we
don't need the other switches at this point).
- Make sure nothing is going to short circuit, and then connect the
battery and turn the ignition switch to the ON position.
- Set the speed to LO and make sure the voltage between the pins of the
relay coils are close to zero VDC.
- Measure the voltage across the normally closed contacts of the relay
(upper left corner in Figure
2). It should be zero VDC since the relay is not activated.
- Set the speed to HI and make sure the voltage between the pins of the
relay coils are about 12VDC.
- Measure the voltage across the normally open contacts of the relay
(lower left corner in Figure
2). It should be zero VDC since the relay is activated.
If one of the switches has 12VDC across it while it should be closed, the
switch seems to fail and replacing the relay is likely to fix the problem.
Otherwise, further investigation which is outside the scope of this document
is required. In my case, the normally open switch failed to close.
REMOVING THE RELAY
To remove Relay 3 you need to access the relay from both sides of
the PCB. The removal of the switch cover done earlier has exposed the PCB side
of the relay. Now we will need to expose it from the component side. Figure
2 and Figure3
(a close-up) show the component side of the wiper switch with the relay
exposed. Using a Dremel tool carefully cut the cover until Relay 3 is
Figure 3- The three relays from left to right are Relay 1, Relay 2,
and Relay 3.
Relay 3 (right) being the one we are going to replace and is is
the component side by cutting the switch surface.
Figure 4 - close up of the exposed Relay 3 (vertical, on the right
After exposing the relay, remove it by de-soldering its six pins shown in
5, and puling it out. It is hard to pull the relay out intact but don't
worry if you damage or break it, as we are going to replace it anyway. Be
careful however not to damage the PCB or other parts of the switch. I found
that it is easier to remove the relay if you can access it with a screw driver
from the side, between its base and the PCB. For that reason, I made an extra
hole on the right side (using the orientation in figure 3) of the switch as
shown in Figure
Figure 5 - the bottom side of Relay 3. Note also see leverage access
hole marked 'H'.
If every thing went OK, the PCB at the vacant location of the relay will
look as in Figure
6. Make sure to clean any excess solder that can shorten between PCB
Figure 6 - A close-up of the vacant location of the Relay 3.
INSTALLING THE NEW RELAY
To install the new relay in place of Relay 3, simply make sure that the
PCB and the six holes of the relay pads are clean (look for short circuits on
the component side under the relay, after installing the relay, you will have
not access to clean it), insert the relay and solder it carefully. Note that
because of the asymmetric spacing between the relay pads, it fits in
only in the correct orientation. The installed relay is shown in Figure
7. TESTING THE
Figure 7 - The new relay installed in the vacant location of the
To test the switch you don't have to install the entire cluster switch
panel. You can simply connect only the wiper switch itself, and test it
separately. Make sure that when you connect or disconnect the wiper switch,
the battery is disconnected and the ignition switch is in the OFF position.
NOTE ON THE SWITCH LIGHTS
When the cluster switch panel is removed, it is a good time to replace
burnt bulbs in all the cluster switch panel unit. In my case, one of the bulbs
of the wiper switch (the one that is missing in Figure
3) did not work. I could not find an original replacement part, so instead
I used Radio Shack
272-1092 micro lamps (12v, 60 ma, 2 per $1.49) and installed it onto the base
of the original lamp. Really easy. Mike
Gordon suggests to use two of the above bulbs to match the power rating of
the original lamp. INSTALLATION
If the wiper switch and the lights work OK, install everything is reverse
order, reconnect the battery and make sure all the switches of the cluster
switch panel work properly.
DOCUMENT HOUSEKEEPINGThanks to: mailto:mikego@Attachmate.com for his
help with the electrical aspect of this fix.
How to contact us