As with most of our problems, this one arises also from daily usage, particularly during the winter and rainy conditions. Vacuum wipers. I personally have nothing against them but they seem to have some issues with me. They work when they're not needed, and even more annoyingly they don't work when they're supposed to. From personal experience it's not fun while going up the hill in a snow/rain blizzard the vacuum wipers take a 15minute break. The easiest fix for the problem would be to get the original electric wiper motor with the mounting plate and the original switch for the wipers and install them. But then the question rises where in the heck can one be found. Maybe in the states this isn't a real problem, but around Europe AMCs are not found in the parts-yards.
A newer electric wiper-motor.
And as usual for us AMCers, there's a cheap fix for the problem. AMC had no time and patience to design their own windshield wiper motor so they bought a working design and used it for around 20 years. Another company that used the same motor was Ford and this is where things get easy. Many cars built by Ford use the design all the way from the sixties to the nineties. One of the most common applications to this use if the Ford Escort. It is known for sure that '80s Escorts used this wiper-motor and finding one of those is just about as hard as finding your own foot (at least in Europe). I bought a whole Escort for the price another AMCer was asking for an original-type wiper-motor. Took out the wiper-motor and sold the Escort for more than I paid for it. A win-win deal wouldn't you agree? Also, there's not much use for the mounting plate used by Ford, that's an AMC part (more on that later) and the switch you need to operate the wipers might fit from the Escort if you find an older car. I got my switch from a '70s Ford Taunus (old mid-size european ford) and I used the original crome-knob and nobody has been able to tell it apart from an original part by looking at it. Also I got out most of the Escorts original wires even if I needed the switches just to give me the idea where everything connects to. (It's not that hard to measure the right terminals even if you don't have any idea where the wires go).
As the motor is the same one used by AMC, it bolts on quite easily without any mods. Keep in mind though that you'll have to bend the wiper-rod which connects to the wipermotor a bit just as you'd have to when replacing an original AMC vacuum wipermotor with an electric one. Also the mounting plate differs in the vacuum wipers from the one used with electric wipers, but this is just a question of drilling 3 holes in the mounting plate. The motor is an exact fit for all Hornet/Gremlin bodied cars along with Rebels/Matadors/Ambassadors. And it should be really easy to install to Americans and Classics as well...
Donor car: Wipermotor itself, switch for the motor
Others: Wires for the switch-wipermotor connection to the battery
Tested & working on following cars:
'70 Hornet SST 2D 304 (wiper-motor from a '86 Escort GL)
'67 Rebel 770 4D Sedan 232cid (wiper-motor from a '82 Escort XL)
'65 American 220 2D 196cid (wipermotor from '85 Bronco)
Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you find this tip useful and use it on your car, so I can add your vehicle here (maybe some pics as well!?).
A-V Nauha / AMC Club Finland ry (in the year 2001)