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Old 05-14-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
theholycow
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Lightbulb DIY HowTo replace wiper inserts/refills instead of buying expensive wiper blades

With old-fashioned mutli-hinged blades the frame/hinges wear out and it gets sloppy about the same time that the rubber wears out, so it used to be pointless replacing the refills. With these modern beam-style wiper blades, I suspect that you can replace the rubber insert (aka "refill") multiple times and have the blade last many years..which is good because they're kinda expensive. Refills cost under $5.

There is an old HowTo floating around. It's been posted to various forums. The photos have disappeared from most of them. Here's one I can find that's still alive:
http://www.kramerkreations.com/PDF_f...rblade_fix.pdf
However, it's out of date! The end cap design has changed. The clip that they show does not exist anymore, and both ends share a single style of end cap.

For the rear wiper...User bazzle posted a DIY HowTo for replacing just the insert:
http://www.golfmkv.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1688598

The wiper blade is constructed of the following parts:
  • 2 parallel beams/rails with a bracket in the center that they seem to be stuck to.
  • 2 aerofoils (or whatever you want to call them) whose ends slide into the center bracket. They hold the beams parallel to use as rails for the insert, too. There is one on each side of the center bracket.
  • 1 rubber "insert"/"refill".
  • 2 end caps.

How to replace the inserts/refills in the front aero wipers that come stock on VW 2008 MKV models:

1. Buy a wiper refill, or if you can't find one, buy any cheap blade of appropriate length and disassemble it to remove the refill. I found an insert long enough for the drivers side for $3.38 at a local auto parts store. They're mostly standard. I doubt there is much quality difference from one to the next, except for special ones like Tripledge (which not only is a different shape, but is treated with stuff similar to Rain-X which wipes onto your glass). Remove all clips/metal/other attachments so you're left with just the rubber part.

2. Remove blade from car.
  • Put wipers in service position (hit wiper stalk after turning car off but before removing key).
  • Angle blade away from wiper arm.
  • Press button on arm's end and slide blade out of arm.

3. Optional: Remove one or both end caps. More optionally, disassemble whole thing. This is different from the old HowTo! In the old one, it was required to remove the end cap, and it was done differently.
  • Use a flat screwdriver of exactly the right width to pry up both metal beam ends from the plastic teeth and the end cap slides right off. Be careful not to break the plastic.


    The little tabs hanging off the end of the steel beams in the second picture are just paint flakes.
  • If you want you can remove the plastic sleeve/aerofoil that covers half the length.

If you want, you can repeat one or both of the above for the other end. I don't recommend removing the sleeve/aerofoil. When you do, the twin beams in between which you're supposed to slide the refill will not stay parallel and it will be a PITA to put the refill in.

4. Slide the old refill out and slide the new one in.
  • If there are mutliple notches in your refill, use the upper notch such that the rest of the notches are visible when it's all back together. There's not a lot of clearance between the beam and the center bracket, and anyway that's the proper height.
  • If you didn't remove an end cap, be careful as you thread the new one in past the end cap.

  • For the drivers side, be patient. It's long and there's a lot of friction, so if you tug too hard on the refill it will tear. You can inchworm it along a little bit, or just press the end of the blade into something and use both hands to pull the refill in, one hand at one end and one in the middle.

5. If you disassembled stuff (aerofoils, end caps), re-assemble it. It's pretty obvious how it goes together.

6. Reinstall to the car and enjoy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labelskate View Post
those things can make crazy hp easily with an engine swap...
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:53 AM   #2
Lil mo with the gimpy leg
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NEAT!
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:30 PM   #3
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How wide is top (flat part) of the OE blade insert you removed? Is the passenger side insert the same top width as the drivers side?

Thanks
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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Costco has the Goodyear Assurance blades for $8 right now. I just bought the 24" and 19". I'll let you know how the install goes.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedamaja View Post
How wide is top (flat part) of the OE blade insert you removed? Is the passenger side insert the same top width as the drivers side?

Thanks
The Trico 45-245 wiper blade refill I bought says "Includes twin rails. Fits original equipment twin rail blades with square claws." and its profile matched the original stuff perfectly, or almost perfectly. Its UPC is 0027998452451.

I'll try to remember to find and photograph the piece I cut off, next to a ruler, so you can get all the dimensions you need.

Edit: LOL, looks like I forgot to do that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by junker View Post
Costco has the Goodyear Assurance blades for $8 right now. I just bought the 24" and 19". I'll let you know how the install goes.
Nice find!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labelskate View Post
those things can make crazy hp easily with an engine swap...

Last edited by theholycow; 05-16-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junker View Post
Costco has the Goodyear Assurance blades for $8 right now. I just bought the 24" and 19". I'll let you know how the install goes.
Yep, worked well. Each one includes about 5 adapter modules. I think it was the B13 or B14 one for our cars. Pretty close in price to the refills.

really good write-up btw.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:41 PM   #7
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Can you slide a rain-x latitude blade in there?
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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Why would you want to? It's already a beam-style blade and costs as much as any other.
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those things can make crazy hp easily with an engine swap...
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:10 PM   #9
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I just need wiper blades and I can't find them locally.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:27 PM   #10
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The RainX Latitude wipers don't fit?

Buy cheap blades and use their inserts in the original VW blades. No need to buy the most expensive blade just to take out its insert.
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Quote:
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those things can make crazy hp easily with an engine swap...
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:39 PM   #11
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Yeah the RainX latitude blades don't fit. I've heard that some people got them to fit but they had to get the right part, you can't just take the ones off the shelf.
I'd rather have the best wiper blades possible because the weather is so extreme up here.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:56 PM   #12
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I don't know if the insert is the correct profile, but the cheapest brand at WalMart, "Pylon", has really nice rubber. It might be worth trying one of those before blowing $40 on wipers you're going to destroy.
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Quote:
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those things can make crazy hp easily with an engine swap...
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