Saturn Ion Windshield Wiper Linkage / Wiper Transmission Repair / How to replace Broken Saturn Ion Wiper Transmission

It has become apparent to us recently that the Saturn Ion has a rather large engineering flaw. The critically important Windshield Wiper Transmission (The linkage assembly which connects the wiper motor to the wiper blade arms) has a flaw which in my opinion should have never been allowed to happen in the first place. One of the hinges which allows the wipers to pivot is made of PLASTIC! Over time, this plastic hinge becomes brittle and will eventually snap, causing failure of the wiper blades. If your wipers fail at the wrong time, this could lead to a serious safety situation. Imagine driving down the interstate at 60+ MPH in a heavy rainstorm, and suddenly your wipers just stop working.

In my opinion, this is a serious engineering blunder. I can only assume that the intentions of making this very important linkage hinge out of plastic was to save a couple dollars on the assembly line. But is a couple dollars worth risking the safety drivers? Luckily, we at APDTY have a solution. We carry a replacement wiper transmission which has METAL hinges, like they should have been from the factory. This replacement part has a lifetime warranty and is guaranteed to never fail on you. The replacement of this part is not extremely difficult and is achievable by almost anyone with some basic mechanical skill.

Here is a shot of the upgraded metal hinge:

upgraded metal saturn ion pivot

The basic steps are outlined below:

1) Remove the Windshield Wiper Arm Nut Covers.

2) Remove the Windshield Wiper arm Nut.


3) Remove the wiper arms, If the arms do not come off easy there is a specialty tool available designed to pull the wiper arm off.

4)  Remove the Air inlet grille panel (Cowl Panel) by removing the push-pin fasteners and then lifting up and disconnecting the wiper fluid hose.


5)  Disconnect the wiring connector from the windshield wiper motor.

6) Remove the bolts that attach the whole wiper transmission/motor assembly to the car. Remove the whole assembly (Wiper Motor and Transmission Linkage) From the vehicle.

7)  Remove the Wiper Motor Crank Arm Nut. (The nut which comes out of the center of the wiper motor) and remove the crank arm from the motor.

8 ) Remove the bolts which attach the wiper motor to the transmission/linkage assembly and remove wiper motor from the assembly.

9) Install the wiper motor onto the new transmission/linkage assembly. Install the crank-arm and crank-arm nut.

10) Reverse removal instructions to install the assembly and cowl panel back into the vehicle.

11) Reinstall Wiper blade arms, be sure that the wiper motor is in full park position (where they sit when the wiper switch is off), align the wiper arms and tighten the wiper arm retaining nut.

Written By Joe Stepnicka


About Josh

I help manage the site here at Auto Repair Instructions. If you are having problems, then I am the one to contact.

Posted on July 3, 2010, in Saturn, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for the picture under #7 with the yellow stated that needed to be placed in that direction. We have been working on the car for 2hrs and looked at the picture and realized we did not have it the correct way. It was so much helped. It is fixed now. Thanks

  2. In step 4, Removal of the push pins for the Cowl removal, middle two are actual bolts and outer two are the push pins. Are the push pins removed by prying off or lifting the cowl over the pin? Took a look last night. Can’t wait to get my new part


  3. Hi i did all the instructions and i just have one problem. When i was done installing the wiper and tried it out the off position is half way up my windshield and does not go down when i switch it off. I do not know what to do .}???

  4. Easy to install just make sure you adjust the linkage assembly on the wiper arm assembly to sync with the wiper motor itself. You will have to loosen the nut and adjust the linkage several times before you get it just where you need it. Great product and good instructions.

  5. I have the unit back in and wipers installed however when I turn it on they don’t move. I hear the motor running. Any idea why the wipers don’t move??

  6. Got my part and installed today… Couldn’t disconnect the power from the motor, so i did everything while motor still connected to car. Got everything done first try. Should note that, Torx T30 bit i s required to remove motor from assembly, and 13mm wrench for nut attaching to motor shaft.

  7. *****Play close attention to step 7 This is the corrent orientation of the motor crank arm when reassembling. *****

    It will save you valuable time

    Thanks for the help

  8. This was a great article that really helped to make the installation a lot easier!

    Your new, improved replacement wiper mechanism is great and looks like it will outlive the old OEM part that had plastic ends.

    I took photos during my installation, and posted them on my blog.

    Thanks again for supplying the part and the fast shipping was appreciated!

  9. Bless you for the picture after step #7. This 20 minute repair had taken me over 4 hours and installed about 5 times before I resorted to the internet. Turns out my linkage was “inside out” so-to speak, so the passenger side wiper was getting ahead of the driver’s side wiper. Without the picture, I don’t think I would have ever figured it out.

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