If you follow me on any sort of social media or anywhere else I’ve been shilling my writing wares, you’re probably familiar with my 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Objectively a bad car, I’ve fallen in love with it over the little over a year I’ve been the owner. It’s slow, can’t go all that far, and takes forever to charge, but also manages to be entertaining on a track. It’s also it’s the best thing I’ve ever driven in snow, due to its low center (and rearward) of gravity, super skinny tires, and complete lack of power.
It also has no way of turning on the rear wiper. I have a rear wiper arm, motor, and blade, but no way to turn it on. The previous owner explained this to me, but like my mama always told me, I “don’t believe that fat meat is greasy.”
At first, when I bought the i-MiEV I assumed it was just an elderly or unwitting owner who may have been confused about how to operate the i-MiEV and its entirety. After all, the previous owner of my example was an elderly lady, who never needed to drive all that far from her grandkids. It was her last car, as she gave up driving for good.
I figured there’d be a button or switch somewhere in the interior. Or, maybe the stalk itself needed to pivot back and forth, like the Ford Fiesta.
Did Mitsubishi make the rear window wiper optional, but instead of omitting the assembly, they decided to omit the switch? That would be odd, but I guess not uncommon; lots of modern cars already have the optional equipment installed, but the actual features just aren’t accessible to the consumer. I’m not talking about Tesla or BMW-level software paywalls, I’m talking about how, say, modern Hyundai and Kia products often just need steering wheel buttons to have access to cruise control, if it’s not equipped. Yet, that wasn’t squaring up with the window sticker, which said I had a rear wiper. What the hell was going on?
Well, it looks like Mitsubishi didn’t install the correct wiper stalk, from the factory.
According to my owner’s manual, my wiper stalk should have an extra twist provision that allows me to turn the rear wiper on and off. Mine does not. If you don’t believe me, check this photo right here.
I don’t know how someone didn’t catch that before the car escaped the factory, it’s not like the car was a huge seller; only 2,200 made their way to both the U.S. and Canada.
I asked the previous owner about it, who told me that they did try and get the problem rectified by the Mitsubishi dealership. They wanted somewhere in the $150 to $200 ballpark to replace the stalk with the correct one, which seems silly, considering it’s Mitsubishi’s fault in the first place.
Although it seems like the i-MiEV uses a bespoke part for its wiper stalk, I’m betting that it actually does not. Most manufacturers have a generic bin for switches and stalks, and I’ll bet that someone accidentally installed one from a sedan-shaped car that wouldn’t have a rear wiper. Shooting from the hip, I purchased a used one from a Lancer Sportback, which I’m pretty sure will work.
Let’s hope and pray the rear wiper motor isn’t completely seized up from more than a decade of lying unused.
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Mitsu left the switch off on purpose, range is limited enough with the rear wiper sucking electrons.
Welcome to the Autopian party! I see you brought your entry ticket, a somewhat broken car. You will fit right in here.
Even better, a somewhat broken car that is of zero interest to 96% of the population. Welcome to the four-percent club!
So the intermittent speed is adjusted by twisting the end on the wiper stalk on the one you do have*, whereas with the wiper stalk you _should_ have it’s the ring? Interesting that the intermittent adjustment is different, I would think that would be standardized and the end would just be fixed without the rear wiper. This may put me down a rabbit hole of comparing OEM wiper stalks with and without rear wiper controls to see if it’s different between models in the same brand.
Seems like a safe bet that swapping it out for a stalk with the rear wiper control will be plug and play. Back when base Tacomas still had just 2-speed wipers without even an intermittent setting (which was still the case not that long ago, like through MY2019), I want to say I read of owners swapping in the stalk from upper-trim models and it gave them intermittent functionality.
*I was going to say the “tip of your stalk” but with daylight savings, it’s still too bright for #autopianafterdark.
I did that on my ’09 Tacoma. It was pretty easy, especially with the help of YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSBVABpEkU4 – but the only thing I could find on the i-MiEV is unlocking regenerative braking – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwsHidbzfmw. You might need a wiring diagram to add a dash-mounted switch – good luck!
Kevin, I have really bad news.
The i-MiEV does not use a common part. Because this is not a switch.
It’s an entire switch assembly which covers the turn signal/lights, wiper stalk, and horn. That’s problem one.
“Wait, what do you me-”
Problem two, it is extremely i-MiEV specific. Because of aforementioned assembly portion, it’s steering column specific. To the i-MiEV. Also RHD vs LHD specific.
Which brings us to problem three. The LHD part is so NLA I can’t even find the part number, and the RHD part is not physically compatible. Because the plug is on the wrong side.
You’d have to take the column switch off an Outlander (no interchange with Lancer because hey! No rear wiper.) Except it has a different connector. I counted the pins. And you can’t steal the RHD part, because again: the plug is on the wrong side. As in your ignition cylinder is in the way.
I don’t think Mitsubishi ever MADE the correct part.
Where did you obtain this ridiculous level of knowledge about the switch on an unpopular model from a small make?
This all makes the prospect of adding cruise control to my otherwise-nearly-‘loaded’ Yaris (which didn’t have cruise as an option, but can figure it out with some parts-bin switches, the most difficult bit being the airbag removal/replacement, it appears) seem like a doddle.
It’s also it’s the best thing I’ve ever driven in snow, due to its low center (and rearward) of gravity, super skinny tires, and complete lack of power.
So, an electric VW Beetle?
A wiring diagram, some wire, switch and a hole or box on the dash should do it.
My head exploded at https://www.megazip.net.
But I’m looking at things that should be there and things that may not be there and wires that should come to meet them there or not. Available or not.
So then I think OK it is in the tailgate and somewhere wires can be grabbed and fuses switches and relays can be run and hidden somewhere. Wicky, wacky spray and smear it’s doable.
Forget the stalk. All you need is to give 12v to the wiper motor.
Yup. This sounds like a job for a toggle switch and a length of wire.
The dealer should really have caught this at PDI. But as a customer, how do you catch this when you pick up your brand new car?
Look into the wiper stalk from Peugetot iON and Citroen C-Zero. You can find the right stalk for 25 €.
Or one from Citroen for 10 €.
THIS is what The Autopian is all about. Nice find!
Note: Citroen and Peugeot iON and Citroen C-Zero are exactly the same car as Mitsubishi i-MiEV, just under different badging.
Mitsubishi parts code is E532016. There’s plenty of used ones to be found arround on the net.
Give this man a free membership (vinyl should suffice).
This is hilarious! I had a 2013 MX-5 Sport that came with the regular on/off wipers, but not the intermittent. All I did was order some RX-8/MX-5 stalks and they worked fine.
P.S. It looks like you live in Franklin County, OH! I live in Clark, which isn’t too far away! You also have an Out Motorsports sticker. Are you going to any of the events this year?
He probably is. Kevin’s a great guy, have met him several times. I’m going to the RallyX next month. Ohio isn’t too far away from the DC motherland – definitely try to make an event!
This site is really turning into a one stop shop for all the writers I like.
Does anyone remember the gas version of this car being wildly popular in japan.It won a bunch of awards and all.
I’ve often thought of buying the battery powered version but it wouldnt work with where i live.
Our Mk5 VW Jetta is the exact opposite. Has the exact same stalk as the Golf including full markings and controls for a rear wiper that doesn’t exist on the Jetta.
This thing is basically a switch, right? Worst case scenario you can adapt some off-the-shelf switch into the existing wiring (if such wiring does, indeed, exist).
Somewhere someone is driving a Mitsubishi with a stalk that operates the front and rear wiper, but can’t figure out where their rear wiper is or why the knob does nothing.
Or they put the wiper arm on and are getting the option free.
Or they turn on the rear wiper and Kevin’s wiper fires up.