Already dealt with the heater hose temporarily by giving it a bit of a trim. As for the wipers, I think your diagnosis sounds about right. I assume you're talking about replacing the whole linkage assembly as opposed to replacing the bushings alone. Looks like it will be $105 + tax for a linkage of a '98 and an afternoon's worth of swearing to get it done.
Tks for the advice. I'll let you know when I get my hands dirty if you were 100% right.