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-   -   Simple Wiper Relay fix (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=819089)

Vic328CSi 01-25-2011 11:24 PM

Simple Wiper Relay fix
Hi Guys, Thought Id share a quick repair I did today on my 2000 328Ci. Its been raining heavily and my wipers have been working overtime when I discovered this issue.

Symptoms : Wipers just stop working for no apparent reason, then suddenly start working for no reason! When it does work, the blades move normally without hesitation.

Well after ruling out all the other causes, mine turned out to be a faulty Wiper Relay. Part#61368384505.

Since my closest dealer didnt have stock of the relay, and I had to shell out $47CAD for it anyways. I decided to try repairing the relay. I dont expect every relay to be repairable, but this simple fix should fix most. I know this is not a big $ repair, but I like fixing stuff.

Disclaimer!!! I dont take responsibility if you screw up your car, yourself or anyone around you as a result of this diy. This is purely for information about something I did to my car. If you are unsure about anything, take your car to a professional.

Always a good idea to disconnect your Negative terminal on your battery before stuff like this.

First locate the ECU/Relay box in the engine bay on the Driver Side, loosen the 4 screws, remove the cover

The Wiper relay is light Brown or Tan colored cube

Once you get the relay out, there are two tabs on the bottom that you can pry the relay out of its casing.


Now you got the relay out of its casing, you can examine its contents.

The main area of interest (and main failure spot) is the bottom relay closest to the pins. This relay is what turns on/off the wipers. Especially on older vehicles, and wet climates where wipers are used often, Oxidation builds up between the contact due to the constant spark between these points. It builds up so much that it blocks the signal and your wipers dont work. All I did was clean the contacts with a bit of sandpaper to remove the oxidation.

Get some sandpaper in there to brush the oxidation off the contacts

Voila! pop the cover back on the relay, reinstall, and your intermittent wiper problem should be solved. Mine work as good as new, and its been raining heavily!

kod81 05-30-2011 01:34 PM

Just done the same on mine as I was experiencing same issue. Good write up mate,
Hope I'll get away with getting a new one, alltough I've heard they only bout 20 anyway.

akita328 03-16-2012 10:57 PM

Thanks for the write up. my wipers just died.. almost like I just turned the switch off in a middle of driving at 55mph in heavy rain (FUN!). Since there was no stutter or slowdown of a motor dying, I didn't think it was a drive motor or anything like that, but more of an electrical connection or switch problem.

I'm did this fix (although instead of trying to clean the contact, I just replaced the relay)... and now I have a fully working wiper! saved me a bundle taking it to a mechanic. thanks!!!

hahalife 04-27-2012 08:20 PM

You just saved my life. Thank you so much... Worked like a charm!

mneilwoodall 01-13-2013 10:37 AM

This was a great post. Very helpful. Had this intermittent wiper failure for several months now. Caused several dangerous situations at high speed in rain. Used your post to help replace my relay. My old unit was not corroded like yours, so I hope it was the problem . . . Thanks again for the post.

markusmarkus 01-13-2013 11:30 AM

My only suggestion...
....is to use a relay contact file to clean the contacts. :pimpin:

gion0225 08-22-2013 04:44 AM

thank you very much "Vic328csi" for posting this. great help. got panic when my wipers didn't work when im on my way home, and its raining hard today. its working like new now. :thumbsup:

polynesian 09-12-2013 12:12 PM

Thank you so much for posting this! The wipers on my Alpina packed up today in heavy rain and I was able to fix the problem for free thanks to you. I would never have contemplated taking a relay apart, so i learned something, fixed it for free and immediately.

First post too- grateful for the help, having lurked here a while. I'm on pistonheads as polynesian, and also on alpina forum. Will be checking in here more.

bhbeisel 09-22-2013 05:23 PM

I tried the relay fix but intermittent wipers still not functioning properly. Do you recommend replacing the relay as the next best step?

mikejb6 12-20-2013 06:13 AM

I'm late to the party but I would just like to express many thanks to Vic328CSi for his very informative and helpful post. You saved me a lot of money. My local garage told me that I had a faulty wiper motor and it (and the whole assembly) would cost about UK 300 to replace.

I spent 30 pence on sandpaper and fixed the problem using the information above!



blakalicious 12-03-2014 08:54 AM


Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I was wondering if this would fix the problem with the wipers "parking" in the proper place. I'm imagining it wouldn't, but wanted to check.

steifan 12-07-2014 08:58 AM

Thanks, this helped fix my similar problem!

The relay on my euro 323Ci '00 (built 11/99 in Regensburg) was a Siemens and you could even release the moving part in the relay as pictured below:
Handy when trying to the clean the contact surfaces.

I'm not really compatible with plastic made things so I kind of broke the plastic cover on the relay - gonna get a new relay but the wipers just works fine again :thumbsup:

Junglemusic 09-14-2015 09:00 AM

Thanks for the info and photos, really useful.

I had that dreaded moment this morning, driving to work in the pouring rain and the wipers suddenly died. I was on a busy A-Road in rush hour and had to pull up on a grass verge and ponder what to do next. Cue frantic googling and everything seemed to point towards this relay issue. 10 minutes later the wipers sprang back to life, I got 500m down the road and they died again! Pulled over again, bit more googling/waited for rain to stop (which it didn't). 10 mins later they sprang back to life again so I turned the car round and put my foot down and got back home before they died again. (Where, of course, it finally stopped raining!)

Followed these instructions and have just given the contact a bit of a rub with some sand paper, and they're working fine at the moment so fingers crossed it stays that way.

(I did ring BMW up originally before I got the relay/fuse housing off and they quoted me 11.95 for the part, but said they wouldn't just switch out the relay for me without diagnosing that was causing the problem. hmmm)

dillard 09-14-2015 09:11 AM

I too would like to know if this fixes the intermittent wiper issue. My rain sensor used to control the intermittent speed. But since I got a new windshield, intermittent doesn't work the same. Should I try this before looking at the rain sensor?

marcianello 03-10-2016 05:12 PM


Originally Posted by dillard (Post 16756605)
...since I got a new windshield, intermittent doesn't work the same. Should I try this before looking at the rain sensor?

Dillard - No, you will need to have a shop turn off the rain sensor function with a special BMW scan tool. Many times having the rain sensing windshield replaced causes the intermittent wipers to malfunction. Tinting the windshield near the rain sensor connector may also cause this problem.

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