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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 12-12-2011, 03:16 AM   #1
Nickvjr
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DIY Windshield Washer Pump Repair / Replace (if needed) Lots of Pictures

Hello Everyone,

Thanks to this forum for all the helpful information I have learned to bring my (new to me) '04 330Ci Convertible back to the excellent condition it once was. I am new to BMW (this 330Ci is my first) but I am not new to car repair / maintenance. I traded in my immaculate '08 Toyota Camry Hybrid in for this '04 330Ci and although I am generally happy with my purchase; I am not happy with the condition my 330Ci is in. Compared to my '08 Camry Hybrid... this 330Ci has been neglected to some extent. And regardless of the vehicle I drive; my goal is to always keep my vehicles looking and running as good as the day they came out of the factory (in some cases even better than that). So with this new addition to my garage comes new challenges, new adventures and of course new headaches. Now that I got that out of the way lets get to work (coming down from my soap box now...).

One of the problems I noticed the week after I bought this 330Ci was that the windshield washer system didn't work. My fault for not checking this simple yet necessary feature when I first test drove the vehicle but that opportunity has passed. Now I am left with a windshield washer system that does anything but 'wash my windshield'.

I figured that the pump was the problem and I started sourcing new pumps online. Different online vendors offered the same SIEMENS / VDO pump for about $30 (plus S/H) so I figured that for about $35-40 I could have my windshield washer system working again. But... I figured what would be the harm in repairing the current washer pump I have. If I fix it I save myself some $$$ that could go toward other projects and if I don't I know how much $$$ I would have to spend to buy a replacement washer pump.

With the help of my wife (inside the car) I disconnected the windshield washer pump connector and checked the terminals with a volt meter while she activated the system from the inside (key on - engine off). I measured about +12VDC at the connector but the pump made no sound at all when connected.

So the first thing to do is to get to the windshield washer pump to see what the problem could be:

Tools you will need:

-voltmeter or 12VDC test light (to check voltage at connector)
-piece of hose / siphon (to remove as much washer fluid as possible)
-small flat tip screwdriver
-10mm socket & ratchet
-vise grip or decent pliers
-brass or steel brush (old toothbrush also helpful)
-Q-tips for additional cleaning
-hot water (works well at removing loose rust/dirt)
-CRC Electronic Cleaner (MAF Cleaner works too)
-Electrical tape (if housing is cracked)
-about 45-60 minutes (a refreshing drink wouldn't hurt either)


First siphon as much washer fluid from the tank as possible. If your tank is already empty then great! But if you have a lot of fluid still in the tank it would be best to drain it or be quick with the tank removal so that all that fluid does not wind up all over the place.

Then remove the 10mm bolt holding the windshield washer tank in place:



Next, unplug the electrical connector from the washer pump:



Lift the washer tank up slightly and using a small flat tip screwdriver gently pry the black plastic bracket tab from the tank and remove the bracket:



Remove the washer jet hose from the pump outlet (if tank is full be prepared for fluid to come gushing out):



Disconnect electrical connector for the 'washer fluid low' sensor:



The washer tank & pump can now be removed from the engine compartment. If you have to drain the tank now; do so. Once drained remove the washer pump by pulling the pump straight up.

If you have a new washer pump then place the new pump into the tank and install everything in back into the engine compartment. If you are going to repair your washer pump then continue reading.


Inspect the washer pump for damage (my pump has a large crack along the top half of the housing):



Separate the top half of the pump housing from the bottom half using the small flat tip screwdriver (use a twisting motion instead of prying):



Once the top half of the pump is loose remove it. You should end up with these two parts:



Using the flat tip screwdriver GENTLY pry the side tabs the connect the top of the pump motor to the can (metal housing):



Once the tabs are moved gently remove the top half of the pump motor from the can (metal housing):



The underside view of the motor top. You can see the electrical components and the motor brushes (use q-tips to clean between the brushes):



A view of the electrical pump motor. Rust has seized the armature to the field magnets in the can and will not turn by hand:



Using a vise grip at the lowest setting needed to grip the armature axle turn gently twist the axle until the armature breaks free from the field magnets:



Once the armature can be moved gently remove it from the can (this armature shows signs of rust starting from the bottom - possible leak within the pumps impeller housing):



A look inside the motor can and field magnets (lots of rust from the bottom - up):



Using hot water, your finger, an old toothbrush, a metal brush and q-tip remove as much rust / dirt / debris from the pump housing:



After a little bit of work you will start seeing a difference (get as much as you can out but mainly remove all contaminates from the magnets):



Using a metal or brass brush clean all contaminates from the electromagnets. Be careful NOT to break the armature coil wires or damage the communicator (small brass piece atop the electromagnets). Clean that with your finger or VERY gently with a brass brush:



Once you got as much as you can clean; use the Electrical Cleaner (MAF Cleaner) to rinse off all the components:



Let the components air dry. Before assembly blow air into the outlet port of the pump assembly. If the impeller is still working you will hear a whirling noise as well as see the movement of the white plastic piece at the inlet port:



To assemble, be sure to insert armature back into pump housing (can) with the notched end of the armature axle at the bottom. You will have to twist gently to get armature to seat correctly in between the field magnets:



The armature is fully seated when the electromagnets are just below the top of the field magnets (can assembly):



Now line up the pump motor top with the housing by using the plastic tab and notch available (the blue capacitor is right behind the plastic tab) - only line up these points - DO NOT attempt to seat pump motor top yet:



With the tab and notch aligned look at the underside of the pump motor top to get a view of the motor brushes:



Use the flat tip screwdriver to gently move the motor brushes aside in order to secure the pump motor top to the housing (the brushes should end up resting on the brass communicator):



With the motor top fully seated; bend the metal tabs of the motor can inward to secure the top to the rest of the housing (I found it easier to first tap in from the side of the tab and then from the top):


Metal tabs in place and motor top secured:



Carefully line up the top half of the pump housing with the pump leads and secure the top half to the bottom half. Be even with the pressure and gentle so that you don't force the top half farther than it needs to be or you might end up cracking it.

If you have a battery charger or a 12VDC power supply you can test the washer pump motor before installing into the tank. My pump kicked on right away using the maintenance charger I use for my motorcycles.


Now would be a great time to flush out your windshield washer fluid tank. Washer fluid can gel and gum up the tank over time (use LOTS of hot water):



Also flush out your washer pump filter / seal (this one was covered in blue gel before I washer it):



Now place washer pump filter / seal back in the tank opening (make sure it is flush not half in like this picture):



This is a properly seated washer pump filter / seal:



Place repaired washer pump assembly back on the tank (you can see that I used electrical tape to wrap around the top half of the washer pump due to the crack it had):



Install washer tank & pump back into engine compartment. Connect 'washer fluid low' sensor, washer jet hose, black plastic bracket to tank, washer pump connector and 10mm bolt to metal body. Make sure tank seats properly at the bottom (there are small alignment tabs that go into the metal).


Now add washer fluid to tank, key on (position 2) and activate the windshield washer system. If the washer jets spray fluid then congratulations on a job well done:



Now where did I leave the refreshing drink I had made myself at the beginning?

I hope this post helps those that would rather save their money for more exciting projects (like angel eyes, DIY aux cable, performance intake, etc.) than spending it replacing their windshield washer pump! If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I will post an update down the line to let you know how long this repair works!

Take Care!
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:49 AM   #2
Vic328CSi
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Although I commend your resourcefulness, and a very well written/pictured DIY to repair the pump... it makes more sense to buy a new pump especially because your current one is very corroded, broken and held together with tape it wont be long till it fails again, and what if it failed when you really need it. Especially when a new pump can be purchased for as little as $5. And everyones reason for pump failure may not be the same, mine failed back in 2004, the motor was fine, but the valve chamber cracked and no way to repair it. Just my opinion, but I have to say your ability to get a siezed motor operational again is talented. Most fanatics these days cant screw in a light bulb without making a thread about it.

http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/67128362154/
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:12 AM   #3
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Vic328CSi,

Thanks for taking the time to read over my post. Especially for the link to the $5 washer pump!!! At that price it would be easy to get two pumps and keep one on the shelf as a backup (especially the way most online vendors over charge for s/h). The Google searches I looked over didn't bring up ecstuning when I was looking for washer pumps; either that or I didn't look far enough down the page (I know I didn't look past the first page at all). Nevertheless thank you very much for the link.

My washer pump was at the extreme end of 'failure'. Obviously enough fluid got into the washer pump / motor housing to cause all that corrosion. I am not certain if it entered through the crack at the top of the housing or from a seal in the impeller housing but either way the washer pump was non-operational. Most electric motors I have taken apart (too many to count; I used to work on 200 Series Volvo's as a hobby in the past) show signs of failure for two primary reasons; 1) moisture causing surface rust on both sets of magnets and/or 2) debris built up from a bad seal (and lack of use).

These small motors do not generate a large amount of torque and a small amount of rust or debris can keep the armature from spinning when voltage is applied. Also lack of use for these motors causes build up of washer fluid that turns into a gel like substance that can also keep the armature from turning by guming up the impeller mechanism. Hopefully other fanatics will find their washer pumps in far better condition than I found mine and with a little cleaning and time they can get their motor back up and running. Of course if they got themselves one of those $5 motors than it will be less work to do in the long run.

I don't know exactly how long this fix will work but I do know that yesterday my windshield washer system was not working and now it does! Good thing too because the frost on my windshield this morning didn't stand a chance against the heated washer fluid coming out the jets. I will definetly place an order for a couple new washer pumps and keep them on the shelf until this one fails again... however long that maybe!

Take Care!
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:31 AM   #4
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Great fix! These are the ones I like, they cost nothing. Save your money for the more expensive repairs on the E46's.

I had one that was not working and took it out. I got another car with a bad pump and decided to try the other again and it worked this time. Maybe I freed it up with movement.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:05 PM   #5
Nickvjr
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Thanks for compliment BMWCaptain! You would be surprised as to how many electric motors are replaced on the sole diagnosis of 'it is getting voltage but it is doing nothing'. Several motors I have repaired just needed a tap with a rubber mallet or screwdriver handle while being energized to help break the armature from the field magnets. Simple fix for a motor that was considered dead. Of course the best thing to do is to open it up and clean it but if your in a pinch a simple 'tap' could go a long way.

Take Care!
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:28 AM   #6
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holy crap thanks... gonna try this soon!
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:06 AM   #7
Leo R
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Wink

Greetings all, I have troubleshot this pump as well about 2 years ago. Only thing I had to do was remove the plastic cover and spray wd40 in the motor through the small holes, I then applied direct +12volts from the battery both directions with wd40 and I have not had any issues. It was IMO the easiest way to get the pump running again. Took me about 5 minutes including troubleshooting to the actual motor. Hope this helps!
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:54 PM   #8
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Good DIY, I will be doing this soon I have the pump on order from ecstuning already. Thanks for great write up.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:49 PM   #9
gene-heck
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Awesome. I am impressed by the detail. Thank you. I went the easy way and just replaced the pump but I am intrigued enough to say, I just may try your process the next time. It's not a matter of $ but the challenge is inviting.
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:52 AM   #10
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thanks I just followed all your great photos and instructions and got my son's working perfectly. Many thanks
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:22 AM   #11
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OP, thanks for posting. I will be tackling this tomorrow.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:22 PM   #12
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Haha-haha, this works! Was a bit skeptical but with time on my hands while sitting at home as mine suddenly failed yesterday without leaking, this was a no brainer. Just finished the repair and the pump fired right up on first try.... Yeah, $20+ for a new one is nothing but still feels sweet to accomplish this diy.

I had to apply my favorite gasket sealant [hylomar] when shutting down the top half onto the base! Nice cheap fix...
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:00 AM   #13
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***UPDATE***

I am glad that some are able to take on the challenge and have brought their windshield washer pumps back to life. Money saved for another repair or project!

As for the pump in this DIY it failed last month again. When I took it apart I found it was rusted as before which led me to believe that the impeller seals were shot and would just keep allowing more washer fluid into the pump housing.

I had a used pump on the shelf I purchased from a fellow fanatic so I replaced the pump this time around. It lasted me well over 6 months and made the wife happy as she is the one who is always using the windshield washer fluid to clean the windshield.

The pump in this DIY was the 'worst case scenario' in regards to contamination and failure but it still came back to life after the repair. Most other pumps are not suffering from this type of contamination or failure so I would guesstimate that most pumps would benefit from this repair prior to replacement.

Thanks to all for their time & comments!
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:22 PM   #14
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My washers stopped spraying suddenly. I first got a warning about low washer fluid level, went out and bought some fluid and poured in about 0.5 gallon. Tried to spray after a couple of days, nothing. Not even relays clicking, or motor trying to turn.

If I check the voltage on the cable connector with a very good multimeter, it reads 9.6V even when the car is off, no key in ignition. On turning on, and clicking the wheel wand for spray, no change in voltage, still about 9.6V.

I read somewhere that the wiper relay could be bad in the E-box.
1. Does the wiper relay also control spray motor?
2. Can i test the relay before purchasing replacement? Can i swap in another relay from the e-box?
3. If I have to replace the pump, will any aftermarket pump be ok?

thanks.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:22 PM   #15
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Thanks a lot! now my whaser pump works fine
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:33 PM   #16
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@scsnospam

It sounds as thought something more than your windshield washer motor is at fault here. When I checked for voltage at the washer motor I get 0 volts until the lever is pulled back to activate the washer pump & the I was getting 12.1-12.6 volts. I wasn't seeing a voltage with the key off. Only with key on - engine off & lever activated.

I am not sure if the same relay that runs the wipers also run the washer motor. The wipers can run independent of the washer pump so I would suspect separate relays but I am not sure. Can you swap out the relay with another one? Again not certain if the washer motor has a relay for operation and if it is the same or similar to that of the wiper motor.

Aftermarket pumps will work fine. Just make sure that the style is identical to what you have in your vehicle right now. Honestly you can find great deals from fellow fanatics selling washer motors they no longer need or had sitting around as a spare.

Good luck and let us know what you find out.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:26 PM   #17
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Thanks for the DIY. I read this a couple of months ago before I sourced new jets and hoses (PO had put on a CF hood and did not reinstall missing parts. Got my system all hooked back up and sure enough pump was frozen. This works for now until I can get a new pump. Thanks again.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:04 PM   #18
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Scsnospam
You will probably need a motor along with a possible general module. I would check the double pull wiper relay first and verify power there but it is possiblity you have an output stage failure in the body module(general module) that controls your wiper motor.
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:51 PM   #19
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Thanks for the DIY. I just replaced mine on a 325i i recently bought.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:32 PM   #20
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Great post. I cleaned it up and it's back and running for me.
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