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Old 11-11-2008, 04:46 PM   #1
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Windshield Washer Problem

After some intermittent operation, my windshield washer stopped working altogether. Before it finally gave up the ghost, the sprayers would work only if I wiggled the wiper stalk on the steering column. I pulled out the washer fluid container and replaced the washer motor, but with no success. I checked all the fuses and none are blown either. Any ideas?

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Old 11-11-2008, 06:07 PM   #2
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Seems to me that if it took jiggling the switch to get it to work, the issue is with the switch.

Not a good thing because the wiper switch is part of a 3-stalk assembly (Wiper, Cruise and Turn Signal) and not available separately. Also, this assembly is not easily taken apart, that is by a novice. The OBC stalk is separate, but not available separately. I would suspect that the contacts are either dirty, worn or broken. You could try to get it apart to see if cleaning the contacts works, but unless you know what you're doing, you could screw up the other two switches, 'course at this point what have you got to lose?

Just be sure to disconnect the battery (radio code written down if needed) and wait for 5 min. before removing the airbag/steering wheel. You don't want to add a $500 airbag and a dry cleaning bill (to clean your soiled pants) to the mix.
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:30 PM   #3
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I had this problem once, and the fix was to turn the steering wheel to one side so that you have access to the rear part of the driver's side wheel well. Remove the plastic nuts and plastic rivet holding the back part of the front wheel well, and look up in that fender. That is where the bottom of the washer fluid tank is located. There, you will see a rubber hose that most likely worked its way off the nipple of the washer tank.

The amazing thing is that this rubber hose that feeds the washer fluid from the tank to the jet sprays is not secured with any clamp...they simply press fit the hose over the plastic nipple of the tank, so it can come right off over time. Put the rubber hose back on and secure it with small hose clamp and the problem will never happen again.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:25 PM   #4
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^ Does the wiper fluid light come on the dash if the hose gets loose?
None of the fluid is coming out of my nozzles but I can hear the motor working and
The light is on.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
^ Does the wiper fluid light come on the dash if the hose gets loose?
None of the fluid is coming out of my nozzles but I can hear the motor working and
The light is on.
Yes, the light will come on because it is trying to push the fluid thru the hoses to reach the windshield, but since the hose came off the tank, the motor is pushing nothing through, and the washer fluid will come right down below the fender instead, hence emptying the tank, and thus triggering the washer fluid warning light in your instrument cluster.

I'd say in almost all the cases, it is because the hose in the driver's side fender (under the drivers side wheel well) came off the plastic nipple of the washer tank. In some cases, one of the rubber lines that runs from the tank on the top side of the front trunk leading to the spraying mechanism may come loose too (although this is more rare). It is easy to check this if you just add washer fluid to the tank, and then turn on your washers and have someone look to see if there is a leak anywhere on the top hoses in your front trunk (remove the plastic cover on top of your battery and the plastic cover to the right of it so that you can see the hoses). My guess, however, is that it is the hose in the wheel well that usually comes off the tank nipple.

This is a really easy DIY fix. All you have to do is buy the smallest hose clamps you can find at an autoparts store, and secure it over the rubber hose that leads to the washer tank nipple. If you bring it to the dealer, they'll do the same thing, but they'll charge you an hour labor for it. Good luck.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:06 AM   #6
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Cool, that sounds simple enough.
does the light go out by itself?
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
Cool, that sounds simple enough.
does the light go out by itself?
Yes, once you refill the washer fluid in the tank, the light will go off by itself.

Oh, and to make it easier to access the washer tank, if you have a jack, jack up the driver's side front, so that the wheel is out of the way. That will give you more room to undo the plastic rivet and nuts holding the back part of the wheel well liner in. You don't have to remove the entire wheel well liner... just undo the rear part of it so that you can slide out the rear portion. That will allow you to fully access the underside of the fender where you'll clearly see the washer tank and the hose that should lead to it.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:16 PM   #8
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I've already replaced the washer motor, so I had all the fun with the wheel arch cover, tubes and plugs. The motor does not engage at all and there is no light on the dash. I will try to remove the steering wheel and check the stalk assembly. (I'll be wearing safety goggles and put a towel on the seat Lil'B...)

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