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Pelican Technical Article:

Washer Pump Testing and Replacing

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, DVOM

Applicable Models:

X3 E83 (2004-06)
X3 E83 facelift (2007-10)

Parts Required:

Washer pump, sealing grommet, electrical connector pigtail

Hot Tip:

Be careful not to short wires together

Performance Gain:

Diagnose washer pump

Complementary Modification:

Replace washer hoses

The washer pump is responsible for pressurizing and pumping washer fluid to the windshield, tailgate glass and headlight washer nozzles. Using small electric 12 volt d/c electric pumps mounted in the windshield washer fluid reservoir, it is controlled via driver input from the windshield washer stalk and the General Module. X3 models have can have a total of three pumps, one for the headlights, tailgate glass and one for the windshield. Testing and replacing these pumps is similar.

The washer pump and pump sealing grommet can leak. When left unrepaired for some time, the washer fluid ruins the electrical connector leaving your windshield washer pump inoperative. It is important to deal with the fluid leak immediately. Replace the washer pump and grommet together.

When testing, it is a good idea to first drain the washer fluid. This will avoid spilling and spraying yourself with fluid. You will need a good quality DVOM and a test light with an incandescent bulb and high quality fused test leads and backprobes. When testing, be careful not to short the wires or damage the terminals.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please include your vehicle information.

In this tech article I will go over how to test and replace the windshield and headlight washer pumps.

The windshield washer fluid reservoir is located on the right side of the engine compartment.
Figure 1

The windshield washer fluid reservoir is located on the right side of the engine compartment. The pumps are mounted to the side of the tank. The rear most pump (red arrow) is for the headlights, the right front (purple arrow) is for the windshield and the left front is for the tailgate (yellow arrow). Testing is the same for both pumps.

Locate the electrical connector for the pump you want to test.
Figure 2

Locate the electrical connector for the pump you want to test. Disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (red arrow).

The black wire (red arrows) (sometimes with a tracer color) is the battery volt feed.
Figure 3

The black wire (red arrows) (sometimes with a tracer color) is the battery volt feed. It is supplied battery volts when the washers are activated. The brown wire (yellow arrows) is the ground wire. Always check and confirm the wiring on your vehicle using an up to date wiring diagram. Both washer pumps are powered by fuses in the power distribution box (check your owner's manual for details). The headlight washer pump is activated via a relay by the General (body) module. The windshield washer pump is activated by the body module, both of which can be activated using a BMW scan tool, for testing.

Connect a test light or DVOM across the washer pump electrical connector terminals.
Figure 4

Connect a test light or DVOM across the washer pump electrical connector terminals. Negative test cable to the brown wire (blue arrow), positive test cable to the remaining terminal (red arrow), usually a black wire or black with a tracer.

Press the washer button.
Figure 5

Press the washer button. The test light will light. The DVOM will read Battery volts (voltage the battery is at, 12 volts for example). Keep in mind, a test light may light with a low supply voltage. I suggest load testing using a test light and a DVOM. Connect the DVOM across the washer pump electrical connector terminals (red arrow) and take a reading. It should read battery volts when the washer button is pressed. Then connect an incandescent bulb style test light to the battery ground and touch the test light probe tip to the positive wire you are backprobing with the DVOM. Your reading should hold steady. A maximum drop in voltage of 0.5 volts is OK. Anything more, like shown here in this photo is a problem. If you find a problem with the connector, replace the pigtail with a new one. Cut the harness back enough to find good, clean wire, then butt connect and seal the harness.

You can test the ground of the pump the same way.
Figure 6

You can test the ground of the pump the same way. Connect your DVOM to the brown wire at the connector and then battery negative. You should have a reading close to 0.0 volts. Then connect an incandescent bulb style test light to battery positive (you can use the jump start stud under hood) and touch the test light probe tip to the positive wire you are backprobing with your DVOM at the brown wire. The voltage reading should change more than a 0.2 volts.

If you need to replace the washer pump, locate the electrical connector for the pump you want to replace.
Figure 7

If you need to replace the washer pump, locate the electrical connector for the pump you want to replace. Disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (red arrow).

Be prepared to catch the leaking fluid in a drain pan.
Figure 8

Be prepared to catch the leaking fluid in a drain pan. Place one under the right side of the front bumper (red arrow).

To replace the headlight pump, first remove the washer hose by pressing the release tab on the hose, then pull it straight off.
Figure 9

To replace the headlight pump, first remove the washer hose by pressing the release tab on the hose, then pull it straight off.

To replace the headlight pump, slide the hose off the pump (red arrow).
Figure 10

To replace the headlight pump, slide the hose off the pump (red arrow). Once the hose is detached, remove the pump by tilting it away from the reservoir and pulling it straight up.

To replace the windshield or tailgate washer pump, locate the electrical connector for the pump you want to replace.
Figure 11

To replace the windshield or tailgate washer pump, locate the electrical connector for the pump you want to replace. Disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off. Then locate the hose for the pump you are replacing, red arrow points to tailgate pump. Blue arrow points to windshield pump. Pull the hose straight off the pump to remove.

Once the hose is detached, remove the pump by tilting it away from the reservoir and pulling it straight up in the direction of the red arrow.
Figure 12

Once the hose is detached, remove the pump by tilting it away from the reservoir and pulling it straight up in the direction of the red arrow.

Next pull the grommet (red arrow) out of the reservoir and install a new one.
Figure 13

Next pull the grommet (red arrow) out of the reservoir and install a new one. The headlight washer pump uses a filter, be sure to replace it when replacing the pump. Then install the pump in the reverse order of removal. Check the operation of the washer pump. Then reassemble the vehicle.

To replace or remove the reservoir, start by removing the 10mm fastener (red arrow).
Figure 14

To replace or remove the reservoir, start by removing the 10mm fastener (red arrow).

Next lift the reservoir up enough to access the level sensor, then disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (red arrow).
Figure 15

Next lift the reservoir up enough to access the level sensor, then disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (red arrow).

If replacing the reservoir or level sensor, rotate the sensor 45 degrees to unlock then pull straight out to remove.
Figure 16

If replacing the reservoir or level sensor, rotate the sensor 45 degrees to unlock then pull straight out to remove. To test the sensor, simply jump the terminal out using a fused jumper wire, if the light goes out the sensor is faulty. Install reservoir the reverse order of removal.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:11:18 AM