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Windshield Reservoir Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Windshield Reservoir Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$150

Talent:

**

Tools:

Ratchet/sockets, screwdrivers, pliers

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz SLK230 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

Replacement reservoir, pumps, grommets, fluid level switch

Hot Tip:

Turn the steering wheel all the way left to create removal room in the wheel well.

Performance Gain:

Renewed ability to remotely clean the windshield and headlights.

Complementary Modification:

Check wiper blades, replace if necessary.

Squirters that don't squirt or related warning lights are more annoyances than crises. Actual hose blockages can be diagnosed by removing them from the nozzles, activating the squirters and checking for cracks, leaks and plugged nozzles. Nozzles can be cleaned with a wire or needle.

A blown fuse or faulty switch can also cause windshield and headlight washing failure.

If you find a puddle behind the right front tire this might indicate a windshield reservoir leak. This requires accessing the reservoir to diagnose the problem.

The reservoir is located inside the right front fender, behind the inner fender liner. In the best-case scenario, a pump grommet is leaking and needs to be replaced. A dead pump is also a fairly easy fix. In the 2000 SLK shown here, the headlamp pump is accessible without removing the reservoir. To replace the windshield pump or fluid level switch and their grommets, the reservoir had to be removed.

This is a good time to carefully check the reservoir as the reservoir itself will eventually crack. The system has heating elements that warms the fluid for improved cleaning, which causes the reservoir to constantly expand and contract. This causes the plastic to ultimately get brittle and leak.

To begin work please safely lift and support the front of the car and remove the wheel well liner. Please see our articles on how to preform these jobs. Have a clean bucket ready to drain the fluid into so you can reuse it after work is complete.

Tips

• Disconnecting the battery's negative cable is always a good idea when working on any part with an electrical connection.

• Jack up the car, secure it on jackstands and remove the right front wheel/tire.

• The inner fender liner must also be removed (see related article).

• If the washer fluid hasn't already leaked out, have a pan or bucket ready to capture it for reuse or proper disposal.

• The enthusiast forums have warning-light override procedures involving 82-ohm diodes for owners who don't want to spend the money to replace a faulty fluid level switch and/or put a piece of electrical tape over the warning light.

• When refilling the reservoir, its connection to the filler tube isn't water-tight. Fluid will weep in the wheelwell when the reservoir is full.

With the fender liner and wheel removed and the car secured on jack stands, the reservoir can be drained if necessary by disconnecting the hose from the headlamp washer pump.
Figure 1

With the fender liner and wheel removed and the car secured on jack stands, the reservoir can be drained if necessary by disconnecting the hose from the headlamp washer pump.

A single 13mm bolt secures the reservoir to the body.
Figure 2

A single 13mm bolt secures the reservoir to the body.

The filler tube must be disconnected from the reservoir.
Figure 3

The filler tube must be disconnected from the reservoir. Unbolting the neck in the engine compartment makes the job easiest.

Loosening the filler piece that goes through the fender makes it easier to disconnect the accordion fitting.
Figure 4

Loosening the filler piece that goes through the fender makes it easier to disconnect the accordion fitting.

Turning the steering wheel hard left creates enough clearance to lift up the reservoir and slide it out.
Figure 5

Turning the steering wheel hard left creates enough clearance to lift up the reservoir and slide it out. Wires and hoses are routed through recesses in the reservoir.

Next, unclamp the hose from the windshield washer pump.
Figure 6

Next, unclamp the hose from the windshield washer pump.

Pulling out the windshield pump (in hand) and fluid level switch (green arrow) is probably easier than disconnecting their electrical connectors.
Figure 7

Pulling out the windshield pump (in hand) and fluid level switch (green arrow) is probably easier than disconnecting their electrical connectors. The pump, switch and their grommets can be replaced if necessary at this point.

With the reservoir slid out, the two heater hoses can be disconnected.
Figure 8

With the reservoir slid out, the two heater hoses can be disconnected. Pinch off the hose that runs from the cooling system to prevent coolant loss.

Basic hand tools are all that's required to remove the reservoir.
Figure 9

Basic hand tools are all that's required to remove the reservoir. Installation is the reverse of removal

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