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911 Washer Pump System Troubleshooting

Pelican Technical Article:

911 Washer Pump System Troubleshooting

Bob Tindel


2-3 hours






Straight pin

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

Windshield washer pump

Performance Gain:

A clean windshield

Complementary Modification:

Add new windshield washer pump fluid

If the windshield washers don't work, the first thing to check is whether there is fluid in the washer tank, and that the washer pump runs. The tank and pump are located in the boot, just behind the front of the car. Follow the little plastic hoses and you will find it. If it doesn't run, make sure it is getting current when the wiper stalk is pulled to the "wash" position. If it isn't getting current, trace out the wiring to ensure continuity. If the wiring is good, you may have a bad wiper/washer switch.

If the pump has current but still won't run, disconnect the hoses and electrical connectors, and take out the motor, which is held in place by two small rubber tabs-it just pulls out. Disassemble the pump section on the bottom of the motor, clean it well, reassemble and test. Sometimes connecting the power to the motor backwards will make it break free and run (it won't hurt the motor). When you reinstall the motor, be sure to connect the brown wire to the motor negative terminal (brown is always used for ground in Porsche). If the motor still won't run, you need a new pump. This pump is used for the windshield and headlight washers on the 1978-1983 911SC. The headlight washer has a separate relay, hidden in the dash behind the instruments.

If the pump runs but the washers won't squirt, you have a blockage somewhere in the plastic lines between the washer fluid tank and the squirters. The washer nozzles themselves may be blocked with wax residue. You can clean this out with a straight pin, and you can also use the pin to aim the nozzles just where you want them to squirt. Blockages are common, and it is just a matter of making sure each section of the lines is clear, starting at the tank. You can disconnect each section and blow it out with shop air, or with the washer pump.

A prime location for blockages is the T-connectors, and the tiny check valves at the base of each washer nozzle. The check valves hold pressure in the washer system, so the washers can squirt as soon as the pump is activated, instead of having to pump fluid all the way up to the nozzles each time. To get to the check valves, pull back the carpet in the boot and remove the fiberboard dash cover. After removing the check valve, you should be able to blow through it in one direction, but not in the other. If the check valves are plugged or stuck open, you may be able to free them up by soaking them in white vinegar. If they still won't function as described, replace them.

This same troubleshooting method applies to the headlight washers. Keep in mind that they will function only when the headlights are turned on, and they spray a fixed length of time each time the switch is pressed. The reservoir for both washers is in the LF fender, and the filler is located next to the fuel filler. If you have the "high intensity" headlight washers, they have their own pump. To get to the fluid supply lines and replace broken or defective nozzles for the headlight washers, it is necessary to remove the front bumper.

Comments and Suggestions:
JT Comments: I just spent too much time trying to reconnect my washer system on my 74 Targa. I found this modified schematic in the forums that resolved my problem. A big thanks to porwolf that posted 01/31/2015.
September 25, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
ChrisH Comments: I'm updating the windsheild washer system in my 83 SC. Pump was dead, and the check valves under the sprayers were locked/clogged. The check valves were a bit tough to get out, I have no idea how to get them back in without pulling out what looks like blower motors. Is there a trick to reassembling once I get the new ones?
August 30, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would run the hose from the exterior, start by connecting it to the nozzle, then feed into body and connect opposite end. Then snap nozzle in place.

Start with the hose longer for ease, then trim ponce attaching.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
bobbyjoe Comments: hi
I am new to this never posted before I have been searching for 2 weeks now with no joy I reed all about pumps bottles lines jets never about power lines fuses or relays I have just got my self a 987 boxster 05 headlight washer not working new pump and fuse ok were exactly is the relay please

April 15, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have wiring or electrical location information. I would suggest you grab a repair manual, you should own one. It will have the wiring, fuse and relay locations.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Ivan Comments: I have an 1985 911 cabriolet. The windshield washers don't work but the headlights do work. Does that mean pump is OK, and if so, is there a different relay to check ? Where is the pump and the lines located?
October 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Headlight washers are working? The windshield and headlights have two separate pumps. The pumps are located in the bottom of the fluid reservoir. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Doug Comments: Is there any diagram to show which way the windshield washer hoses connect to the pump and the reservoir? I am re-doing a 1970 911
July 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See if this helps. - Nick at Pelican Parts
craneboy Comments: Hey Nick, The plastic insert into the clear grommet i got by giving it a little more persuasion and it popped into place..another piece of information that may be of use to someone is cleaning the drains from debris. I found a 3' sink drain cleaner that works well. Basically its a snake used to clean sink drains. Its 3' long with a 1" or so bristled end. The 'snake' part is plastic so it moves through the tubing nicely. Would work well if you had a blockage that vacuuming or compressed air couldn't get. I found it in the bathroom fixtures area or something like that at walmart. Thanks Nick for your help........
March 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
craneboy Comments: let me clarify a couple of things. If you go to the sporting section @ walmart to the gun area and look for gun cleaning supplies. They usually have a variety of those wire bristle brushes of various sizes.Get the largest one for shotgun bores. There only a couple bucks a piece and some scotch brite pads. Wrap a piece of scotch brite small piece around the bristles of the bore cleaning brush, attach to drill and begin cleaning inside of lug wells.
February 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Awesome, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
craneboy Comments: I'm repainting the rims on my porsche and i found rather unique way of getting into those deep well lug nut holes. Some probably already know this trick. I found that if you take a 12 guage or so wire brush used for cleaning the bore and wrap a small piece of scotch scouring pad to it, it will fit snugly into the openings and clean the lug openings pretty well. Just an idea that may help somebody.
February 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
craneboy Comments: hey Nick...thanks for responding. as far as getting the plastic sleeve back into the clear grommet in the headlight assy i used a little petroleum jelly. and the solution i used to secure the lever securing the headlight assy in place was a little black silicone/adhesive on the lever where it secures the headlight assy into the frame. For some reason the lever wouldn't 'click' into place fully securing the light. Did not have the problem with the passenger side. The 'fix' seemed to work fine.
February 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
craneboy Comments: hey guys...another problem. the lever holding the headlight assy secure has rusted bye bye at the place where you attach the wrench. looking at the base the lever is secured it does not appear there is a way to remove the lever from the base without cutting into the base or damaging the base. guessing you have to buy the whole thing from porsche? planning on removing the lever somehow and welding a small nut on the end 10mm or whatever will fit.suggestions??
February 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you will have to replace the entire part. Pelican Parts can get you one. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
craneboy Comments: Nevermind....i got it.
February 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: How did you get it done? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
craneboy Comments: I am having a difficult time getting that plastic insert back into the clear grommet in the headlight assy to reinstall the pop up washer. Any suggestions on how this is accomplished? Other than wrestling with it for hours.....thanks.
February 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Add some dish soap to the connection to lubricate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
norm Comments: installing washer tank in '82 s/c ,how is the band around the tank held to the body ?
December 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Going by memory, the strap has two bolt holes at the bottom that connect to the body. Then the reservoir slides into the strap. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
yayo Comments: Thanks Nick I will. It might be a simple question, because from the Catalog:

on page 454, I see a host with part number 2A. But I do not have any idea where is going.

In addition I bought the hose Part #: N-020-301-1-M20 , do you have a material similar to the original?


November 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be for headlight washers. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
yayo Comments: I wish there were some diagrams or photos. I bought my car last year and I have found that many parts that are missing and it is a pain to reverse engineer. This week I am working in the washers and I found that there is hose that is going no where. I will appreciate if someone has some pictures that can share. In addition there is a tank on top of the washer-tank that I have no idea what is for.Thanks
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What you need may be in a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Pablo13 Comments: Every time I try to re-attach a washer pump to the bottle on a long nose 911 I end up slicing through the bottle. Is there anyway to avoid this? I have tried shaving the metal frame of the pump down and using a hot air gun, but neither are 100% effective.
September 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: is it possible you have the wrong pump? You can try placing the nipple connection of the tank in hot water before installing the pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
robdic Comments: can anyone tell me where the windscreen wash bottle is situated and how to get to it in a 911 2002. I have a feeling the tube shave become disconneted as the wash aater pours out when under the car when I activate teh washers
May 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: In the left (driver side here in the US) wheel well. That is a common issue and you are probably correct. You'll need to remove the left front wheel, and remove the fender liner and you will see it in the right rear of the wheel well. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Steve Comments: I just added a front headlight washer system to my 1977 911 which didn't have one originally. It is fairly easy to add a whole system that is almost identical to the original factory option.. The diagram listing all the parts was easy to find on the internet. I bought a front headlight washer switch which I mounded on the dash board there are holes behind the vinyl facia where rear wiper switches and other switches were added at the factory. All you have to do is cut out a little rectangle out of the vinyl for the switch. You wire the switch from the low beam right or left headlight fuse to the switch on the dashboard then to a relay I bought an aftermarket washer pump for $15 that is almost identical to the windshield washer pump. Connect the the pump to the fusebox through the relay. That pretty much takes care of the electrical part of the system. I mounted the pump next to the windshield washer pump in the front of the car near the battery. It turned out that there was a hole already in the front of the car which allows you to feed a hose from the pump through the front of the car to the inside of the bumper. There was a translucent plastic cap covering the hole which had to be pulled out.You then remove the bumper and connect up the rest of the hoses and check valve. I have a 911 sc bumper on the front of my car so it was easy to insert the front spray nozzles once the bumper is off. If you don't already have holes for the nozzles you could drill holes through the top of the bumper in front of each headlight. The only thing left to do after that is create a way to feed fluid to the pump. At the moment I have a second fluid reservoir inside the trunk that supplies the headlight washer pump. It would be very easy to pull the hose off to the windshield washer pump which is only a few inches away from the pump I installed an put a splitter so that the original washer fluid reservoir supplies both of the washer pumps. I haven't done that though because I am afraid if I pull off the hose to the original windshield washer pump I might break something since the pump is 38 years old. I used stainless steel mini fuel line type hose clamps on all the connections. The system worked perfectly. You do have to prime the system quite a bit before it squire out the nozzles since the hoses are fairly wide diameter to fit on all the pieces.

Why did I bother adding the system to a car I never drive in bad weather? Because it was a fun project.
December 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Andy Comments: No one mentions the little metal clamps for the washer fluid tubing? I have been cutting them off with cutting wheel on a dremel tool. What do you replace these little band clamps with? I have found with out them, all of those tubing connections will weep. I have tried tie wraps with limited success.
September 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a special crimping tool. You can use the standard clamps or even a small hose clamp. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Russell Comments: Where is the pump located on a 1996 993?
July 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is mounted in the washer fluid reservoir, at the bottom corner. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
1980 9111SC Fan Comments: Before buying a new pump check the old one to see if it is just gummed up. Check the power to the pump with a volt meter 13-13 volts is OK. Remove the pump as indicated. Separate the three parts motor, bracket and pump by removing four bolts. Make sure the motor is not frozen and if not check to see if it will run with a 9V dry cell battery. If it is OK pry apart the two pump pieces. Remove the pump gears and clean everything in soapy water. Reassemble with a drop of oil on the drive gear and some silicone lube on the gasket. Bolt the motor bracket and pump together. Check pumping action in a cup of water with the 9V battery. Reinstall in car. If the pump runs but it does not squirt clean out the nozzles with a pin and blow out the lines at the pump. Adjust nozzles with a pin as described very sensitive adjustment. Easy job - good luck.
June 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
John Comments: OK now sorted. The job was not as challenging as I thought it might be. I removed the front wheel, inner plastic wheel arch liner and then removed the reservoir the two pumps are removed once the reservoir is released from the fixings to the body. I found that the headlight washer pump was fitted into the reservoir grommet and that the latter had a mesh strainer which was covered in a jellylike mateial which was preventing the washer fluid flowing to the pump intake. Cleaned the strainer and then rinsed out the reservoir but found no other gunge in it. Reassembled it and Hey Presto it works. Took me about 3 hours total as I had never done the task before. Now that I know how to do it I guess two hours would be ample. Thanks for the help.
April 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John Comments: OK thanks for your reply.
I will check that I have the full 12v at the pump. If so can the fluid reservoir be cleaned without removing it from the car?
April 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, I would remove it. Otherwise it will be hard to tell if it is clean. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John Comments: Hi. My 04 Boxster S headlight washers do not squirt. The pump has been replaced but when I press the switch the pump only makes one pulse. The washers make a feeble attempt to rise but do not. I applied air to one of the nozzles and it rises fully. Is it possible that the reservoir is clogged up with "gunge"? Can the tank be cleaned without removing it which from the post above is a pain to do?
April 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The reservoir could be plugged. However I would check if the pump is receiving adequate voltage before digging too deep. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Euro85Guy Comments: Modesty aside, I am now an expert on mid 80s 911 squirters. Key points, more or less in order of my pain and suffering learning experience:

- Install a smaller battery so you can access the windshield pump and other things like lines, etc.
- Replace all of the T or L fittings. The insides have calcified and can't be fixed.
- Most pristine 911 owners will die before actually using the squirters, windshield or headlights. Water all over the car...ech!! The reservoir is VERY big driving in winter in Europe is challenging; gallons of fluid needed. This means that what is in your squirter tank under the left front fender will have been there forever, hence be full of gunk and more in my case...over years of no use the motors will freeze up with deposits just like your iron does after being used with hard water. My headlight motor = OK. The windshield motor w/impeller underneath in the trunk, near the battery was stuck. Direct 12v power: it only clicked. My solution was to remove the bottom unit w/impeller, soak it in vinegar, and reinstall. Worked great thereafter.
- Pulling the headlight/windshield water tank under the left front fender: MAJOR PAIN!! Points: Bentleys doesn't tip you off that there is a fuel system evap unit on top that has to come out. It mentions taking the tank top off, then undoing the bolt clamp at its bottom...OK. But it says nothing about the fact that on top of the tank the strap clamp is held by a bendable piece of have to reach in there and bend it up to free the clamp.
- MORE important, if you have headlight squirters, their motor sits in a recess in the side of the water tank...and it's wiring and hose aren't long enough to allow you to pull the reservoir without unhooking it all. Very hard to do. Do it anyway.
- With the tank top off might involve "pulling" hoses from inside the trunk to get more play and the windshield motor wires/hose undone, and see above...if you're lucky you'll get the tank out. If you have a weak stomach, have someone else pull out the top w/it's extender before you try to remove the tank and also wash out the tank. I don't know what it was growing on those parts, but three of the neighbor's cat's new litter of kittens disappeared just after I pulled that grunge out of the tank.
- Double & triple check the hose connections between the tank, windshield squirter motor, and the return tube to the tank. Mine had been reversed.
- Otherwise: have a nice day!
November 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jalon Comments: I have just become the proud owner of a 1987 911 cabrio originally registered in Germany.The headlamp washers work fine but they squirt forward soaking anyone standing in front.How do they adjust to squirt onto the headlamps
August 6, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you can't twist them 180 degrees then they were probably mounted in reverse or side were swapped - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
drwiremore Comments: Having pulled the pump out, "take out the motor, which is held in place by two small rubber tabs—it just pulls out" although I had 3 rubber bushings, not two. How do I get those bushings/pump remounted. I just cannot figure it out.

What happened to me: pump not working.
- pulled the stalk in zero position, pump did not activate
- checked the voltage at the pump, 3.6 volts
- guessing it was the pump, pulled it off with the rubber studs
- put direct 12vdc onto the pump, worked fine
- figured it was draw so I tried a 12vdc relay, no joy
- gave up, it started to rain, drove away, and the washer worked? Worked, what the heck?

Short version, the pump works when the windshield wiper stalk is in the 1, 2, 3 position, but not 0, when pulled toward the driver. I am guessing, I will just leave it be.

Back to my question: what is the trick to re-installing the rubber bushings? Leave on bracket; remove from bracket, what is the trick?
February 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like there is a bad connection in the switch, going by the low voltage reading you got.

the rubber mount should have as slit in it. Slide the metal pump bracket into these slits. I like to put dish soap on them to ease installation.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Old Guy Comments: 3 Questions. I have an '85 911 Carrera; euro model, but here in the USA since 1985. The headlight washers squirt, but not the windshield wiper units. Working around the pump is very difficult due to oversize battery now in the car, but with it out I'm pretty sure I traced water lines and determined that the same pump supplies the headlights and the windshield wiper units. Ques #1: But I could be wrong?? What's a high intensity headlamp washer? Another problem, I can't get the heater element wires brown & black to disconnect. Passenger side I can pull the entire squirter unit out of the cowling, but driver side the electrical wire is too short, making it very difficult to work with. Ques #2: What's the trick to pulling the heater wires from the wiper washer outlet units? I don't see a lock tab; am reluctant to pull "too hard" for fear of doing damage. Only after pulling these wires will I be able to open the hose ends and complete my line troubleshooting. Ques #3: Do you sell replacement "crimp" hose clamps, Porsche OE style? I'm finding them very difficult to work with release, reuse, etc.. Thanks.
September 16, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The windshield washer pump is run directly by the washer switch. The headlight washer pump is run by a separate relay.

For the windshield washer, it is a yellow wire out of the switch. Then a ground off the pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts
stevedollar Comments: I had a blocked washer system, changed the little valves, but no joy. After removing the washer tank to route new a/c lines I discovered some slimy residue collected in the bottom of the tank and plugging the pickup tube. Once I cleaned it out, everything works fine.
September 10, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Skip Comments: As a follow on query to the article, I have voltage at the pump when I pull the leaver on the steering column, but it won't actuate the motor. The motor is new and works when connected directly to the battery quite well. The old pump also worked as it turns out, but was intermittent, now everything has stopped. I have a 1984 911 so my headlight washer runs separately out of the fluid resevoir, hence isolating the windscreen washer pump.
August 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have a voltage drop on the battery positive or the ground side. Test the circuit under load. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Skip Comments: In response to renato, I accessed the rubber headlamp washer motor when I took the front bumper off for other work. The protection cap had completely dried up and crumbled. I couldn't find a replacement cap anywhere, so went to the local Porsche dealer and picked one up.
August 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
renato Comments: My headlight washing system was working and I heard the pump noise when pressing the ww but no fluid came out. I cleaned the hoses and valves right under the windshield. The high intensity lines are clean but that fluid is not coming out. I assume that the pump is not working? Not sure what is the cause for the main ww system not working. I thought it could be the hose going to the reservoir and filter being clogged.
I lifted the car and took off the wheel but it seems impossible to get to the connections behind w/o damaging things. In fact, I broke the rubber on the protection cap 477 971 921 when I tried to remove it. The center piece 911 628 737 also broke when I tried to pull out the hose with the filter at the bottom to clean it out. This is an old 911 1986 so the rubber probably desintegrated over time and me trying to pull it out was too much.
I now need to replace those but you don't have them in stock. I'll send a separate inquiry to Pelican on that.
August 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the pump power and ground signal when you command the pump ON. Do this before condemning it. It sounds like you are on the right track. - Nick at Pelican Parts Comments: have a functional WW system in 1978 911SC but makes creaking sound when functioning- I pulled out 2 gauges, oiled linkages, disconnected motor & it ran OK no noise so it must be under the dash - worn bushings? more lube in hidden linkage? Will have to remove the blower system inside the trunk- any suggestions on what is wrong?
June 24, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There's a lot of stuff in there, and sometimes wires and other things can rub up against the wiper assembly as it's working. Double-check to make sure that it's all clear around the linkage. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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