Well after several annoying months of hearing the dreaded "Ding" only to discover yet again that my windshield wash reservoir is low, I decided to do something about it. There has been a leak somewhere in the system which caused the low fluid indicator to go off after just one to two days of filling.
After an exhausting search on this forum, I found very little information about the location of the reservoir in an e39, so I've decided to post up some pics and this little DIY of the project.
First off, you've got to jack the front passenger side and remove the wheel. (Please use a jack stand to support the vehicle) Then remove the inside fender panel using an 8mm socket on all the fasteners. There are also three "push locks" at the rear edge of the fender well. After breaking the first one, I pulled back the liner, reache in and pushed them out from the inside with a small screwdriver.
This photo shows the location of the reservoir with panel removed:
Pull off the fill hose and carefully disconnect the washer line from the pump(located at the bottom left of the next photo). Disconnect both electrical connections and clip the zip tie (if there is one) holding the wires to the reservoir. Remove the two bolts holding it with a 10mm socket, then simply pull forward to remove.
Drain any remaining fluid into a clean container or discard if it is dirty. To remove the pump and level sensor from the reservoir, simply slide them out slowly. The pump should have a blue plastic screen on the end which may come off. Just shake it out of the tank to retrieve.
Clean the entire tank, inside and out, with a soapy water solution or mild degreaser. Perform a leak test on the tank. Simply plug all the holes with your fingers and blow hard!! Do the same leak test on the pump by plugging the outlet and blowing on the inlet. I discovered that my pump was leaking slightly at the housing connection. Rather than purchase a new pump, I simply covered the joint with plumber's teflon tape, then covered that with black electrical tape. The final photo, although blurry, shows the finished product re-installed.
While you've got everything out, take the time to clean all the fittings and check for tears, etc. I used a little silicone spray to clean all the rubber grommets and used a dab of KY jelly to create a better seal. I also used a zip tie to fasten the fill tube to the tank as there was nothing before and it was a bit loose. Go ahead and clean the fender liner while you're at it with a good degreaser.
Installation is reverse of removal. I suggest a leak test before putting the liner back in. It's been 5 days and no leaks yet!!! BTW all photos were taken post fix.
Total time: 30-45 min.
Cost - $0-$2
Edit: Still leaked from my "patch" but not nearly as bad. Did not realize how cheap the pump was, so I bought one and replaced it. No more leaky!
Last edited by Jamaican71; 12-04-2007 at 11:56 PM.
9/30/2007 - 200,000 Miles!
11/29/10 - 300,000 miles and counting! 4/10/2012 - 332,635! 01/14/2013 - 350,000 miles! 10/25/15 - 395,872 End of the Road
Never explain yourself... Your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway!
I had the same problem. Followed the instructions and it is fxed now.
whats the metal tube coming out of the side for?
Thanks for the picture shoot. I had the leak and that's what I did at first, but the leak was actually around the grommet seal inside the pump. I recommend to those who have a leak of WW fluid, buy a new pump for $25 to install before taking all this apart. (I had to take the thing apart 3 times to get it right.)
Last edited by RonaldH; 11-21-2006 at 05:09 PM. Reason: clarification
Excellent DIY, thank you very much. I was dreading doing this but now after seeing its simplicity, its no big deal. Thanks again.
Leave the gun, take the canoli...
Same here. The one in our 528i is leaking and needs to be fixed. These instructions will definitely come in handy!
Mine's leaking but I think it's the hose that connects to the washer motor. For the time being I just turned the sensor upsidedown. Fortunately an e34's reservoir is right there behind the airbox.
Great thread. I used this to replace the motor, i havnt had a problem with a leaky resevior...yet...hah. thanks a bunch mate.
1972 Sahara /// 2002 (6/71)
1988 Red /// M3 (1/88)
Our E39 has been buggin me for this washer fluid draining issue. Every time after I would fill it up, it leaks to empty and leaves the blue puddle of pee on the floor. Very annoying.
I needed to get this fixed before winter and I found your thread. Thank you for a great writeup!
DD: 2009 Spacegrau Metallic e60 550i ///M-Sport | Cruiser: 2008 Titansilber e65 750i | DE: 1996 Arktisilber e36 328is - not street-legal in TX thanks to some random mods
Retired DD: 1998 Alpinweiß II e39 528i | Retired Grocery Getter: 1999 Metallic-blau e46 323i
I have the same problem. I fixed all the leak. Tested the pump. No electrical signal going to the pump. Checked the fuses. They are good. What else can I check? Please help.
Thanks for the great writeup with Pics! When I fill mine to the top, an amount of fluid roughly equal to what would be in the filler tube leaks out. My headlight washer pump split around it's perimeter, I used two-part epoxy around it and it's been perfect. I'm usually a "replace it" guy, but I had to try it.
Now, to track down the source of the steering wheel rake grinding now that I have the knee-pad and lower column shroud removed. Of course, now it's become intermittant and currently not making the noise...
Hi from a n00b!
This is a great thread, and I'll be trying out this procedure in the next few days. My only nagging doubt is that in my case, I have washer fluid leaking from IN FRONT of the wheel, i.e. in quite a different place from where the pump/reservoir is. And I don't have headlamp washers either, so it can't be that. Hopefully I'll figure out what's amiss when I get it apart. Thanks again for taking the time to write this up.
Great thread friend,i used this to replace the electric pump thanks
I hope this gets some answers...
My problem - Chime constantly ringing when I turn the ignition on. Attempting to fill the tank always foiled as the level rises to the top after about a litre of fluid has been poured in.
I've removed the liner, and removed the fill tube from the reservoir to make sure its not blocked - and its not. After re-connecting it, I've tried to fill it in parts. As I jiggle the fill tube, there seems to be a hissing sound indicating that I am allowing air to escape from the tank and slowly (and fiddly) I am able to fill the tank. Question - is there a tank breather somewhere that might be blocked?
This is driving me nuts.
No, there is no breather tube. I've done this 5 (yes 5,lol) times now. They should call me Professor Water Pump.
The problem is that the pumps all develop a horizontal split that lets the water out but does not disable the pump.
Go to pelicanparts.com and order a new pump and the washer that goes under the pump. You will have it in 5 working days.
I put mine in yesterday and all is perfect.
Gents, (and ladies)
I seem to experience a reoccuring problem in that if I don't let my washer
reservoir go completely dry then all is well, however, if I let it get to the
bottom, even though I re-fill it, it seems to lose suction and acts as if
if needs priming before it will work again. Problem is I'm not sure if
priming is the real solution and don't know how to do that even if it is the solution. The motor runs like crazy but no water comes out, even thought it is full.
Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
MY DSC light is on and won't go away. Can the car pass inspection with the DSC light on???
Using this forum could you save you a ton of money.
First of all, my Container is slightly different than what Jamaican71 showed in his great write-up (Thanks!):
Second, I removed the liner and found out that there are 2 places where it is leaking from:
- Breather Tube (leaking right away)
- Underneath Wash Pump (just dripping).
I will try now to clean Container and most likely use Blue Silicon for the Wash Pump gasket to stop leak.
But what am I supposed to do with that Breather Tube?
You could get the OEM replacement...
..., but it would save you a bit of money to remove the length of tubing and go to a hardware store instead (if there aren't any special connectors or the like which there does not appear to be).
Last edited by jamesdc4; 09-05-2009 at 03:57 PM.
I ve been there (www.realoem.com) thousand times. Practically first place where I am going to if I have any issue. Great site!
No, really, what I am trying to ask is there any way I can close that Breather Tube or is it intended to be open?
It (Breather Tube) runs high enough and along wheel openning behind a fender, so it leaks only if you fill Washer Fluid up to the top.
As for my problem with leaking, I fixed it (and I think permanently) with Blue RTV Silicone (same as I used for my Thermostat)...