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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-14-2010, 08:32 AM
Auto-don Auto-don is offline
Auto-don
Location: Ny
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 540i
Wiper motor change????

Anybody with knowledge of changing the wiper motor please let me know if this is a simple process or should I just take it to the mechanic- thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2010, 08:46 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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First, what are the symptoms?
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2010, 08:53 AM
Auto-don Auto-don is offline
Auto-don
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Wipers don't move at all
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  #4  
Old 03-14-2010, 09:00 AM
Auto-don Auto-don is offline
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Just wondering if I can do it myself, and save a couple $.
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2010, 09:59 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Might be the relay. check first.
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2010, 10:07 AM
Auto-don Auto-don is offline
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Ok will do- thx.
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2010, 04:11 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
In my car, the wiper relay for my 1998 528i is here:


Best is to swap the relay with a buddy's car or drive to dealer and see if they are nice enough to let you quickly install a new relay. Remember electrical parts are non-returnable, this is why I suggest a "quickie" on dealer parking lot. They may or may not like this idea.
But they want to sell you the relay too!
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  #8  
Old 03-15-2010, 09:39 AM
Auto-don Auto-don is offline
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cn90 thx! much appreciated!
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  #9  
Old 03-15-2010, 10:18 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Report back your result (whether it works or not).
This way others benefit from it in the future.
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  #10  
Old 03-15-2010, 10:32 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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If the problem persists after relay change, then wiper motor DIY is here:
http://www.bmwland.co.uk/talker/viewtopic.php?p=843078
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  #11  
Old 03-15-2010, 07:04 PM
Auto-don Auto-don is offline
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Thanks cn90, I switched the relay, still nothing,it's motor changin time! Thanks for all your help,now I know to check the relay first and where it's actually located.
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  #12  
Old 03-15-2010, 07:05 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Yeah,

Take some pics and post a DIY for others to use later.
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  #13  
Old 03-16-2010, 02:10 PM
eddiec eddiec is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW E39 528i
Hardest part is getting the wiper arms off without damaging the surrounding paintwork. Suggest use battery terminal puller or similar if you haven't got access to BMW special tool.

Hope this helps.









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  #14  
Old 07-31-2011, 06:49 AM
DrJay525 DrJay525 is offline
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I have a 2001 525d . I started experiencing wiper problems on a road trip to Paris in the pouring rain. The worst possible time they just froze, lucky for me there was a gas station exit immediately after they froze so i pulled into the gas station to check the fuses. All were fine, turned the car back on and they were working again so i drive off to have them freeze again about 20 seconds later, so i turned the car off and on again, they worked for about 20 seconds again before freezing. Also when they did work they would not turn off either. On the way home I used only the mist switch which got me through the rainy parts. I searched the forums and found this post above and this one quoted below.


"Rolf.. AH! HA! A problem I am INTIMATELY familiar with! I had exactly the
same symptoms.. and went the same route troubleshooting it..

Your wiper motor has a bit too much grease in it and it has
hardened up on the "park" contacts in it. Sounds complicated,
but it's actually (as far as BMW's go) not TOO hard to fix.

The story is: the wiper motor has contacts in it that make it
continue to run, and park. These contacts close on a metal
segment on the plastic gear that drives the shaft coming out of the
motor (the motor itself is at right angles to this). If the
housing had too much grease in it (which was fairly common,
at least on my year), or the grease has hardened up.. the contact
tend to skip a bit, causing the jerky action. The big hint is
that it only occurs in the intermittent mode (which you describe).

TO FIX (Two choices):

1. Go to dealer, sell left arm, buy new motor.

2. Remove motor and clean out grease, regrease.

Assuming you may want to tackle #2.. here is how it's done:

1. Remove the motor. I'd disconnect the power connector going to
it first (it will try to park otherwise if you accidently rotate it,
perhaps taking a finger or two with it). On my 535 - it's behind
the cowling for the fresh-air intake for the heater - don't have
a clue where for a 3er.. remove the nut (and washer) holding the
linkage to the motor, try to prevent it from turning while
you remove it. The arm connecting to it is splined, but removes
fairly easily (a good tug). Remove nuts/bolts holding motor in
vehicle. Walk it to your workbench.

2. Disassemble: The contact you want are behind the light aluminum
plate that covers the big gear (this will be fairly obvious).. on
mine, the plate was held on with mashed over aluminum studs. Right
next to these studs were holes through the plate and corresponding
holes into the housing.. sorta looked like these could be tapped to
take a few screws for reassembly (CLUE!).

3. Repair it: Drill off the mashed over aluminum heads of the studs (1/4"
bit works fine). The cover should remove easily. You'll find lots of nice
brownish grease. Clean the contacts (attached to the cover) and the face of
the gear where the metal segment is). Regrease lightly with a white lithium
grease (at least that's what I used)..very lightly!

While apart - tap the holes in the aluminum housing - I *think* I
used 4-40 American (looked about right, and I had the tap and some
short 4-40 screws, but it might have been 2-56). Try to keep tap
filings out of the housing (grease on the tap helps a lot).

4. Reassemble: Put the cover back like you found it and screw it back
together. Reinstall motor in car. Align the motor by starting it once
WITHOUT the wiper arm attached and letting it go to the park position. Once
it's aligned, refasten the wiper arm in the correct parked position (try NOT
to turn the motor while tightening the nut holding the arm).

5. Pat yourself on the back - for $.02 of grease you've saved about $300.

The entire process on mine took me less than 1 hour - and my motor was
not too easy to get at.

6. Send me EMAIL thanking me.

Of course as usual, you may be a klutz with 6 thumbs.. you might have
the hood fall on your head and kill you.. the waste product from an
airline toilet could fall on you and drown you. Whatever.. it's your
fault - not mine. Your milage may vary.

Best.. and let us know how it works out..
Don Eilenberger
Bellcore
331 Newman Springs Rd.
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Voice: 908-758-3167
FAX: 908-758-3166
EMAIL: dje@mail.bellcore.com"

In my case I followed the directions to take the motor out. Once i opened up the motor itself there was moisture/water inside on the electrical parts, they were also a bit dirty. I took a can of compressed air and blew out the water cleaned it up a bit and reinstalled. So far it's working great. I was thinking how could that water have gotten in there and realized that I had my car completely detailed wash/wax/steam cleaned carpets and also they cleaned up under the hood. I have not really had to use my wipers since the car was detailed until they went out on me. So I believe it may have happened during the detailing. Hope this helps anyone else who may be experiencing similar problems.

Jason
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  #15  
Old 02-29-2012, 12:10 AM
AndrewOz AndrewOz is offline
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Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: Car
Hi Guys,
I have had trouble with my wipers only operating intermittantly. I changed the relay then got serious and took the wiper motor out. After taking it apart the commutator on the motor was very dirty and suffered some water intake. I carefully scraped the segments, reassembled and problem solved. I am spending sved money on beer.
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  #16  
Old 02-29-2012, 12:24 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,223
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Just for the crosslinked record, these should be helpful:

- How to replace E39 wiper blade refills (1) & how to buy E39 25" driver side & 22" passenger side windshield wiper blade refills (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) & how to replace the wiper arm (1) (2) & troubleshooting or replacing the wiper motor (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) or wiper switch (1) or wiper relay (1) & how to replace the rain sensor (1) (2) & retrofitting a rain sensor (1) (2) (3) & how to remove Rain-X water wiper streaks & spots on windshield glass (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7).
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need, in seconds!
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  #17  
Old 03-03-2012, 04:07 PM
ztitans1 ztitans1 is offline
Registered User
Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 67
Mein Auto: 1997 528
This is great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJay525 View Post
I have a 2001 525d . I started experiencing wiper problems on a road trip to Paris in the pouring rain. The worst possible time they just froze, lucky for me there was a gas station exit immediately after they froze so i pulled into the gas station to check the fuses. All were fine, turned the car back on and they were working again so i drive off to have them freeze again about 20 seconds later, so i turned the car off and on again, they worked for about 20 seconds again before freezing. Also when they did work they would not turn off either. On the way home I used only the mist switch which got me through the rainy parts. I searched the forums and found this post above and this one quoted below.


"Rolf.. AH! HA! A problem I am INTIMATELY familiar with! I had exactly the
same symptoms.. and went the same route troubleshooting it..

Your wiper motor has a bit too much grease in it and it has
hardened up on the "park" contacts in it. Sounds complicated,
but it's actually (as far as BMW's go) not TOO hard to fix.

The story is: the wiper motor has contacts in it that make it
continue to run, and park. These contacts close on a metal
segment on the plastic gear that drives the shaft coming out of the
motor (the motor itself is at right angles to this). If the
housing had too much grease in it (which was fairly common,
at least on my year), or the grease has hardened up.. the contact
tend to skip a bit, causing the jerky action. The big hint is
that it only occurs in the intermittent mode (which you describe).

TO FIX (Two choices):

1. Go to dealer, sell left arm, buy new motor.

2. Remove motor and clean out grease, regrease.

Assuming you may want to tackle #2.. here is how it's done:

1. Remove the motor. I'd disconnect the power connector going to
it first (it will try to park otherwise if you accidently rotate it,
perhaps taking a finger or two with it). On my 535 - it's behind
the cowling for the fresh-air intake for the heater - don't have
a clue where for a 3er.. remove the nut (and washer) holding the
linkage to the motor, try to prevent it from turning while
you remove it. The arm connecting to it is splined, but removes
fairly easily (a good tug). Remove nuts/bolts holding motor in
vehicle. Walk it to your workbench.

2. Disassemble: The contact you want are behind the light aluminum
plate that covers the big gear (this will be fairly obvious).. on
mine, the plate was held on with mashed over aluminum studs. Right
next to these studs were holes through the plate and corresponding
holes into the housing.. sorta looked like these could be tapped to
take a few screws for reassembly (CLUE!).

3. Repair it: Drill off the mashed over aluminum heads of the studs (1/4"
bit works fine). The cover should remove easily. You'll find lots of nice
brownish grease. Clean the contacts (attached to the cover) and the face of
the gear where the metal segment is). Regrease lightly with a white lithium
grease (at least that's what I used)..very lightly!

While apart - tap the holes in the aluminum housing - I *think* I
used 4-40 American (looked about right, and I had the tap and some
short 4-40 screws, but it might have been 2-56). Try to keep tap
filings out of the housing (grease on the tap helps a lot).

4. Reassemble: Put the cover back like you found it and screw it back
together. Reinstall motor in car. Align the motor by starting it once
WITHOUT the wiper arm attached and letting it go to the park position. Once
it's aligned, refasten the wiper arm in the correct parked position (try NOT
to turn the motor while tightening the nut holding the arm).

5. Pat yourself on the back - for $.02 of grease you've saved about $300.

The entire process on mine took me less than 1 hour - and my motor was
not too easy to get at.

6. Send me EMAIL thanking me.

Of course as usual, you may be a klutz with 6 thumbs.. you might have
the hood fall on your head and kill you.. the waste product from an
airline toilet could fall on you and drown you. Whatever.. it's your
fault - not mine. Your milage may vary.

Best.. and let us know how it works out..
Don Eilenberger
Bellcore
331 Newman Springs Rd.
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Voice: 908-758-3167
FAX: 908-758-3166
EMAIL: dje@mail.bellcore.com"

In my case I followed the directions to take the motor out. Once i opened up the motor itself there was moisture/water inside on the electrical parts, they were also a bit dirty. I took a can of compressed air and blew out the water cleaned it up a bit and reinstalled. So far it's working great. I was thinking how could that water have gotten in there and realized that I had my car completely detailed wash/wax/steam cleaned carpets and also they cleaned up under the hood. I have not really had to use my wipers since the car was detailed until they went out on me. So I believe it may have happened during the detailing. Hope this helps anyone else who may be experiencing similar problems.

Jason
I have been through the relays, tried adjusting where it would be in the parked position (and the wipers go off this windshield). Hopefully this is it! I have taken my motor off and I can see some grease under the cover you speak of. Some of the contacts appear to have grease on them as well. I am going to try to clean it, lube it, then put it back together and see what happens. If this works I will definitely send the email thanking you.

Thanks in advance,

EJB
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  #18  
Old 03-03-2012, 04:39 PM
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gary@germanautosolutions gary@germanautosolutions is offline
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This is why I love this forum, I can't ever imagine going back to 'pre-internet' days. I am always impressed at the level of time and effort people on this forum devote to helping other members out. Anything and everything you want to know is just a few clicks away. You people rock!
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  #19  
Old 03-03-2012, 04:45 PM
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dalekressin dalekressin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary@germanautosolutions View Post
This is why I love this forum, I can't ever imagine going back to 'pre-internet' days. I am always impressed at the level of time and effort people on this forum devote to helping other members out. Anything and everything you want to know is just a few clicks away. You people rock!
Absolutely true
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01 530i >144,500+ miles SOLD
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  #20  
Old 03-03-2012, 05:18 PM
ztitans1 ztitans1 is offline
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Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 67
Mein Auto: 1997 528
Removed wiper motor, cleaned around the contacts the excess grease. Put it back together and the wipers properly park now!

I cannot begin to thank you guys that take the time to post these DIYs. I cannot afford to pay someone to work on my car these days and take pride in being able to fix it. The posts here give me the way to do it.
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  #21  
Old 05-21-2012, 08:34 PM
Adrift1371 Adrift1371 is offline
adrift1371
Location: Rhodeisland
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1997 328i BMW
Hello. Members IM "GEE" MY BMW 1997 328i

MY Questionwindshield /Wiper Motor ?

I have tryed to fix my wipers. They Stoped All of A Sudden So I changed the Wiper Module-relay wiper control Box /Blue that is under the dash behind the Glove Box, checked All fuses refered to in the owners Manual, I Notice on Other yr, BMWs There are Brown Relays I not Sure If They Hid My Relays? I also Looked Under the Stering Wheel Area Found A few Relays Fule Pump, Crash Control And A Few More NONE were The Washer Relay .... IM now Going to try To Remove The Wiper Motor, But Its To Hard To Remove What Can I DO How Do I remove The Motor I own The BOOK 1992-1999 Owners Manual ...It Shows An Easy Removal I cant seem To Remove it , No Room To Work !
Please If Anyone Can Help .. Thank You
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  #22  
Old 02-14-2013, 07:40 PM
billyznyc billyznyc is offline
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Location: nyc
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: e39
Hi, my name is billy and i been going nuts trying to get the wipers working. when your wipers went out does the fluid pump? mines will work for few seconds when i restart the car.
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  #23  
Old 04-24-2013, 01:22 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,223
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
For the cross linked record, this repeat thread was opened today:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wnyman View Post
Hello all,

In thumbing through the many post about wipers gone wild, I have seen that there are many of the same recurring issues. True to all that seems to be me, my issue is different and thus leaves me clueless as to what the next step should be. Here goes nothing. The last time I drove the car was about a year ago (I live on planes and in rental cars). All was perfect when I parked it and now that I have given it a tune up, the wipers are acting up. I was taking it out for its first run and I hit the wipers, they stayed on in low speed. I pulled the rain sensor plug and tried them again. While it was unplugged, the wipers did the same thing, stayed on in low speed. I could change to high speed though as well. I proceeded to unplug and check the relay, looked good, and unplugged the wiper motor under the cowl to clean but did not remove the motor itself as I couldn't get the wiper arm off. Once I cleaned everything, plugged everything back up and re-inserted the relay (I did not buy a new one, rather used the same one I had just removed), I cranked the car and tried it out. Success! Everything was working perfectly, until the next day when I was back to the same issue only now I can put them on intermittent, whereas before it was only low and high speed. I know that is a long scenario, but I am hoping it will give the experts some clarity as to what this could be. I just hate to buy a wiper stalk, and then a relay, and then a motor when I may only need to focus on one part. Thank again for the thoughts!!!
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Note: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
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  #24  
Old 12-11-2013, 10:05 AM
fea92 fea92 is offline
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Location: Aurora, IL
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 525i
Thanks for the idea of checking relay. Any other way to check the relay being bad except for swaping with new one?
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  #25  
Old 04-21-2014, 07:25 PM
cybeth cybeth is offline
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Location: Portland, OR
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1995 318i
wiper motor issue

I want to share what we learned on my daughter's hand-me-down 1995 318i. The wipers did not work and it was not the control module behind the glove compartment ($88 for mechanic to pull out and test new one and put the old one back in). We were told that it probably needed a new motor for about $800 (new from BMW +shipping from Germany + labor). I nearly fainted. My husband is an electrical engineer who knows a lot about cars. So, he and I pulled out the motor, which was not simple but we did it. When the motor was out but still attached to the wiper control arms, and lying on top of the engine, it ran just fine. So, my wonderful husband put it back in and it did not work. He pulled it out again and it did not work. He shifted it a bit and it worked. I read forums and info out loud to him between all these sessions. We finally found a bit of info that the motor grounds to itself. He figured out that our old motor had a faulty or aged grounding mechanism. So, he added a ground wire from the bolt at the top of the bracket to the bolt at the bottom of the bracket. We put it back in and it worked beautifully. Brilliant! Then, with collaborative memory, we put the other stuff back together and gave the car back to my very happy 18 year old daughter. Time and effort, quite a bit. Cost $0. Appreciation for my husband -infinite!

I have wondered if folks replace the whole motor and it works because a new one will ground properly.
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