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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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Old 09-16-2018, 08:22 PM
[email protected] E39@540 is offline
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Mein Auto:
Windshield washer system

Hi everybody.
searched for this but didn't find the answer so I hope someone here may have some insight.

I have a 2003 540i M Sport, 98,000 miles.

So all of a sudden a few weeks ago, my windshield washer stopped squirting fluid to the windshield. Can't hear the motor trying to do it, just nothing. Wipers work fine, just can't get washer fluid to the windshield.

I first assumed the fluid was just empty so I added more, but it quickly reached the top. Still didn't work. The fluid did drain somewhat however as a few days later I topped it up again just so I could check under the car when I did that. And, it was draining into the driveway. Not a lot however, just a small amount. I can't tell where the hose leads go without getting the car up on ramps.

Anyone seen this before?

Does t sound like a DIY or should I be looking at a shop?. I enjoy doing simple maintenance but I don't have ramps or tools to do anything complicated.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:32 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Sounds like the pump in the reservoir is jammed up, and the grommet is leaking. Not uncommon.

You need to get your mechanic to put the car on the lift and remove the right front fender liner. This will expose the reservoir for repair.

Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:56 AM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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Location: Beaverton, Oregon, USA
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Mein Auto: 2001 E39 540i
I had exactly the same problem on my car, a couple years ago.

Check the tube that connects the washer fluid reservoir to the wipers. It is located under the hood , near the edge of the engine bay, driver side. The tube ages and becomes brittle, then cracks or gets blocked.
If so, you can cut off the brittle portion, then reconnect it with a small piece of tube and tape -- I used 3 inches of hose cut from the battery exhaust tube. See white piece in this pic.

But I could not do anything about the fluid drain under the car -- Ii happens only when I overfill the washer fluid.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:33 AM
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mixz1 mixz1 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 528i Sport
As described, check that you've not lost the connection(s) to the nozzles mounted on the hood. But since you say you don't hear the motor, the odds are it has failed. While the guys who work with a rate book would have you put the car on a lift, remove the wheel and remove the fender liner, if your liner is still pliable you can get to the pump by turning your steering wheel hard right to free up working room and then remove a sufficient number of screws and plastic rivets to peel the liner back. Hold it back by inserting a block of wood or an old rate book I will admit that it's easier if you remove the wheel. Obviously jack stands and the usual safety precautions should be observed.The reservoir and pump will be quite visible. Part # is 67 12 8 362 154. It's a press fit See this video:

Note, if you have headlight washers there will be a second pump with larger tubing. Don't confuse the two. Good luck.
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:26 AM
[email protected] E39@540 is offline
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Thanks mixz1! Extremely helpful and something I can do myself for sure. As I don't have headlight washers, nothing to mix up there.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:45 PM
GKofTX GKofTX is offline
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Location: TX
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Mein Auto: 2013 535i
I came up with the same problem in my 2012 535i. It just happen to show up after the dealer worked on the front camera/sensor. I took it back to the dealer and they said it was just consequential and that there was actually algae buildup in the washer reservoir. Of course, this is not covered under my warranty or extended maintenance. They wanted $300 to flush the system. I didn't take them up on their offer, deciding to try it myself.

My first thought was that the headlight washer became disconnected when they were working on the sensor.

Anybody out there have any thoughts, advise, suggestions, pictures or videos of what might be my problem.
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