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639 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Special Intensive Wash Program: Automatic Windshield Washing Function Pictorial DIY

Around the time I installed the heated steering wheel I learned that the slip ring/obc stalk/wiper blade stalk set up is identical and the parts number is shared between the E46 E38 E39 E83 and E53.

I also noticed that BMW had an option for a 2nd wiper stalk that allowed for a Special Wash Program for automatically washing your windshield (and headlamps if you have head lamp washers) in conjunction with the automatic rain sensor setting for the wiper blades.

At first it seemed an insignificant feature, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to have my windshield wash itself whiles driving thru rain/snow storms.

Anyone who has driven thru any sort of precipitation or even on a slightly wet or muddy road will know the annoyance of road spray from the car in front of you. In winter time the spray is usually a salty slushy mix that leaves a white stain on your windshield. In summer it is a mud or bug-kill mixture that leaves a nasty residue on your windshield.

The S Function or Special Wash Program will save you the trouble of flicking your wiper stalk to clean the windshield every other minute whiles driving thru dirty conditions.

I did some anoraking online before buying the S Stalk to see if it was plug and play and my search resulted in contacting one of the experts in this thread

whose own installation revealed that the S Stalk is plug and play for the automated wind shield cleaning (in conjunction with rain sensor) ONLY. If you have headlamp washers or rear window wipers you may need to do additional steps not included in this DIY.

(More information is also found here:

The DIY is fairly simple as most cars [E46 (with rain sensor and ZPP), E38(?) E39 (M5 only), E83 (X3), E53 (X5) ] are pre-wired (at pin 10) for the S Wiper stalk. If not you can easily add a pin 10 female connector pig tail into your cars connector that clips into the wiper stalk. The ECU for the stalk itself (similar to the OBC) is contained in the stalk body which means this DIY is plug and play.

If your E46 did not come with the rain sensor windshield I cannot advise on how to add rain sensor or if this DIY will or wont work on an E46 with no rain sensor installed. That said there should a rain sensor DIY out there somewhere on the internet that you will need to get done first before attempting this DIY.

Now onto the DIY

Tooled needed:
-T30 driver and 5/8" hex nut driver on ratchet for removing steering wheel

-Basic Philips screw driver and paper clip for removing the steering column shell
-T25 screw driver for removing the slip ring

Parts needed:
BMW Parts# 61318375407

PART ONE: Checking your mail box

I ordered this stalk from a random UK Seller on eBay for $25. It came out of a 2003 M5. Lots of USA Sellers have the on eBay from $35 and up.

I was getting tired on my uni-functioning stalk...

To begin you must remove the air bag, steering wheel, steering wheel column outer upper and lower shell and slip ring. But to do any of that YOU MUST UNPLUG THE BATTERY!


639 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
PART FOUR: Finishing up and Testing S Stalk

For Interval Automated Windshield Cleaning:
Pushing in S once with the Rain Sensor ON after key is in position 1 or higher will allow windshield to be washed at intervals with wiper blades activated by rain sensor during precipitation or road spray. Pushing S again turns off function.

For cars with head lamp washing systems, the secondary concentrated intensive washer fluid reservoirs (e39 and M5 cars), or rear window wiper and cleaning system the program should allow for those cleaning systems to be automated at intervals as well.

My car does not have these systems so I cannot advise or speak for them nor can I say what extra DIY process will be needed for those systems to work on the Special Wash Program.


639 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
If the car does not have pin 10 occupied, where do you make the connection to the vehicle harness?
If your car has rain sensor it should have a black gray wire running behind the steering column. This wire needs to be tapped into pin 10 on the new S stalk. You can use a pig tail wire female connector (don't know size) and insert into the car's stalk harness connector at the pin 10 hole (which would be vacant if your car doesn't have it already).


For cars with head lamp washing systems you will find a color wire at pin 5 where the functions that carry out head lamp washing initiate from. Normally the head lamps are washed every 5th time the wind shield is washed AND the head lamps are ON.
With the S function, by having all the wash functions on the same page as the rain sensor function, the wiper stalk ECU will automatically signal everything on the rain sensor line to automatically wash at an set interval.

So the logic follows.

1. You start your car and your rain sensor are set in ON mode and your S function is set to ON mode.
2. As you are driving it starts raining. Your rain sensors activate the stalk's ECU to turn on the wiper function.
3. With the wipers active the ECU in turns recognize that S Function is also ON and will automatically turn on all functions on the pin 10 location at an interval related to the wiper cycle (in my case this function is to squirt washer fluid onto the windshield).
4. If you have headlamp washers these will also be turned ON at an interval related to the wiper function in direct conjunction with the wind shield washer. I don't have this in my car so I can't speak for it.
5. Certain cars in the E39 and E53 range as well as certain European models have an extra washer fluid tank with a "green" fluid from the factory that is said to be a concentrated version of washer fluid that is unleashed at an interval related to the regular washer fluid (it is something like every 20 washes the green fluid comes out on the 21st wash). The S function also controls this as well. But my car doesn't have this so I can't speak for it.

One issue I've been having is that I was told by the X5 driver who did this DIY that the S function is not ONLY suppose to work with the rain sensor and that I should be able to get automatic washes when the wiper function is turned on manually-without rain sensor being ON.
IE. You get in your car, Rain Sensor is OFF but it starts raining and you manually activate the wipers. With S function ON the stalk's ECU should still automatically squirt washer fluid onto the windshield at intervals related to the wiper's cycle.

I'm not getting this result at current and I am working to see if I need to splice something else onto the pin 10 line.

Fascinating! I hardly ever have to use the windshield washer jets, but I could see how just $35 and less than an hour in the garage can add a very convenient feature.

Nicely done! :thumbup:
Thanks G.P.2
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