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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys , recently my windshield washer pump started running weak. Sprays barely the bottom of the windshield.

Did some research and found out there is some strainer at the bottom of the fluid reservoir which gets clogged (another damn problem specific to BMW, never heard or encountered this problem before in any other car :mad:). Apparently some goo grows or collects in the strainer and reduces the pressure if you use a "wrong fluid" hmmmmm....... Sure, buy 50 dollar fluid by BMW and no problem, right?

I've read the bottom of the reservoir is only accessible via the right wheel well. Hope not but it appears this way.

Unless someone has a better way, one guy on YouTube disconnected the tubes and blew some air in it to stir the crap up and then sucked the fluid out. Not sure what is better or easier.

Suggestions and POSSIBLE diagrams on how to reach the bottom of the reservoir welcome.
 

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Nuclear engineer
02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 99K miles NOKIAN WR G3 12K miles
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Biofilm slime grows in the reservoir and the suction strainer(s). While you have flow, denature and rinse the slime out. Hot water will do, so will cheap alcohol. 90% isopropanol IPA is ~$1 liter pharmacy. Then flush and flush ...

As soon as I recognized the risk, from stories like yours, I shifted to homemade WW fluid made of distilled water and methanol-denatured ethanol US$15/gallon at the hard ware store. Distilled water US$1/gallon for no water spots. The alcohol as anti-freeze, denaturant, wetting agent, solvent, ...

I vary the alcohol fraction winter and summer. Recently, as the temperatures cooled I noticed ice crystals when I sprayed wiped the rear window. The supply tube runs along the uninsulated roof and is not warmed like the windscreen supply in the engine compartment. So I added a half-gallon of alcohol to the reservoir and flushed until the solution stopped freezing on the rear window. It***8217;s about 0°F daytime to -10°F at night.
 

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Hey Yogi, I just did this job a few months ago. Thought the pump was leaking (it wasnt).

Anyway, the job is not hard. Pull the wheel, pull the wheel liner (various screws and pull pins but nothing too crazy). However, where the liner attaches to the fender, those pins need to be clipped off and are not reusable. Order a small set when you get your pump.

Once the liner is removed, you can remove the main coolant filler tube and let everything drain out.

While that is going on, you will need to remove the fender turn signal. It just clips holding it on.

You can then remove the screw the hold the tank. Should be one more screw on the side where you removed the liner as well.

Then pull the tank straight out and you will have access to the pump. You should not need to completely remove the tank.

Its 3am and I am going off of memory but this should be fairly accurate. You can pull step by step off of the usual newTIS website.


Sent from my iPhone using Bimmerfest
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys!!! Great info, both suggestions!!! I appreciate it.

Yes I still have flow so maybe I will try #1 first, then to #2 if no success. The issue is it is freakin cold here now, was WAY below freezing last night so work potential is limited.

Sounds like another video that I have to make with your guys' help!

Many thanks.
 

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Its 3am and I am going off of memory but this should be fairly accurate..
Ahhh….. I remember mid-shifts...

We had (still have as far as I know) a compressed schedule; swing, swing, swing or day, day, day or mid. It was sure nice getting off at 0600 Friday and not having to be back until 1500 Monday! Back when we had flight (deck) privileges that was enough time for a short trip!
 

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Ahhh….. I remember mid-shifts...

We had (still have as far as I know) a compressed schedule; swing, swing, swing or day, day, day or mid. It was sure nice getting off at 0600 Friday and not having to be back until 1500 Monday! Back when we had flight (deck) privileges that was enough time for a short trip!
Man I wish, I work 7-4pm most days. But had a massive project to complete overnight :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Biofilm slime grows in the reservoir and the suction strainer(s). While you have flow, denature and rinse the slime out. Hot water will do, so will cheap alcohol. 90% isopropanol IPA is ~$1 liter pharmacy. Then flush and flush ...

As soon as I recognized the risk, from stories like yours, I shifted to homemade WW fluid made of distilled water and methanol-denatured ethanol US$15/gallon at the hard ware store. Distilled water US$1/gallon for no water spots. The alcohol as anti-freeze, denaturant, wetting agent, solvent, ...

I vary the alcohol fraction winter and summer. Recently, as the temperatures cooled I noticed ice crystals when I sprayed wiped the rear window. The supply tube runs along the uninsulated roof and is not warmed like the windscreen supply in the engine compartment. So I added a half-gallon of alcohol to the reservoir and flushed until the solution stopped freezing on the rear window. It's about 0°F daytime to -10°F at night.
About to do this... clean up my terrible flow and replace with this.

Do we know for a fact this will not damage any internal plastic or rubber parts?

Also, will this do as denatured alcohol, apparently it is the same thing as Ethanol?

https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/bioflame-ethanol-3-78-l-0643537p.html#srp

..
 

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Nuclear engineer
02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 99K miles NOKIAN WR G3 12K miles
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About to do this... clean up my terrible flow and replace with this.

Do we know for a fact this will not damage any internal plastic or rubber parts?

Also, will this do as denatured alcohol, apparently it is the same thing as Ethanol?

https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/bioflame-ethanol-3-78-l-0643537p.html#srp

..
Yep, stove fuel, marine stove fuel, should be denatured ethanol. I believe that BMW branded WW fluid uses an alcohol anti-freeze and wetting solvent agent.

Understand what is called alcohol, an alcohol is any organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (***8211;OH) is bound to a carbon.

Common name
Monohydric alcohols
CH3OH Methanol Wood alcohol
C2H5OH Ethanol Alcohol
C3H7OH Propan-2-ol Isopropyl alcohol, Rubbing alcohol
C4H9OH Butan-1-ol Butanol, Butyl alcohol
C5H11OH Pentan-1-ol Pentanol,Amyl alcohol
C16H33OH Hexadecan-1-ol Cetyl alcohol Polyhydric alcohols
C2H4(OH)2 Ethane-1,2-diol Ethylene glycol
C3H6(OH)2 Propane-1,2-diol Propylene glycol
C3H5(OH)3 Propane-1,2,3-triol Glycerol
C4H6(OH)4 Butane-1,2,3,4-tetraol Erythritol, Threitol
C5H7(OH)5 Pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol Xylitol
C6H8(OH)6 hexane-1,2,3,4,5,6-hexol Mannitol, Sorbitol
C7H9(OH)7 Heptane-1,2,3,4,5,6,7-heptol Volemitol

Unsaturated aliphatic alcohols
C3H5OH Prop-2-ene-1-ol Allyl alcohol
C10H17OH 3,7-Dimethylocta-2,6-dien-1-ol Geraniol
C3H3OH Prop-2-yn-1-ol Propargyl alcohol

Alicyclic alcohols
C6H6(OH)6 Cyclohexane-1,2,3,4,5,6-hexol Inositol
C10H19OH 5-Methyl-2-(propan-2-yl)cyclohexan-1-ol

A long time ago, in HS chemistry we chanted the alcohol names to memorize them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I had a C- in chemistry, always hated it big time!

So i just bought a gallon of Ethanol Fuel (26 CAD here in Canada), 30 CAD after tax (around 25USD).

And am thinking it would add up a bit for summer when i used to use just water (not to mention : why does any other car brand NOT have these stupid issues to begin with? My 16 yrs old Acura MDX sprays like crazy with no growth!)

So what proportions do you use in the summer (warmer) months in order not to break the bank? 1:10 or something? Again... 30 bucks a gallon here in Canada, not cheap at all. Distilled water is cheap i think.

(Of course, for the first run to un-clog it, I will run a high concentration of Ethanol to destroy the growth... good plan??)
 

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02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 99K miles NOKIAN WR G3 12K miles
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It***8217;s simpler than that. In winter I probably use about 1:1, 50-50. I pour the methanol-ethanol into a half empty jug of distilled water. As the weather warms up I just add distilled water. When I stop smelling the alcohol then I will add a ***8216;little***8217; to the reservoir.

It isn***8217;t rocket-science; don***8217;t grow slime, don***8217;t freeze the pipes. I drove 200+ miles today in the spring buggy time. When I noticed a bug splat I washed and wiped. When I noticed a splat that I had not noticed before I WW***8217;d. I wish that it was so easy to keep the front aspect of the X5 clean. Gee Zeus bugs all over.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I just don't want to have to buy 30 dollar jugs for summer months all the time , for something i used to do for free (and i do on all other normal cars).

Or maybe it's ok to use water in the summer for say 2-3 years and then one year switch to the ethanol which will clean up the system alright?

Then back to water for a couple years?? Unless when you mean " i add a little " means a jug will last you 6 months... which i doubt... You probably go through them a bit more often than that , and they are cheaper down south.

.
 

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I may look at blending my own methanol/ethanol solution for winters coming up. One concern is that IPA is used to strip waxes and sealants - won't methanol/ethanol do the same? Of course, if the off-the-shelf products are the same stuff then it's no different.

In the summer I've taken to using products like 1Z Krystall Klar or P21S washer booster in distilled water. It lasts forever and gives some cleaning power (but little to no freeze protection).

I shove a piece of clear tubing into the reservoir to siphon out what remains when seasons change.

For winter I've been trying to find a quality -50C rated winter washer fluid without Rain-X or other additives and run that. Generally a gallon is $4 - not sure there's any point in making my own...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Biofilm slime grows in the reservoir and the suction strainer(s). While you have flow, denature and rinse the slime out. Hot water will do, so will cheap alcohol. 90% isopropanol IPA is ~$1 liter pharmacy. Then flush and flush ...

As soon as I recognized the risk, from stories like yours, I shifted to homemade WW fluid made of distilled water and methanol-denatured ethanol US$15/gallon at the hard ware store. Distilled water US$1/gallon for no water spots. The alcohol as anti-freeze, denaturant, wetting agent, solvent, ...

I vary the alcohol fraction winter and summer. Recently, as the temperatures cooled I noticed ice crystals when I sprayed wiped the rear window. The supply tube runs along the uninsulated roof and is not warmed like the windscreen supply in the engine compartment. So I added a half-gallon of alcohol to the reservoir and flushed until the solution stopped freezing on the rear window. It's about 0°F daytime to -10°F at night.
So I am happy to report that I was able to unclog my system without any complicated an time-consuming disassembly (it is not that easy to get to the pump, I've watched many videos). Doug was great help. I used methanol, basically straight for a couple weeks, and it was still very weak on the driver side. Then, I happened to be on a long road-trip and in the absence of methanol or distilled water (and with a windshield i could not see through at the time!) I grabbed some convenience store WW that said it's especially great for bugs (total bs as it turned out) and has no freeze protection, summer product. My lines unclogged themselves 100% upon adding of that product and using the sprayers soon after. I doubt it was related - methanol probably finally dissolved anything that still lived there.

I was so happy to finally regain full blasting power on both sides.

Now I am running distilled water and just a drop of methanol (summer) because methanol is quite pricey here (28 CAD per gallon). Hope it stays good.
 
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