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Old 01-29-2007, 02:55 PM   #1
Cold Brains
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2002 SL2
Wrench Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

Hello all,

I get most of my information about various Saturn "issues" from reading the forums, but the search function didn't yield much on my question.

I have a 2001 SL2 (manual) with 142,xxx miles and recently my windshield washers stopped spraying--the wipers work fine just no spray from the nozzles.

My initial thought was that the cheapskates at the oil change place "topped-off" the washer fluid with watered-down fluid and it had frozen (it's been cold this week in Albany). Once I finally openned the hood to check I discovered it was not frozen in the slightest. So, now I'm a bit more concerned. I'm not sure what I need to check next.

a) Could the lines be clogged or frozen?

b) Is there a motor that controls the spray nozzles? Is it independent of the wiper motor, etc.? What can I do to check if something like this is the problem? (and moreover why did it fail on a 2001?)

c) What does it cost to replace the washer motor or entire windshield washer system?

Thanks!
andrew
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold Brains View Post
Hello all,

I get most of my information about various Saturn "issues" from reading the forums, but the search function didn't yield much on my question.

I have a 2001 SL2 (manual) with 142,xxx miles and recently my windshield washers stopped spraying--the wipers work fine just no spray from the nozzles.

My initial thought was that the cheapskates at the oil change place "topped-off" the washer fluid with watered-down fluid and it had frozen (it's been cold this week in Albany). Once I finally openned the hood to check I discovered it was not frozen in the slightest. So, now I'm a bit more concerned. I'm not sure what I need to check next.

a) Could the lines be clogged or frozen?

b) Is there a motor that controls the spray nozzles? Is it independent of the wiper motor, etc.? What can I do to check if something like this is the problem? (and moreover why did it fail on a 2001?)

c) What does it cost to replace the washer motor or entire windshield washer system?

Thanks!
andrew
I'd put money on the lines or the nozzles being frozen. Can you hear the pump trying to move fluid?
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

I can't speak to how the washer system is setup on the 2001, but a couple thoughts in geneeral. Nozzles could be frozen or clogged, or the pump not working properly. Clogged nozzle is not likely to have effected both sides equally and at the same time, but freezing could, although that is not likely if proper was fluid used. I would check the pump for proper operation as a starting point. if you can, disconnect the hose at the pump output if you can find it ans see if you get output.

Pumps do not fail often, but they do fail. I've replaced two pumps on a total of 7 cars and about 700K miles.
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Old 01-29-2007, 05:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

I second the possibilty of them being frozen. I have a few cars that if I do not make a point of using them daily in really cold weather, they will freeze up because the alchol in the fluid evaporates out of nozzle (it hyas a lower vapor pressure than water) and leaves water behind to freeze.
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Old 01-29-2007, 05:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

Sounds like the Washer motor has gone bad.
Try checking the connections for the washer motor...the connections, they are at the bottom of the washer fluid tank. The washer motor itself is really small, only about 2 inches in length. Check your connections as well as your fuse panel along with the locations that others mentioned (frozen tubing code be the issue here too).
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Old 01-29-2007, 06:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

My .02 - as indicated, frozen sounds likely, but here are a couple of easy checks:

Ensure washer pump operates - have someone run them while hood is open and ensure you can hear the pump operate.

Make sure fluid hoses are attached. Looking for 3/8" rubber hose flapping around squirting you in the eye... .

Fluid nozzles can become clogged. Use needle to ensure tip is clear.

If frozen, you should be able to alleviate the problem by running your car, warming it up, let it sit for a few moments. Unless it's completely frozen, it should free it up and life will be good.
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Old 01-29-2007, 07:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

Check that the pump is working. Have someone listen, while you have the switch on. I had one take a crap on me on my '92 SC, but I think it was a pinched wire, or a combination of pinched wire, and dead pump, I forget.
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Old 01-30-2007, 11:35 PM   #8
Cold Brains
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

Ok, so I drove around for a good while today (over half-hour+) and really let the engine get warm to see whether the lines were frozen and might thaw. Eventually I was able to get a weak spurt-spray from the nozzles, before the lines or nozzle finally cleared out completely--indeed one or the other must have been frozen.

So, now I have a washer spray. Unfortunately, it is not even close to a fine mist, but a more concentrated stream that sprays the washer fluid in various random directions including onto and over the roof (my rear window received the benefit of the spray even ) oh well, some fluid on the windshield = good enough to clean....

So then, I sprayed through most of the weak fluid that the cheap-skates at the oil change place put in as "a courtesy" and replaced it with what is hopefully good stuff. What a hassle!
thanks!
andrew
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

I feel your pain... . 10 degrees outside lately, most weak washer fluids would freeze. You can always siphon the old out, or hopefully run most of it through and refill with something rated to -30.

As far as the spray pattern, sounds like it's still clogged or perhpas dirty. You can use a paperclip (straightened out) or needle to re-aim the jets - they're adjustable. Insert pin in end and you can rotate to where you want them to hit the 'shield.
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiSaturn View Post
I feel your pain... . 10 degrees outside lately, most weak washer fluids would freeze. You can always siphon the old out, or hopefully run most of it through and refill with something rated to -30.

As far as the spray pattern, sounds like it's still clogged or perhpas dirty. You can use a paperclip (straightened out) or needle to re-aim the jets - they're adjustable. Insert pin in end and you can rotate to where you want them to hit the 'shield.
Honestly when it is cold you do not what a mist pattern because it will allow alchol in fluid to evaporate quicker and freeze sooner on window. You really want a thickish stream in cold weather.
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Old 01-31-2007, 03:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

It is also very likely that one of the rubber lines popped off, and is now leaking under the cowl/hood where you don't see it, most likely at the wiper arms where parts move. thus not enough pressure building to spray, and dumping lots of fluid before it reaches the nozzles.
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:04 PM   #12
MiSaturn
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97coupe View Post
Honestly when it is cold you do not what a mist pattern because it will allow alchol in fluid to evaporate quicker and freeze sooner on window. You really want a thickish stream in cold weather.
To each their own. I only use -30 rated washer fluid (Rain-X) and find that it will defrost my windshield quicker than my defroster and keeps me from freezing my pinkies trying to scrape the windows. The alcohol in the fluid is in solution, and would not evaporate as such.

Now if you want a vehicle with a real washer problem, talk to someone who had a Ford Fiesta (aka "Fiasco"). They had a non-powered foot pump to force washer fluid out. Right behind the original Beetle in poor design, IMO.
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:49 PM   #13
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Default Re: Windshield Washer Fluid Not Spraying

I had a similar occurrence as well. My passenger side sprayer was not spraying. I went and had it "blown" out. Give it a shot, it worked for me!

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