Windshield Washer Check Valve Replacement

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Replacing a Windshield Washer Check Valve


What is a Check Valve?

The windshield washer system uses several check valves to keep water in the lines. This provides you with instant response when you depress the washer lever. Over time these valves can get clogged and are a common failure point in the washer system. This article will not go into diagnosis, but will assume that you have determined that you have a clogged valve. If a check valve is clogged you could attempt to clear it by soaking it in white vinegar, but most simply replace the valve. Once you have taken everything apart it is quicker to put a new part in and also the valves are relatively inexpensive. You could retain the old valve to clean and possibly reuse in the future if/when another valve clogs.

Image:964_Check_Valve_-_image001.JPG Picture #1 Showing an "elbow" or "L" check valve.

These tools may be needed:

  1. Short Phillips screwdriver
  2. very small hose clamps and socket or screwdriver to tighten them
  3. a knife or hacksaw blade to cut hose if you are not able to open the factory clamp

Which Valve is causing the problem?

There are four check valves if you have the optional high-intensity washer system. Two will be "T" valves and two will be "elbow" valves. If you review the diagram you can see the flow and it should help you determine which valve is clogged. For example if the passenger nozzle does not squirt with the normal washer system, but it does with the high-intensity washer system then the clogged valve is the elbow valve near the nozzle. If the nozzle doesn't work with both systems that you should assume the nozzle itself is clogged. This article assumes the pump is working.

Image:964 Washer system diagram.JPG Picture #2 Washer line diagram.

How to get to the valves

  • Raise the luggage compartment lid
  • Locate the black plastic cover streching across the back.
  • You may want to unclip some of the carpet to make it easier to remove the cover.
  • Remove the two Phillips screws holding it in place. Be careful because underneath the screws are thick rubber washers that tend to move and fall below. If they do fall they are easy to locate and retrieve with a grabbing tool.
  • You should be able to see some of the lines that head to the nozzles. They are black and braided.
  • Reach up under the lip a few inches toward the outside from the nozzle.
  • You should be able to feel the lines and also some wiring. This is held in place by a clip.
  • Carefully move the lines and wiring up and out of the clip. They should come out easily.
  • Now you should see the lines and the valves and locate the one you have determined is clogged.

Image:964_Check_Valve_-_image003.JPG Picture #3 Showing Valves on passenger side exposed.

Image:964_Check_Valve_-_image004.JPG Picture #4 Showing a closer look.

Replacing a valve

To replace a valve you should first try to get it out as far as possible to give you room to work. Next you should determine how you will remove the factory clamps. They are a "one use" design and difficult to remove without destroying them. Some have been able to use a small screwdriver to pry them open. A pliers could be used to reclamp them, but most use a new hose clamp instead. Another method is to just cut the line. This should still leave you enough room to attach a new valve.

With the clamps removed the new valve should slide right into place. Be sure you place the new one in the same way as the old one. There is an arrow on the valve to indicate the flow direction. If you have decided to attempt to clear out the existing valve you should try soaking it in white vinegar. With the valve connected you just need to tighten up the clamps.

Next you should try to run the washers to verify that you have fixed the problem. You can leave a piece of paper towel under the exposed valves to make sure there are no leaks. If you still don't have a squirting nozzle then you should return to the diagram and see what other components could be at fault.

Putting it back together

You should begin by carefully tucking the lines and wiring back under the holding clip as you found them. Then you should replace the cover. A good way to do this is by placing one of the thick black washers on the post. While holding it in place carefully bring the cover down and line up the hole. Put the screw and washer in place and tighten a few turns. Then do the same on the other side. Once this is done work the weatherstripping in place and finally tighten the screws until the cover does not easily move when tugged. Then reclip the carpet if it was removed.

Article Credit : Mark Schettenhelm

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