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Focus MK3.5 washer bottle blocked


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Before I went to Wales last Thursday I filled up the washer bottle. But as I was filling it up a load of jelly like slime came out and into the washer bottle. It was a bottle I had mixed up from holts concentrate but the mix had been sitting a while due to not using the car much in lockdown. Washer jets were working ok but now they are blocked, I presume with this jelly like stuff.

Is there anything I can add to the washer bottle to melt it like bleach or something like that or is it a case of removing the washer bottle?

I have tried taking the filler neck off and flushing it out with fresh water and it helped for a while but is now blocked again. I also removed the hose from jets on the bonnet and the water still comes out poorly from the feed hose. Finally I used a pin on the jets but they seem fine. The rear jet works fine but I think that has a separate pump, not sure ?

It seems like a bugger to remove the bottle, hence trying anything else first. Wish it was like my old MKIII escort where you had all the room in the world to get to stuff lol.

16 plate Focus titanium X estate 2.0 TDCI. Also has headlight washers

Thank you.

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Stick a hose pipe in the filler cap and just flush the bottle out, keep it on untill the water runs clear. If you can pull the screenwash pipe off one of the nozzels try running the pump and see if it can clear the blockage once you have only clean water in the tank.

You could try adding a bottle of vinegar to the water as it often helps dissolve sludge.

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Milton Sterilising fluid will shift the gunk if left over night.

This is a really common issue on some BMW, hence BMW recommend that you only use their screenwash as it has bactericide to stop the gunk forming.

Most decent screenwash will never get to the jelly stage if you have a strong enough dilution.

Hope you manage to sort it without a strip down. 

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On 6/11/2021 at 3:11 PM, Aldridge Andy said:

Milton Sterilising fluid will shift the gunk if left over night.

Well the vinegar didn't work so I will give this a go before I do a strip down.

Thank you.

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10 hours ago, SimonSimps said:

Well the vinegar didn't work so I will give this a go before I do a strip down.

Thank you.

I am always very cynical of 'chemical' solutions to any cleaning job, nothing beats a good scrubbing with a brush. However, I thought the suggestion of putting a hose into it and flushing till clear would have worked?

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Flushing it will never work.  There's a rubber mesh type filter between the bottle and pump that traps all the snotty sludge.  You really need to remove that and clean it manually, and then fully drain the bottle to make sure there's no more left in there.  It'll just work it's way into the filter again otherwise.

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11 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

Flushing it will never work.  There's a rubber mesh type filter between the bottle and pump that traps all the snotty sludge.  You really need to remove that and clean it manually, and then fully drain the bottle to make sure there's no more left in there.  It'll just work it's way into the filter again otherwise.

I really should learn to keep quiet about things I know little of LOL 😁

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7 minutes ago, StephenFord said:

I really should learn to keep quiet about things I know little of LOL 😁

Not at all lol, it's not a bad suggestion, just doesn't doesn't really work with the modern Ford design.  It might give some short term relief but this is one of those jobs where it'll need doing properly eventually.

Still, better than the solution I was offered many moons ago...putting washing up liquid in the washer bottle...there was a foam eruption, it was everywhere!!  And it didn't even work! :laugh: 

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The fact that the rear washer still works basically means that the strainer and pump inlet are not clogged.

Like many other Ford models the Focus MK3/MK3.5 only has one washer pump that operates both the front and the rear washers. It is a bidirectional pump that has 2 outlets. The pump runs clockwise to operate the front washers and counter clockwise to operate the rear washer.


I suspect that either the (front side) checkvalve inside the pump or the front hoses are clogged. In both cases the pump itself will simply not deliver enough pressure to remove the blockage. In the past I had some good results with filling the (preferably empty) reservoir with boiling hot water. If that does not help removing and manually cleaning the reservoir and washer pump will be necessary.

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Thanks for all the replies. The Miltons fluid worked kind of....... The jets makes it on the to windscreen now but it's not as powerful as it was. 

The rear is fine and the headlight washers appear to be as powerful as they were.

I think for piece of mind and like suggested above I will take the bottle out and do a proper inspection and clean then at least if it's still not right I know it maybe the hoses that are blocked.

Is there any instructions on how to get to get to the bottle that anyone knows of please.

Thanks again.

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