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Pump and Front windscreen washers squirt but rear washers don't

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I noticed 2 days ago that my rear windscreen washer was not squirting even though my front one was.  Water was checked (hence the front squirting) and there was the SOUND of the water pump operating.  The conclusion was that there is a block somewhere (and the sound of the water pump also suggested this as it was a slightly high pitch than normal - you'll notice this pitch change if you ever try squirting whilst things are frozen in the winter).

So desperate times ahead.  Having googled everywhere I was able to find various suggestions such as filters dislodged, steering control stem/washer button needing replacing, change the water pump, etc etc.  However, none of them convinced me that that was the answer to my problem, so I had to set about sorting this myself.   I write this post on the hope that others that have a similar problem find it before spending a lot of money and wasted time trying to do unnecessary things to remedy this problem.

MODEL:  Focus 2008 hatchback

PROBLEM: Front windscreen washers squirt but rear washers do not squirt but the pump is still operating.

CAUSE: The blockage was caused by a mechanical 'blockage' rather than being caused by dirt or foreign bodies.  The mechanical block was a dirty 'one way' valve which is inline of the washer tube to the squirters.  It's possible this solution also applies to the reverse: rear squirters work but front squirters are 'blocked'.  Maybe there is a one-way valve somewhere under the bonnet/hood behind the soundproofing on the underside.

SOLUTION:  At the rear of the car the washer tube exits the main body under the lip of the roof between the main body and the hatchback.  It is 'sheathed' by a rubber guide.  Lift the boot/tailgate and you will see it (and a 'flexi-pipe' that carries the cables) crossing from the body to the hatch. 

1,  Pull the sealed end out of the hole from the frame of the hatchback (not the body) revealing the inner water pipe (that carries the washer)

2,  Pull the water pipe carefully and you will reveal a one-way connector.  Being careful not to let the pipe 'retreat back' in to the hatch frame (secure it with a bulldog clip or similar), pull apart the connector.


3,  Completely remove the connector from the pipes.  You will see at one end there is a spring and the other end holds the ball bearing (this creates the one-way flow).  To help you, the connector also has 4 little arrows on it around the middle showing the flow direction (arrows point away from the ball bearing end).


The problem was this ball bearing was 'sealed' with lime/calcium in the water (creating the 'block' in the pipe/water flow).  Soak the connector in household lime descaler (such as 'Viakal' type cleaner - other brands are available :wink: ) to see the limescale fizz away for a few minutes, and give the ball bearing a gentle poke with a pointy thing and rinse to clean it (leaving it in a practically new condition).

4, Reassemble everything taking care to put the connector back in the join the correct way (ball bearing at the car body side, open-end with spring towards the hatch side - follow the arrows for help).  Also be careful to not let the loose pipe retract back in to the hole before you have reconnected.

5, DONE!


Now for the story:

...to get to the above it took other work before got to the above.  How to get to the water bottle to check the pipe and pump?  As ever the bottom of the water bottle is behind the inner-wheel arch splash guard and this needs to be removed.  Only then was I able to determine which pipe went to the rear and try 'blowing' in to it (with a foot pump) to see if I could dislodge the block.

1.  Remove the wheel.

2.  There are (I think) 8 torque-head screws holding the inner arch splash guard: 3 underneath the front nose side (holding it to the other under-tray), 4 behind the wheel against the main body and 1 underneath the door sill.  Just check for others in case my memory has served me wrong.

3.  Once all screws are removed the splash guard should lift out as one.


4.  Once the guard is out, you will be able to see the different water feed pipe from the water bottle pump.  Here you can disconnect the feed to test the pump itself (before hitting any 'blockage') and also give you the access to try blowing through the pipes to determine or clear a blockage (using a footpump and appropriate adaptor to fit).



There you go.  Hope it helps


@ADMIN, @MODERATOR:  If you think this is best suited for the 'HOW TO'/GUIDES' section then please move post accordingly.

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its the water we have - its SERIOUSLY high on calcium mineral.  I have long thought about using low mineral bottled water for my screen wash to keep the nozzles clean :ohmy:.... or even an occasional wash through with Viakal.  (I had no idea that these one way valves exist and finding this was pure luck).

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