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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2001 E46 316i SE - Removing Windscreen Washer Container for cleaning [FIXED]

Background:
1. The vents started to suck in air that smelled rotten when I used screen wash
2. The washer jets where producing an initial burst of water when I flicked the lever, but if I held on to it - the pressure would go right down - water wouldn't even hit the screen so had to flick it repeatedly to get a decent amount of it on the wind screen.

Solution:
1. Remove the water tank, there are a few DIY guides out there, but if you are stuck I'll happily break it down step by step.

2. Clean the water tank & filter.
The state of water in my tank suggested that the previous owner never bothered about this, so I had to do a water/bleach solution to clean the inside walls which were covered in black glue-like substance. I read a few reviews and using bleach is not the best idea - so if you do go for it make sure you rinse the tank very thoroughly afterwards. Also, before you get down to clean the tank - suggest you get a pair of household gloves on, there are some sharp edges on the tank. When cleaning the filter you can use an old toothbrush or something like that to get through the tiny holes to get any stuff that is stuck in them out.

3. Dry the tank and fix it back into its position.

4. Fill up with a new water/concentrate solution.

All done in about an hour, I have a nice scent of apple in the car when I use the screen wash, as well as jets are now powerful enough to wash the car behind me. :)

Thanks for all the responses below in helping me identify the best course of action.
 

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The smell you can smell is stagnant water, because it either has no screen wash or a very weak solution of screen wash in it. Be careful not to breathe in any fumes from this stagnant water, as it has been linked to some people contracting legionaires disease. I would just top the the reservoir with consentrated screenwash repeatedly and keep squirting it though until it has a good mixture. Be sure to close all your vents to stop anymore fumes entering the cabin. If you fill up, and go for a drive, that will mix it all up quicker. Did you buy Halfords ready mixed or consentrated screenwash?
If it's ready mixed, you need to add some consentrated solution, as the ready mixed one is crap!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Did you buy Halfords ready mixed or consentrated screenwash?!
Thanks, Geordie Boy

Got the concentrated one (thankfully) of the top of my head its about a litre of it in the bottle, with all the ratios on the back.

So you don't recommend draining the stagnant water - before adding the new content? Is this simply because it's a pain to drain it - as I don't mind doing it even if I got to get my hands dirty.
 

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I completely removed my wash bottle and cleaned because of similar issues like you had. Didn't have the smell but the bottom of the tank was manky. If you have an hr to spare its easy.

I filled mine with bleach when cleaning and rinsed with washing up liquid...Re-installed and now its nice and clean...prob worth doing every couple of years or so...
 

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I wouldn't recommend using bleach, instead I would use Miltons sterilising fluid.
Yes you can take it out and do a thorough clean, but sometimes it's just as easy just squirting it out onto screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I completely removed my wash bottle and cleaned because of similar issues like you had. Didn't have the smell but the bottom of the tank was manky. If you have an hr to spare its easy.
Thanks Will, that works for me!

Did you have to find a guide for removing the tank, or is this relatively straightforward ie can I figure it out just by looking at it more thoroughly.

What's a 'hr' by the way?
 

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I wouldn't recommend using bleach, instead I would use Miltons sterilising fluid.
Yes you can take it out and do a thorough clean, but sometimes it's just as easy just squirting it out onto screen.
Thanks for that! Will get my hands on this fluid (presumably at Halfords) to do the job. Squirting is still an option, although I find that the water pressure is very weak after an initial spray, from there on if I hold on to the lever the water doesn't even hit the screen... but that's a separate issue! :)
 

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Very much doubt you'll get Miltons at Halfords. Go to a chemist or supermarket, they sell it there. Sounds like you've got blocked jets aswell, this could be as a result of the stagnant water issue. Try putting a pin or sowing needle into the jets to see if this frees them. Be careful not to move the direction of the jets though.
 

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Thanks Will, that works for me!

Did you have to find a guide for removing the tank, or is this relatively straightforward ie can I figure it out just by looking at it more thoroughly.

What's a 'hr' by the way?
I believe what Will said was abreviation for 'hour', as in if you have an hour spare to do the job!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Very much doubt you'll get Miltons at Halfords. Go to a chemist or supermarket, they sell it there. Sounds like you've got blocked jets aswell, this could be as a result of the stagnant water issue. Try putting a pin or sowing needle into the jets to see if this frees them. Be careful not to move the direction of the jets though.
Will check the jets, but sense they are ok - as the water comes out with good pressure initially (for a second or two). Feels like the actual motor that pushes the water through the jet is not doing a good job. Will try an clean anyway - perhaps you are right and they are simply blocked.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Come to think of it, I think it may be the gunk at the bottom of the tank that blocks the water from going into the rubber pipes properly - hence the loss of water pressure. Will definitely need to remove the tank to clean it properly before refilling with a solution mixture.

Found a similar post here with some instructions on getting the bottle out: http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/f18/2002-318ti-e46-help-with-cleaning-windscreen-washer-t19083/

By the way should I use any type of water (ie tap water) for mixing with screen wash concentrate - or should it be any specific type (ie distilled)?
 

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I had one with the same symptoms where algae blocked the filter. If you just pull the motor out you can then just pull the filter out of the reservoir
 
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