Question About Windsheild Washer Not Pumping

Maybe, just maybe someone might be able to help me here.

1997 Sable.

The washer pump was working sporadically, but now isn’t at all. The switch on the turn signal runs to a relay under the hood, and then on to the pump motor. Somewhere along the way it’s also fused.

If I swap relays out with a partnering one (same part) it still won’t work. I can remove the relay, take a paper clip and short the socket pins together and it WILL pump. So, it’s not the relay and it’s not the pump. I’m assuming that the fuse would be on relay side of things, not on the switch side, so again, I’m assuming it’s not the fuse.

Realistically it sounds like the switch itself, in the turn signal. But can a switch that gets used at low voltage and current maybe 50 times a year really be completely worn out past the point of ever making electrical contact again? The blinker gets used 100 times more often and it’s still fine. I even bought some spray contact cleaner and tried spraying it, but it’s really hard to get cleaner in through an almost non-existent opening.

Is there anything else I might be missing?

Yes. Or it may have failed in a different way. Regardless, it’s not at all unusual for an electrical part to fail after eleven years.

Thanks Gary. How difficult is it to replace one of these things myself? Or should I even try?

Leaffan - The wiper fluid pump on my late-90’s Sable also just failed recently. I’m sensing a conspiracy! I just clean the windows when I’m at the gas station.


Yeah, my wife does this too, but salt season is almost upon us and splashes of whitewash at 100 KPH might not be a good idea! (Or so she tells me!)

Damn. I did the rear brakes last night and also noticed both rear sway bars are broken at the bottom bushing. That explains the excessive tire wear when I took the all seasons off and replaced them with the snow tires.

I’m going to be busy this weekend, alas.

Missed the edit window. I guess that should be the sway bar end links that are broken, not the sway bar itself.

It’s not too bad, should be less than an hour’s work. It’s necessary to remove the steering column shrouds, which in turn require removing the ignition lock cylinder. The latter is done by turning the key to the run position and depressing a retainer through a small hole below the switch.

I’m not sure I followed the tests you performed…but is it possible the hose or spray valve is clogged? I’ve had that happen.

Well before you go buying and installing a switch, I would test for voltage and ground at the relay contacts (coil side) Use a volt meter and a test light between the relay coil contacts, and see if there is voltage when the switch is activated (there probably won’t be, since the relay isn’t working). then move the ground connection from the relay to the battery negative and test again to make sure you don’t have an open ground at the relay. If the light lights up now, you have a bad ground. finally, check all the rest of the fuses, just to make sure you don’t have a blown fuse for the control side of the relay.
Speaking just for myself, I would much rather swap a fuse than buy and install a switch just to find out it was a bad fuse. :smack:

But that takes all the fun out of it.

Good idea! Thanks.