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Windshield Fluid Level Shows Constantly Low on Dash

Discussion in 'Stock 2006 -2010 Explorers' started by regtocruiser, September 2, 2016.

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  1. regtocruiser

    regtocruiser New Member

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    This issue just cropped up. Need input / advice. Windshield fluid tank is full yet getting a false positive that the tank is low. Bad sensor I am guessing?

    What is the proper fix for this one? I have read that you need to replace the entire tank, but I also notice that the sensor appears to be a separate part from the tank. As you can disconnect it from the tank. Not sure how it works but the sensor doesn't go directly into the tank. All of this is visible if you look under there up by the front bumper.

    Before I buy I new tank I would like to know what anybody's experience is with this. Very annoying to have the low washer fluid constantly displayed on the instrument cluster every time I start the truck.
     
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  3. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    Check the connection at the fluid bottle.
     
  4. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    I have the same problem. I'm wondering whether, if I simply disconnect the wiring connector to the sensor, it will eliminate the problem. Keeping an eye on my fluid level the old fashioned way a lot easier/cheaper than swapping that tank.

    Anyone know?
     
  5. Blue m&m

    Blue m&m Elite Explorer

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    I’m disappointed that we have reached a point in society where we need sensors and warning lights to inform us about the status of our windshield washer fluid.

    Personally, I’d pull the bulb and be done with it.
     
  6. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    No can do, it triggers message in the driver info display ( blocking odo, compass, temp). I'll try pulling the connection once I'm ready to get under there in the mud...
     
  7. BKennedy

    BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    The reservoir with sensor is less than $25.00 through Rock Auto. I am guessing the tank material yellows over time and the sensor can no longer read the fluid level. You might need to replace the reservoir every 13 years or so.
     
  8. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    I would say definitely a sensor problem. I have to watch mine carefully and keep it full, if I ever let it get to the point where it tells me the fluid is low, then I will get false fluid low messages for about 2-3 months. When they eventually stop, I dont get them again until I actually let it get low enough to trigger.
     
  9. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    Shucks! -- even disconnecting the connector to the washer fluid reservoir sensor does not resolve the error message on the dash! I ordered the cheapest replacement resevoir (without pump) from RockAuto. Disappointed that Ford engineers force this--vs. the easy fix of unplugging the damn thing for those who don't need to be reminded to top off their fluids.

    More "nanny state" nonsense :-(
     
  10. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    Is it a 2 wire connector? If so you would have to jump the two pins on the connector to get rid of the message. I think the sensor uses two prongs and the washer fluid as a conducter. Once the fluid drops below the first pin it breaks the connection setting off the message. I am not sure on this though but when you replace it tear apart the old one and see i would like to know for sure.
     
  11. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    Thanks for the suggestion. But I'm nervous about shorting pins that may connect to PCM (hopefully through a fuse!).
     
  12. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    I can agree with that you dont want to fry anything. I would tear down the old tank find out what kind of sensor it is as it may help another person later.
     
  13. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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  14. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    Trying to R&R the windshield washer reservoir now. Anyone know how to remove the lower section of the air cleaner housing w/o breaking anything?
     
  15. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    Okay, got 'er done. Not too bad a job, but a PIA nevertheless in a dirty (muddy) driveway. Hardest parts were removing the bottom of the air box (the bin that holds the engine air filter) and the front of the RF fender liner. Tips:
    • I didn't bother to drain the half-full reservoir first. Would have been a slightly less mess job if I had;
    • I did not remove the hoses from the pump. It was easier just to pry the pump out of the rubber grommet in the reservoir (which I'd have had to do, anyway, since I was reusing it);
    • the no-name RockAuto (cheapest) reservoir was just fine--lined up exactly and everthing looks good quality
    • To remove the lower part of the air box, spray some WD-40 (or whatever) onto the two rubber grommets on the fender side and underneath; grab the inside and rear of the (lower)box, and rock upward and inward (toward center of engine compartment) at once, not too forcefully. I did not break anything this way;
    • Three Philips screws (all metal)and three large non-screw panel fastners to remove the front third or so of the fender liner. Several (longer) needle nose pliers and a wirecuters (not used for cutting) and various pry devices (screwdriver; weed puller; etc.) helped.
    To answer Rcflyer330's question, the OLD reservoir had a sensor connector that plugged into a rectangular "plug" kind of sensor, that looked like shiny dried epoxy on one end, that sits in an indentation of the reservoir, and is held in by a tab. There is no actual opening in the reservoir for this sensor. I doubt very much that its optical, however, since its opaq (the sensor, that is). Plus, this thing is always filled with clean, washy fluid, so no dirt inside! I couldn't notice a difference in opacity between new and old reservoir.

    It must be magnetic in a way that is triggered if the surrounding reservoir is filled with fluid. I don't understand the physics, however. See pix. Good riddance to that design!

    The replacement reservoir has a mechanical float, which I can hear when I wiggled the thing before putting it in. It worked perfectly, and immediately solved the erroneous low wiper fluid message once I cycled the ignition key after filling half way with fluid.

    The whole job probably took me an hour (I'm slow).

    IMG_20190405_122820.jpg
    IMG_20190405_122811.jpg IMG_20190405_122812.jpg
     
    Last edited: April 5, 2019
  16. Rcflyer330

    Rcflyer330 Active Member

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    Thats nice replacement guide. How it works is there is a magnet on a float and when it gets close to the sensor it completes the circuit. There are a few different ways it can do this one is a magnetic reed switch that just pulls closed the other is a solid state device that can sense the magnetic field. If you put a multimeter on the two pins of the sensor it should read open circuit. when a magnet is around it should go closed circuit.
     
  17. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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