Washer Pump not pumping | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Washer Pump not pumping


February 6, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Denver, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 Explorer EB
I have a '97 Explorer. The rear pump works, but the front pump does not - no sound when activating the front washer. The multiswitch is good, I test 12VDC at the pump terminals when activating it. But my existing pump, two used pumps and a new pump from the autostore do not make a noise when I connect them. So with power at the terminals (as tested by my voltmeter) when I push for front water pump, what else could be going wrong.


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You could have 12VDC but the connection is so poor it can't provide current for the motor to run. Give the switch a "tap with authority" and see if that helps.

Get it at autozone, like 11 dollars to replace, just gotta remove the resivoir, or you can steal the rear one, they are identical, I went through this last summer

You could rob the one from rear to see if that's what it is

Switch is ok, have tried used and new pumps.

Thanks for the feedback. I have a new multiswitch in the column - it had bad blinker connections and I've replaced the suspect front pump with 2 used pumps from the junkyard and just recently a new pump (~$16) from Pep Boys. No sound from any of the 4 pumps when I push the switch. The pump has the open connector style where the two terminals are exposed. When I measure the female connector with a volt meter and the switch activated, I get a solid 12Vdc everytime. SO the fuse and relay are ok. Is this a grounding problem?

Did you check the relay?

Good suggestion. With 12vdc at the pump connector when i press the washer switch on the new multifunction module could the a faulty relay result in lower current to drive the pump? How do I test the relay?

There are normally two relays, one for front washer and one for rear washer. Normally they are identical. You can switch those to see whether it is the relay or not. There are discussions you can search in this forum talking about the location of the relay. For my 98, it is under the air intake.

dirty relay contacts are the culprit

Thanks DCYDD, I found the small relay box under the air intake on the passenger side of the engine, swapped the 2 relays at the firewall end and the front pump works now. The owner's manual does not even mention the small relay box. I pulled both and cleaned the terminals. It is strange, but when I put only 1 relay in, both pumps work. So I will leave them both in and enjoy the function of washing my front windshield....Now to return the new pump to PepBoys...

Good to know that you find the issue. It is also interesting that if you use only one relay both washers work. That is a good information.

Well, my battery was dead (<30 days new) in the morning, so I pull both relays and jumped it. I discovered that the rear washer pump runs with both relays pulled.

Your welcome. Coincidentally, my pump stopped working this week and I had to clean the relay terminals and sockets with electrical cleaner. It worked a second time. There was a significant amount of dirt inside the small relay box.