VW MK4 Jetta and Golf Front Windshield Washer Hose in-Fender Repair

Dec 6, 2014
VW MK4 Jetta and Golf Front Windshield Washer Hose in-Fender Repair
  • MK4 VW Jetta TDI (1999.5-2005), Golf (1998-2006) Front Windshield Washer Hose Repair


    This page assumes that all MK4 Jettas and Golfs have front windshield washer hoses running through the passenger front inner fender/frame area: as there seems to be many differences with Beetles I am opting to not include them though perhaps it is similar for them.

    Description of Problem
    In seemingly rare instances the front windshield washer fails to deliver fluid to the squirters on the hood and the source of failure is NOT at the hood hinge (common break point) from a loose connection at the washer pump (lots of documentation out there for this), from a failed pump or from blocked nozzles on the squirters. So rare does this seem that after scouring the Internet for countless hours I was only able to run across two other reports of failure similar to this one; both reports had no conclusion or shed any light on where the exact problem was (only that it was clear that it wasn't from one of the usual suspects). Bentley's doesn't show or discuss where the hose routes: their only diagram gives no clue, it just shows parts.

    Verification of Problem
    With ample fluid in the washer reservoir and assuming a functioning washer pump, operate the front windshield washers. You should be able to see washer fluid tracing down the rear of the passenger side fender liner, that and or dripping from the bottom of the fender liner: unfortunately I did not take pictures of this, but hopefully you get the idea- it should be pretty obvious. In order to match up with the problem and solution given here the fluid MUST be showing up coming from the back side of the fender (the reason will be obvious in the pictures below).

    Here is the area of concern as shown with the front passenger wheel and fender liner removed (note the damp area just below the hole in the body):
    wiper-line (4).JPG
    Being that this location is well to the cab side of the wheel arch the bulk of any free fluid is going to run down the cab/back side of the liner. I suppose that it's possible that initial failures might result in shooting the fluid toward the front of the fender area; I can really only relate to my experience here. Regardless, it should be pretty obvious whether one is leaking windshield washer fluid or not.

    Steps for Repair
    DISCLAIMER: You are responsible for observing and conducting proper safety measures. The author assumes that you are able to do so. Read over the steps first, and if you are unsure what you need to do then it is advisable that you NOT engage in these repairs, opting instead to seek resolution using a certified mechanic: the general info here can be provided to such a person (I suspect not too many have encountered this problem, so knowledge is likely rare).
    • Properly [safely/securely!] jack front passenger side of car
    • Remove the passenger front wheel (prior to the first step above you should have just broken loose the wheel bolts)
    • Remove the 10 (or 11?) T-25 Torx screws holding the liner in
    • Remove cloth tape from around the hose and wires (two pairs of wires: one goes to the fender's side marker light and the other up to the squirters) and make a cut in the hose, being sure to cut a ways out into the fender well so you have more hose to work with toward the inside fender area (I ended up cutting about halfway in to the damaged area so that the new hose piece would go on easier- be sure, however, to not cut too short because there's ZERO slack to work with here!):
    wiper-line (1).JPG
    • Cut about a 5" to 6" piece of 4mm(?) rubber tubing (many recommend surgical tubing- the tubing that I used came from the previous owner who had gotten it from the dealer and it was not marked, in which case I don't know what it was)
    • Lube both ends of the rubber hose (soap or equivalent) and push on about 2" over the hard plastic tubing. Fortunately, for me, the hose coming from inside the frame was stiff enough to allow me to push the rubber hose on pretty good- thank goodness for That! I believe that I have a pretty snug fit, only time will tell.
    wiper-line (2).JPG
    • TEST that your washer fluid now travels its intended route- if you have any leakage then you need to rectify before continuing
    • A slight issue with the above is that one effectively lengthens the hose while the wires are the same length; better to have made the hose a bit shorter but that might compromise the repair to the hose (being longer it seems to be pushed away from the spot where it had previously rubbed through on); the wires ended up being shifted up and in peril of chaffing above so I added some protection around the wires and the hose (the plastic sheathing that I used was some larger heat shrink tubing -it's what I had on hand- and that I pushed it inside the frame a ways but was only able to wrap tape up to the point of entry into the frame area):
    wiper-line (3).JPG
    • Reinstall the fender liner (everything should push up and out of the way), taking the opportunity to clean out the bottom of the inner fenders toward the cab area
    • Reinstall the wheel
    • Remove jacking and stand implements
    • Wash bugs off your windshield using fluid from your newly functional washers!
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