Jan 282015
BMW E39 wipers

Thankfully not mine — illustration only

Things have been quiet on the BMW M car front for me lately. That’s a very good thing to be able to say, but it hasn’t left me much to write about on the Wheels front.

Last week a small issue surfaced that reminded me some DIY fixes can be very simple. The driver side windshield wiper on my 2002 M5 started chattering noisily across the glass. My rubber wipers are relatively new and not the cause. Not the most serious problem this car could have by a longshot, but irritating nonetheless.

As usual a good first step is to hit the forums to check in with fellow owners who have had the same problem. I found an informative thread on Bimmerfest in which some owners describe going to the dealer and/or replacing the entire wiper assembly (shown above).  Sometimes this fixed the problem, other times not. One owner however said the problem was the angle of the wiper arm puts too much pressure on the glass, and could be fixed simply by bending the arm very slightly.

True to form for BMW there is a very precise process for changing the alignment of the wiper arms, totally different depending on driver or passenger side and  requiring very specific tools. See diagrams below from a TIS bulletin:

graphic courtesy of

Passenger side instructions

E39 Wipers

Driver side instructions


















However, you can also simply bend the arm with an open face wrench, wrapping a towel around the arm and using very little force. That’s exactly what I did, first cutting the engine so the wipers were stopped in the upright position.

Voila — chatter is gone, for now at least. We’ll see if it returns, but for now I’m glad I found the simple road to this DIY.


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