E39 Windshield Wiper on Passenger side failing to move

I need help with my E39 wiper. I was driving along in the rain, when suddenly the passenger side wiper on the windshield stopped completing its cycle. In fact it only moved up about 3inches then stops so the
driver side one which seems to be working fine smacks into it
In order to complete my journey safely, I stopped and removed the blade from the passenger side wiper to allow the driver side wiper which is working perfectly fine to move without being hindered.
I'm now confused as to what would cause the problem. I've read the boards and there is all the stuff about relays or motors, but everyone seems to have a problem with both failing. Mine seems like only 1 is not working, and when I engage the wipers, I hear a little thud which I think is the passenger side wiper trying but failing to move.
Anyone got any ideas about what would be causing this problem..How many wiper motors does the E39 have in its windshield, how do you access it to change/check it. I suspect 1, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyone with answers or suggestions please post.
To recap, I've got my passenger side wiper on the windshield not working, it seems to judder when the driver side one moves ok. Help
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Two possiblilities; one very easy to fix; one not so easy.
The easy one is that it can happen that the nut has come loose on the drive arm and the drive shaft is simply turning inside of it without driving it. On my 318i's anyway the drive shaft has a conical spline on it but the drive arm does not have a matching spline but rather a conical smooth bore hole. The driving torque is trasmitted through friction caused by the clamp up of the restraining nut. Just pop up the little trim cover over the drive shaft on the passenger side and you'll be able to see if the shaft is turning inside the arm.
The second possibility which I have also experienced on my 318i is that one of the linkage bearings may have come apart. These bearings have spherical ball inner races mounted on cantilevered studs. When the outer race wears out, the joint can just fall apart thereby isolating the downstream mechanical parts. If this has happened to your e39 you can tell by rotating the passenger side wiper arm by hand while listening to see if you can hear the drive link sliding back and forth inside the cavity.
I hope this is helpful Jack

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ChrisJ wrote:

Usually that happens when the nut that holds the arm onto the shaft comes loose. The splines are not all that deep and it will allow the shaft to spin inside the arm.
But I think you said that you already removed the arm, right? If so, you would have noticed that nut being loose. You didn't really remove the wiper blade and leave the arm resting on the glass did you? If it had taken off that would have made a mess of your windshield.
--
-Fred W

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I removed the passenger wiper, and when I turn on the wipers. The driver side moves as expected. But looking at the nut that the passenger one was connected to. It doesn't move. But I hear a thud as the driver side one moves, and the passenger side one appears to shake minutely everytime the driver one transitions......Also if I turn up the speed, then I keep hearing thuds coming from behind the covers......????
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ChrisJ wrote:

It's the linkage then. You'll have dive into that area under the cover that the wiper shafts come up through. It's in the space between the false and actual firewalls.
--
-Fred W

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