2003 Subaru Forester moonroof leak

casecom2casecom2 Member Posts: 72
edited August 2014 in Subaru
I left work yesterday and found that the drivers seat of my 03 Forester was soaked with water. My first thought (well, my second thought after "It feels cold, so I can't be peeing my pants") was that I had a window leak -- but the armrest and the rest of the door were dry.

Next suspect: Moonroof. Sure enough, the headliner trim at the front left corner of the moonroof was wet. Oh, no, I'm going to have to replace the moonroof.

But after I got home, I googled around and found that moonroofs aren't designed to be waterproof from the outside. There's a little gutter system that drains water down and sends it out the wheel wells.

It was about 30 degrees here in Mpls/St. Paul yesterday afternoon, so I suspect what happened is the little bit of snow on top of my Forester melted, but then somewhere in the drain tube it froze up, blocking it.

So this morning I went out, opened the moonroof and poured hot water down the gutter drains. They seem to be flowing freely now.

Is it safe to assume "problem solved"? I've had my Forester for nearly 7 years and this is the first time this has happened.

Now I just need to throw a Hefty bag on the driver's seat and drive around for about four hours with the defroster on "high" until my seat dries out!

Any thoughts/experiences appreciated.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's pretty rare, I wonder why water was trapped previously and didn't drain out? Maybe it was just extremely cold.

    I'd add a box of baking soda to the interior to absorb any odors. And run the heater to dry it out.
  • kmsubarukmsubaru Member Posts: 2
    This is wierd, I had exactly the same problem yesterday, after work went to my car, the seat was wet, the moonroof interior ceiling was wet on the passenger side, the passenger visor was soaked. The car had snow/ice sitting on it all day (we had lots of snow!). It must have melted somewhat (although temperature was in 30s perhaps it was the sun it was sitting more than 8 hours). I never had any problems with it before, am taking it to the dealer today. Should I try the hot water in the drains first? Where would I find the drains?


  • kmsubarukmsubaru Member Posts: 2
    Forgot to mention in my previous post my car is also a 2003 Forester, leaked in the same corner (left front passenger)!

  • elizjelizj Member Posts: 3
    I went through the car wash after the last snowfall and the moon roof opened while going through the wash cycle and the interior of the car and myself were drenched. I was trapped at the car wash. I had to leave my car with the moon roof opened in the zero degree garage for two weeks to dry off while I took public transport to work.
  • elizjelizj Member Posts: 3
    I have never used the moon roof in 8 years.
  • elizjelizj Member Posts: 3
    I just had my 30,000 mile check up at Wakefield Subaru in Massachusetts. Before the check up I was getting between 275 to 300 miles to my full tank. Now I get only 128 miles to the tank. Would anyone have any idea what the technicians would have done to my car?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    How did that happen? Did the electronics short out or something? :confuse:
  • aathertonaatherton Member Posts: 617
    "... I suspect what happened is the little bit of snow on top of my Forester melted, but then somewhere in the drain tube it froze up, blocking it..."

    That is a good explanation. It took a long slow supply of water from the roof, that had time to seep past the glass edge, and would then freeze as it trickled down the frigid drain tube.
  • casecom2casecom2 Member Posts: 72
    Just thought I would circle back to add: My seat did dry out after a couple of days, and I've had no problems with my moonroof since then. Must have been just a freak thing. Good motivation to keep the snow cleared off my car next winter though!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Glad to hear it's dry and staying that way!
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