Water Leaks -- How to Find and Fix



  • cmhaynescmhaynes Member Posts: 1
    My girlfriend has a convertible Cabrio that leaks terribly whenever it rains. She has had it in the shop multiple times to no avail and the water just keeps coming in. Any suggestions?
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    I just bought a 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT and in the last two days we have a lot of rain. Noticed a "Drip" coming from under the Dashboard onto my left foot. Found that the floor is wet on BOTH driver side and Pax side in the front. No water in the back seats or trunk/hatchback area.

    I did blow out the two drains in the sunroof, but they "seemed" to be clear. I could only see the two front drains, could not see them in back becasue the glass roof does not retract back far enough.

    I have read that the Mitsubishi cars (Eclipse) have had some problems with leaks.

    I looked at the rubber wiring boot from at the firewall and it still appears to be in place.

    What next ? How do I get to the fresh air vent drain holes under the wipers? There is a black plastic screen across that area and it looks like it's held in place with clips that will break if I remove it. Any one else with the Eclipse and leaks?

    Thanks ! Tim
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I have a friend who owns a Mitsu dealership. I'll ask him. Remind me by e-mail in a couple days and I'll post how to do it right here for you.

    I think the fresh air vent drains are indeed your problem.

  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19

    Thank You ! I'll email you in a few days...

    Regards, Tim
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    There's a Technical Service Bulletin about leaks on this car through the outside mirror and into the door and passenger compartment. Could that be your problem?

    TSB 02-42A-017 Nov 2, 2002
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    It's possible, but it's on BOTH the Pax side and driver's side. I have read numerous messages on forums that points to either the sunroof drains, which I've cleaned out ( they "seemed" clear ) OR... the drains by the freash air vents.

    It does not seem to be wet along the door strip at the bottom or the side of the door, plus I've witnessed the drip under the dash.

    When your friend at the Mitsu Dealership tells you how to remove the screen over the vents, I'll check that next and then just keep going down the list.

    Thanks Again for everyone's help. Tim
  • impalabkimpalabk Member Posts: 2
    I have a Chevy Impala 2000. I have been having problems with the A/c and heat. When I have these on there is water leaking into the car on the passenger side floor from the dash. I don't know what to do. We would like to fix it ourselves if possible.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, the trick is to pry the screen carefully. Sometimes the clips break and sometimes they don't. They are very CHEAP to buy new clips so you might want to do that beforehand. The Mitsu dealer in San Rafael California suggests that you use a silicone spray (NOT WD-40!!!) on the clips before you pry. Mitsu has a special tool for this so if you are in the SF Bay Area they'll show you how to use it.

    Also they suggested to be very very careful about using compressed air to blow out sunroof drains--you must use gentle pressure or you will blow off the rubber tubing inside the headliner and then you have a real problem getting at those.
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    Mr. Shiftright,

    Thank you for getting that info.... it is a great help. I already blew out the roofdrains but I don't think I blew off the drain lines because I can hear the air coming out at the windshield, but I'll have to run a water test to be sure.

    I'm in Baltimore so I can't stop by to see how the tool is used. Do you know what the tool actually is called or the part number? I can order one thru my local dealer.

    Did they give you any other suggestions about what to check as far as leask are concerned?

    Thanks again. Regards, Tim
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think between the sunroof and the fresh air vent drain and the known outside mirror leak, you have it covered.

    If you do all that and you still have water dripping on your foot, I might suggest using a black LATEX (not silicone) caulk...it cleans up with water and you can put in on your wet finger and squish it around the outside of the windshield, and then clean up the extra easily with water. Overnight it will cure and you'll have a good windshield seal that you'll never notice.
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    Mr. Shiftright,

    Thanks again !!! Does the TSB concerning the mirror leaks have a description of how to repair it ? What to do ??

    Regards, Tim
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's kind of complicated and has photos etc. You should probably see if the dealer will just give you a copy of it. TSB 02-42A-017. It requires masking tape over certain seams of the mirror and application of a gasket sealer.
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    Mr. Shiftright,

    I just had a thought, let me have your opinion/thoughts. I was just looking at that "Garnish" and pondering taking it off, then I looked in the wheel wells and see a black rubber tube on each side running down. I believe it's the drain hoses that come from the drains under the Garnish... right ?

    If so... can I find the end of them and try blowing them clean/free from the end in the wheel well ? Can you think of any harm that might do ? The only thing I though was that the gunk I blow out ( if there is any) might just run back into the drain. But it would be a lot easier than removing the parts.

    Thanks, Tim
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    I just bought a 2002 GT and the dealer had several papers actually taped to the inside of the Rear Window with scotch tape and masking tape. Ya... on top the the defroster heating grid.

    What can I "SAFELY" use to remove the adhseive without harming the heating grid strips ?

    Thanks, Tim
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well not a bad idea but I think the gunk will just re-accumulate in there. What usually happens is that organic matter (tree debris, leaves, etc.) falls down in there and slowly decomposes into this organic mush and then clogs the drain. So what you may find in there is basically MUD.
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    Mr. Shiftright,

    I was planning to atempt to either blow out the drain lines ffrom below OR remove the Garnish and clean the drains out, but before I did that... just for kicks... I took a cup of water and poured it on each side right below the wipers. It drained immediately from the drain on each side right behind the wheel well. So I am sure that THOSE drains a clear. Before I do anything else, I wonder if I should wait for some really good rains and see if it leaks anymore, since I blew out the sunroof drains I "ASSUMED" they were already clear, but maybe not. I did not do the drain test before I blew them out.
    What do you think the next most likely area would be for the leak(s) ?

    Thanks, Tim
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I recall you said it was leaking on your left foot, is that correct? If so your windshield gasket is about the only thing you have left to look at.
  • pratzertpratzert Member Posts: 19
    Mr. Shiftright,

    Yes, it was dripping on my left foot... but was also wet on the passenger side.

    No rain in the forecast for the next week, but I'm going to pay attention to what happens in the next rain, or maybe get the hose out and try a few tests ???

    BTW, I posted a question about removing tape adhesive from the rear inside window with the defroster grid on it.

    I have successfully used "GOOF-OFF" to remove all traces of the adhesive. No harm to the grid !

  • frostwayjackfrostwayjack Member Posts: 1
    Whenever it rains, my 1995 Buick Skylark leaks (presumably from that well below the windshield wipers) down underneath the carpet -- primarily beneath the driver's feet, but sometimes on the passenger side as well. It gets to be quite a puddle if it rains hard. I've taken off the plastic grill over the well, but I don't know what I'm looking for.
  • bobbeardbobbeard Member Posts: 1
    OK-- I hear a sloshing sound whenever I stop suddenly in a BMW 325i (2002)
    I know there is water somewhere in the body and it's not in the door.
    Any ideas on getting this fixed without costing an arm and a leg?
    I know I'll probably have to take it into the dealer, but would like to avoid.
    I think there may be a broken seal at the bottom of the windshield.
    Thanks, any advice would be welcome.. drip drip
  • ewarnerewarner Member Posts: 1
    Hi - I have the exact same problem with my 2002 BMW 325xi. This water seems to be pooling on the driver's side only, and my driver's side front and rear carpet are damp.

    Do you have any advice? Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Definitely check under the front valence (where the wipers are) for clogged drain. I think you'll find a goldfish bowl in there if you remove the cowl.
  • weedermanweederman Member Posts: 1
    Very small water leak just to the right of the drivers side top cornor of windshield. Drips slowly after pouring about 2 - 3 gallons of water directly on this spot. A little scaly rust, just where the roof bends down to form the windshield channel. Is leak likely through the rust or through the windshield seal? If rust can I fix this by removing it and filling with polyurethane caulk or silicone. Finally, how do I get the windshield top outdoor rubber molding back into the channel. It has a tiny grove on each side that seems to fit a tiny ridge on either side of a rubber that seems to be part of the windshield gasket. I read somewhere that you force it back in with a lone 2 X 4?

    Thanks weederman
  • redzoomredzoom Member Posts: 4
    I've been to my dealer's service center twice regarding puddles of water on the rear passenger floor (and wetness on front floor). First visit, a door seam on the rear passenger door was replaced. Leaking continued after the next rain. On the second visit, they called in water-leak specialists who found a leaking body seam on the passenger front fenderwall-dashboard. They sealed part of it, but I was told that to seal the rest, the entire dash would need to be removed (close to $800!) My service guy asked me twice if I'd been in an accident (I hadn't) and if I bought the car new (I did - from them). He then provided me with an 800 number for Mazda and said something to the effect of - I don't know if they can help you or not.
    1) How do I get the car dried out so that I can see how much it's still leaking? The insulated padding under the carpet is soaking and sloshing.
    2) It seems to me that this is not normal. Any advice on if I'm gonna have to pay that $800?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Has anybody checked the sunroof drains?
  • redzoomredzoom Member Posts: 4
    I didn't ask that exactly, but I know that when I took it in the first time, that the service folks were expecting that I had some sort of "debris" stuck in the seals (gussets?) around the sunroof or on the windows. So, I know there was at least some thought about the sunroof.

    Where would the sunroof drain leak show up?
  • comfortcomfort Member Posts: 1
    I've taken my Intrepid to my local Dodge dealer for water puddleing on front and rear carpets after it rains. This happens both while parked(for a week at the airport) and while driving around. Dealer checked all doors, windows, weep holes in doors, around trunk lid, under vehicle etc. Could find nothing! Next step is to pull all seats and carpets "in the spring". Any suggestions on how to get a tsb about water leaks? My feet are freezing in New England.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    sunroof drain being plugged might show up at the sunroof itself around the opening (dripping down on the seats).

    A broken sunroof drain or loose sunroof drain tube (hose) might show up as a leak at the front kick panels on either side, or under the rear seats.
  • horsemstresshorsemstress Member Posts: 2
    I've read about all the sunroof leaks and drain cleaning suggestions, but does anyone know how to stop a leak where the T-top meets the side window on a Nissan Pulsar? I'm using the equivelant of a 'bucket' to keep my behind from getting wet in the driver's seat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    new seals all 'round is the only solution I can think of. T-tops are notorious leakers as the seals age.
  • horsemstresshorsemstress Member Posts: 2
    Got a suggestion of who might do that kind of work? Neither my local Nissan dealer nor the local auto glass places want to tackle it. The dealer suggested buying new tops, but that seems a bit extreme to me & there's still the risk that they will leak, too!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well first you have to see if the new seals are even available and how much they are. After that, it's not rocket science to glue a new seal on, seems to me. I don't get it...if an auto glass shop can install new windshields I wonder why they won't put a new seal on a T-Top. Weird.
  • needhelp8needhelp8 Member Posts: 1
    A large quantity of water floods the passenger side floor periodically. Uusally after a heavy rain, but not always Had the windshield resealed but that didn't correct problem. Leak is not steady. It's as though water is building up, stored and then released all at once.
    Can be a fairly long time between incidents, but have also had incidents in short time frames (days apart).
  • vivianne96vivianne96 Member Posts: 2
    I am from MD, and I recently brought my car down to FL to go to school. I never had this problem in the 3 years I owned this car, but upon bringing it to FL, whenever it rains, water puddles from under the carpet to the above the carpet (like it comes from the bottom up), and just remains there. I have no idea about cars, and I am just a confused college student, but I want to take it somewhere to get this fixed, but I dont want to go in confused and get riped of. I think it could be a leaking cowl vent leak. Does anyone know how much this would cost to get fixed? Any other suggestions is grateful, thanx!
  • jcs290jcs290 Member Posts: 2
    When it rains, the interior roof of my '94 Chevy Cavalier gets soaked right around the sun visor (the sun visor itself also gets soaked thorough). The water then drips down onto the passenger seat and drenches it. The floor, remarkably, stays dry. The glue from the interior roof liner is coming off with the water and is staining the seat and causing the liner to peel off.

    As a quick fix, I caulked the windshield seal with a clear silicone and that seemed to work for about 6 months. After a heavy rain recently, the roof started to leak again.

    I don't have a sunroof, and I don't see how rain can get into the interior roof from the outside with all the cracks sealed over with silicone. The door is dry, the dashboard is dry...everything but the passenger seat, the sun visor, and nearby interior roof is dry. Any ideas??
  • aob1958aob1958 Member Posts: 2
    Did you find what was the cause of the water leak? Where is it coming from? I have 2000 sienna and I just now have the same problem!!! I'm suspect of the front of winshield drains maybe plugged. I will also check the AC drain just in case. Let me know of yoiur investigation. Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You might have to have the windshield removed and resealed with a new gasket. Was this car ever in an accident?

    Silicone is not a good choice for car windshields...a water based latex caulk is better as you can squeeze it into cracks and under the rubber seal, and it washes up instantly. But now the silicone will probably prevent you from making a good seal anymore, so you may want to pop the windshield and do a new seal...shouldn't cost too much unless....gulp...the old windshield breaks, which is very possible.
  • aob1958aob1958 Member Posts: 2
    It can be very expensive if you let the repair man find the problem! You need to use your resources (friends, relatives, call the dealer and ask to talk to a technician...), look and continue looking at what might be causing the water problem. Good luck! :D
  • jcs290jcs290 Member Posts: 2
    No, the car was never in an accident. And I considered re-sealing the windshield, but as you said, the risk of breaking the old one makes me wary of the possible expense.

    I wouldn't think that so much water could get through both the original seal itself, which only had minor separation from the frame/glass interface, and some silicone sealing. I mean, I'm talking enough water to soak all the way through the seat cushion...an interior roof and sun visor that is just sopping wet after every rain. I'm afraid that resetting the windshield won't solve the problem and that there is another entry point, such as edges above the passenger door, funnelling the water down into a gap in the frame and letting it into the roof. Is this possible? On a ballpark number, how much would it cost to have a body shop look it over and find the problem? fix the problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If you don't have a sunroof or a roof rack, I don't see how your sun visors could get wet other than through the windshield...perhaps it's rusted under the seal? Dunno...you could drop the headliner and then go through a car wash....
  • redp5redp5 Member Posts: 4
    We found a large amount of water in our 2002 Protege5 (4door wagon) from front to rear of vehicle: about 1" deep around the spare tire & behind the rear wheel wells. Also soaked carpet over the spare tire, and soaked carpet & padding under the passenger side rearseat, a wet passenger side rearseat, and soaked carpet & padding under and in front of the passenger side front seat. The car has been parked outside & it's been very rainy here the past month (Oregon). One dealership in the area said they don't deal with water leaks and referred us to a private individual for the diagnosis/fix. We've taken all of the interior trim & seats out to get it to dry. We purchased the vehicle new & it's never been in an accident. It has a moonroof (factory installed) but I wouldn't think that it could cause water to collect all the way from front to rear. We've heard that the roof rack can have leak problems in these cars.
    *Has anyone else had a similar problem?
    *Any thoughts on where to look for a leak that is soaking such a large amount of the car? I suspect it was going on a few weeks before we discovered the problem. :-(
    *Does adding sealant and fixes like this usually fix the problem for good, or do leaks typically recur?
  • redp5redp5 Member Posts: 4
    Addendum: I did some investigating today while the car was outside in the rain & all of the trim is out of the car - just sheetmetal exposed now. The entire front (passenger area) of the car is dry. Water is leaking into the hatchback area of the car on the passenger side. Water is collecting along the interior side of the black rubber seal that seals the hatchback opening on the body of the vehicle. From the interior side of this seal margin, water is dripping down the vertical rear wall of the car (below the hatchback latch & to the right of the hatchback latch where 2 pieces of body sheet metal come together). I see two potential sources: a) the rubber seal itself could be faulty (I doubt this though because a large quantity of water is reaccumulating very quickly), or b) water is flowing down the inside of the right hand d-pillar (which we can't see) and into the interior of the car - possible from the roof rack area?
    Any thoughts?? Please help, my husband just wants to sell it.
  • wetwonwetwon Member Posts: 1
    I noticed that my back seat had mold in the corners, and when I opened lifted the seat up two inches of water covered the bottom. I then looked in the trunk and all of the stuff I had in there was covered in mold and wet. I suspect the trunk is leaking some where. I have tried spraying the foam sealant that comes in cans along the rim that the trunk sets in when closed, and also along some spots along the inside of the trunk lid. The problem seems to be located on the edges just below the edges of the trunk. If it is a gasket problem, am i able to buy parts a store and do it my self. I doesn't help that it never has a chance to dry out because i live in Seattle and it never stops raining.
  • shernandezshernandez Member Posts: 6
    I'm trying to fix a water leak on a TJ jeep with a hard top. Not soft top. I don't need any diag info. I need a weatherstrip that can wrap under the flange used for the jeep soft tops. This flange is not sealed between the spot welds and is the cause of practically all jeep water leaks.

  • shernandezshernandez Member Posts: 6
    I'm a body shop tech in Oregon and try starting the car and turn the heater and fan all the way up. Shut all the doors and windows. Get some soapy water or foaming window cleaner (that's what i use) and spray it around the back where you think the water is entering the vehicle. If there's a leak it will bubble up. let me know what happens. I'll will post more tips later.
  • shernandezshernandez Member Posts: 6
    If your rear glass has ever been replaced, that could cause a trunk leak, also check around the taillight bolts/nuts. Weatherstips have a metal peice inside of the rubber that holds it's shape around the pinch weld and you could lift the weatherstrip and pinch the two sides together to seal tighter around the pinch weld. Another thing I use is called bedding and glazing compound from 3M. It comes in a Calking tube and i remove the weatherstrip and apply it into the channel where the pinch weld goes and reinstall the weatherstrip. check to see if your trunklid sits level with the quarter panels too. It it is raised, try to adjust the striker (the loop that the trunk latch hooks on to)

    Good Luck!
  • shernandezshernandez Member Posts: 6
    If you haven't already got the adhesive off. You could use 3M general purpose adhesive remover. put a little on a towel and wipe it away. Goo Gone may even work. don't use steel wool or a razor blade.
  • shernandezshernandez Member Posts: 6
    Try doing this, run the car with the heater fan running on high and close everything. Either spray foaming window cleaner (I like the GM brand) or use soapy water. Put it on the area where you think the leak is comming from and you should either see bubbles or air blowing through the foam. For a windshield leak, I would use windshield urethane. It's what the installers use and I would seal it from the inside after removing the "A" pillar trim pieces and lowering the headliner some.
  • jesslyn914jesslyn914 Member Posts: 6
    I can relate.... I own a 2005 Civic coupe VP with 2k miles... have had it for six months.... went through the headaches of the dealership 3 times and got American Honda involved... almost went to arbitration! American Honda got sick of me and on the 4th attempt (NYS LEmon Law is 4 UNSUCCESSFUL) ordered a "specialist" to find the leak. You know American Honda is going to fight to not buy back your car.... needless to say I educated myself via the internet.... Honda has TSB's that they do not release to their consuers...its called secret warranty. NHTSA will allow you to search their site for the year make and model and Honda TSB's with a brief summary. I was both shocked and relieved to find there were 3 TSB's for trunk leak in the 2005 Civic. Don't get stuck paying for Honda's mistakes....Ask the dealership to check on the TSB for the trunk leak and to repair it once and for all ... free of charge! :D
  • rainchaserrainchaser Member Posts: 5
    Your water leaks are comming from your tail light gaskets or rear trunk exhauster vents.
    hope this helps.
    23 year water leak expert
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