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Thread: Water getting in on passenger side (I guess this is an exterior question?)

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    Aspen and Volare Junior Member rustbucketbingo's Avatar
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    Water getting in on passenger side (I guess this is an exterior question?)

    So a confession, I'm just a kid... and this is my first older car.

    Okay, now that that's out of the way, whenever we get pretty heavy rain here in Texas (which isn't that often) a bunch of water comes in, sits, and saturates the carpet in the front on the passengers side.

    Are there any common problems with these cars that would lead to that? Anywhere I should focus on? And when it dries up, how would I go about investigating where the water comes in?

    Thanks in advance for any help. I realize I'm going to have to cut out and replace that piece of the floorpan at some point.

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    Aspen and Volare Junior Member steve9271's Avatar
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    Most likely it is coming from the cowl/firewall.

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    Aspen and Volare Administrator Rattle Trap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve9271 View Post
    Most likely it is coming from the cowl/firewall.
    Agreed. Not a quick fix, but easy to hillbilly it once you get to it. Your airhorn (the raised lip) on top of the firewall inside your cowl is most likely rotted out. The only way to actually access it is from inside. You take the cluster bezel off, the dash pad off, the right half of the dash out, and the heater core out. Then all you need to do after cleaning it up the best you can is to cut a strip of hard thin gauge plastic sheeting to fit inside the hole in the firewall and act as a new raised lip to that opening. Blue goo the Crap out of the perimeter. Roll your sheet of plastic into a circle and stick it up in there and never worry about it rotting out again. Put everything back together and get back to enjoying it! Plan to spend your whole Saturday on this job tho..
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    Aspen and Volare Super Member doublechaz's Avatar
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    Would this be kinda the floor of that little area where all the windshield wiper linkages run? Only way over in the blind section on the passenger side? That does sound bothersome to get to.

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    Aspen and Volare Administrator Rattle Trap's Avatar
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    That's exactly where you're at and the only way in without surgery is from below. You've got the firewall on the bottom, and that cowl that forms the top of the box and mounts your wipers and windshield base above it. There's a steel doughnut between them that's supposed to let air into the heater box, while the water goes around it and out the side drain. Anything that can get thru the cowl screen ends up piled on the edges where you never know it's there til it's held moisture long enough to create a problem. Usually that means it's rotted the doughnut from between the pieces somewhere along the perimeter. You only have an inch and a quarter there so access is limited even from below. The only options are to cut the top off for a correct fix or goop it full of caulk, sealer, or rtv, from below. You may not need to create a new lip around the opening, but having an inch and a quarter wide, long strip of bendable hard plastic to create a new raised lip around the hole may be a smart thing to have handy.
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  6. #6
    lsm360
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    I would start by feeling if it is wet all the way up to the top of the firewall on the inside of the car. It can enter a couple other places as well, or multiple places. It comes in the corner of the windshield (or other parts of windshield), the seam you see when you open the door, etc. If you remove the plastic interior kick panel near where the passenger's right foot would be, feel if it's wet inside that raised lip that will hold water. You'll want to dry it out anyhow or it'll rust out. I'm betting you have more than one spot leaking. Also, make sure there are no leaves, etc. clogging up the cowl area underneath the plastic grille that pops out. If it's clogged, which is often the case with old cars, it won't let water drain and then the water leaks inside. I'm speaking from experience.

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    Aspen and Volare Senior Member F body deconstructor Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lsm360 View Post
    Also, make sure there are no leaves, etc. clogging up the cowl area underneath the plastic grille that pops out. If it's clogged, which is often the case with old cars, it won't let water drain and then the water leaks inside. I'm speaking from experience.
    This is what I'd check before any disassembly.
    There are 3 rubber "cowl drain flaps" on the engine side of the firewall. They can get plugged up with debris and keep any water from freely flowing out of the cowl area.
    Middle one is below the windshield wiper motor, the other two are near the fender on either side.
    You should be able to see if there is any debris blockage by lifting a flap and looking in. Might need a light to see clearly.
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    Aspen and Volare Administrator Rattle Trap's Avatar
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    If it's coming inside from clogging, it would first have to fill his entire cowl with that much water. That's a pretty Serious volume of water! But once it's been glogged for a while and the steel doughnut inside the cowl is compromised, it doesn't run down the firewall. It goes thru the HVAC box from the air feed hole at the top of it. This leak could come from bad sealer between the lower A-pillar jamb where it meets with the firewall and cowl, but you still have to remove the HVAC box to find out despite how unlikely that is. There is only one other possibility, that it's actually coming in from above the windshield and running down the plastic A-pillar moulding. This is actually a possibility because I've had several cars with no block in place on the passenger side under the windshield and over time it slid down and broke the seal at the top, and one time that even caused the windshield to break when the cowl flexed with the windshield now resting on a trim clip. But that car was bad enough that it was literally leaking in and dripping from the trim piece across the windshield top too. Clear the cowl of debris with a hose, and direct the hose to different places to determine the leak, but as an Ohio resident who's dealt with this repeatedly, it's the doughnut around the air feed hole.
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    Aspen and Volare Senior Member F body deconstructor Jim's Avatar
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    heres what you cant see...under the cowl top...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    jimsazparts.com

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    Rattle Trap (01-21-2017)

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    Aspen and Volare Administrator Rattle Trap's Avatar
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    And here's what happens to it if it isn't kept clean.
    This particular one came out of over ten years northern indoor storage while the cowl had never been cleaned out prior.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20170121_091130-1.jpg  
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