'03 Taurus SES - water leaking in, passenger side (floor mat)

1st, unimportant or what may be non-essential information:

*had an oil change, tire rotation, air filter, & windshield wiper change within last couple weeks

*it’s rained a lot around here in the past month, & i’ve been parking outside (since i don’t have a remote for garage). never had a problem with water before tho.

*long ago, garage guys showed me my air filter, which had been nibbled on by mice or something (but this was a long time ago, & i’ve moved twice since then, & it may have been from mice or something while camping).

ok…now for the recent happening:

i usually don’t have anyone else in my car, so i use the passenger seat & floor area to put bags, groceries, etc. i never noticed anything weird until the other day.

i was visiting some friends out of town, & had set a small paper bag with a bottle in it on the passenger side floor. when i got there & was about to take that bag out, i noticed that it had ripped thru due to being wet. the floor there (floor mats & below) was quite wet. we all tried to figure out where the water could be coming from, & the consensus was that it WAS water, & had no odor at all.

upon looking closer the next day, i noticed that the area of the carpeting toward the front floor area seemed fairly dry, but above that carpeted area (behind the glove compartment) was a little wet. note: the glove compartment was completely dry. so it seems that somehow water is leaking in, or had possibly leaked in thru the vents that are on that side of the car just below the windshield. my friend also noticed a couple little bite marks where it looked like an animal had tried to bite thru that hard black plastic (vent). he surmised that possibly there was some drain area in back of the engine compartment (or whatever’s there) that had gotten plugged up by mice or something, & was preventing the rain water from draining out normally.

remember, i had been putting things on the floor there on a regular basis for ages, & there was never any water or wetness until now.

i don’t live in a rural area, & there wouldn’t be a lot of field mice or anything like that around (just grey squirrels outside). i do go camping quite a bit, but it’s past that season.

can anyone help? i’m pretty poor, so anything related to car repairs scares me to death.


You’ve got symptoms of the A/C drain being plugged. The evaporator is under the dash on the passenger side. There is a drain tube that runs from under the evaporator through the firewall to drain the condensation out of the car towards the rear of the engine compartment. If it gets plugged, the water just collects till it starts spilling out into the passenger footwell. Gotta find the drain tube and poke a wire or something in to clear it out.

Check and see if the mice might have chewed a hole in the drain tube. Is this the first rain you’ve gotten since last winter? This could have carried over from the time when the mice were an issue.
Also: Even though you said there is no smell to this liquid and think it is water, this could be a heater core that has started leaking. I can not smell the brand of antifreeze/coolant I use although it will feel kind of “slimey”. When you rub your hand on the wet carpet does it feel sort of slick or slimey? Different than water feels?
Also: You can easily check for water leaks yourself. Have a friend spray the outside of your car while you look around inside for where the water is comeing in. A flashlight is necessary for under the dash. Don’t let your friend BLAST the car with the hose or its liable to leak in places where ir ordinairly wouldn’t in a normal rainstorm. Just have them spray it as if it were raining on the car.

no, it doesn’t feel different than water - nothing slick or slimy at all.

i don’t really have anyone around to help blast the car, but i guess i’ll have to try something or other. dunno what.

i definitely am not knowledgeable enough nor is there anyone else around who can find a plugged anything…

dunno what i’m going to do, to be honest.

p.s. it did rain in the spring a bunch (no water leaking then, & i put a lot of stuff down on the floor there & would have noticed). sounds like the a/c drain but no idea how i’m gonna find a drain tube.

The drain usually comes out under the car right in front of where the passenger puts their feet. Usually a small black hose.

i tried to look under there but it seems like i’d need ramps or something to be able to see anything (& it just looks like metal plates with holes, & anything further over i couldn’t see at all).

Pop the hood and try looking at the lower part of the firewall on the passenger side. Use a flashlight. It should be easier to see from there than useing ramps and trying to see it from underneath.

can you see the tube when you look on the inside above the r.f.floor? Sometimes you can pull them loose there and blow through them, or use a small wire to clean them out. This is also where I was sugesting you look for a hole that the mice might have chewed in it, causeing it to drain “inside” as opposed to outside where it is suppose to.
It could also have been kicked loose right there by a passengers feet and that is why it is draining inside. Unless you are 6 ft. 7 inches tall, and weigh 300 lbs. you can fit under the dash far enough to see it :-)Use a flashlight. It will be about 1/2 inch diameter and made of rubber or soft plastic, and “probably” be black or dark gray.

Hold on here!!! So it’s been raining a lot and you do not mention using the a/c. Most likely it is not the a/c. Take a garden hose and slowly/gently let water run down the right side of the windshield and see if you are now getting water into the cabin. If so d othe following.

  1. Open the hood
  2. Remove the clips that hold the black plastic cowl vent on the right side. On vehicles the right or left is always determined as if you were sitting in the drivers seat. Left is driver side, right is passenger side. The cowl vent is between the windshield and the engine compartment.
  3. Now look for the black plastic cabin filter cover. It is bolted in place. Sometimes this cracks and breaks or maybe Pixie and Dixie (the mice) got to them.
  4. Determine if you need a new plastic cover.
  5. While this is not related and you have this apart remove the cabin filter and with the a/c on high shoot an entire can of Lysol into the opening and replace with a new filter.

Hope this helps.

The Taurus a/c runs alot even when you think it isn’t. The selector is really not correct as to when the a/c is running. Bi level seems to be the worst. So you can run a/c when you did not select a/c and when it rains the a/c drain pours. Try a garage if it looks like they have nothing to do and say you want them to blow out the a/c drain. It takes 2 minutes and they might charge $10. That should fix it.

dang… that’s what i get for having anyone in my car! (glaring at “b”)

now, why does that part about the can of lysol sound suspect?! (this was in response to meaneyedcatz, but for some reason didn’t show up in that spot)

btw, we were looking at that black plastic part by the windshield (not sure if that’s the cowl, or if that’s something inside) - so i suppose it could be related to that also.

the taurus a/c IS weird - for sure. if you even have the temperature dial a little bit on blue (as opposed to red), it’s on. i might’ve had it a little over on the blue side that day during my ride since it was unusually warm. i know that the a/c was draining as normal very recently (well, at least a month ago), but that day it definitely wasn’t draining (well, outside at least) or we would have noticed when looking around & trying to figure this whole thing out.

i’m gonna see if i can spot that hose from above the carpet there, although i have little hope for having enough guts to go messing with anything like that, but at least the asking a garage to blow out the a/c drain doesn’t sound that horrible.

i hate car stuff!!

now, why does that part about the can of lysol sound suspect?..What do you mean suspect? Reread the post. This was if you actually removed the cowl vent to inspect the cabin filter cover. While you have it apart you might as well do this to kill any stinky mold living in the ducts.


hope you can click this link to see.

ok… i was able to view, but anything remotely related to unscrewing stuff on a car makes me nervous. i’m a female, & not really much of a mechanically-minded one.

i guess i’m just confused as to what my real problem with the leakage is. a/c hose or not…

i appreciate all the help tho, everyone. just wish i had a mechanic nearby (who i trusted).

Don’t beat yourself up about not being mechanically minded, you’re not alone. I/we could never understand the “mechanics” of brain surgery so we don’t try that either :slight_smile:
Try and keep it parked undercover (during rainy weather) untill you can get a friend to spray some water on it for you, and you will find it. Untill you can get it fixed, try and keep the carpet dry on a daily basis so mold and mildew doesn’t become an issue later on.

well i haven’t had it checked yet… the carpet’s dry temporarily at least.

but now on my way to the store, my engine light came on (not flashing), so i guess i’ll have to go have that read at auto zone in the next couple of days.

do you think that has something to do with my water problem and, if so, does it make it seem worse now that the engine light has come on to alert me of some problem?

I suppose it’s possible, but not likely that they are connected. If they were I would think that the light would have come on closer to the time when you first had the water leak.

could this possibly pertain to me? (even tho i’m out of warranty?)

                                        FORD TAURUS COWL LEAK 

Ford Motor Company has a fix for 2001-2003 Taurus and Mercury Sable models with leaking cowls. Both models built after 01 May 2003 may exhibit water leaking into the blower motor case which may result in mold, electrical problems, climate control problems or poor air conditioning/heating performance.

The fix is free for the asking at any Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealership under provisions of the bumper to bumper warranty coverage under TSB 03-15-6. This is considered a “silent recall” where upon Ford may not notify owners of this condition.


now i have read much more dealing with what sounds is this very same problem. (http://townhall.edmunds.com/WebX?14@@.f0dd8bb/25#MSG25)

It definitely applies to your water leak, and the recalls are always free, so you should make an appointment and take it in.

Re: the electrical problems associated with the leak; I have seen your engine codes on your other post that you started. Although there is a “slight” possibility they could be related, I really doubt it. These electrical problems Ford speaks of that are related to the water leak recall, would probably be associated with the blower fan motor. Still it IS "possible.
Get the recall done FIRST since it is free and see where it takes you.

i’m really thinking it is that upper plastic piece that is supposed to sit flush against the windshield that’s the problem… since that side (right passenger) is no longer flush to the windshield, where the left side IS.

how much do you suppose it would cost to have that piece replaced? i would not be doing it myself. i believe this could be related to the leaking cowl stuff i reported below (some ‘silent’ recall), but i really got no satisfaction from ford - they just wanted me to bring it into a dealership to see what the problem is for sure, but i’m sure that’s at my expense & can’t be done. i want to stick my head in the sand & forget about it, but i know i can’t.

i took it thru a car wash yesterday, & then felt up behind the carpet (glove box back area), & it was somewhat wet, so water is obviously getting in.