Mysterious water leak


#1

We’ve recently had extremely heavy rains. My Lincoln has mysteriously developed a major leak…in the right, rear (passenger) footwell only! No, I’m not making this up. At worst, the leak makes an actual puddle on the floor. At best, the carpeting is damp to soaked, though with no standing water. There is no other water on any of the other three footwells.

Where does the rain water come from? The roof of the floor is completely dry. The inside of the right side passenger door is completely dry. The rear seat is dry, so it can’t be coming in the rear back window. It almost seems like the rain water is defying gravity, and coming up from under the seat. There is a fairly small scrape on the R front passenger door, but (a) it’s the front door, and (b) it doesn’t seem like it’s a deep enough scrap to let water through. And the R front passenger door inside is also dry.

I place towels over the water, and can literally wring water out of the towels. The back of the car window has condensation on it some of the time.

Does anyone have any idea as to the water source? Is the carpet likely to mildew over time? Will baking soda help keep from molding? Are there any electronics underneath the footwell, so as to make the car at risk?

I prefer not to go to dealer or the local body shop-very expensive. I called Lincoln’s 800# and the guy had no clue. I described it to my usual car service place, and they said they don’t do this. Anyone have any thoughts on the water source, the best way to get it fixed, as well as specific answers to my other questions?

Many thanks!


#2

Is there a sunroof? If so this sounds like a clogged drain.


#3

Does your vehicle have a sunroof/moonroof?

Edit:
It appears that kolby12309 and I had the same thought, at the same time!


#4

@AndyF

Whoa Nellie! Back up the truck!

I’d like to try and help with vehicle specific information, but there is no specific vehicle mentioned.

Lincoln
You forgot to introduce the Lincoln (make) !
Model?
Model-Year?
Thanks, CSA


#5

Good thought. I should have mentioned…NO sunroof, moonroof. And, not a
convertible either!

In a message dated 2/26/2017 2:49:03 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
cartalk@discoursemail.com writes:

VDCdriver (http://community.cartalk.com/users/vdcdriver)
February 26
Does your vehicle have a sunroof/moonroof?
Edit:
It appears that kolby12309 and I had the same thought, at the same time!


#6

Year?
Model?
Mileage?

I can only make a wild guess, but since the window there is developing condensation, water must be inside the door. If the drains in the bottom of the door frame are plugged, it may be traveling out the seam between the inner door panel and the door shell in a path that routes it onto the floor… maybe the path is even below the surface of the carpet, where it’s not visible.

I’d start by removing the inner door panel and the inner side panel. I’d used nylon autobody levers, a small set of which can be purchased anywhere for between $10 and $20. The nylon tools make the job far easier and don’t damage the paint. A box of doughnuts and a smile just might convince your dealer’s parts guy to print you and “exploded view” drawing of the door and area. Knowing where all the clips are makes the job far easier.

Yeah, the carpet will mold. And the steel parts will rust. Once you fix the leak you’ll have to remove the carpeting and the underpadding (sound insulation), dry the floor panel out, and replace the padding and carpeting. You have way too much water in the two and it’s been there too long. A Google search will find replacement padding and carpeting precut and shaped readily available.

Regular shops, even body shops, won’t want to mess with this. The results once the panel(s) is(are) pulled will be too unpredictable. And the chance of the customer having unrealistic expectations are too high. And the cost unpredictable. I’ve gutted a car’s interior and put it back (in my case I was adding soundproofing) and it can be labor intensive… and labor ain’t cheap.

Let us know how you make out. We do care.


#7

Thanks. It’s a 2005 Lincoln Town Car. I bought it used two years ago, so
this has not been a problem until the recent super heavy rains. I’ve been
driving for over 50 years, and have never even heard of this problem.

common_sense_answer
(http://community.cartalk.com/users/common_sense_answer)
February 26
@AndyF (http://community.cartalk.com/users/andyf)
Whoa Nellie! Back up the truck!
I’d like to try and help with vehicle specific information, but there is
no specific vehicle mentioned.
Lincoln
You forgot to introduce the Lincoln (make) !
Model?
Model-Year?
Thanks, CSA


#8

Been in southern Cal the whole time? The reason you’ve never heard of this problem might be because it rains so infrequently there. Water leaks are not unheard of in rainy climates, like Seattle for example. But, like the song says, “when it rains it pours”.


#9

Have someone spray water around the door while you are inside and see if you can see any water coming in. Also check to see if you can hear water sloshing in the door, because as mountainbike mentioned the drains might be plugged. Check to see if the weatherstripping is blocking the drain in the corner of the door, I recently had that problem and noticed sloshing water when I closed the door.


#10

Thanks for the thoughts. It’s a 2005 Lincoln Town Car I bought two years
ago. 101,000 miles. No problems with the leak until the recent heavy
rains. I live in Northern CA, and yeah, we don’t usually get heavy rains. If
by one chance in a million you live not super far away, I’d like to hire
you!

By the way, I may not have been specific enough. It’s not the R rear
passenger door I was referring to re the condensation. It’s the rear
window=back of the car where I’ve most noticed it.

the_same_mountainbik
(http://community.cartalk.com/users/the_same_mountainbik)
February 26
Year?
Model?
Mileage?
I can only make a wild guess, but since the window there is developing
condensation, water must be inside the door. If the drains in the bottom of
the door frame are plugged, it may be traveling out the seam between the
inner door panel and the door shell in a path that routes it onto the floor…
maybe the path is even below the surface of the carpet, where it’s not
visible.
I’d start by removing the inner door panel and the inner side panel. I’d
used nylon autobody levers, a small set of which can be purchased anywhere
for between $10 and $20. The nylon tools make the job far easier and don’t
damage the paint. A box of doughnuts and a smile just might convince your
dealer’s parts guy to print you and “exploded view” drawing of the door and
area. Knowing where all the clips are makes the job far easier.
Yeah, the carpet will mold. And the steel parts will rust. Once you fix
the leak you’ll have to remove the carpeting and the underpadding (sound
insulation), dry the floor panel out, and replace the padding and carpeting.
You have way too much water in the two and it’s been there too long. A
Google search will find replacement padding and carpeting precut and shaped
readily available.
Regular shops, even body shops, won’t want to mess with this. The results
once the panel(s) is(are) pulled will be too unpredictable. And the chance
of the customer having unrealistic expectations are too high. And the cost
unpredictable. I’ve gutted a car’s interior and put it back (in my case I
was adding soundproofing) and it can be labor intensive… and labor ain’t
cheap.
Let us know how you make out. We do care.


#11

The compliment is highly flattering, and I’d love to help if possible (not for money, however, just for fun)… but I’m in NH!
My son is in southern Cal! That’s what prompted my guess.


#12

@AndyF It appears you are posting by email instead of direct forum. May I request that you not do so it clutters up the thread and is hard for some of us to follow.


#13

@VOLVO_V70, I’m sorry that the reply-by-email feature seems to be on the fritz again. It works for some people without issue. I’ll tell the Discourse folks about it to have it looked at. It isn’t AndyF’s fault.


#14

I agree with @the_same_mountainbik. Water in the door is a likely culprit. However, you don’t need to remove the inner panel to check. There are drain holes on the bottom of the door where the outer skin meets the rest of the door. Just poke upwards with a small stick or something similar. If there is water, you’ll know immediately. If this is the case, clean out all the holes. The rushing water will help.


#15

Any signs of water in the trunk? could be working it’s way downhill.


#16

I have a hardc time visualizing how water can get from inside a door to the floor. I’d guess it’s the rear window seal. Pull up the carpet where the puddle forms, hose the car down, and look.


#17

I should have specified; no water in the trunk, or anywhere, except for the
R rear footwell.

Barkydog (http://community.cartalk.com/users/barkydog)
February 27
Any signs of water in the trunk? could be working it’s way downhill.


#18

Man times the water comes from the trunk and drains down the wheel wells. When you step on the brakes it can overflow from the spare tire well. If it comes from the spare tire area, pull the rubber plugs and pull the ones behind the wheel wells.

Before pulling plugs, check for leaks from roof edges and trunk lids as well as back glass. Use a squeeze bottle like one for dish soap but with car wash soap mixed with water. Run fan on full speed. Where there are leaks the bubbling should be almost comical. You could probably use a sponge and a bucket with soapy water.


#19

My Bonneville had water on the floor in one foot well. Searching for and using a GM Technical Service Bulletin, helped solve a baffling (no pun intended) mystery.

I used my new information to take a close look at the bottom edge of the trim panel right after a good rain. Sure enough, water was dribbling from between the vinyl trim panel and the metal door shell, and onto the floor.

I resealed the plastic water barrier panel (immediately behind the door trim panel) with butyl ribbon as specified (I could see voids in the factory applied butyl).

Voila! No more water on the floor.
CSA


#20

Thanks, that would do it.