Rain leak Rav4

I have a 98 Toyota Rav4 4cyl auto. Started to leak water from somewhere into the passenger side floor when it rains. Started out only leaking during heavy/fast rain, but now almost every time. Thought it was the sunroof drain overflow, but no water on the seat cushion, and I reamed both drain tubes out with a stiff wire all the way to the ground and confirmed water runs out the properly. Now I think it’s something in the firewall, like maybe the vent air? Tried taking the screen off the cowl and looking down into what I presume are the vent ducts, but didn’t find any drain rail. Anyone have any idea how to fix this? Do I need to take the dash apart?


Any where around the windshield and the water can drain down through the corner supports and into the passenger compartment. On cars that old especially if exposed to lots of sunlight, the weather stripping can dry out. This is one possibility. I would not then be focused too much on just the cowling area…alone. Don’t eliminate the sunroof either as it still could be leaking into the post area, I would take a hose and wet down one area at a time.

I had a 2002 Toyota Tacoma with a similar leak (passenger floor got wet). Turned out there was a pinhole in the sealant between the fender and the firewall. Toyota dealer had to remove the fender, grind out the old sealant, and reseal.

I found the leak by pulling up the carpet on the firewall and spraying the truck with a hose until I could see water oozing in through the sealant at the corner of the firewall.

Was the AC running at the time? If so the drain could be plugged. There is a little rubber tube the drains the condensation out of the evaporator box. Blow it out with compressed air or run a pipe cleaner up it.

I have not been in the car when I can see the leak. I just notice the water on the floor whe I get in after a rain. So, no, the AC has not been on.

Also, the windshield has been replaced in the last 2-3 yrs, so I think it’s ok. Since the car isn’t moving when it leaks, I’m thinking that the wheel well isn’t a likely culprit either. I like the idea of running water over the car and watching to see a leak. I tried that with the sunroof drain tubes, and didn’t see any water on the floor after that, so will try windshield and cowl next. Thanks for the help.

Solved. Took jesmed’s advice and put the garden hose on top of the car, and watched from inside to see from which direction the water was coming. Was coming from the passenger side outboard, so I unclipped the plastic side panels along the floor side rail (which is very easy, no bolts) to get a better look. The sunroof drainage channels connect to plastic tubes that hang down within the pillars that support the front door hinges. Unfortunately, the passenger side was too short, and over time it warped enough to start directing water inboard so it ran down into the floorpan. After testing, I could see that when the water flow is really low, it drips into the right place, but when it flows fast, it flows onto the floor, which explains why it was a little inconsistent. I couldn’t reach the place where the tube connects to the drain channel, so I couldn’t replace it with a longer tube. I zip tied a piece of foam into the pillar which forces the tube to point outboard enough to drip properly. Just to add extra security, I fashioned a wire stent that clamps to the pillar and holds the tube in position.

Thanks all!

Glad you got it solved. Next time you are looking in that vicinity, check to make sure the door drains (under the bottom of the doors) are clear too.