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Steve's leaky CR-V (Ep. #1221)

Rather than pop the windshield, Steve should check his CR-V’s notorious air vent drain holes.

Under the hood, next to the windshield, there is the long, black plastic air vent intake cover. The drains on the left and right side under this cover get plugged with leaves and debris quite frequently—and when they do the air vent intake leaks water onto the passenger-side floor. (Especially if the passenger side is downhill of the driver side.)

Solutions are:

  1. park driver’s side lower than the passenger side.
  2. unplug the drain.
  3. build a ridge to make the vent intake flange higher (you’ll know what this means if you look).

Doing 2 & 3 fixed the problem with my wife’s 1999 Honda CR-V.

I had this same problem w/a 1970’s Ford truck, and I did what @dfsmith suggested, cleaned out the air vent drains, which fixed the leaking of the water onto the truck’s floor.

Re: Steve from Milwaukee’s CRV:

The question that should have been asked first, was where was the car parked? In the street? Over a sewer?

Here in Chicago, we also get pretty bad storms and often what happens is our streets flood when the rain comes down fast and hard. We have what are called “combined sewers” in Chicago, so the rain water from the sky mixes in the sewer with the sewage from you toilet. To prevent sewage back ups into your basement during big storms, the city installed “slow draining” sewers to keep the water in the streets as to not overload the sewer system. Great news for homeowners, bad news for car owners parking in those flooded streets.

On more than one occasion, a puddle or two has formed at the bottom of my car (as well as my sister, brother, and a few friends’ cars) because the water level in the street rose above the bottom of the door jam, leaking water into the vehicle. When the water in the street slowly went down the sewer, the water in Steve’s CRV remained.

So maybe no car problem, just sewer problem.

Yuuuck. I remember the storm sewers in Illinois. Bad memories.

The clogged vent drain doesn’t explain why the water is on the passenger side only. I immediately flagged the windshield seal as BOGUS. Unfortunately, if Steve trades the car in, we may never know. So much for Stump the Chumps.

My take on it is a hose from the pan under the A/C evaporator had pulled loose. The water on the passenger-side floor is condensation from the A/C. I can duplicate this in a Vibe/Matrix by simply putting my foot, high on the carpet on the passenger side of the firewall, next to the hump, pulling the hose loose.

The clogged vent drain doesn't explain why the water is on the passenger side only.

Because there is an ENORMOUS hole on the passenger side to let the vent air in. Once water overflows into it, and into the blower fan housing, it can’t escape from the passenger side.

It’s not a clogged vent drain—it’s a clogged under-windshield-drain drain.

Here’s some artwork (!) of a cross-section; looking from the front of the car at the same height as the bottom of the windshield.

| windshield | | d v d | | r + e + r | + a +---| n |---------------+ a | | i | | t | | i | | n | passenger driver | n |

The easiest way to avoid the problem is to park passenger’s-side uphill. That way water overflows into the engine bay from the driver’s side, instead of into the vent intake.