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Wet Floorboard in 2001 Camry

I am looking for a helpful and experienced soul for assistance tracking down my water leak problem.

I drove several hours during a clear, sunny day a few days ago, with the AC running in my 2001 Toyota Camry CE. The driver’s side floorboard was soaked by the end of the trip.

I didn’t even notice it was happening until I looked down and saw it. I didn’t hear water, and I didn’t feel any drips on my feet (that is not until I started imagining them after I knew the water was there).

I am certain the leak is from the AC and not a heater coil, sun roof, windshield leak, etc. etc., because I can definitively rule out all other possibilities. What I can’t figure out is precisely where the water is coming from. I suspect it is somewhere near the gas pedal, but short of running the car for hours in my carport with the AC on, I seem unable to reproduce the problem. Meanwhile, the mildew smell is beginning to get to me.

Has anyone had this happen in a Camry before? Can you tell me where to look? I just spent 45 minutes upside down with the AC running and a flashlight in my hand, but of course everything but the floorboard was bone dry. I couldn’t find a drip anywhere under the dash behind the steering wheel. Maybe I didn’t let it run long enough, or maybe I was looking in the wrong place, I’m not sure. I need suggestions, please!

I don’t think you need to worry about where the water came from, you just need to get it going where it should. Most likely you have a blocked drain from the A/C. On most cars that drain is under the car in front of where the passenger puts their feet.

String trimmer line will usually free it up. Don’t use metal wire as you can damage the A/C unit. Compressed air can also do it, but don’t use too much pressure as it can damage hoses.

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I agree with Joseph E. Meehan. A clogged evaporator drain tube is the most likely problem. The drain gets clogged with leaf debris and dirt, and the water that condenses on the AC evaporator has no where to drain, so it drips out the heater vents onto the floor.

Normally this water would drip onto the ground as you drive, but when the drain tube is clogged it can’t escape. The drain tube also serves to drain the HVAC system during rain, so if you don’t clear the drain you might get water in the car next time it rains.

After you have cleared the drain you will have to remove the padding from under the carpet and dry it outside the car. The padding is like a sponge, and will hold water even if the carpet feels dry. This trapped water will allow mold and mildew to develop.

You may have to raise the car to reach the drain tube. DO NOT crawl under a car supported only by a jack. Use ramp or jack stands.