I got to my car in the parking lot at work yesterday after an afternoon of extremely heavy rainfall to find some fairly significant wet spots in the interior left rear of my 2000 OBW. At first, I thought it was just run-off from the tailgate, but it became fairly clear after looking at the wetness and noticing how much area it covered that this was something that had been happening for a while during the day. It wasn't soaked, but a lot of the interior left rear corner was quite damp.
I had somewhere I needed to be, but I got home about three hours later and went to work attempting to locate the source of the water. I started by removing the various floor pieces and eventually got the left side panel (mostly) removed. I could not figure out how to get the crazy thing completely off, so it was still attached near the left rear passenger door.
You can see from this image where the water had soaked into the "fabric" of the panel. There was no water pooling anywhere, and only a couple small areas where I could see a drop of water on a metal or plastic surface.
The most water that I found was soaked into the padding behind the trim panel shown in this photo. If I pressed a finger into the padding water would "pour" out of it. Not just a drip, but a stream.
While I was in the parking lot, I had removed the plastic cover from the taillight connection access panel and saw for the first time a clear plastic hose. (I'd never taken that cover off before.)
Tracing that down, I found where it joins up with a black rubber L-shaped "funnel" that entered the car body. Through trial with a bottle of water, I discovered that this drains behind the rear wheel through the mudflap.
I lifted up on the hose and found that it could just pop out of this funnel. Looking at the end of it, I found it was completely clogged with some nasty looking stuff.
I used a ShopVac to vacuum this hose out as best I could. I could see a lot of other crap getting sucked through the hose from farther up the side of the car. Eventually all that was left was some of those 2-3 inch long pine needles. I pulled those out with tweezers and then vacuumed out the rubber funnel part that the hose fits into. I don't know what, if anything was sucked out of it, but the water I poured in seemed to run freely out the bottom of the car.
So here is my theory. The drain hose was clogged so the rain water was unable to evacuate through the bottom of the car. The hose eventually filled until it overflowed at the top, running down that corner pillar trim piece and eventually seeping down into the other trim panels and floor pieces.
My problem is, I was unable to determine where the top of that hose leads. Is it a drain for the rain gutters alongside the roof? I poured some water into the gutter, but because of the way the car was sitting, it flowed to the front of the car. I have no idea if there are other clogs in the hose, nor if other drains in the car are also clogged.
Questions:[list=1][*]What is this hose a drain for? The rain gutters?[*]Where are the other drain hoses in the vehicle? Why isn't there a similar hose on the right side of the car?[*]Can I force clogs such as this back up the hose(s) using compressed air or some other method? I can see a lot of "stuff" in both ends of both rain gutters, but I have no idea how to clean them out. The left gutter overflows and drains water across the left front passenger window, meaning I can't open that window after a rainfall until the water goes away. This is very annoying and I'd love to be able to fix it myself.[/list=1]
Thanks very much for any thoughts on this. If nothing else, I hope this might help anyone else who may have similar problems. I'll find out tomorrow if it leaks again if we get the rain they claim is coming.