Water leak, clogged drains (Long, with photos) - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 06-02-2006, 02:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Water leak, clogged drains (Long, with photos)

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.
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Old 06-02-2006, 06:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe blow soapy water and air up it and see where bubbles emerge?
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you *don't* have a factory sunroof, I have no idea why you have drain tubes. If you do have a sunroof, that's what they're for, & they can clog over the years if debris gets inside the mechanism & gets rinsed down the tubes.

Great photos, someone recently posted about locating their sunroof drain tubes.
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Old 06-02-2006, 03:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrEd
If you *don't* have a factory sunroof, I have no idea why you have drain tubes. If you do have a sunroof, that's what they're for, & they can clog over the years if debris gets inside the mechanism & gets rinsed down the tubes.
I do have the twin factory moonroofs. I didn't know until I started searching this forum that sun/moonroofs even had drain tubes; I figured they were sealed pretty tight when closed.

It's been raining literally all day today and I've checked on the car in the parking lot three times and found no signs of additional water accumulation. Maybe clearing out the clog last night fixed things up!

Quote:
Originally posted by MrEd
Great photos, someone recently posted about locating their sunroof drain tubes.
I took plenty of pics during the procedure, and would be happy to post more if it would help people out. I saw two posts about moonroof leaks. I may post pointers to this thread in those in case the photos help.

I've gotten into the habit of documenting things like this as much as possible with photos, both for future reference, and in case I have any question about how something fits back together. I got pics of all the stuff behind that side panel including the radio antenna grounding box, seat belt reel, wires, etc. Never know when I might need to look to see where something is located. I'd like to take the headliner down just to see what's up there in the roof, but it's too much of a hassle to do just for the fun of it.

Thanks for confirming that the tube is a drain for the moonroof. At least now I know where it comes from.
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry to drag this thread up from 2006 but I'm having this exact symptom. My car is a 2007.

Left C pillar is leaking into the rear of the car. Lucky I have that big rubber tray to protect the carpet so most of the water goes into that. But my problem is where is it coming from if I don't have a sunroof? If the weather is better tomorrow I'll need to remove the c pillar panel. Do they just pop off?

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Old 03-07-2010, 03:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Can you better describe where the water is coming from? Is it clearly dripping or running down from above, that is, from the roof area, or is it coming out at the bottom of the C pillar?

If you don't have a sunroof, then there's few possibilities for water leaks above the windows. One might be a leak through a bolt hole(s) for the roof rail. The bolts holding the rail go up from the underside of the roof. Or there could be a bad seal around the window frame (somehow).

The c pillar trim piece that is at the front of the cargo area window has a screw under a pop-off cover near the top, and then clips that should allow the piece to pull out.
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The water is coming in on both C pillars where I have it circled. I also took off the panels ans saw water dripping but can't determine where the water is coming in from.









I guess I'll have to bring it to the dealer and get reamed.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sorry, I misunderstood. That's the D pillar to me.

Check that the flexible rubber covers that carry the wiring and rear washer hose between the body and rear gate are securely inserted into the openings in the roof at the top of the rear gate. (There's one at each side.) If they are not, then rain could be getting in. They fit in grommet-style, that is, there's a groove in them that the edge of the metal in the body opening should fit into snugly. There are pics of the cover in this thread: Third Brake light and License lights out - most of the time


There's also the rear windshield washer hose. The hose runs along the inside floor at the outer edge, over the left rear wheel hump in the cargo area, along the floor to the D pillar, up the left D pillar to the flexible rubber accordian-like cover between the body and the rear gate, then into the rear gate to the nozzle. The hose is constantly flexed inside that cover, and could be prone to breaking. Depending on where the break is located, when the washer is used, water could be coming out and flowing across the top of the roof liner and then down the pillars where it comes out at the trim joints, as in the pictures. I posted a diagram here: Disable rear washer pump?.

(Incidentally, those yellow wires and connectors are for the curtain airbag and should not be touched unless the battery is disconnected and the airbag system allowed to discharge.)
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for your response. The headliner was dry and the washer hose was fine. The only thing I can see it being is those rubber hoses that enclose the wires.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default A/C water leak into passenger compartment

I've been dealing with an inch of water on my 2007 Outback passenger-side floor and just found the following service bulletin for a fix that was covered by warranty. Check out http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jo...82359_hose.pdf

Good luck, all!
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