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2002 Subaru Outback VDC Wagon
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Discussion Starter #1
Last winter i noticed a ton of water in my trunk mat after a snow melt on top of my car. I put some sealant around the roof rack pillar near where it leaked, and i didn't see any more snow that winter, but i wasn't getting any leaks until this winter. Leaking again, wasn't horrid till the end of winter, but i was making sure to keep snow off the top of my car. Now it's spring and raining and i'm getting leaks from rain. Pretty heavy. It all leaks out of middle passenger cross belt on the head liner, and also a bit from the baby seat latch on that side. So i know it's the dang roof rack again, ice must have broken the sealant.
So, is there any way i can drop just the rear of the headliner. pull the roof clips, remove trim on pillars in the area and get under there and put sealant in the threads and make it loose enough i can get some under the rock mount on the outside at the same time. Is it possible for me to just take out those pillars, the trim on the seatbelt, farthest rear light trim, and the trim on the back, and not drop the front? At this rate though, it's gonna get so stained i'm gonna end up dropping like 300$ on a new headliner.. i can put some sound proofing then at least (not dynamat, cotton radiant barrier or w/e).. and maybe fix my front sun roof, so i don't have to use my rubber door stop to keep it up.

Any tips on how to remove the headliner that will help me (eg ways to remove the pillars/light trim etc properly)
 

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2017 OutBack Premier, 2019 Forester Ltd, 2016 370z Rdstr
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717 Posts
lesstutrey,

Your problem is the sunroof drain tubes. Either they are plugged with dirt, they have split from old age and come off the drain spout, or simply come off the drain spout. Been there, done that. Your roof rack is not the problem and I'd put money on it.

The only way to fix them is to entirely pull the headliner from the car. Then its a piece of cake. Headliner removal is not difficult, but is time consuming (maybe an hour for a 1st timer). It would also give you the opportunity to clean your headliner stains properly, perhaps saving the purchase of a new one.

While you're at it, dropping the entire sunroof assembly from the car is then just a 20 minute job, allowing you to fix the front sunroof lift mechanism for about $100 worth of parts. (I did my 04 back in 06).

If you're mechanical at all, and can afford the car's down time, it is a DIYer job.

Search under my signature on this forum, and on the Ultimate Subaru Message Board (obviously in the OBW sections) for step by step write ups I've done on this topic several times over the years. I'm not about to take the time to do it again though. Search under versions of "sunroof fix" or similar, and you should be able to locate two or three versions of posts that I've made on the topic.

The trickiest part of your generation's headliner removal are the 3 or 4 push pins, that are located in headliner section that is between the front and rear sunroof openings. With the rear sunroof open, look into the car from above the roof at this section, and you'll see these flat, rectangular push pins. You need to pry their centre sections up, and then remove the entire pin. The rest of the removal is common sense.

Good luck!
 

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2002 Subaru Outback VDC Wagon
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188 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I work/am silent partner in an autobody/restoration shop, so you might say i mechanically inclined ;)

Thanks for the advice guys. I'm just weirded out that the drains being plugged is an issue when i'm not even using them, so the roof glass basically lets in water even sealed? This has really sucked, we've been getting a lot of rain, there was a liter of water, in the bucket i put in last night, after 10 hours or so of mostly heavy rain, though it has calmed down now. I notice a stain on the passenger side, so i'm gonna assume it's the passenger side hoses, but might as well clean em all out, and pull the whole headliner and take the bissle cleaner to it (i'll look up proper procedure, but i imagine a mini carpet cleaner would work). I'm gonna hold off on the new front sunroof assembly simply because of a lack of funds and me being used to it, and having a door stop to keep it open; in reality though it's cause i need to get this fixed due to all this rain and i don't have time to wait for the part, and don't feel like paying be expedited shipping.

One thing i noticed, when i went down below the floor to the drain hose wheel well drain part and there was only one connector and one tube not two like it shows in those pictures...

EDIT. NARF, look at wrong side, but it wasn't plugged up either. So either that latch ain't opening (i'll shoot some air down that) or the top is clogged. Hoping it's just the flapper, as i can get at that so much easier, and it would make sense that is got stuck closed after winter, and during winter, northern illinois isn't good to cars in the winter.
 

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2002 Subaru Outback VDC Wagon
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188 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Also, since my hose was all clear at the bottom, it's probably a crack hose then eh? Also, went back in there realizing that i was looking at the wrong size for the hose, and got my little hands back in there without pulling anything but the floor (yeah i got it like that) pulled the hose and also, no buildup. I have a leaking/loose hose in my roof, no doubt about it.
 

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2017 OutBack Premier, 2019 Forester Ltd, 2016 370z Rdstr
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717 Posts
lestutrey,

Yes, sunroofs seal MOST of the water at the seal around the glass, but Some does get past to be drained by the tubes. The rear drain tubes follow the C pillar down and exit behind the rear wheel well, between the car body and the rear bumper cover. You cannot see them from under the car, you need to pull the bumper cover back from the wheel arch in order to get a glimpse of them.

I believe there may be a middle set of drain tubes (6 in total for the car) at the front of the rear sunroof opening, that go down the B pillar and exit out the bottom of the car. But that was long ago and I can't say for certain.

As I recall, my old 04 had one rear or middle drain hose that had split at its top drain spout and fallen off.

Be aware as well, that if you have water leaking out of your overhead console up front, its a different issue. There was a TSB on that issue which is fine spider cracking in the paint and sealant on the steel roof skin that is folded down into the car to make the sunroof opening. Water would wick into the cracks, follow the roof superstructure, and leak out of the overhead console lights. (Mine did it too)

The fix here is to spread a thin film of 5 minute epoxy down both sides of the opening, allow it to set, and then paint it if you wanted. (I used clear epoxy and didn't bother with the paint.) Make sure it sets up before you close the sunroof.

Hope this helps!
 

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2002 Subaru Outback VDC Wagon
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Discussion Starter #7
You can see the tubes if you pull the flooring out right behind the wheels. Really easy to do, kinda hard to get you hand in there to get to it. I checked the tube, blew through it and didn't feel any resistance. I then snaked a cable tie down into that funnel and pushed it till it got stuck.. and then pushed some more and then pop something came loose and the rest of the cable tie went in (the flap on the drain that's on the outside you're talking about). So that flap was probably jammed shut. The 2 drains for the front drain behind the front wheels, the 4 drains on the moonroof go back, there must be a Y connection somewhere and and drain behind the wheels in the back. I poured water down the channel, probably a bit much since it's not really designed to handle much water, and it deffinitly drained out where it's supposed to (on the passenger side it's underneath the mud flap) but some water did still come out the seatbelt. HOWEVER, that's because i poured a bunch of water, that flap not opening meant the tubes filled up during any decent amount of rain, and then went into the overflow channel, which is right in front of the middle seatbelt thing. It seems to happen on the passenger side WAY MORE, probably because the flap is behind the mudflap on that side, and the drain flap is actually visible near the muffler on the other side.
I blew on both hoses with my lungs and felt no resistance so i don't think the tubes are clogged at all. I think this was a case of a stuck flap, that drained WAY too slow. We've had some heavy rain here, and melting snow and ice probably gets into the channels a bit more.

EDIT: got that done just in time, it's raining right now. Hopefully it's not going to be leaking anymore!
 

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2002 Subaru Outback VDC Wagon
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Discussion Starter #8
AHHHH. So the leak is KINDA fixed. It sat in the rain and when i got in the car there was no water, i was happy. Normally in rain like this i would have gotten quite a bit in the trunk, enough to wet most of the mat. I get done driving and check the storage area again and a small amount of water has come in. So i'm guessing that flap still is not opening well.. i'll spray some WD40 down the funnel in hopes that will loosen things up a bit, and i'll use a larger cable tie to snake in there... gah... for now i'm just gonna spray some wd up under the mud flap, and check to see if that tube is filled up or what.

Do BOTH the front and rear drains on the bigger sunroof empty to the back? If one set is routed forward i could it maybe being kinda plugged and thus the back ones have to over compensate.. i'm leaning more toward that flap needing to be screwed with moreso, because i didn't get any forward leaks when i did my draining test last time (which had a small amount of overflow in the rear)
 

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2002 Outback Wagon 2.5L Auto Weather Package
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Not sure WD40 might not eat at those drain tubes. You might want to use silicone plastic lubricant instead.
 

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2002 Subaru Outback VDC Wagon
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Discussion Starter #10
yeah.. wd40 might not be best, but i did shoot some up under the mudflap, a good deal of it, and it's continued raining all day, just went for a drive, no more new water.
 
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