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Our tailgate area of our 2012 Outback was getting water in it. I think this has been going on for years, but it wasn't very noticeable because here in SLC we only get snow in the winter (very little rain in summer, etc). I kept thinking the musty smell was just from leftover water on our boots, etc. Anyway, a few weeks ago I pulled everything out of the tailgate area and found a few GALLONS of water sloshing around the spare tire compartment. After research, my first guess was the center brake light. It did have a failed gasket, which I repaired, but we still had the leak. I then thought it was the sunroof drain. No dice. Water seemed to be coming OUT of the rear speaker - ugh!

Finally today we figured it out: the rear roof rack bolt was missing its washer and nut. Water was streaming in from the bolt. We put a new gasket, washer and nut on it and it's now perfectly watertight.

Just wanted to post our story because it took us weeks to figure this out. I have no idea why the bolt and washer were missing - we rarely even touch the roof rack.

To fix this, you need to take off the back headliner. Wasn't too hard - everything just clips in, as other posters have said.
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Glad you were able to fix this. Did you check the driver side as well? The rear nuts on mine were all loose and were causing creaking noises going over bumps. Did you notice it got quieter when you replaced that nut?


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