Last post on Jun 23, 2011 at 6:10 PM
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Toyota Avalon, Interior, Sedan
#14 of 23 Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk leaks
Jun 17, 2011 (10:11 am)
I have a 1996 Avalon in great mechanical and physical shape -- except for chronic water problems. Most recently, water in passenger side compartment all the way to back seat (1.5 inches of water!). I have had most recent A.C. drain clog cleared three days ago, dried interior out two days ago, and now mats are wet again on passenger side.
There is also water in trunk right-wheel well and spare tire well. Trunk lid and liner were replaced 3 years ago when I got rear-ended.
I have read here that shrinking plugs, bad welds, gaskets, windshields, wheel well drains, etc., can cause similar problems in both compartment and trunk.
My question: What would be the least expensive way of getting a bumper-to-bumper diagnosis? I have tried to figure it out but no luck. Shall I see auto mechanic, body-and-fender shop, etc? I would prefer not being fleeced by dealer.
(Pardon if this posted somewhere earlier. Had pw/login problems, so not sure msg posted first time around.)
#15 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk leaks [mcblues]
Jun 17, 2011 (11:48 am)
Do you have a moonroof? If so the drains may be clogged and/or disconnected somewhere.
How does your trunk seal look?
Its going to be really hard to tell since you have it coming in the front and back.
What I would start with first is to lock yourself in the trunk with a good flashlight. Then have a helper squirt a hose around the back of the car and look for leaks. If you find one, take appropriate action to fix and see if that cures both leaks. If you at least stop one, you can then move onto the other.
You can also do the same test in front. Take off the trim, pull back the carpet and have a helper squirt the car with water and start looking around.
#16 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk leaks [tjc78]
Jun 18, 2011 (8:42 am)
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I do not have a moon roof. I am letting the car dry out for another da or so and perform the trunk test. That may also help with taillight seals.
Should I remove the interior side linings (the ones held on with those pesky plastic plugs)? (Already removed trunk floor cover). I am also looking for simple schematics showing all drain lines (I never knew wheel wells had drains!) The owner's manual does not go into such detail.
I agree- front and back makes it doubly vexing. I will post when I have more info.
Thanks again. Mike
#17 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk (P.S. from previous msg)
Jun 18, 2011 (5:03 pm)
Found the trunk leak! Took all carpeting out. Did not realize extent of water in trunk -- about 2.5 inches in the spare tire well ONLY. I had to remove the tire to realize the water level (I rarely get flats and when I've inflated the spare, it's been in-place.) The carpet became damp on occasion and I blamed slow leak from lid gasket -- only now I know it was likely from water sloshing on on turns or bumps. Contents ABOVE spare tire never got wet (a clue).
CAUSE: I was rear-ended two years ago. After auto body shop replaced the trunk lid and straightened the bumper, everything seemed fine. Carpeting, etc. back in place. Looking closely today, after vacuuming the water out of the spare-tire well, I closed the trunk and hit the rear car with a hose for about 4 minutes. Upon opening the trunk, I saw tiny rivulets running from the bumper side of the interior trunk into the spare-tire well. When the car was fixed, apparently the shop did not properly seal the bumper after "fixing" the dent.
The water in passenger compartment -- with a recently cleaned A.C. drain hose -- remains a mystery.
#18 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk (P.S. from previous msg) [mcblues]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jun 19, 2011 (7:22 am)
Are you sure it's not the gaskets around the turn signal assembly (not the lens, but around the entire body of tail light assembly as it plugs into the trunk body). ?
I haven't looked at all your previous posts but have you check the fresh air vent cavity under your windshield wipers (you have to remove the cowl) to see if that drain is plugged with debris?
Also sunroof drains of course.
#19 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk (P.S. from previous msg) [Mr_Shiftright]
Jun 19, 2011 (2:56 pm)
Thanks! MS --
I had no idea about the fresh air vent cavity. Can this be what I am now blaming on the A.C? Because I saw water flowing out the drain this morning after driving while using A.C., meaning it remains unblocked. Can the vent cavity drain be diverting water into passenger-side floor??
Is this just a case of removing the screen that runs across behind the wipers. Just pops out with a screwdriver, yes?
The rear light and turn signal assembly are bone dry. It's what I noted in a previous post (poor bumper repair) + bad gasket on antenna mount.
#20 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk (P.S. from previous msg) [Mr_Shiftright]
Jun 19, 2011 (3:02 pm)
P.S. No sun roof. New windshield installed in 2010.
#21 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk (P.S. from previous msg) [mcblues]
Jun 20, 2011 (4:12 am)
New windshield installed in 2010.
It could certainly be a bad seal on that as well. Water leaks are brutal.
#22 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk (P.S. from previous msg) [mcblues]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jun 20, 2011 (6:28 am)
Oh yes, a clogged up cavity under the fresh air cowl is a common cause of water leaks into the passenger compartment. What happened is that the drain under there gets plugged by bio-debris (leaves, air pollution, pollen, etc) over time and forms a kind of gooey plug. Then the cavity starts to fill up like a fish bowl and your firewall is not meant to be waterproof---if there are wires or cables going through there, or just a seam or two, the rising water will slosh around and drip down into the passenger compartment.
Some cowls pry off, others have screws. You can test the drain by pouring say a tea cup of water in there...it should dribble down under the car, usually right about in the middle of the firewall area. You might even be able to see the rubber drain tube behind the engine.
#23 of 23 Re: Diagnosing passenger-side and trunk (P.S. from previous msg) [Mr_Shiftright]
Jun 23, 2011 (6:10 pm)
You have been most helpful -- things I never would have thought of...car going in Monday for trunk repair (full replacement of lid gasket, water-seal bumper-side of trunk, new electric antenna gasket/washer). I will doubtless remove cowl and clean out front air circ. cavity over the weekend. Will also look at seal on windshield. MANY THANKS, MR. S!