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jassz 05-04-2003 01:22 PM

Sunroof seal replacement
We just spent $700 in rust repairs to make the cabin dry. The passenger side is now dry, but the driver's side still has water. I began to suspect it was coming from the roof rather than the floor (even though the ceiling looked fine... they must have designed it so everythign travels down the wall). With a watering can I was able to determine that the rubber seal on the sunroof has come loose in one spot. I can find the part on-line here, but the service manual doesn't cover replacing it. Is it just a matter of taking off the old and putting in the new? Any secret handshakes you have to know?

Oddly enough, there is now water accumulating in the floor of the back seat too (driver's side) which I had not noticed before. I'm hoping it's the same source. On the upside, I don't have to remember to pack water for the dogs. :rolleyes:

Sigh, did I mention it rains every damn day here? :(

JimSmith 05-04-2003 02:41 PM


This is a chronic problem and the most frequent culprit is a clogged body or sunroof drain. These are located at the hood hinge mechanism under the hood, and usually fill up with tree "droppings" like leaves and pine needles, pollen pods and so on. The sunroof drains are located in the "A" pillars and the "C" pillars on sedans, not sure on a wagon. They can be blown out with compressed air.

In reality the rubber and felt seals really serve to make wind noise low enough not to bother you at speed and merely limit leakage to something less than the drainage features can handle. The metal roof hole is larger in all dimensions than the hole on inner roof and interior liner. There are small gutter like features (cofferdam?) around the outside edge of the inner hole to lead drainage/leakage away from the path to the interior and out to these drains. Technically they should be able to handle the job with no seals in place, although parking on a hill or tipped to one side might overwhelm them since only one or two would be called into service.

When they get clogged with junk, also usually tree droppings, they make the water find another path, which often means the water passes through the car's interior.

There are also cases reported where the windshield and rear window seals fail, crack, or break off in chunks and let water into the areas where it was never intended. Once again, the path to the lowest potential energy can pass through the car's interior.

This is a repeat problem brought up on the site and you should be able to do a search and find lots of discussion. Good luck, Jim

jassz 05-04-2003 02:48 PM

Jim, thanks for the advise. But just to clarify, are you saying that the rubber seal being unattached for about 4 inches would not be causing the leak? That the drainage system in the car should be able to handle it (if it werent' clogged)?

I used a watering can with a narrow spout so that I could control the direction of water. When I hit one area it poured in through the ceiling. Upon inspection, I could see that the rubber seal wasn't attached in that area. But, this experiment is different than what happens in 'real life'. The water does not come through the ceiling, and obviously it rains all over :p .

Anyway, thanks for the tip! I'm off to look for the drains!

JimSmith 05-04-2003 03:15 PM


If by not being attached the rubber seal is hanging over the interior openning and directing water to the wrong side of the cofferdam, then it should be put back in place or removed. And yes, the drains should be able to keep up with a chunk of missing "seal" material, unless you are parked on a significant tilt. Good luck, Jim

jassz 05-04-2003 10:32 PM

Well, upon inspection we discovered that the Rust Repair Guy PLUGGED the drains with silicone!:rolleyes: No wonder it was worse after he fixed it. I am not very happy with the work the guy did overall, but do I keep going back when I'm starting to doubt his abilities?? :(

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