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  #1  
Old 10-30-2003, 11:10 AM
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Location: Falls Church, VA
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380SL Leak in Dash Area

My 380SL has a small but irritating leak. Water seems to be hitting the carpet in the front floor of the passenger footwell just to the right of transmission tunnel.

The latest episode occurred during two days of heavy rain, during which time the car was not driven.

After removing the bottom dash panel, I can see that water is hitting the top of the air passage near the "L" that connects to the flexible tubing that runs to the vent at the extreme right of the dash.

I removed the "L" and the flexible tubing in order to see the upper dash better. I poured water on the windshield, into the cowl vents, the indents for the wipers, and around the top of the blower housing, but no water came through to the inside.

Any other ideas or experience?

TIA
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2003, 06:26 PM
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I had some leak problems in my SL car as well. I pinpointed them by running a small steady stream of water from a hose. Start low and work your way up. I was better able to recreate the leak by parking the car on an incline such as putting the front on ramps. One leak I found was through a small tear in the rubber sleeve/grommet where wires come through the firewall. Used black goop (silicone or RTV?) to patch it. Also make sure that the drains for the cowl vents are not blocked up. From underneath you free up the large dia. drain hoses with a wire. Mine were filled with debris.
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1972 450SL
1982 300D Turbo
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  #3  
Old 11-03-2003, 10:53 PM
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Thanks - will check out and report back.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2003, 11:11 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
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Good call!

The cowl drains were definitely clogged. At the bottom and at the top. I had to remove the blower motor for access to the passenger side, and then the heater hose to get to the driver's side drain. You can't really clean the passenger side from the bottom because the rubber tube connects to a metal 90 degree bend. There was a good quarter inch of crud in the bottom of the plenum covering the drain hole.

It looks to me like there are two drains on each side. The outer drains run down to a slot in the door sill. There is no access to those that I could find. The inner drains are located just outside of the blower chamber just behind the firewall.

I need to do some rustproofing and get a new blower cover gasket before I put it back together. But I am fairly confident that I have found the problem because I poured water on both sides and watched it run out the tubes under the car, which it was definitely NOT doing before.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #5  
Old 11-24-2003, 05:36 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 97
Had the same problem. Was caused by clogged A/C drains. There are 2, one on each side under the car in the trans tunnel. Blow them out with compressed air and I'm usually good for a few months. My tech says there's probably a parking stub or something similiar that went down the defrost vents and clogs the drain.
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