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  1. #1

    Default Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    Afternoon all

    Apologies in advance for the long read, but as you'll see, I'm confused . . .

    . . . so I've found water under the front carpets of the Smart - which from what I've read isn't all that unusual - but what is unusual is how it's dispersed. The majority of the water is around the centre tunnel/spine/whatever it's called (the raised bit where the gear lever is) and it's on both driver and passenger sides, almost entirely centred in the footwells.

    I haven't been able to get all of the carpet up fully yet, but having pulled up the passenger side, both carpet and floor are wet immediately behind the battery tray, and there's water in the battery tray. Weirdly, there's no trace of water forward of that point on either carpet underside, the floor or the polystyrene inset. Sticking my hand under the driver side tells me the majority of the water on that side is in/around the same sort of place. The carpet edges nearest the door seal on the passenger side are dry, which suggests it's not coming from there. The driver's side is pretty much wetter all round but even so, the edges aren't nearly as wet as the centre.

    Now I know for a fact the driver's side was bone dry a couple of weeks back because I dried it out with a blower. I'd found it was wet and assumed I'd gone through some large puddles in the previous few weeks and water had come in via the door seals (passenger side was also dry at that point). So whatever water is there now has found its way in since then. The car only gets used at weekends, and from what I remember there was no rain or significant surface water on the three journey's I did in that time. The rest of the time it sits on a sloping drive with the nose higher than the tail. For the sake of completeness I haven't had the windscreen replaced - that's not to say it couldn't have come from there, although I can't see any tell-tale signs. And if it's any help, last weekend I had the car up on jack stands to replace the steering ball joints, drop links and brake pads/disks.

    So I guess I'm looking for is advice on where to start searching for the source of the leak(s). I think I have to assume the water has come in while the car has been on the drive (or being jacked up). But what's confusing the hell out of me is how it has split quite so evenly between the passenger and driver side - and how it's got around the battery tray on the side nearest the centre line. If the top of the carpet was wet, I'd've assumed there was a leaked around the top of the windscreen, but that's not it. I know the centre divider doesn't contain anything like a gear linkage, but I thought it was a solid molding (so there is no way water could cross from one side to the other). Equally, I can't find any reference to any internal-to-external holes in front of that area that could let in water.

    Thanks for reading this far. If you've had any experience like this, I'd really like to know what the problem was.

    Cheers

    Neil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Lewes, East Sussex
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    598

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    Stick your fingers through the grill of the heater flap on the offside front footwell. If you can feel water the drain tube on the other side of the firewall is blocked.
    Turn the steering to the right, put your arm in behind the wheel and massage the drain tube to open it up again.

    Put some masking tape along under the windscreen, draw a line on it with a child's felt tip pen and see if you get water track lines across it. Don't leave the masking tape there too long or it will make a mess when you try to take it off.
    You can do the same for the rear quaterlight windows.
    These leak and the water runs down the side on the the top of the boot floor and also down in to the footwell from under the seats.

    John

  3. #3

    Thumbs up Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    Quote Originally Posted by uyn178 View Post
    Stick your fingers through the grill of the heater flap on the offside front footwell. If you can feel water the drain tube on the other side of the firewall is blocked.
    Turn the steering to the right, put your arm in behind the wheel and massage the drain tube to open it up again.

    Put some masking tape along under the windscreen, draw a line on it with a child's felt tip pen and see if you get water track lines across it. Don't leave the masking tape there too long or it will make a mess when you try to take it off.
    You can do the same for the rear quaterlight windows.
    These leak and the water runs down the side on the the top of the boot floor and also down in to the footwell from under the seats.

    John
    I got the same problem, I like that masking tape idea.

    Great tips !

    I have had to pull the whole carpet out and put it in my spray painting oven, its been in there 4 hours and still soaked!

    My carpet is the same as Neil's but no water on the centre console area, just foot wells. Was thinking maybe the last person to own it (i bought it a month ago) had cleaned the carpets and not sucked the water up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Lewes, East Sussex
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    598

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    Carpets are water resistant, so water that gets into the foam underneath will not evaporate unless exposed - i.e. carpets either out completely or at least lift up the edges, put something in to hold the gap open and then use something like a vacuum set on blow to circulate air in under the carpet.

    John

  5. #5

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    Turned out I had a small collection of sycamore seeds (those things that 'helicopter' as they fall) - as well as some general dirt trapped in the air box drain. I was a bit concerned about just how much I would free up by massaging alone, so I pulled the front off the car and pulled the X-shaped drain end off. There was more than enough stuff gathered in there to prevent it acting as a drain. And from what I can make out, I only have the X-shaped drain 'cos I don't have air con.

    To dry the foam, I stuck a leaf blower and a hairdryer underneath it and left them going for about an hour. If it wasn't so cold and wet, I'd've pulled the carpet out, but that's not an option right now. By the time I pulled the pair out, the foam side was pretty much dry.

    That was considerably easier than replacing two of the coil packs, which was the other job I needed to do. Having changed the HT leads previously, it turns out I didn't quite get the boots of two of the leads seated properly over the coil pack pins. Over time, moisture has got in and basically those pins eroded - sparks and moisture don't work well together - and one pin was almost completely gone.

    I'd planned to replace all three packs, but could only manage two; centre and left. Fortunately, they're the only two with the problem. I found the one on the right is virtually impossible to remove without the right sized star spanner. And all I can say is the guides I've seen that explain how you do that particular job are, um, seriously lacking and make it sound a considerably more straightforward job than it really is. For anyone planning on having a go at all three, prepare to to remove more components than the guides suggest.

    Anyways, I think I'm done for now. Thanks for the advice and I'll keep an eye on the carpets, y'know, just in case . . .
    Last edited by the-chauffeur; 26th January 2019 at 21:11.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    Nope. Spoke too soon. We're wet again.

    Dried everything out yesterday and went out to the car today after it had rained, and both footwell sides are wet again. This time the car was parked on a left-to-right lean, and there was more water in the right . . . so if nothing else, that's confirmed it's coming in centre front (as opposed to doors).

    I haven't done the tape test under the windscreen simply because I'm very lazy when it comes to car cosmetics. Basically, that means there's a thick layer of dust on the frame around the windscreen, and there's no sign of any water trace. Frankly I can't believe it would get across the dust without leaving any tracks. Possible I guess, but unlikely.

    Using one of those cheap Lidl/Aldi endoscopes, I had a poke around in the airbox from the outside. From what I can see, even if the drain has some crap in it, the box shape means you'd need to have quite a lot of water for it to make its way into the cabin. There's a hump in the moulding that's at least a couple of cm high that the water would have to overcome and there was no sign of that sort of thing in the bottom of the box. If nothing else, I could see there was no other trash in there.

    Having pulled back the carpet under the driver side (and stuck the hairdryer in there again), there's what looks like a rectangular panel that's an air inlet (about 10 x 15cm) with a thin foam layer over it. It's quite a way over - above the throttle peddle - and I've no idea where it's fed from or what it does - anyone know? And I know this is going to sound monumentally stupid, but I can't work out where the cabin heater downward facing outlet is - I'm assuming it's up the back of the centre console but I can't seem to get my hand(s) into it . . .

    For the time being, I've put a cover over the external air intake. I won't be using the car for the next week, so if it rains and things stay dry inside, I'll know where to focus . . . or not, as the case may be.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Lewes, East Sussex
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    598

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    The foam under the carpets is quite thick, so it is possible that all you did was dry the surface layer and that over night gravity has brought more moisture down from inside the carpets to make things wet again.

    John

  8. #8

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    John, that's hypothesis is so blindingly obvious that in my annoyance at the 'new' water discovery it didn't even occur to me. And yeah, I think you're right on the money. Thanks.

    There's been no rain since I last had a ferret around and on checking this evening, it's wet again. Frankly, I have no idea quite how much water the foam has taken on - water could have been getting in for a while. And every time I've driven the car since, the pressure of my feet on the carpet will have caused the water to wick farther/further(?) into the foam.

    I've pulled the passenger side carpet up and raised the driver's side as best I can to let air circulate. I've also bought a cheapo half car cover that will keep the intake vent and windscreen from getting wet if it rains over the next few days.

    Guess I'll need to get the hairdryer going again . . . and again. I can see this taking a few attempts to sort out. But with any luck once it's done this time, it'll stay dry for a good while.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Lewes, East Sussex
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    Go to a charity shop and buy a few old towels. Stick one in under one side of the carpet, another on the other side.

    When you stomp on the carpet, or leave it over night the water will end up in the towel. Just remember to change out the towels for dry ones often or you will just leave the water in there!

    John

  10. #10

    Default Re: Water ingress in footwells around centre console

    I've got to track down some replacement door seal as mine is fritzed on the passenger side so in the meantime the carpet is raised & the moisture trap (clipped oval) from a pound store placed on the edge to draw moisture from the carpet whilst lifting carpet away from entry point. (it usually sits in the rear string storage section).

    I have sprayed "rejuvenating" silicone before I went away recently, but still leaking so need to do it properly, however its clear it is where the feet pass in & out, ..so maybe reversing it would have the desired effect or move it elsewhere, will give it a go to see if this classic problem shifts or disappears.

    I'm using a puppy pad under there to be first point of contact to lock some of the problem in away from the craw of the carpet, easy to fit ...lucky we have a puppy, but again a commonplace pound store item which may mop up some of the problem in the meantime.
    good luck.
    New to Smart (450 city coupe 0.7 pulse)
    E.V. Owner (Nissan leaf)
    E-Bike rider (lots of fun with knackered knees)
    17 snowboards (ish)
    Bitter drinker (not bitter)
    Cheapskate, Skateboarder,
    Old enough to know better.

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