Repairing Interior Water Leaks - Door Related
So youíre tired of the pool option... Here is some information which can help take care of many interior water leaks. Take this information for what it is because it wonít likely resolve every problem. There are several ways water can find its way to the interior, but this will address some of the most common leaks.
Even though door seals are important, there is another component critical to keeping things dry which is all too often overlooked. This component is the water deflector. It is a heavy, formed plastic sheet located behind each interior door panel with a bead of sticky black sealant applied around the outer edge. Its purpose is to prevent water from getting inside the car from the interior of the door.
After a good wash or rain shower, you may notice water collecting on the top of the door seal. Look closely at the inside of the door just below the interior trim panel. If you see that water has run down the inside of the door beneath the trim panel then your source is most likely a failed water deflector seal.
How the Water Deflector Works:
The water deflector works by sealing against the inside painted surface of the door. As water enters the inside of the door either by rain, washing or other means, it is deflected back to the inside of the door so that it may drain out the bottom through holes created as part of the door design. When the bead of black sealant becomes compromised, water is able to run down the inside of the door. It comes out from underneath the door trim panel where it will collect on the top inside surface of the rubber door seal. As it accumulates, the water is then free to run down under the carpet retainer and into the floor area beneath the carpet.
Here is a photo of a 2000 model year rear door (courtesy of Archon). You will note that it isn't possible to see through these water deflectors as it is in later years, but the process to deal with the leak is basically the same.
One challenge is finding any air bubbles between the sealant and the water deflector. In turn it will make working any out more difficult. During your post repair water test, it is important to be even more diligent when inspecting the inside surface of the door below the water deflector. You won't be able to see where the water is running down the inside of the water deflector and therefore won't be able to anticipate where the leak(*) may form. Failure to be thorough may result in a missed leak. The inspection area is shown by the yellow line (see below). Be sure to aim the water stream downwards towards the base of the window glass. Thoroughly spray the entire width of the glass for at least 2 - 3 minutes.
With the inside door panel off for final testing, you may notice a small amount of water come through the green retainters. Once the door trim panel is in place and providing the foam insulators (which are part of the retainers) are in good condition, these should seal up. Make sure the door panel is pressed firmly in place to accomplish this and reduce the possibility of rattles. Replace any broken or excessively worn trim panel retainers.
All the following parts will fit 2000-2005 Bonnevilles:
Left Front - P/N: 15212772
Right Front - P/N: 15212771
Left Rear - P/N: 15212776
Right Rear - P/N: 15212775
Door Trim Panel Retainers:
Short Version - P/N: 25704141
Long Version - P/N: 25707329
Front (Colour GRAY) - 25725395
Rear (Colour GRAY) - 25725431
Weather strip is interchangeable from left to right.
** Part numbers for a taupe interior were not available when this article was written. These will be available from your GM dealer.
1. Remove the interior trim panel.
2. Pull the water deflector away from the inside of the door. This may be difficult depending on how well it has adhered to the painted finish. Be careful not to tear or damage the plastic. Try to keep the bead of black sealant from becoming damaged. In some places it will stretch and may not come away from the door easily.
3. Try and form the black sealant back into a bead as well as possible. Your hands should be clean so as not to contaminate the sealant. This will only serve to work against you. Make sure the sealant is free of contaminants.
4. Prepare the door surface by removing any sealant residue with bug and tar remover. Make sure the area is well ventilated, especially before using a heat gun in the next step.
5. Using a heat gun on LOW, carefully warm the bead of black sealant. You donít want to melt or damage the plastic water deflector. The sealant will become warm, soft and very sticky. Iím not certain as to the flashpoint of any substances in the sealant or plastic water deflector so caution is strongly encouraged. Use appropriate safety devices. Gentle warming is all thatí* required.
6. Carefully press the water deflector against the door. Inspect very closely for gaps or air bubbles which will compromise the seal. This is the area which must remain water tight.
7. With the interior trim panel off, close the door. Spray down the affected side of the car very well with water. Open the door and inspect closely for water leaking past the bead of sealant. You will notice some moisture on the inside of the water deflector but it should no longer run down the inside painted surface of the door.
8. Once the leaks have been repaired, reinstall the door trim panel.
Preparing all the surfaces is important for successful results.
Make sure the water deflector is in good shape. It may be necessary to purchase a replacement.
Preparing the door.
If you re-used the existing parts and the repair fails, you may need to replace your water deflector. Also remember that the carpet can have a wicking effect. As it starts to get moist, it can draw further moisture in. This will only serve to worsen the accumulation of water in the floor area.
Another condition which may cause water leaks is a defect in the weather stripping.
Additional Methods to Help Keep Your Interior Dry:
1. Look for warped or otherwise damaged door seals and replace as necessary.
2. Donít remove your door seals more than is absolutely necessary to undertake other vehicle repairs.
3. Keep your door seals clean and conditioned. Use a good quality rubber cleaner/conditioner such as Meguiarí* #40 Vinyl & Rubber Cleaner/Conditioner several times throughout the year. GM dealers in my area use AC Delco Silicone Emulsion (P/N: 10953014) as part of the semi-annual inspection to achieve the same results.
4. Door seals have a spring type metal which allows them to grip the edge of the body when installed. If the door seal is removed, inspect the edge where it grips the sheet metal lip of the car. If this has become deformed, you can try to squeeze the edges of the door seal back in shape. It may need to be replaced altogether.
Enjoy water at the beach or swimming pool. Enjoy being dry in your car!