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Old 02-06-2004, 10:25 PM   #1
Ghostrider600
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Default Leaky FXT--this common??

Ok, this is becoming my first problem/complaint with my FXT.

There seems to be a leak somewhere that results in a wet carpet in the passenger side (front) area of the cabin. Specifically, it's the corner of the floor where there is a depression in front of the forward-right mount for the pass seat. And by wet, I mean soaked through. At first I thought it was melt-off from passenger boots that had overwhelmed the Subaru Winter Floor mats.

However, I've not had a passenger in my car this week, the floormats are perfectly dry and the carpet is once again soaked through.

Also, I'm not sure where the wires run, but the passenger seat-heater now has what appears to be an intermittent short--I'm guessing from the water (unless this is merely an unrelated coincidence that just happened to crop up at the same time as the flooding).

I've checked the door's weather seals, and they appear to be fine.

I've gotten under the car on my rhino ramps and can't find any obvious source of water.

I took it to the dealership last week, but of course, it was dry.

Now, as it warmed up to 34, and the roads are wet with puddles, my car is soaked--no rain so I don't think it's coming in from above.

Ironically, the car I had prior to the FXT had a continual leak that left the driver's side floor/carpet continually soaked. It was a well-known and well documented problem with certain GM models, and the solution, though a PITA, was well known, well documented, and easy to find. Plus, the car was OLD, my FXT is a mere 4 MONTHS old, I don't see why seals would be cracked, shrunk, etc.

--Is this a known problem in Foresters?
--It's going back in on Monday, is there a specific place I should inspect and/or direct the service guys to look for?

--Any other suggestions?
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Old 02-06-2004, 10:56 PM   #2
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Do you have a sunroof?
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Old 02-06-2004, 11:21 PM   #3
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Might be coming through the ventilation system or A/C condesation runoff. A/C runs sometimes during defrost mode.
Put some paper down above your carpet and run arround and see if you can tell where it is coming from.

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Old 02-06-2004, 11:23 PM   #4
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Could it be the condensation tube from the AC unit has sprung a leak or fallen off the heater box?

Usually, when running the climate controls, the condensation that builds up drains through a tube from under your dash through the chassis and onto the ground. Sometimes when its not snowing, you may be able to see a small puddle on the ground after you have shut the car off.

If the tube is occluded with snow, dirt, road stuff, or kinked, you may have a build up of water inside the cabin. Hcek to see if the tube is patent and then trace it up to where it enters the heater box.

If the wet puddle on your mats is water, that would be my first place to look. If its antifreeze, then you may have a heater core leak. If that's not it, have a freind run a hose into the cowl (outside the car, duh) and see if you can tace a leak that way.

Buena Suerte Amigo!
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Old 02-06-2004, 11:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by hondaslayer
Do you have a sunroof?
Thanks for the quick responses all.

<--- 5MT, so no sunroof possible.

It's definitely water, not antifreeze (thank God, that'd be a PITA).

I'll check the HVAC line, it's possible that it could have frozen in the -18F temps and then thaw now that it's 34F, and maybe drain into the cabin I suppose, right?

Quote:
Put some paper down above your carpet and run arround and see if you can tell where it is coming from.
It's coming "up" from below the carpet, doesn't seem to be running down from anywhere, at least it's not leaving a trail that's detectable as all the rest of the carpet is bone dry except where it's just appearing in that corner (rightside, back of the footwell--'back' meaning towards the seat, in fact just infront of it, not 'up' by the firewall).
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Old 02-06-2004, 11:32 PM   #6
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Underwear gnomes???





Check the Evap line for blockages (the one right behind the turbo) if the drain line is blocked then the water will back up and flood that exact spot...
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Old 02-07-2004, 03:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Check the Evap line for blockages (the one right behind the turbo) if the drain line is blocked then the water will back up and flood that exact spot...
How is that possible? Why would the evaporator line drain go through the cabin at all? I don't understand this but tomorrow I'm going to check for the same problem. We've had lots of snow and ice and freezing rain lately.
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Old 02-07-2004, 09:17 PM   #8
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Question No, this is not a common problem on Subarus.

I've had this on other cars. But never on any of the five Subaru's I've owned. Good luck. Be persistent, they will find the source of the leak.

Richard
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Old 02-07-2004, 09:25 PM   #9
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I went through a touchless carwash a couple weeks ago and noticed water coming in between the passenger window and the weather seal. I made sure the window was completely up and it was. All I can figure is the seal was to weak to resist the water pressure. Fortunately, I haven't noticed any leaking when it is raining. None of the other windows were leaking but I truly hope this doesn't become a problem.
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Old 02-07-2004, 10:44 PM   #10
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Default leaks...

Randolph-rs,
Not able to handle the automated carwashes with the whirling pompoms (and any abrasives they may have contacted from prior cars), I've located two locally that are the spray only (no contact).

One is quite new and runs a lot higher pressure, the other is older and runs less pressure but sufficient to get the job done. The newer one is sufficiently high pressure to overwhelm the XTs window/moulding contact system, in a few locations. The other carwash doesn't. I will be locating some spray silicone to see if the molding will seal better with it...worked great in Alaska for keeping door/window/frame immune to freezing rain.

Object lesson, there are limits to what the system can stand up to. They both do great underbody washes (our DOT uses a chemical salt with each successive storm), which is why I employ them during the winter. Come spring, its bucket, sponge, chamois, wax, and cheesecloth!
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Old 02-08-2004, 04:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Check the Evap line for blockages (the one right behind the turbo) if the drain line is blocked then the water will back up and flood that exact spot...
Checked it as best I can, can't find any kinks or blockages.
And, I must agree with Jason_Els, that if Subaru routes it to backup/overflow into the cabin, that's pretty assinine on their part. Still, that doens't seem to be the case.


And Though I do use a local low-pressure "touch-less" car wash for winter the two problems don't seem to correlate. I've even taken my T-topped summer car through without a problem, and anyone with T-tops can tell you it doesn't take much more than a garden hose to make them leak.

When I detected the water I used my shopvac to suck the carpets dry and kept on them to be sure they didn't re-soak from the under mat being wet. I avoided the carwash the last couple of weeks as it's been closed due to cold weather by the time I get off work, so no new water could come in that way.

Also, if it was coming in from the upper seal (around the window) I would have seen it on the window itself, which was dry throughout the last carwash.

If it was coming in through the door's window "sqeegee" style seal that presses up against the window I think I would have heard water inside the door, which I haven't.

If it was the under-door seal (that wraps around the door's lower edge and seals to the body along the kick panel) I can't imagine *how* it could spray up, under the door, past the seal, and into the cabin and then into the carpet without being noticed. Also, the "underbody" sprayers are in the middle of the carwash's track and spray out in a 'V', they don't spray the doors at all from an outside angle (like: Pass Door--D \--spray) so I can't figure how that would affect the seal enough to push water past it, especially as the underbody wash is rather weak anyway.

Guess we'll see what the mechanics say Monday.

I'm really not in the mood to be putting up with a wet carpet and the mold it will bring to the padding etc.; if this leak persists and can't be detected/corrected on a 5mo old car I'm gonna be
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:28 PM   #12
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Question Update: Friday the "Leak Expert" arrives...

Well, wasted a day off from work sitting around the service lounge (no courtesey vehicles, no one else to bum a ride from) so the techs could tell me:

"The floor's definitely wet, but we don't know why."

They say they have a "Leak Expert" who'll come in Friday to look at it, and since I blew today, they've arranged a rental for me to use on Friday so I can get to work etc.. Hopefully with the garden hose in his expert hands the leak will be found.

As to the water shorting the seat heater:

"Yeah, that could cause it if it got wet enough."

When asked if leaks were common in FXTs:

"First I've heard of it with the turbos."
--so not sure if its common in others and the FXT is just too new, or if the tech was just being specific.

-=-

Also, my shopvac can get the carpet fairly dry, but what can I do to keep the padding below from staying wet/getting moldy & stinky? I really don't want new-car-smell to be replaced with -wet-dog-smell, especially as I don't own a dog...

Soooo....next update Friday....
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Old 02-12-2004, 03:23 PM   #13
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Going in tonight, let y'all know tomorrow....
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Old 02-12-2004, 04:31 PM   #14
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Thanks GR! Hope they can find a reason for this. Inquiring minds want to know!
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Old 02-13-2004, 07:55 PM   #15
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Any updates on this?
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Old 02-14-2004, 02:15 PM   #16
Ghostrider600
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Have a Nice Day? Update, sorta.

Got it back Friday night.

I talked to the techs, and even their "expert" can't locate the leak.
They do agree things are wet, but they can't fix what they can't find. They won't keep paying their techs to hunt for a "relatively minor" problem. They did note that the carpet and under-padding is wet, and its now on record.

I was told to "keep an eye on things" and stop by next time it happens (which is a PITA as I'm ~40min from the dealership).

The local techs said they'd check with the regionals and see if this problem is occuring elsewhere, and if there's been a TSB on it yet.

The seat-heater problem was not duplicated, but the contacts did seem to indicate they'd gotten wet, and the techs agreed with my idea that the water had caused a short in the seat. Of course, with everything dried out, the seat works fine...until the next time it gets wet.

But, until or unless they hear more from other techs, or until *I* can find the source of the leak, they won't investigate the problem any farther at this time.

Can't say I'm thrilled, but I don't seem to have any options at the moment. Can't fix what can't be found...(which I think may have something to do with extreme cold temps and the various seals and grommets--which when heated to 65F in the garage swell back up to plug the leak, but which shrink in the +/-18F temps outside...)
Very frustrating to say the least. Maddening to think it's a new car that's doing this.


-=-

So, in short, I apparently have a 5mo old car beset by mysterious water gnomes who leak on the carpet when no one's around.



If anyone else develops a similar leak I'd be interested to hear about it. (Though I really hope no one else does as it really sucks).
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Old 02-14-2004, 02:42 PM   #17
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Oh well...I, as I'm sure YOU are too, am disappointed by that revelation. Good luck on finding it.

Is there a rubber drain plug grommet located in the vicinity of the wet mats?? If the rubber there is getting so cold as to not seal, perhpas the snow and moisture from the underpan is weeping through a drain plug grommet with an inadequate seal?

I'll try to take a peek under the wife's Forester ( ) and see if there's a some sort of drain plug there. It a nice 65 degrees here in SoCal, so I can still wriggle around on the ground without fear of hypothermia.
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Old 02-14-2004, 09:00 PM   #18
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Now is the time to open a case with Subaru corporate. I'll send you a PM about how to do this and whom to contact.
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Old 02-14-2004, 10:50 PM   #19
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Ghostrider600-
Sounds like you've thoroughly tried to diagnose the problem, so I don't know that my 2 cents worth is of much value...but, I was wondering if you've tried taking it to a automatic wash, with an undercarriage sprayer? If you're leak is from the bottom up, and the undercarriage sprayer stayed on long enough to cause a carpet soaking, that would be replicable, and in town...
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Old 02-15-2004, 12:11 AM   #20
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Narcotix--

Didn't see one under there, but I admit I didn't spend a great deal of time freezing to my unheated & detached garage's cement floor either. It's possible it's coming down the HVAC lines that run through the firewall, at least that was the culprit in a number of leaks in other manufacturers.

Could come down the firewall, along the pass side under the carpet and pool by the seat (lowest point in the cabin).

-=-

Jason--

Ok, thanks.

-=-

Quote:
Originally posted by sleeperXTc
Ghostrider600-
Sounds like you've thoroughly tried to diagnose the problem, so I don't know that my 2 cents worth is of much value...but, I was wondering if you've tried taking it to a automatic wash, with an undercarriage sprayer? If you're leak is from the bottom up, and the undercarriage sprayer stayed on long enough to cause a carpet soaking, that would be replicable, and in town...
yeah, that's actually my growing hunch, I just need time (and a passenger) to check it out. I still think the undercarriage wash is both too wimpy and too short to be the cause, but it's worth a shot.

Temps are supposed to be around 4F tomorrow (yes, 4) so if I can find time, and if the wash is open (it usually is unless it goes to -10F) then I may try it a run and see.

If that's not it, I'm completely stumped. Damn gnomes.
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:30 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jason_Els
How is that possible? Why would the evaporator line drain go through the cabin at all? I don't understand this but tomorrow I'm going to check for the same problem. We've had lots of snow and ice and freezing rain lately.
I had that exact problem in my Legacy- the evap. housing is in the cabin under the glove compartment, i mean most of your HVAC is inside the dash, so this isn't as crazy as it seems. there's a tray, w/ a drain, and the draing goes through the firewall and it just doesn't make sense (no space) to put all that HVAC plumbing and equipment on the OUTSIDE of the firewall.
Anyway, a spider crawled into the drain tube and died. Every time I had the A/C on during humid days, the front passenger cabin would flood, finally figured out what the blockage was (actually removed the tube and flushed it out) and its been fine ever since.
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Old 02-20-2004, 12:52 PM   #22
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Can't find the leak, current theory is that the severe cold snap must have affected the seal's ability to keep water out from the car wash's undercarriage spray.

The Evap line wouldn't matter b/c it was so cold the compressor wouldn't be running (IIRC it only runs if its warmer than ~35F outside), so wouldn't collect any moisture.

So....it's the water gnomes.
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Old 03-01-2004, 09:00 PM   #23
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just to play dumb here, you didnt run an amp power line recently did you?
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Old 03-01-2004, 09:48 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by DISCOPOPE
just to play dumb here, you didnt run an amp power line recently did you?
Nope, nothing. Bone stock.

Hasn't done it since the temps have gone above freezing in the past week, so I'm thinking it's weather-related, the leak at any rate.

The seat heater is still going out every now and then, once per ~5days so far. This means it's not easily reproducable at the dealership. It's another "phantom" problem.
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:44 AM   #25
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Angry leaky subie's

I am having a similar problem with my 98 Forester L and my 97 Impreza Outback Sport. Both of these cars are collecting pools of water in the spare tire wheel well. The Forester however is also collecting it in the back seat and the rear floorboards are getting soaked. Every time we jump in I have to vacum the floorboards and crank the Heaters to dry it out so the smell isn't over powering. I checked the drain plugs in the wheel wells and they are tight seals, and I had 6 - 8 inches of water back there in both vehicles so I can't imagine that much water wicking up through a rubber seal. The only thing I can think of is that the roof rack is leaking and I am having water run down from it but it is not showing on the headliner or anything so it must be in some channel of the unibody chasssis and runnning down into right underneath the backseat which would cause it to go both into the floorboards and into the wheel well. My wife is leaving for a few weeks to go back to her folks with our daughter and I am going to take out all of the inside panels to try and find this leak. I have loved my Subaru's up until this point but it makes me want to trade them both in on something that won't pool water in the spare tire well.
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