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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
have been studying water ingress on an Alfa 164 for some time now. Currently looking at wet floorpans and the potential to ruin the front jacking points from the inside.
Have also been doing this by endoscopic views inside the sills, via drilling holes but to begin with here is a basic, with 2 pics to help.
As you can see, have taken off the front door cards as noticed water under their lower edges. Suspected the rain shield inside the doors was failing or badly postioned but was wrong. The lower seal against the door has a line of water between it and the door because it is running down from the front edge. Most notably from where the door seal mates against the door stop rubber surround.
As far as I can understand it, the door stop rubber (found at the front of the door itself) pushes against the door seal and, when things are less than perfect, allows water to run down and collect inside the car, between the door and the bottom of the door seal, which then does its job by keeping the water there.
In reality, this water then goes over the door seal (aided by capiliary action under the plastic covers - when in place) and runs down under the carpet into the footwell. The sound deadening material under the carpet then traps it against the floorpan and the result is rotting steel, near the front jacking points.
Am still working on resolving this and keeping my door cards off until am confident have a cure. In the meantime, if you discover wetness below your door cards or a musky smell in your car after rains, be aware you may have a similar problem.
 

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What are the chances the door drain holes are plugged up and torrential rain overflows from within the door and onto the rubber seals? I understand it rains alot in the U.K. (or so I gather when watching Midsomer Murders)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What are the chances the door drain holes are plugged up and torrential rain overflows from within the door and onto the rubber seals? I understand it rains alot in the U.K. (or so I gather when watching Midsomer Murders)
Amazing how TV can mislead... No, the door drain holes are fine and the door bottoms would have to be filled several inches deep to be coming over the top to fill these seal areas. I kept the door cards off to be able to see such things, as suspsected the door rain shields to be incorrectly fitted or failing in some other way. Not the case. All water evidence points to it coming down the front edge of the door, collecting over the lover seal and then running over the sill and under the carpet.
 

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I cant tell but do you have the seal that runs along the lower door sill/valance? It Runs from end to end. Looks like it's missing to me? Is so, that's a possible ingress spot.

#9
 

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Amazing how TV can mislead... No, the door drain holes are fine and the door bottoms would have to be filled several inches deep to be coming over the top to fill these seal areas. I kept the door cards off to be able to see such things, as suspsected the door rain shields to be incorrectly fitted or failing in some other way. Not the case. All water evidence points to it coming down the front edge of the door, collecting over the lover seal and then running over the sill and under the carpet.
Check along the top of the rubber to see if there is a noticeable fold or crease as water may travel along and "twist" towards the inside of the rubber. As for the "Midsommer" comment, I will register a protest with the BBC. It's all their fault.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi.
Jason, the plastic fitting that sits above the bottom doorway seal has been removed - deliberately to be able to see what is going on. Found it actually helps water get in via capilliary action underneath it. All lower seals, out of view, are intact and not relevant to the water ingress on this occassion - which has been rain getting in from above, rather than water splashes from below.
Beeton, thanks for suggestion but no twists. Was some dirt, which could potentially have kept the seal slightly away from the metalwork. Have cleaned it and will see if makes any difference. As for the BBC, well, with global warming, all the storms we get now probably make their rainfall images correct ;-)
 

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You may be barking up the wrong tree entirely.

Doors are not waterproof. They are designed to allow water to flow vertically from the bottom edge of the window glass down through the door and out through the drains in the bottom edge.

Capillary action is nowhere near as strong as you seem to think. Only very narrow channels can sustain capilllary action of water. The total achievable height of any capillary effect is quite short.

If you have a sunroof check that the drains are clear.

Check that the false bulkhead area is free draining. Water can ingress to the front floors out of the heater box which can fill with water if the false bulkhead drains are blocked or slow running.

Finally, check for rust holes in the floor areas along the sills especially adjacent to the jacking points.
 

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aaaa, reminds me, have a look under the plastic cover at the front, under the hood, to make sure there are no holes up top as the sunroof lines drain into this area and a heavy rainfall could overload the drain system (drains out along a channel between the wiper blades, I think). So, even a pinhole will eventually cause a problem. I had leaves and crud blocking up this area on my car. I am considering extending the drain tubes into the drain channel to minimize splashing in this area. If i can find an image in my library, will attach but this one is from a previous post regarding clogged drain lines and water problems.
 

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The false bulkhead area drains through two rubber valve drains one on each side of the heater box. These can plug with debris that finds its way past the plastic deflector shield you refer to. The AC evaporator box also has its own drain, rubber double flap valve which drains condensation into the false bulkhead area. That third drain can cause water to leak into the heater box or the RECIRC flap opening and thence into the interior. These can easily be tested by pouring water into the false bulkhead area which should then immediately stream out right above the steering rack and onto the ground. The AC drain can be checked by pouring water into the evaporator box where ambient air flows in. The sunroof drains can be checked by carefully pouring water into the sunroof tray around the edge of the opening and under the roof edge. In all cases water should stream freely from those two drains above the steering rack.

Door seals would be pretty much last on my list of possible water leaks and even then I would expect door seals to leak only higher up in the door frame. Leaky door seals leak air long before they leak water. Tiny air leaks whistle and larger ones rustle. The main function of those door seals is in fact noise control.
 

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Years ago, on our 164LS, it would be parked outside in front of our 1-car garage (with my S4 Spider inside). It didn't take very long after the first fall leaves dropped, when I realized those openings in that cover panel at the base of the windshield let a lot of leaves collect in there. That cover panel extends nearly all the way across, but there are openings where leaves would drop through into the area behind the false firewall (where Michael S refers to).

I removed that plastic cover, and I cut and riveted pieces of plastic screening across those openings to prevent leaves and pine needles from accumulating down there. I then ran a bead of black silicone along the edges of the screen on the underside of the panel. Worked like a charm... no more crud collecting down there.
 

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Check your windshield for leaks and sunroof drains, if one has become unattached on the left side, it can drip right on down where it leaking at the sill. To me it looks as though it is running down the A pillar.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
You may be barking up the wrong tree entirely.

Doors are not waterproof. They are designed to allow water to flow vertically from the bottom edge of the window glass down through the door and out through the drains in the bottom edge.

Capillary action is nowhere near as strong as you seem to think. Only very narrow channels can sustain capilllary action of water. The total achievable height of any capillary effect is quite short.

If you have a sunroof check that the drains are clear.

Check that the false bulkhead area is free draining. Water can ingress to the front floors out of the heater box which can fill with water if the false bulkhead drains are blocked or slow running.

Finally, check for rust holes in the floor areas along the sills especially adjacent to the jacking points.
Hi, the whole point of having the door cards off while investigating this are to make sure the water running through the doors stays behind the plastic sheet shield, which it does. Blocked sunroof drain pipes would not lead to any of the water collecting between the door bottom and the door/body seal. The only place it can be coming from is further up this seal, namely the top or front edge and then running down to the collection point, as shown.
Yes, capilliary action is very limited but the distance between the top of this bottom seal and the plastic cover that is normally screwed in place above it is mere mm. If the plastic cover was in place now, the level of water shown in the pictures would be touching it and being fed underneath. These plastic covers were wet on the underside when I took them off and the metal carpet clips that sit under their inner edge show signs of water corrosion - so this is definitely the route of the water ingress.
It also confirms why my floorpan rusted nearby, as the water then running down inside the car soaked the sound deading material under the footwell carpet and stayed there, causing rust.

By the way, even if my sunroof drain pipes were totally blocked (they are completely unblocked and visibly fully attached as have the roof lining out at the moment too) I have one of those all rubber, non-felt outer seals on the sunroof at the moment and it is such a tight fit it is water actually tight.
 
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