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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Trunk Leak discussion thread.

I'm starting this thread as a reference for anybody who has the same problem I did and performs a search.

I've been dealing with a water leak for a few months in my '96. I would frequently find 1" of standing water in the trunk well where the spare resides.
I yanked out all the carpet and planned to take care of it later. Well, I didn't realize that the point of ingress for the water allowed it to spill into the cabin as well as the trunk.
The source is where the quarter panels meet with the cross piece under the rear window. The leak had nothing to do with the trunk lid, rear glass, weatherstripping or taillights. There is a very fine crack in the paint where that quarter panel joint is, and it led right into the trunk.
As a result, the water would drip directly onto the highest point of the wheel well, which would allow it to roll into the back seat during braking or if parked on a hill.
I had no idea it was this bad, but all of the insulation and foam for the rear seats was dripping wet when I removed it. The same is true for the insulation on the passenger side floor pans. The water simply wicked its way through the lining and carpet via capillary action.
However, nothing stinks and I didn't know about it until I picked up something off the floor behind the seat and found it was damp.
I assume it's been like this for months, so now I'm worried about mold. Any ideas on this?

I'm creating this thread after spending the entire morning gutting the interior and sticking the driver's seat (only) back into the car. The rear seat, passenger seat and all of the carpet is in the driveway. I think the seats should dry out, but the carpet may be shot.
How long does it take for mold spores to develop? Should I decontaminate the HVAC system?
Any other thoughts?


1996 Mercury Cougar XR7
4.6 - Dynomax-Equipped - Tranny Cooler - 3.27 T/L - 125k Miles
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 04:11 PM
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If its doesn't stink the chances are you got it in time. Buy a couple cans of brake and parts cleaner. Its pure alcohol and should kill everything plus it will evaporate if you douse anyting with it. Just a thought. I have dealt with leaks from the hood release cable in the firewall of a grand marquis. I just used magnum steel putty and it was taken care of. THis sounds like the cracking in the body because the 'V' brace isn't enough bracing to stop the twist. I did exactly what you did and after I solved the source of the leak I just put everything back together. I drove around with only a driver seat in 2 cars from leaks.

Spinning pies like wheels.

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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information. I shot half a can of Ozium into the HVAC intake (wiper cowl) with the fan on the lowest speed. I'm hoping that the Ozium will permeate the ducting and boxes and kill any bad stuff.
Chances are, though, I'm in the clear. I filled that crack with touch-up paint and sprayed the area with water for 15 minutes - I didn't get a single drop inside.
It's a temporary fix, though. I wonder if I should get a rear strut brace from Rod?


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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 02:48 PM
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As splattered said, if you don't smell anything you should be ok...I've worked on cars where moisture gets into the ducting and you can distinctly smell anything once you turn your system on. Definatly a good idea however to go through the extra steps to make sure.
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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It's been over a week and the insulation that goes up the firewall and under the dash is still wet. I've got everything stripped out of the car (still) and I leave the windows down as often as possible. This is starting to annoy me.
I'm now beginning to wonder how high the water crept up into the pad behind the dash.
Still no stink, though.
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 09:08 PM
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My cavalier had a leak for a long time and it never stank or anything. With it being rain water you should be ok against mold. Do you have a moonroof?

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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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No, the roof is solid. The doors don't leak.

I've determined that the source is the trunk area.


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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Update:
After several days of rain, sleet and snow, the trunk is leaking again -- on both sides. I'm still confident that it isn't the rear glass, but rather the seams where the quarters meet the cross panel under the rear glass. Both joints have cracks all the way through the paint.
My only hope is to leave the interior gutted until the weather improves, reseal the cracks using a better method, then push the car off a cliff.

I hope this thread is a good search reference. I've spent way too much freakin' time on it as it is.


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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:48 PM
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My cougar leaked in the same spot. Fixed with a very thin bead of silicone caulk. You can see it if you look at it but no more leak either.

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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:50 PM
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I have the same leak that you speak of. Mine has apparently leaked for some time, before I owned the car. I can put my hand under the area that it is leaking in the truck, and feel the rust that has formed from it. I plan on taking care of it sometime this year, but everything has to come out of the truck.


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post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMags View Post
My cougar leaked in the same spot. Fixed with a very thin bead of silicone caulk. You can see it if you look at it but no more leak either.
Keep an eye on it. If you've got the same amount of chassis flex as I do, it may separate and start leaking again.

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Originally Posted by th3subtl3on3 View Post
I have the same leak that you speak of. Mine has apparently leaked for some time, before I owned the car. I can put my hand under the area that it is leaking in the truck, and feel the rust that has formed from it. I plan on taking care of it sometime this year, but everything has to come out of the truck.
It may be advantageous to pull out the lower cushion of the rear seat (should take only five minutes with no tools) and feel around for dampness. Check the insulation behind and under the seat as well as the seat foam. If it's damp, it's likely to have spread into the floor pans.

Ahh... Ford.


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post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 05:10 PM
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I have had my seats out multiple times with redoing the system, and installing fold down rear seats. The main area that gets wet is right below the leak, and in the spare tire area. The car is in a canopy now, so the water won't get in any more. But I do have a lot of work to fix what the water has damaged.


-Brian
1989 Mercury Cougar - Anything but the Ordinary

Fully Built 4.2 Coming Soon, Parts include:
SC Block, 4.2 Crank, Scat H Beam Rods, Wiseco Pistons, Custom Comp Cam, 3/8 Main Stud Girdle, Ported/Polished Split Port Heads and Lower Intake, Windstar Upper, Heavier Springs, 1.73 Roller Rockers, BBK Valve Covers, Kooks long tube headers, Aluminum Radiator.

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post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 05:13 PM
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No leaks on mine, but i do see cracks in the paint there.........crap lol

-Matt
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post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 04:52 PM
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Mine's been leak free for 5+ years now (knock on wood) I have a Not Applicable engine so chassis flex is limited to awkward surfaces mostly.

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post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 08:03 PM
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The factory used caulk to seal body seams. If you have a leak, you should too.

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post #16 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 10:56 PM
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The factory used Body Seam Sealer for all of the seams.
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post #17 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 07:52 AM
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So this seems to be just a cougar issue.. I checked mine a week ago and no leaks, no cracks either amazingly.

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post #18 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 05:03 PM
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A couple years ago my Cougar was rear ended by a pickup truck and it was fixed up pretty well. The only issue is I have some leaking up near where the trunk lid support arms attach to the body of the car. I think that the rear window seal is cracked and leaking, or maybe some body seams I'm not seeing. My trunk seals look fine to me, they are still supple and have no cracks or splits, so I don't think that's an issue.

If you have trunk leaks or any information to help fix them, feel free to post your heart out in here!

I drive an endangered species...they are being crushed at an alarming rate. Please do your part to preserve the Cougar species, and ensure they live on into the future.

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Last edited by Rodeo Joe; 02-20-2012 at 06:48 PM. Reason: Borrowed your thread title! :)
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post #19 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 05:12 PM
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Have you tried investigating with a garden hose and seeing where water begins?

Spinning pies like wheels.

DD driving my 20 year old project

Now with new ball joints...again
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post #20 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splattered View Post
Have you tried investigating with a garden hose and seeing where water begins?
You bet ya! I've been locked in my trunk with a flashlight and had someone hose the roof, jams, window, everything and I didn't see water coming in. But let it rain and I'll see water droplets running down from the trunk arms down the wheel wells down into the spare tire area. It's been a grueling process trying to find it.

I drive an endangered species...they are being crushed at an alarming rate. Please do your part to preserve the Cougar species, and ensure they live on into the future.

1995 Mercury Cougar XR-7 4.6L 2V 5 Speed
1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC Collector's Edition Car#94
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post #21 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 05:36 PM
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Try a mister attachment. Run a time lapse camera with a light on whiel it rains in your trunk.

Spinning pies like wheels.

DD driving my 20 year old project

Now with new ball joints...again
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post #22 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splattered View Post
Try a mister attachment. Run a time lapse camera with a light on whiel it rains in your trunk.
I don't have a fancy camera unfortunately lol.

I drive an endangered species...they are being crushed at an alarming rate. Please do your part to preserve the Cougar species, and ensure they live on into the future.

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1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC Collector's Edition Car#94
2009 BMW 535i M Sport Package
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post #23 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 06:42 PM
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The common culprit is the panel between the trunklid and rear window, the seams where it meets the quarter panels can leak if the factory seam sealer breaks down.

Cougarcragar had the same problem

-Matt

Last edited by Rodeo Joe; 02-20-2012 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Merged threads
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post #24 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 06:45 PM
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maybe leaking from the back windshield? Keep at it, I was looking for where the leak in my sunroof was for weeks, it was the rear windshield...

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post #25 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 06:47 PM
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The common culprit is the panel between the trunklid and rear window, the seams where it meets the quarter panels can leak if the factory seam sealer breaks down.
That, I think, is exactly where mine has a light leak. If it rains for a day or 2 I will get water in the trunk. I saw the seam sealer lifting so I have to get in there to get it out and replace it.

John
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post #26 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 07:52 PM
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Any pictures of exactly where those seams are? Are they the really thin seams parallel to the quarter panels that lead into the trunk jams?

I drive an endangered species...they are being crushed at an alarming rate. Please do your part to preserve the Cougar species, and ensure they live on into the future.

1995 Mercury Cougar XR-7 4.6L 2V 5 Speed
1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC Collector's Edition Car#94
2009 BMW 535i M Sport Package
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post #27 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-01-2012, 08:57 PM
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Any pictures of exactly where those seams are? Are they the really thin seams parallel to the quarter panels that lead into the trunk jams?
If someone doesnt get it before me I'll snap a pic off tomorrow. I will be out there washing it tomorrow to get it ready to get back on the road anyway

John
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post #28 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-02-2012, 12:00 PM
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If someone doesnt get it before me I'll snap a pic off tomorrow. I will be out there washing it tomorrow to get it ready to get back on the road anyway
I'd be interested in seeing pics of this as well. I bought a new seal not too long ago, but still found some moisture in there a few days ago.
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post #29 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-02-2012, 01:31 PM
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Alright, there doesn't seem to be a collective thread on the causes of our trunk leaks, and ways to prevent/ fix them altogether. A couple years ago my Cougar was rear ended by a pickup truck and it was fixed up pretty well. The only issue is I have some leaking up near where the trunk lid support arms attach to the body of the car. I think that the rear window seal is cracked and leaking, or maybe some body seams I'm not seeing. My trunk seals look fine to me, they are still supple and have no cracks or splits, so I don't think that's an issue.

If you have trunk leaks or any information to help fix them, feel free to post your heart out in here!
I used to work in a Toyota Manufacturing plant .. on the Body sealer line in the Passenger paint department, applying seam sealer and skiving corners.

Any hole ( we called them Pinholes because thats how small they usually were ) would cause a leak and flood the vehicle cabin - the plant simulated monsoon conditions in a special water booth to test for water leaks.

So .. typically, you'll be looking for a very small leak, or a crack in a seam where the seam sealer is applied - they didnt put very much on these Thunderbirds, they were brushed on, so If they didnt push it up into the seam, it could seperate later on down the road and cause leaks .. if you want to repair this you will need to remove the original sealer and re-apply it to the seam.

If your vehicle was previously repaired from rear end damage, it is possible that the seam may have been broken. If the body shop did not replace an entire metal panel, they would not repair any seams that could have been affected.
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post #30 of 54 (permalink) Old 01-02-2012, 01:39 PM
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The same seam leaked on my cougar. I scrapped out most of the sealer and pumped in some clear RTV. It fixed the leak but it was to late and the panel started to rot anyway.

I've come into this world with nothing and still manage to have some of it left.

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