Car: 2000 528it
Rant: EVERY BMW that I've owned now (5) has leaked water inside. :mad:
On the old 5ers, I cleared the sunroof drain tubes; no problem. On this car, I'm not sure where to go, because the water manifests differently every time. It always happens when it rains. It doesn't seem to happen after going through the car wash. My driveway is a little steep; I park pointed downhill, with one exception.
1) This morning, after it rained hard all day yesterday, I backed out of the driveway onto the road. When I started moving forward, water started dripping out of the passenger rear ceiling speaker.
2) One other rainy day, I noticed that the ceiling was wet above me, driver's side, just in front of the sunroof. I started dabbing at it with napkins and it dripped and dripped, soaking about 5 or 6 napkins before it stopped.
3) I came back from a short trip to Florida, the car having been parked in the airport parking lot, flat, for 5 days. I know it snowed one day, and it might have rained. When I got in the car, there was a puddle of ice in the passenger front floor.
4) Several different days, when it has rained, there has been condensation on various of the windows of the car. There doesn't seem to be a pattern as to which window might have condensation on it.
5) One day there was moisture on the driver's side door sill.
6) Another time, there was moisture on one of the passenger door sills; I don't remember if it was front or back.
I have searched the archives and read numerous accounts related to drain tubes becoming disconnected on the front of the sunroof "cassette," whatever that is, and about moisture barriers in the doors not being sealed (?). I've had numerous other cars where this barrier hasn't been well sealed but the cars haven't leaked, so I must be missing something about the design of BMW doors that makes them, um, special.
Please help me prevent this car from becoming a mildew-infested wreck...
Thanks for any light, or dryness, you all can shed on this problem(s)!
Marc in VA
Rear door moisture barrier. Remove door panel and moisture barrier and reseal it using 3M Butyl tape. Some use silicone.
Passenger side or driver's side?
Okay, but seriously, I posted a serious and earnest request for information and received what I perceive to be an incomplete response. I can understand diagnosing condensation inside the car as a problem with the moisture barrier in a door. Are the rear ones prone to failure versus the front ones? If so, is there a way to narrow down which door seal might have failed without taking the door completely apart?
I seriously doubt the moisture barrier would cause water to be leaking from the ceiling. The archives point to problems with the front drain tubes coming loose, could explain the leak over the driver's seat. Are there rear drain tubes in this model of BMW? If so, how do you clear them, assuming they're blocked?
On Mye28.com, people respond within hours. I'm not used to the E39 forums. I appreciate that I got a response here; I have not gotten one yet on bimmerforums.com.
Thanks for any help y'all can give.
Sorry to hear of the problems with your car. I think you'll find people here quite helpful in spite of the few replies received on this thread so far.
Leaking vapor barriers in the doors result in water in the footwells, i.e. soggy carpets. Based on the posts here and b-forums, rear door leaks are common, front doors rare. The door configuration is such that if the barrier sealant separates from the door structure, water does drip just inside the sill and down into the footwell. There are repair DIYs.
EDIT: soggy carpet will be found at the footwell for the door leaking.
Water in the headliner is most likely from the sunroof. The "cassette" is the sunroof assembly including frame, drip pan, tracks, motor, seals etc. It's termed a cassette because it can be removed & installed as a single unit. But removal is not required for most repairs. There are drains front and rear, each side. Reported leaks are not particularly common problem, but a real PITA when they happen. There are repair DIYs.
For E39 diagnosis guides & repairs have a look at the first two posts ("stickies") on page one of this forum.
1) How to easily find information ...
2) the VERY best of of E39 links
You will find a comprehensive list of references, guides & DIYs.
The third sticky is usefull too.
If you don't find help after a seach, post back with specifics of what you need help with.
Search for threads on "sunroof cassette" by "pleiades".
Water coming in through the roof and down the pillars is going to be sunroof-related.
You have a wagon so I'm not too sure about things with your headliner, maybe you can find a headliner removal DIY for the wagons that will give an idea of the steps you'll have to take to get to the sunroof cassette.
People on here have reported having clogged sunroof drains that caused their cassette to flood and leak down onto the headliner and then from the pillars on down into the car.... floors, behind the dash etc etc....
In my case, the front two draintube connectors (there are four, one on each corner of the cassette) had come loose, so all I had to do was lower the headliner corners, pull off the hose connectors, coat the cassette drain nipples with some Permatex Ultra Black RTV, slide the connectors back on and that was that, no leaks in two years (fingers xed).
The problem is that the sunroof gasket around the edge of the sunroof opening is not completely watertight. Water gets in. That's why the cassette has drains. But if the drains clog, or their connectors slip off or loosen, you get this kind of e39 special fun.
Here's a headliner DIY for an e38 sedan. It has lots of pics and should give you some ideas. If you can find a suitable DIY for the wagon, let us know.
I have had a few leaks on my 99t
water pooling in back passenger side floor after rain. Solution reseal door vapor barrier with buytl tape easy job
water under spare tire after rain. Remove and seal with rtv rear tail light easy job
water dripping from on passenger side floor from dash A little more complicated:after removing "A" pilar cover determined the leak had to be front right sunroof sunroof drain. Thought I had it cleared but next rain it still leaked. Using the link mentioned above I dropped the corner of the headliner and removed drainpipe. Clearing a small obstruction and reinstalling rubber tube using a little of the butyl tape around the nipple has solved that leak. Not a difficult repair just requires patience and clean hands so you don't mess up the headliner.
Hope this helps
I had a similar problem during the summer of 2011. Only the rear footwells got wet after a rain. I suspected the sunroof and did a test running water from a garden hose over the door glass, and the sunroof drains were confirmed as the weak link(s). But before I could find the location of the drains the problem resolved itself and hasn't returned. Yet :).
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