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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-29-2010, 03:53 AM
gt4-man gt4-man is offline
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Unhappy e36 convertible water leak help!!!!

i was wondering if anyone could help me, my convertible has started to let water in to the car. It is not the roof i think? i have checked the roof from the inside and the innerr lining is completely dry. The problem area is the rear passenger side footwell, that is where the water is standing. i have noticed that the carpet is wet from rear seat down to the footwell.
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2010, 03:14 PM
superone1973 superone1973 is offline
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Snap!

Yer mine too been leaking in passanger footwell behind drivers seat. I drive on the left! Not sure what side you drive on. Two inches of water which kept on going backward and forwards up and down the hills. Even after bailing it out I noticed I still had water under the carpets after three weeks+ had to remove my back seat to check airbag light sensor and noticed the sponge is dripping.The leather has gone a little mouldy. Its by the fire now drying. The under metal strenghthing has gone rusty. I think mine is coming through upper window seal where the windows goes up to meet the roof maybe between the two windows at the top cause when i jet wash it i see Some water dripping down the glass but two inches takes the piss how ever hard it rained that night, which was bloody heavy had a little land slide here.
Or maybe in the boot as that was pretty wet and that would explain the rear seat sponge being wet. Come to think of it i park on hill with my nose end down. So do you notice the boot wells rain catcher things at the side of the rear hood of the car where the boot hinges are. When you wash your car they get full of water and it only goes when you go up hill, over my lovely clean car. Well maybe if it rains hard and your parked on a slope the only way is down through your car.
Now my airbag light has come on! Spent ages wiring it up to the abs light instead so when the abs light goes out so does airbag light, personally I would rather all the airbags went off rather than just the ones people are sitting in sod the money when you spin the car things will come from all angles I guess;. Now it will pass the mot which they failed it for airbag light. Someone else mentioned there car getting wet and faulty abs light there is not one person on this island with a sds reset device
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  #3  
Old 01-29-2010, 06:05 PM
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In the storage well for your top there are two drains. One in the right front corner and one in the left front corner. If they get clogged the water that runs in around the tonneau cover collects in the storage well and then runs into the passenger compartment.
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:00 PM
gt4-man gt4-man is offline
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man, i thought mine was bad, 2 inches of water dat takes da p***. i will check tomorrow if i wake up in time, start work at 4 and finish at 5am. i cant check the drains just yet, iv broken the roof handle to unlock the roof, so it cant open. thanks for your replys.

Last edited by gt4-man; 01-29-2010 at 09:04 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-30-2010, 12:22 AM
superone1973 superone1973 is offline
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feck

Sh@t I had best get out there quick and try sticking a coat hanger down it. We have a three day storm orange warning at the moment hitting us on sunday.Think I will park it nose up, time for my cover i think.
Ment to be flying back to England on Monday to visit friends. Hope my flight is not cancelled
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  #6  
Old 01-30-2010, 06:16 AM
ViNNIE_G ViNNIE_G is offline
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i had the same problem all you do is where your top goes there are 2 rubber gorments they are clogged suck them out and you should be fine
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2011, 11:31 AM
gfb-bmw gfb-bmw is offline
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Thanks dc wright drains were clogged. I also treated top with 303 fabric guard. It is like a new car.
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  #8  
Old 10-09-2011, 10:37 AM
JPlunket JPlunket is offline
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have same problem with 2000 325csi

Hope you friends are still looking in here...

Where exactly are the drain holes? are they accessible without dismantling the whole top assembly?

much obliged for any guidance, thanks.
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  #9  
Old 10-09-2011, 11:56 AM
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They're easy to acess. They're in the very front of the top storage compartment. Open your top to the point where the rear of the top is raised and the storage compartment lid is raised. You'll be able to see the drain holes pretty easily.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2011, 09:17 AM
watchcame36 watchcame36 is offline
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Hi All - first post as there seems to be little on the web on e36 leaks.

I have the same issue as the OP - Left hand side rear footwell filling with water.
My rear drains appear fine - at least when i pour water in their they drain ok. They dont back up.
Next step is front bulkhead drains - i cant get the wper arm off to sort that, but told I can pull them out from underneath. So going to try this tomorrow.

Anyone else got any tips for E36 vert leak points? I am starting to replace all the rubbers but just cant work it out!

Cheers
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2011, 11:27 AM
gfb-bmw gfb-bmw is offline
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Pull the back seat see if water is in the seat wells, dry that out if its wet. Next check the compartment where the top is stored. There are two drains near the front on each side make sure they are clear. You will need to put the top half way down. I treated the top with 303 fabric guard its the best. Water beads up and runs off. No problems after that. The 303 is on a wed site auto geek. I bought a quart , put two coats on the top looks new. Also if you park on a hill, point the nose downhill, the arms on the trunk only have about a inch or two lip inside the well, it the water gets higher it will enter cabin seat well. Good luck.
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2011, 11:44 AM
watchcame36 watchcame36 is offline
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Thanks for that. Will check under the seat as that will help locate the leak.
I have a hard top on at the moment and the problem is still there. Good tip on the 303 though. Will grab some for the summer.
Cheers!
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2011, 02:18 PM
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Check the sealing around the rear window. The window is zipped in and then there's an overlapping flap that's glued down with rubber cement for sealing. If that's pulled loose you'll get seepage in through the zipper. Also check the seam at the last bow on the top. It sees the most stress and is usually the first seam to fail and start leaking. Both of these locations can miss the top compartment and you can have water find the rear foot wells.
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  #14  
Old 12-23-2011, 02:26 PM
watchcame36 watchcame36 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
Check the sealing around the rear window. The window is zipped in and then there's an overlapping flap that's glued down with rubber cement for sealing. If that's pulled loose you'll get seepage in through the zipper. Also check the seam at the last bow on the top. It sees the most stress and is usually the first seam to fail and start leaking. Both of these locations can miss the top compartment and you can have water find the rear foot wells.
It did have that issue .... I was in need of a soft top and struggling to find a magenta one so bought the hard top as a stop gap. Ironically the hard top seems to be worse than the soft top. Strange thing its only the left side. Hoping is the front drains. Will know tomorrow all being well.

Last edited by watchcame36; 12-23-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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  #15  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:13 AM
watchcame36 watchcame36 is offline
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Front drains were clear, so that wasnt the source. Also bone dry under the rear seats so still no fix at the moment. Anyone eslse got any tips?
Cheers
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  #16  
Old 12-30-2011, 06:11 PM
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How are the seals between your front and rear window and between the rear window and the car body?
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  #17  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:24 AM
watchcame36 watchcame36 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
How are the seals between your front and rear window and between the rear window and the car body?
The soft top rear window was poor, but bought a hard top to discount that. I think it weeped a bit, but nothing too much. Under rear seats is bone dry. Would i be right to assume if under seat is dry it couldnt be coming from the rear?

The ones between the front and rear window and between the door look fine, but i have ordered replacements just to be sure. I cant see any leaks, but as hey are relatively cheap i am going to change them. I have replaced the one around the mirror base. There is a slight leak here still and at the a pillar tops both sides. But it is a drip every now and again .... Would that be enough to fill the rear footwell? It means changing the main door seal i guess. Just not convinced its the main source.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:14 AM
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The only other thing I can think of is that it's coming from the door and collecting in the rear foot well. If someone has had the door panel off and left the foam/plastic drip shield out or didn't secure it correctly you might get some leakage there that could collect in the foot well. Figure 3 in this link shows the piece I'm referencing. You can see the foam side in the photo but the back side of the sheet is plastic to direct water that leak in around the window seal to the bottom of the door where it can drain out.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...s-67-Doors.htm
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:20 AM
watchcame36 watchcame36 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
The only other thing I can think of is that it's coming from the door and collecting in the rear foot well. If someone has had the door panel off and left the foam/plastic drip shield out or didn't secure it correctly you might get some leakage there that could collect in the foot well. Figure 3 in this link shows the piece I'm referencing. You can see the foam side in the photo but the back side of the sheet is plastic to direct water that leak in around the window seal to the bottom of the door where it can drain out.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...s-67-Doors.htm

I agree that could be a possibility. The weather strip scraper bar thing on the outside is poor as well. It could be this.
I am replacing them all - just a shame I am having to wait for the parts from BMW! Want to get it solved.
Also - I would like to see the 'smoking gun' if you know what I amean - I have seen little drips, but nothing that tells me for certain I have found the cause.

I might have to pull the seats, carpet and sit in the while it rains!

Last edited by watchcame36; 12-31-2011 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:30 AM
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Use a garden hose. Soak a spot for a bit and see if water leaks in. If not move to another spot. Keep doing it till you find your "smoking gun".
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:59 AM
Pad1253 Pad1253 is offline
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Hi
I'm new to the forum but noticed you're having trouble with water in rear footwell. having cleared the drains in the soft top well and solved the seat water problem I discovered that I'm still getting water in the passenger footwell and the hard top being on now still hasn't solved it. I have discovered today that the rear quarter light on that side is being forced away from the rubber by the hardtop frame leaving a gap between the rubber seals. There's no such gap on the driver's side. Too dark to check now but I'm going to see if the front locking catch has been tightened too much [to stop water coming in through the A pillars] that that has pushed it off centre.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:01 AM
watchcame36 watchcame36 is offline
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Thanks for that ... Will check mine out. Dark here too, but will have a probe. Cheers!
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:15 AM
rrsodl rrsodl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfb-bmw View Post
Pull the back seat see if water is in the seat wells, dry that out if its wet. Next check the compartment where the top is stored. There are two drains near the front on each side make sure they are clear. You will need to put the top half way down. I treated the top with 303 fabric guard its the best. Water beads up and runs off. No problems after that. The 303 is on a wed site auto geek. I bought a quart , put two coats on the top looks new. Also if you park on a hill, point the nose downhill, the arms on the trunk only have about a inch or two lip inside the well, it the water gets higher it will enter cabin seat well. Good luck.

Hi,

I'm new to the forum. The only information I found very relevant to my issue is this thread
so I hope that somebody is still looking at this .

I've had this water leaking to the rear passenger footwell for about a year now and still doesn't go away. Last month I got the soft top changed and although the car looks very smart it did not solve the problem.

I removed the rear seat and it was soaked in water and the metal parts going rust.

I had already read the advise given here so my next step was to inspect the two drains inside the soft top storage compartment and they looked ok - I inserted a long and thing piece of wire metal hoping to see the end somewhere under the car but it seems the wire bends towards the front of the car and does not exit the car body.
The next step was to pour some water inside the drain and look if the water was indeed coming out at the other end. and it was, although very slowly. I would have to do this again in more detail if I want to check the same amount of water poured in = amount of water coming out.

Looking at the area where the water comes out from, the right and left side are different. The right side (non problem side) the water comes out from what appears to be a hard rubber cap which I thought I could remove but I couldn't (further investigation in the net tells me this rubber thing could be something to protect the body when using a jack) On the left side, where the problem is, the water comes out from a very small hole ( not sure how to describe it) - at this point I wasn't sure which was the correct one but I could attribute the difference to the angle the car was parked ( leaning more to the right hand side).

I'm still not sure where the water is coming in from and I'm still not sure if the drains are 100% clean.

I'm looking for other suggestions

Thank you.
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  #24  
Old 07-09-2012, 09:00 AM
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Welcome to the 'Fest!

We will need pictures of your car, and it sounds like, pictures of this 'hole' on the problem side. I've not had the misfortune of a leaky top so I never got into it, but hopefully we can all sort out this problem of yours.

Cheers!
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:43 AM
rrsodl rrsodl is offline
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Originally Posted by petriej View Post
Welcome to the 'Fest!

We will need pictures of your car, and it sounds like, pictures of this 'hole' on the problem side. I've not had the misfortune of a leaky top so I never got into it, but hopefully we can all sort out this problem of yours.

Cheers!

Excellent, I will get some pictures shortly.

Thank you for your kind post.
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