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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:46 AM
DangermouseX3 DangermouseX3 is offline
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Location: Atlanta GA
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 286
Mein Auto: 2007 X3
Pano Roof Drain Tube Cleaning Success

Since I bought my car I have had a problem with water in the trunk, both in the plastic cubby on the right hand side (up to an inch of water in there), as well, as around the base of the battery.

In addition, the rear carpets would occasionally feel damp.

And worst of all, when I would crank the heat in the car, at some point all that moisture would suddenly condense on the windows. You could be driving for 15 minutes but suddenly the dew point was reached and everything fogged up.

So I had read on here that it was either the vapor barrier in one or more doors, or blocked sunroof drains (or both). I figured that as the most obvious water was in the trunk, the drains were the place to start.

I was a little confused as to how the drain tubes were getting blocked as the edge seals around the roof were pretty tight and while a little water might get by, certainly nothing of any size. How wrong I was.

I tried to locate the drains from the sunroof end, but without success, so I started at the discharge.

First I removed the lower panel on the right hand side, using the push-clip. This showed the bottom of the drain hose where it runs out through the side of the car, behind the bumper. I had previously noticed that the black felt around this had been damp as well as the carpet on the panel.

Next I removed the two screws holding the upper trim piece in place and pulled away the trim piece.

When I did this, a handful of twigs and leaves fell out from between the headliner and the roof. Where did they come from?

I can only assume that the PO enjoyed long drives in the fall with the roof open.

Prying down the headliner a little and I was able to see the end of the tube, where it connected to the roof frame. I was able to reach up and pull it off.

When I blew through it, I could tell it was blocked, so I took the other end loose and found a few small leaves stuck in the 90 degree bend right at the bottom. After plucking them out and using a piece of strimmer line I was able to clear it out.

I assume that the draining tube just filled up with water and overflowed in the roof frame, most of the water following the outside of the tube down into the trunk but extra water finding its way into the main cabin.

Reassembly was the opposite of dis-assembly.

Waited for the next couple of storms and success Ė the trunk stayed dry and no sign of water in the main cabin

Bonus Points

While under my car doing an oil change I noticed these + shaped ends of a rubber tubing, which were gently weeping water, even though it hadnít rained in a few days. There was on on either side of the car. They are similar in diameter to the drain tubes in the trunk. I think that these are the drains for the front of my sunroof frame, and these were also full of crud. I cleaned them out with a small screwdriver.

They are located at the edge of the car, just about under the leading edge of the front doors and can be easily reached without having to raise the car.

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Old 05-13-2014, 01:40 PM
joylove joylove is offline
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Location: USA
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 995
Mein Auto: 08 e83 LCI
Great pictures and clear post. Thanks! I shall try this!
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:39 AM
007X3 007X3 is offline
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Location: Hutchinson, Mn
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 25
Mein Auto: 2007 X3
The twigs and leaves are the most concerning part of this post. Now I feel like pulling mine down to check it! Although I have not noticed anything unusual and my car does sit in the garage when not used.

I did notice a LOT of leaves up by the cabin filter the other day when checking things over for that coolant issue that I had.

Thanks for taking time to do the pics and write the post. Most helpful.
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:58 PM
jma1992 jma1992 is offline
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Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 41
Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i
Awesome post. I just found my front and rear passenger carpet to be damp plus water pooling by the doors so I'm going to give this a shot and hope it works. Is there only one rear drain line for the sunroof or is there one on the left side as well where the small compartment and netting is?
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Old 05-15-2014, 01:34 PM
DangermouseX3 DangermouseX3 is offline
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Location: Atlanta GA
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 286
Mein Auto: 2007 X3
Yes there are two at the back and two at the front.
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:36 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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Location: Michigan
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 974
Mein Auto: 2011 X3 35i
What a piss poor design by BMW. Wonder if the new generation X3's are designed the same. I'm going to have to crawl under mine and take a look.
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Old 05-24-2014, 04:29 AM
peterkwu peterkwu is offline
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Location: Vienna, VA
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2005 E83, 2014 F30
Thanks for all the replies. My problem turned out to be the drain tube, but not because it was blocked by debris. The actual problem was that the drain tube on the passenger side was completely kinked by a piece of the pillar trim that was bolted on top of it. Removing the drain was fairly easy after pulling back the headliner. It was clear I needed a new part, but a quick trip to the dealer revealed no stock anywhere in the US, it had to be ordered from Germany. I was bracing for an expensive bill but it was $17.38, including the shipping and took about ten days to reach the dealer.

It took me about two hours to reinstall and put the interior pieces back in place. The hardest part was putting the lower rubber fitting back through the drain hole in the rear corner of the trunk, made easier by lubricating it with a little oil.

Tested it by running it through a car wash and there was not a drop of water in the trunk!
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:53 PM
Ishniknork's Avatar
Ishniknork Ishniknork is offline
I hate doing dishes
Location: Ft. Worth, TX
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,917
Mein Auto: '05 X3 3.0i
Great post DangermouseX3, very well documented. Thanks so much for doing it.
I haven't had a problem with my drains yet but I subscribed to this post for future reference!
'05 X3 3.0i Alpine White/Gray Leather/Alum. Trim
Premium Sound/Staggered Style 114 18"ers
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:11 PM
udmx3 udmx3 is offline
Marginal at best!
Location: Edmonds, Wa
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 31
Mein Auto: 2008 X3 M-sport
Great post. Thank you
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