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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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Old 01-21-2012, 11:34 AM
jclanin jclanin is offline
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Location: Atlanta
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 2003 540i 6 Speed
Water in drivers side floorboard - 2nd row

Hi all,

We've had a ton of rain in Atlanta the past 24 hours. My car has been parked outside and now has very saturated rear floorboard (drivers side). I assume I have a clogged rain gutter -- or something of the sort. Any ideas?


2003 540i 6 Speed, 35% Formula One Pinnacle Series Ceramic Tint, Saphire Black Metallic exterior, Black interior, 66K, Sunshades, M5 rear sway bar, shadow black grill, bluetooth, led interior lighting
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:51 AM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Location: Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,451
Mein Auto: '99 5-spd
One possible cause is a loose/broken seal (butyl sealant) holding the insulative foam vapor barrier that's under/behind the interior panel of your rear passenger door. If it's that, it's very easy to fix. You'll need some butyl cord/tape or similar butyl based sealant to reattach the foam barrier. Check around here for threads on vapor barrier or vapor seal repair and how to pop off the interior door panel (one philips screw, 10 or so plastic clips).
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:11 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Location: Oaksterdam, Yay Area
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6, '90 k75s
Although I've been fortunate not to have experienced this problem myself, I've read enough posts on this board to recognize it as a classic sign of failure of the vapor barrier seal, as Pleiades described above. There are numerous DIY links, with photos, in the "very best links" thread at the top of the main page of this E39 board.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:09 AM
Rwelkins Rwelkins is offline
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Location: Louisville
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 525i
I had the same problem, and agree that you should reseal the vapor barriers on the rear doors. I highly recommend doing both sides......the other one will fail too.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:23 AM
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Dking078 Dking078 is offline
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,554
Mein Auto: 2003 BMW 540i
Like others have said, chances are it's the vapor barrier. It's an easy fix if you're handy. If it then still leaks, you may have a broken or detached hose on the sun roof drain...which is a pain to fix.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:25 AM
Tommylaw9 Tommylaw9 is offline
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Location: Sacramento, CA
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 179
Mein Auto: 2001 530i
I just did the vapor barrier this week. holler at me and i can give you a little better insight that a guide might be able to. (while its still fresh in my head)

2001 Schiefergrün 530iA M-Sport Package
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:11 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Type /vapor barrier F3 in the bestlinks and this comes up, among others:
- Vapor barriers: Sealant for door panel vapor barriers (1) & sizes for the adhesive (1)
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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