Water leak front driver's side. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Water leak front driver's side.


Active Member
August 9, 2009
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City, State
Beaverton, Oregon
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Montaineer
1999 Mountaineer, 83K miles, no garage so it sits outside. Pulled the center console to replace the pre-cat O2 sensors. I cut the carpet back to access the service panel and when I pulled the carpet back, the driver's side front carpet padding was soaking wet. Seems to be water, not anti-freeze. Are there common areas for leaks to occur that would get the carpet padding wet? The carpet itself feels dry. Thanks.

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I have a leak in a similar area...it seems to be leaking down from around the parking brake pedal. If I'm driving in the rain and have flip-flops on, I can feel drops of water (not alot of water) drip on my left foot every once in a while. Also, if it's just been sitting out in the rain, I'll get into the cab to discover some water on the floormat.

I'm wondering if it's coming in at the plastic vent that spans across the bottom of the windshield (outside the car).

Anyone else experiencing something like this? I haven't been able to pinpoint where it's coming from yet. Any common areas?

Do either of you have a moonroof?

Sure don't. Woulda been a good guess tho! ;-)

Check underneath the dash were the pedals are. You might have pulled or broken one of the seals for the wires and cables that go through the fire wall. My car had the same problem and it turned out that I had pulled out the seal for hood release cable

Could also be corrosion around the corner of the windshield. I've heard that some shops that replace the windshield without using enough butyl caulk can leave exposed (and scratched) sheet metal under the rubber seal in the window frame. After a while, that crack rusts through, allowing water to leak in and run down the a-pillar.

Never personally seen it though...

Seems like standing on your head with a good flashlight and following the water trail sohould make the source pretty clear. If it's been dripping, there should be a trail there somewhere.

Good ideas, thanks guys!

It may have to do with something the PO did, as I haven't personally done any work under the dash and it's been leaking since I got the car (about a year ago). But it only leaks when it rains (obviously) so I'll have to wait for it to rain again before I can trace the water to where it's coming in. Or I guess I could try to just run a water hose over the car for a few minutes :p:

I've got a used '05 Sport Trac with the same problem of water coming down the fire wall at the extreme left side. It is very difficult to see exactly where it comes from but I suspect a leak under the cowling below the wipers. Did you find a solution to your problem SportDave?

rain leak - drivers side

I've got a 99 Explorer with very similar water leak problem. It sits outside and this happens each time it rains. The pad underneath the parking brake gets wet and then soaks into the carpet on that side. Makes for a ripe moldy smell until you dry it out !!

I removed the side plastic on the sidewall next to the parking brake, and pulled the mat and padding out. Couldn't find a water trail any higher than where the parking brake cable goes through a rubber plug in the firewall.

Used the garden hose to run water into the windshield wiper motor hole area first, then the big vent grill area just below the windshield - no joy. Then, I ran water over the hood so the water ran into the water channel at the windshield side of the hood -- Bingo. It seems like the hood rubber gasket has shrunk or something else is missing and the water drips down just behind the brake cylinder and, although I can't actually see it from the engine side, it appears to drip onto that parking brake cable area and comes into the cabin there.

Well, now to try to fix the dual problems of the parking brake firewall leak and the hood gasket channel leak, and see what happens. I'll post the results.:thumbsup:

Damn. I have the same problem. First noticed it a few years ago, but it mostly rains a few days in December in SoCal. This year we've been slammed with a few weeks of steady rain, hard at times.
My driver's and passenger footwells on the drivers side are completely soaked. The door sill channel that the rear wire bundle is in was full of water (I park on an incline at home) so I had to remove a body plug to drain it.
Today I pulled the driver's seat and the rear seat supports and raised the seat bottoms out of the way so I could lift the carpet and dry out the pad. Got a small space heater and a fan in there now, with the windows cracked to relieve the humidity.
Saw a few drops on the ebrake cable housing.
Last night I did a quick leak test by pouring water on the roof. I poured water in the strengthening relief in the roof at the windshield. Saw water travel down to below the windshield in the cowl/wiper area. Weird.
Also noticed that the front door seal was tweaked...not sure if that's an issue or not. Used duct tape to force it back to its normal shape, as rain water travels along this seal.
Sucks the way Ford designed it so this seal dumps the rain water on the door hinges and that main wire bundle holder in the door jamb.
I spread some silicone along the top of the door hinges, just for the hell of it, to try to get the water to move along and drain properly.
I put a high intensity light in the driver's footwell, but couldn't see any light from the outside and underneath the truck.
I'm going to order all new door seals and the hood seal.
I wanted to upgrade to a Navigator or loaded Expedition, but the current economic crisis hit us hard. So, I gotta pay extra attention to extend the service life of my 145,000 mile '99 4.0 SOHC Exploder:thumbsup:

I posted back in June with similar water leaks. I could never track down for sure where the water came from but it was showing up on the firewall area behind the E-brake where the cable ended. I was suspicious that it was coming in higher perhaps through a grommet that I could not see. But then, mine has a sunroof & it was mentioned that there are drain tubes going down the inside of the front windshield posts into that corner of the firewall, side panel. When I tested for leaks there with running the hose on the roof, I could get water leaking if the truck was sitting just right. I ran a thin fish wire through the drainage tubes & GENTLY blew a bit of compressed air.
Now I won't say it's perfect but that made a big difference & to ensure that I would not rot out the floor with soaking wet sponge insulation, I lifted the drivers seat, removed the factory insulation & replaced it with that silver foil bubble type from the building supply as well as supplying a couple of carefully placed small drainage holes at the lowest points on the floor plan. Checked it late Fall & all looked good. Now that it's well below freezing, there won't be any sign of a problem -should it still exist - until Spring.

Hmmm...a blocked drain hole. Something to think about.
It's pissing down rain again and I still have a leak.

Now I notice that the water looks as if it's coming up through the ebrake cable grommet. Like the area behind it is submerged in water and it is leaking through. Anyone know what's behind the cable? Can I see it if I pull the inner fender splash shield, or is it in the cowl area?
I have a pic but for some reason I'm not allowed to post it.

Lemme see if this pic works...



I had that problem too! That gasket could be jerked forward (mine was). All I did was push the gasket back toward the firewall it the lip touched it all the way around. Then I checked to make sure that it had come all the way out on the firewall facing the engine bay. It has a small lip on the other side too.

Thanks, Willcall. So wouldn't it just leak as your driving down the road? This thing leaks with the truck just sitting. I'll check the other side when it stops pouring rain!

Mine leaked whenever it was sitting in the rain or driving. It appears that some water does trickle down the fire wall on the side of engine bay. I think the seals around my hood aren't that great, so that could be what is happening with yours.

In my 2005 with sunroof, my ebrake assembly looked very similar. Not to sound smart but since water doesn't move uphill (unless there's a heck of a wind), the trace of rust in front & ABOVE the cable end really indicates the water is coming from above. As I said, on mine cleaning out the lt. drain tube from the front corner of the sunroof made a big difference. Of course , yours has a bit of a different body so there may be other avenues as in the hood seal that come into play.
Normally the cable just goes thru the floor pan & curves exposed to the back.
To change focus for a minute, does yours have the top mounted brake light? Mine was leaking like a seive as well so I had an aquarium in both front AND back floor pans (mines a Sport Trac.)

I can't see any water coming from above. Does any body know if the area behind the ebrake grommet is double walled? Maybe its filling up with water from the cowl? That would cause the water to come up through the grommet. Is there a drain at the bottom of the cowl?
Thanks for the help!

Water going into the cowling between hood top end & windshield normally drains out at bottom over toward the outside of the back of inner front wheel fender. There's a slit opening underneath where the panels meet.
I thought that might have been a leak source too so I removed the cowl & had a good look -Nothing. Put the hose down & flushed it with pressure -out came some leaf debris but no joy as far as finding the source of a leak.

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I think I found it. It's along the seam where the two panels of the firewall are joined together, under the brake booster and power distribution box. I could see water in the seam. There is no seam sealer in this location. Water also travels this route and dumps onto the rubber grommet of the ebrake cable where it enters the passenger compartment. I tried taking a picture but it was too tight in there. I'm going to clean and silicone everything, and install new hood and door seals.

It's the seam in the bottom of the above photo.