Pics & Vid of dash water leak fix for 05+ Mustangs

Discussion in '2005 - 2014 S-197 Mustang -General/Talk-' started by Sharad, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. I've heard about the FORD TSB on the water leak behind the dash on the passenger side of 2005+ Mustangs, but I was hoping it wouldn't happen to me. Yeah right! (I'm not so lucky...)

    Wednesday night on the way to church to drop off the kids for VBS, we got hit by one of those South Florida torrential downpours. When I pulled into the church driveway, I noticed some water dripping under the glove box... after I recovered from the initial shock, I flipped the BlackBerry to video mode and recorded the water leak. This was from mild acceleration in second gear: 2006 Mustang water leak :: VID00022-20110623-1757.mp4 video by sraldiris - Photobucket That is CRAZY crap right there! I was freakin' out!!!

    So I dropped off the kids, walked out to the car, and I just couldn't handle the anxiety. I started taking the car apart right there in the parking lot! (no tools, and no real idea of what I was getting into)

    First I pulled off the passenger side windshield cowl panel:


    It is held on by two of those plastic fasteners with phillips head screws in them. I didn't have a screwdriver, but my pocket knife worked just fine:


    On the bottom side, it had four or five of those plastic snaps. The one all the way on the right, near the antenna, requires some delicacy... you have to lift it up and away from the windshield, but it's kinda tucked under the fender there. Be gentle:


    The cabin air filter is in the cavity that the cowl panel was covering. You remove it by lifting up on the top lip of the filter housing:


    When it's unclipped at the top, just tilt it forward and lift it out:


    Filter is out, and there's room to work:

    Do you think the filter was dirty?


    I mean, seriously... this is nasty. Incidentally, these are locating pins on the bottom of the filter. You'll have to line these up with the holes in the housing when you reinstall the filter:


    Next, I just reached in that cavity and started fishing out the crap by hand. (a lot like cleaning out a gutter on the roof of your house, same stuff inside too) The water was about 3 or 4 inches deep. That's where the water inside the car was coming from. It poured through the cabin air filter and into the interior behind the glove box. Not only can this make your carpet nasty and mildewy, but it can destroy the BCM or whatever it is back there behind the passenger side kick panel. I've heard of people's power windows and dash lights getting messed up from the water leak. Anyway, here's some of the crap I fished outta there:


    I've never done this before, so I had to feel around to find the rubber drain. Horizontally, it's halfway between the battery box and the passenger side valve cover. When I was feeling around for it, I accidentally pushed it out the bottom of the cowl. It fell out onto the passenger side exhaust manifold. It wasn't hard to reach from the engine compartment though. Here's a picture of me sticking my fingers through the hole where the drain plug was:


    This is the drain hole from just in front of the cabin air filter housing:


    Close up of the opening:


    Uh, yeah, it was slightly clogged:


    It was bulging with leaf stems and other crap:


    I dumped out its contents:


    Then I washed it out in the restroom sink. God doesn't mind. Besides, I wiped the sink down after I washed off the drain plug.


    All better!


    Then I put the cleaned plug back in:


    The reassembly process was the opposite of the disassembly process. No problems! The whole thing was maybe 20 minutes total, taking my time, and with no tools. Of course, I didn't have a cabin air filter with me since this deal just sort of hit me with no warning, but Advance Auto Parts sells them for about $21.

    Anyway, that's my experience with fixing the water leak problem. It was much easier than I'd thought. I had read about people fixing the problem, but hadn't ever seen pictures of it. My recommendation is to check your drain periodically, maybe once a year, to make sure it doesn't clog up. It's EXTREMELY stressful to see water pouring out on the floor like that. Thankfully, the problem was solved with minimal drama, and I wasn't late for my appointment at the Ford dealership to test drive a new 2011 Mustang GT.
  2. Nice write up, I'll have to check my car. :nice:
  3. No prob. It's very easy to check the drain plug from the engine compartment without removing the cowl panel, but if it's clogged, you'll have to remove the cowl panel so you can clear out all of the gunk.
  4. I guessing that stringy black stuff is pine needles?
  5. Yeah, I think so. I do have pine trees next to my house, but they're not actually on my property. I think they're from the previous owner of the car. Probably several years of accumulation.
  6. That's definately pine straw. I live in Charlotte NC, pine straw and Oak pollen sacks will clog your **** up.
    Solution: Put it in the garage.!
  7. I wish I could! The sun is abusive down here. But my '89 LX is in the garage. :(
  8. Great tutorial! It's cool they made it so easy to fix.
  9. Just wanted to say thanks so much for posting this tutorial of sorts. It saved us a trip to the dealer and helped us out immensely. The pictures were great as were your explanations. Great job!!



  10. No problem Don. I'm happy to help!
  11. I did the procedure 3 or 4 years ago and have not had a problem again. But... I'm thinking it would be wise to check it again BEFORE water gets in. So that will happen very soon.
    Sharad likes this.
  12. I just checked mine out, luckily it was clean (mostly garaged). I did notice that once I got everything buttoned back up, the rubber piece that lays over top of the windshield didn't sit all the way flush with the windshield any longer. I'm guessing this is OK, I fooled around with it three or four times trying to get it to sit down again to no avail. It sits down, but it isn't "flush" with it like I think it used to be. All of the plastic pins are in the holes under the shroud, as far as I can tell and it meets up with the other piece of shroud good.
  13. Sharad, thank you! I registered here after a Google search of water leaks. The car wash, or heavy rains, and I have a helluva leak. My horn also quit a few weeks back - probably related. The alarm still works, and blows the horn, but the horn button does nothing - and, state inspection runs out in 2 weeks.
    Sharad likes this.
  14. I had this same problem with my 07 car about 5 or 6 years ago. My first attempt at fixing it was just cleaning out the rubber bushing, after it got clogged again in the fall I cut a larger opening at the bottom of the rubber piece. Finally after the third clogged time I just removed the rubber bushing and haven't had a problem since. Ford shouldve really came up with a better method.
  15. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so the car's staying home, in the garage, and I'm driving my gas guzzling F250 pickup to work ... not that the car's mileage is that much better, especially in town. I was planning on taking my laptop out to the car, opened to this page, and get at it this past weekend. Didn't happen.
  16. Thank you for this, Sharad! Before reading your post, I had blinders on. I had it in my head that the A/C drain was blocked and overflowing. Barking up the wrong tree! I even considered performing TSB 07-14-06 (see I feel fortunate that I read your post first!

    It's possible to pull the rubber cup out of the bottom of the plenum from inside the engine compartment without disassembling anything. That would not allow you to clean the inside of the plenum, but it's a fast way to drain the plenum and remove the obstruction.

    I decided to replace my cabin air filter, which smelled musty after being wet. Besides, it was 10 years old. I bought the Purolator because I thought it would be OEM quality. Not so! The Ford-branded filter I removed was better built, with many more pleats and heavier material. The original Ford part that came out of my 2006 is 4R33-18D483-AB.
  17. I forgot to mention the most surprising thing I ran across. There were live mosquito larvae wriggling around in the plenum's standing water. Ah, Florida . . .