Water, - Driver's side Montana van


1999montana
10-07-2013, 08:41 AM
Ran into a new symptom with the van about two weeks ago. The carpet on the driver's side underneath was wet with water. The channel that holds the harness was filled, but I dried it out and dried as far under the carpet as I could without removing the CD player in the lower dash (at the floor) and possibly the seats. The underlay is foam and acts like a sponge so the best way to dry it out would be warm air blown underneath.

Since the van has air bags in the sides of the seats, I'm a little leary of disconnecting them and pulling the seats without knowing the sequence to follow when doing so.

Passenger side is dry as a bone.

Checked the drain on the AC and fished a piece of mechanic's wire in there from below with the van on axle stands; - getting the wire in was a task in itself I must say!

Hooked the shop vacuum up to the drain opening and let it run for a few minutes, nothing came out, not even water.

Checked around the door and gasket since we have had some heavy rains in the past few weeks. There is one nylon anchor that sticks out of the body from inside the van at just about the height of the rocker panel channel where the harness lays. Not sure what it attaches, but when you open the driver's door and look down the 'A' pillar below the lower door hinge, you can see the end of this anchor sticking out. Could water be coming in that way?

I don't think the windshield is leaking, but anything is possible. The water is clean, so its either a leak from rain or if its still internal, possibly the AC.

Anyone have some ideas?

mjgrantham
09-24-2016, 02:44 PM
Did you ever figure out your water problem? I have recently discovered I have a leak somewhere that is channeling water into the cowl at the base of my windshield, but no visible leaks or drips anywhere else. It sloshes around as I turn left or right. I'm wondering if the problem with your van could give me some insight on where to look on mine.

1999montana
10-13-2016, 09:08 AM
Did you ever figure out your water problem? I have recently discovered I have a leak somewhere that is channeling water into the cowl at the base of my windshield, but no visible leaks or drips anywhere else. It sloshes around as I turn left or right. I'm wondering if the problem with your van could give me some insight on where to look on mine.

Not sure what year your van is, but I discovered an entry point for water last year when I had to replace the filler pipe for the gas tank. Yes, they don't last as long as they did 20 years ago, and our van is slowly succumbing to rust at all four corners.

In this particular case, the water was coming in through a hole in the driver's side inner wheel house located behind the upholstery panels in the left rear. The passenger side no doubt has similar issues. The water was running along the floor pan under the insulation to the front of the van and ended up under the driver's side.

This week I started the process of replacing the rocker panels one last time. The underside of the van looks tired, but fortunately no rust holes in the floor pan yet. Cut all the old rocker panel off and discovered that the jacking point for the left rear was disintegrated. There is actually a structure of three panels hidden behind the left outer quarter panel as it meets the rocker panel. One is part of the inner structure that supports the floor, the other is part of the inner wheel house. Another is what is left of the jacking point that transfers weight to the sub frame when the vehicle is lifted with the jack.

The jacking point I can fix, but the other two would require drastic surgery, so I'll cold galvanize what is left after I cut as much of the rust out and then close it up and hope for the best. Will be patching the inner wheel house with new metal (actually repaired a hole in the rear of the wheel house and what would be called the trunk floor drop if this were a sedan). Not fixing this would have eventually caused the air compressor for the load leveling suspension to fall away. Outwardly, the van is in good shape. Mechanicals are 100% - just replaced all the steel brake lines from the ABS to front and rear wheels. Vehicle still looks fresh; - no front fender, or door rust. Seems anything below the 'waterline' has issues.

I don't know if any of this helps you, but if it looks like it's beginning to rust anywhere, it likely has water penetration issues somewhere.

mjgrantham
10-16-2016, 10:37 PM
I wish I had welding skills to do the same with mine, which is a 2001. It was repaired by a previous owner, looked beautiful when I bought it 5 years ago. Paint and patches quickly chipped away and eventually got crushed when kids unknowingly closed sliders with seat belt buckles hanging out. Hitting a large cardboard box last year ripped off a huge chunk of loose rocker at the rear, leaving it open for even quicker deterioration. So sad. Mechanically mine is also very solid except for no 4th gear. We're actually trying to sell it but noticed the water problem and want to seal up any areas that could leak. I had the very same holes in wheel wells, but have sealed them with Permatex instant rubber gasket in a can (like cheez-wiz), then sprayed over with rubberized undercoating. My leak is from overhead though, as it collects in a channel where the bottom of the windshield sits and the floorboard is dry.

Thanks for all the helpful info. Even though our vans are overtaken by rust, it still feels good to maintain vehicles to serve well into 200,000+ miles. Good luck renewing your rockers.

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