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Thread: Wet Trunk AHHHHH!!!

  1. #1
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    1985 Mercedes 300SD

    Wet Trunk AHHHHH!!!

    Ok, so I' can't find where its coming from. I had a small leak from one of the tail lights but fixed that. The trunk it soaked with moisture, but no standing water. When I open the trunk lid it rains out of it near the hinges....... Definitely worse after heavy rain.....

    So what I'm asking is, where do these things commonly leak from?
    1983 BMW 733i My current project (or at least one of them)
    2003 Volvo V70 5 Speed Current Daily Driver
    1993 300TE 4Matic Project wagon -sold
    1997 E290 Turbo Diesel Wagon -traded for above, an amazingly comfortable car to drive, great drivetrain, but the rust, oh my god the rust

    1992 BMW 525i -traded in
    1990 Silver 300TE -Sold Loved the wagon, hated the M103
    1985 Grey 380SE Diesel Conversion, 2.47 rear end, ABS -Sold, really should have kept this one
    1979 Silver 300D "The Silver Slug" -Sold

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    Could be the emblem.

    W126s do this.

    Antenna grommet too.
    I sell Motronic 013 ECU boost cut delete chips and drop in Tial conversions.
    09/1983 745i (stolen spring '13 around Houston, TX Achatgruen on nutria buffalo. 8481080)
    10/1984 745i
    11/1984 745i (will be for sale!)
    IH, Ford, MB, Volvo, and GM round out the pack.



  3. #3
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    Sounds like it's being trapped in the trunk lid, so probably emblem but I've seen antenna grommets let a bunch of water into cars, doesn't take much to allow water in.

  4. #4
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    Emblem sounds plausible. How are they held into the e23?

  5. #5
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    Snap into plastic grommets, little tricky to remove but not rocket science. Use a plastic trim remover and gently pry from several angles till you're able to pull out.

  6. #6
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    When I pulled the back glass and gasket from my 85 745i parts car, I found a pretty sizable hole at one of the lower corners of the glass opening. It was not visible w/ the gasket installed.

    Steve H., Fredericksburg, VA
    1984 733i, 265/6 & M106 turbo swap project. Working AC!
    1985 745i, parting out

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dude99 View Post
    Ok, so I' can't find where its coming from. I had a small leak from one of the tail lights but fixed that. The trunk it soaked with moisture, but no standing water. When I open the trunk lid it rains out of it near the hinges....... Definitely worse after heavy rain.....

    So what I'm asking is, where do these things commonly leak from?
    Just to clarify, you say its loaded with moisture with no standing water. Are the trunk mats wet or is it just damp in spots, if so what spots. The reason I ask is you would be surprised where it can come from.

    I repaired my leaks between the body and the taillights only to find a further leak from the lenses. Then I thought I had it covered and discovered there was a rust hole under the trunk gasket about the size of a dime. Just fixed that and removed the windshield and gasket to paint it, and found a few rust pinholes under the gasket around the window frame. (not sure if that was leaking anything though).

    I found the trunk gasket leak by getting in the trunk and having someone hit the outside of the trunk hard with a hose while I was inside the trunk with a flashlight. Itís also how I found the other twilight leak.

    Also found out when water comes into the trunk, it runs from the back to the front, and was accumulating under the rear sear carpet on the divers side. I have a whole interior thread on that one.

    Anyway, be thorough with it and check all the points mentioned. I would also recommend getting in there with a flashlight and see if and where it come in. Keep us posted!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  8. #8
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    I've just discovered the same problem. The car had been stored outside under a car cover except for last winter when I found room in my garage. So yesterday I started it up and tonight opened the truck and got a moldy surprise. Tomorrow I will empty everything out and begin decontamination of the mold on the stored paper items (boxes with parts, etc.) I'm also seeing rust around the edges of the sliding roof panel so that is due for replacement along with its gasket. Could that be a source, but the interior of the cabin is dry.
    The hollow gasket that runs around the trunk opening was full of water and was surprised it doesn't seem to drain from the bottom. So as I go through this I value all your observations and advice.
    There was moisture under the rear shelf but I don't know if it was condensate or indicating the leak is in the rear glass seal. More extensive examination awaits such as the tail light seals, antenna grommet, roundel, etc.

    Since I have the battery on a maintainer, I can leave the trunk open to dry out (my garage is secure) I don't want to add heat as that may add to the mold problem. And outside is a nice chilly 55F.
    More to come.
    --Ken
    Last edited by Sansouci; 04-15-2019 at 08:10 PM.

  9. #9
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    So I spent the day decontaminating my trunk. All the paper products (boxes, towel, etc.) are gone as are tool satchels that could not be washed. I've seen parts of my trunk I never before explored and pulled out all the linings. Mold was spreading everywhere with its white tentacles. Creature from the black lagoon... My choice of decon materials was bleach and Simple Green. Still some musty smell so I may need to use a more advanced and radical treatment. BMW used jute as a backing and sound control layer and as you know, jute is a natural product that has materials that mold can live on. Other than various brands of sound mat (Dynamat) that stick on the painted surface, I am going to keep looking. Unfortunately, the lining of the trunk (gray fuzzy stuff) also seems to support mold growth event though I think it's nylon. A flame test will tell me nylon or polyester.
    So what is the source of the leak?
    While it was stored outside in New York weather for 3 years under a car cover, it seemed to be okay. This past winter, as mentioned, I put it in my unheated garage. On cleaning it out I noticed a few things:
    1. The gasket around the trunk lid has about a dozen vent holes on the top side and when squeezed, emits water like a small fountain. There is a joint in the 1-piece gasket that is right above the trunk lock and that seems to be a natural drain point as it is the lowest spot. I used my compressor to blow out some more water. There was more on the driver's side than the passenger side.
    2. The mold seemed to be most intense on the driver side given the condition of the cloth cover I used over the gray fuzzy trunk liner over the spare tire.
    3. There was dripping water on the underside of the shelf. As someone else commented (espoe above), the pitch of the metal support structure is from rear to front so that water would tend to move towards the rear seat and not the bumper.
    4. There was mold on all the pieces of the trunk liner.
    5. There was some moisture inside the rear lighting on both sides
    6. The gasket around the trunk lid seems to have slightly shrunk where it goes around the corner from the top to the sides and I can use some gasket sealer to fill that gap. However, I didn't see any rusty rivulets
    7. I have not spray tested the car yet with me in the trunk. Small person's assistance would be appreciated.
    8. There is a drain hole in the bottom of the spare tire bay, perhaps in anticipation of a water event
    8. I removed fuse 33 from the rear fuse box to disable the trunk lights so I can leave it open in the garage without draining the battery or burning out the bulb.

    I had a perhaps a similar problem in my condo. I installed a glass enclosure on my balcony so If I closed the outer windows and the ones in the apartment, I got lots of condensation as the warm air in the enclosure cooled down at night (hitting the dew point) and a river of water off the windows. The manufacturer said this is common even with insulated glass and that I should leave one of the interior windows ajar to allow for venting the moist air. Do we have a condensation problem in our trunks depending on how or where we store them?

    My next step would be a leak test and then move on to replacing the gasket around the tail lights. Much more serious would be to pull the rear glass and have a new seal and trim installed..$$$$

    My cell phone pictures are very poor otherwise I'd have included them
    --Ken
    Last edited by Sansouci; 04-16-2019 at 07:51 PM.

  10. #10
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    Just thought I'd mention this in case you decide to pull the rear glass; At this time the rear seal is NLA, so if you decide to do it, proceed with extreme caution and care.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the headsup on the NLA seal.

  12. #12
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    So after leaving the trunk open in my (unheated) garage, the smell is much reduced. So I took the next step and bought a large bottle of Faux Fabreeze (Stop and Shop version) and periodically spritzed the trunk and all the carpet. It's mostly alcohol and I could probably whip up a gallon in the garage, but I'm getting lazy. After a few more days of spritzing, I will report back.
    Next step when the weather warms up is a spray test.

  13. #13
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    If you look at this thread, https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...ighlight=espoe, you will see I was chasing an odor and ended up tearing the whole car apart.

    Anyway, I stumbled upon odoban at Home Depot https://www.homedepot.com/p/OdoBan-1...61-G/202560626. I sprayed it into the padding of my seats when I took them out, under the dash, in the trunk, you name it. The miserable Smell that was in the whole car is gone for 10 bucks and a little elbow grease. If that doesn't cut it I have a friend that is a distributor for a product that will kill it.

    Now if you are concerned with mold, the first thing is to stop the fuel which is moisture. After that kill it with a cleaner and then be sure to remove it by wiping it down. If you don't remove it you are leaving behind spores that will bring it right back should it get damp. How do I know this? One word; Katrina! I became expert in Mold Remediation and Insurance even though I have no interest in either.

  14. #14
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by espoe View Post
    One word; Katrina! I became expert in Mold Remediation and Insurance even though I have no interest in either.


    Sounds familiar!
    I sell Motronic 013 ECU boost cut delete chips and drop in Tial conversions.
    09/1983 745i (stolen spring '13 around Houston, TX Achatgruen on nutria buffalo. 8481080)
    10/1984 745i
    11/1984 745i (will be for sale!)
    IH, Ford, MB, Volvo, and GM round out the pack.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfisher535is View Post
    Just thought I'd mention this in case you decide to pull the rear glass; At this time the rear seal is NLA, so if you decide to do it, proceed with extreme caution and care.
    I made some inquiries and am told the rear windshield is glued in place (just like the front) and is held in place with some clips. The black trim snaps over the clips. The related problem is fixing any rust in the mounting tracks. According to the BMW service manual, after the old PUC sealant is removed, any rust needs to sanded and then primed before moving on to the next step. I've got to find a competent body shop that does restoration who'll take the time and care to do it right. I called Safelight and they told me they don't do that kind of work, only replacing the glass even if the old one is OK.

    I think I killed to odor and am looking for a UV light I can leave in the trunk for a few days. But I will try that Home Depot product: Odoban.
    Last edited by Sansouci; 05-02-2019 at 07:07 AM.

  16. #16
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    Just to complete the loop. The leak turned out to be from the passenger side taillight seal. As mentioned above, the trunk as a weird sloper to it. The water would run in from the seal, across the trunk, then back into the rear drivers side footwell... how bizarre.... a little silicone on the old seal and it was good as new.
    1983 BMW 733i My current project (or at least one of them)
    2003 Volvo V70 5 Speed Current Daily Driver
    1993 300TE 4Matic Project wagon -sold
    1997 E290 Turbo Diesel Wagon -traded for above, an amazingly comfortable car to drive, great drivetrain, but the rust, oh my god the rust

    1992 BMW 525i -traded in
    1990 Silver 300TE -Sold Loved the wagon, hated the M103
    1985 Grey 380SE Diesel Conversion, 2.47 rear end, ABS -Sold, really should have kept this one
    1979 Silver 300D "The Silver Slug" -Sold

  17. #17
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    Yep. Same issue I had. I spent a lot of time working my brain where water under the passenger seat would have come from. It wasnít till I had everything out of the interior and hosed it down that I saw the interior water was from the furthest point from it. Crazy but at least you found it. Howís the odor? Were you able to knock it out?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  18. #18
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Sansouci View Post
    I made some inquiries and am told the rear windshield is glued in place (just like the front) and is held in place with some clips. The black trim snaps over the clips. The related problem is fixing any rust in the mounting tracks. According to the BMW service manual, after the old PUC sealant is removed, any rust needs to sanded and then primed before moving on to the next step. I've got to find a competent body shop that does restoration who'll take the time and care to do it right. I called Safelight and they told me they don't do that kind of work, only replacing the glass even if the old one is OK.

    I think I killed to odor and am looking for a UV light I can leave in the trunk for a few days. But I will try that Home Depot product: Odoban.


    What black trim? E23 have aluminum stuff. I have pulled multiple fronts and rears as well as smashed many just for gaskets, no glue to be found.
    I sell Motronic 013 ECU boost cut delete chips and drop in Tial conversions.
    09/1983 745i (stolen spring '13 around Houston, TX Achatgruen on nutria buffalo. 8481080)
    10/1984 745i
    11/1984 745i (will be for sale!)
    IH, Ford, MB, Volvo, and GM round out the pack.



  19. #19
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    Whoever told you the glass is urethaned in must not be familiar w/ these cars. Sounds like they are familiar with 1960s-1970s american cars if they are talking about urethane set glass w/ decorative clip on moldings.

    Steve H., Fredericksburg, VA
    1984 733i, 265/6 & M106 turbo swap project. Working AC!
    1985 745i, parting out

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BONDOSPECIAL View Post
    Whoever told you the glass is urethaned in must not be familiar w/ these cars. Sounds like they are familiar with 1960s-1970s american cars if they are talking about urethane set glass w/ decorative clip on moldings.
    It's a bit confusing because the OP has an e23, and I believe Sansouci has an e32, which is the later model windshield install. So there is actually 2 conversations in here.

  21. #21
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    Oh I missed that. E32 and E34 do have urethaned in glass w/ moldings. I wish E23 were like that, I hate dealing w/ the gasketed in glass so much.

    Steve H., Fredericksburg, VA
    1984 733i, 265/6 & M106 turbo swap project. Working AC!
    1985 745i, parting out

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