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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Facts/History

1999 NB
I have owned it since new
220,xxx miles
Never wrecked
TDI

The car resides in Western Washington (much rain), it has to be fixed.

Problem

After checking every possible way water could be leaking in to the front foot well on the front passenger side of the car, a major disassembly was undertaken. The water was coming in from the torque box in front of the passenger door. It was coming through the large lightening hole where the cable that goes from the cabin to the door passes through torque box. That cable then goes through the door jam and into the door.

I removed every part that penetrates the body in this area including the side marker light, door hinge surround, cable to the door, etc... all of these were then sealed. Water was still coming in.

Long story shorter, I obtained a camera snake to look in the torque box, and found that water is coming in through a body seam near the base of the large drain hole that drains water from the air plenum into the inner fender area. The plenum I am referencing is at the base of the windshield, the area that encloses the HVAC air filter, etc.. The seams inside of the plenum area are good. The seam in question is external to the drain hole.

The water dribbles in, runs down the inside of the torque box, and drips through the lightening hole and in to the cabin.

The wax body sealer has literally pulled away from one side of the joint in question, and that is where water is streaming in.

Removing the front end and resealing the body sealer at this joint is not much of an issue, just a real pain but not really a challenge, no problem.

This assumes this leak can even be fixed externally. The wax is there for a reason.

Regardless, does anyone have any recommendations for repairing the wax sealer? Which brand to use and what procedure? There are several brands of cavity sealer wax out there to use. Some the even come with long extension tubes.

It is a mess in torque box, dirty surfaces etc. Basically it is near impossible too clean and prep. Will new wax even stick and seal? Has anyone fixed this problem?



The alternative to repair is....burn it. At 220,000 it has lived a long a useful life. It is still on the original clutch. Lol....
 

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Where in western WA are you? Wish I could help you with this. I'm in Portland. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nope, not the heater core.

I scoped the torque box. I can watch the water as it comes through the body seam. The wax has actually cracked and separated from the joint where the water is coming in.

Thanks for the suggestion though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ah, are you a Timbers fan? Sounders till I die...

"Timbers, the best known reason to implement relegation in MLS" LOL

Seriously, thanks for the help offer. I would not wish this job on anyone. This car is 16 years old and not worth much at 220,000 miles.

I never through it would be finished off by body leaks, and truth be told both sides are doing it. I was just simplifying the write up.

I was just fishing for a solution I had not thought of, or confirmation the simple rattle can spray stuff would work for a fix. I really do not want to pull off the front end again and remove and replace the seam sealer. This in addition to the wax spray. What a bunch of work and if the wax spray does not work then it might all be a waste of time.

I asked my local VW dealer service department if they had seen this on any NBs and they indicated they had. Then they proceeded to tell me to spray soapy water into the cavity and pressurize it with air. Look for bubbles on the exposed side.

Really? Really?

Some one tell me how to seal the torque box in front of the door jamb for a pressure test on a MK4. This is why I only trust one guy at this particular stealership.
 

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And, I will offer up my suggestion. Does your NB have a sunroof?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I really appreciate those that take the time to offer suggestions. No Sun Roof.

I am going to try and figure out a way to get a good pic off of my Milwaukee borescope so the folks can see the water coming in at the body seam.

There was no way to see this leak with out the borescope, deep in the torque box.

Again, thanks for everyone's suggestions. Pics coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Pic from boroscope driver's side upper torque box. The borescope is overly sensitive to light. There is actually piece of sheet metal set squarely in the middle of the tube, but all around the edges it was open. To the borescope it looks like a large open hole. This particular torque tube goes from the door post all of the way to the front of the car. It is the tube on top of the inner apron in the engine compartment.

I purchased this car new, and I have always had just a little more dampness, a little more engine fumes than I would have expected, but I did not really think I had a problem until about 6 years ago when the driver's side began to have a slight water problem. Living here in Washington, you get used to tracking water into your car. Eventually I realized I had a problem, and could never figure it out. Eventually I put duct tape over the large lightening hole in the lower fool well area where the water was coming in. I have had to replace the tape twice over the last 6 years.

When I started having problems on the passenger side I realized that the water was coming from the torque box, the same place it was coming from on the driver's side. The only way to see the problem was to purchase a borescope.


Regardless, on the drivers side I have had a problem since it was new and did not know it. As you can see in the pic there is/was no sealing foam on the driver's side to plug the torque tube. But the driver's side torque box did not really leak water until there was a general failure of the seam sealer and wax sealant just below the window behind the strut tower. This has now occurred on both sides of the car. I am guessing this happened about 6 years ago on the driver's side and in the last year or so on the passenger side.

Of note is that the passenger side does have a plug of foam to seal the tube to prevent fumes and moisture from entering the cabin on that side.

More pics to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This pic is taken just behind and below the top most bolt hole (green color) for the driver's side fender. The black tube is the hood release cable. The silver colored implement is a dental pic. I used the dental pic to locate where the water was coming in, after moving the hose around and waiting for water to flow in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
This is a pic of the same location on the passenger side. The yellow coloring is the repair wax sealant that dribbled out (from the inside) during the sealing process.

Edit...

During sealing process = When I repaired it. When I resealed this area I removed a nearby body plug first and inserted the extension wand. Then I sprayed in the sealing wax and it came out through this crack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
this pic is looking at the passenger side of the air plenum with the wiring plug for the side marker light removed. The black tube going into the hole is the borescope. This particular torque box goes all of the way from the door post to the front of the car. The inner apron in the engine compartment ties into this tube as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is the borescope going in on the driver's side. Who would have suspected a major manufacturing screw up? What a surprise. I guess the lesson here is never purchase a new model inside of the first year of production.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Driver's side just below the top bolt hole for the fender. The sheet metal separated here allowing water to dribble in. The dental pic really helped to find the deep cracks. A lot of the cracks are just surface cracks in the paint and are not a problem. Keep in mind this car is 16 years old.
 

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I wonder; if this would be something, that you should contact VW about? It seems like a long shot but the anticorrosion warranty? I guess; at this point, do you think you can repair the problem? :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
This is a little confusing, and hard to believe but true.

Just where the water is falling from the tube, adjacent to that body tab is a black plastic plug. This plug, on both sides of my car were lose. When I removed them I could see that water was flowing in around them. I found that removing them alone, would allow water to flow into the car.

The leaks inside of the torque tube (from removing this plug) on the passenger side were in the same place as if water was inserted through the cracks in the top the tube. Somehow the water would flow along the same path into the passenger area. To reiterate leaks on the passenger side were through the sheet metal seams.

On the driver's side if I removed the plug I would get a flood in the car. This was because the foam plug was never installed. The water would just flow in.
 

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So, the next step; buy new plugs and use permanent body sealer to fix all the leaks? :confused:

3M: makes many different sealants; maybe, contact them for help, finding a correct sealant for your application?

You can call 3M Collision Repair Solutions Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM CST (Central Standard Time) at 1-877-MMM-CARS (1-877-666-2277).

Seam Sealers - Products

http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawebserver?mwsId=66666UuZjcFSLXTtOxT2OxfaEVuQEcuZgVs6EVs6E666666--

http://3mcollision.com/how-to/body-department

Your definitely; out of the corrosion warranty but there is a interesting warranty manual from VW.

http://www.vwccrf.com/assets/ref/ccrf/Paint_Corrosion_Guidelines_Claim_Coding_Manual.pdf

Its a shame; you weren't in on the water ingress suit against VW.

https://wateringresssettlement2.com/Home.aspx
 
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