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Sever water damage

  #1  
Old 02-10-2009, 05:24 PM
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Default Sever water damage

2001 Sebring Convertible

During the ice storm(s) that passed through the area recently, my car got a lot of water inside. This hasn't happened before, so I think the cold and ice caused the driver's window and quarter-window to not seal completely. Since it was all frozen, I didn't do anything about it until the area thawed. About that time I noticed a mildewy smell when the heater was on through the floor vents (not any other vent)

I took the car to a car wash, vacuumed, foamed, vacuumed again. Two days later (yesterday) the car still seemed a lot wetter than it should, so I took the passenger and rear seats out and put the top down so the sun could dry it up. Today, I looked under the carpet and found a lot of standing water.

Doing what anyone else would do; I tore the driver's seat up, took out the center console, took out the lower dash, and ripped up the carpet. There was a whole lot of water under and in there. No stains or mildew smell, so I think all the water is from last week.

Questions;

1) I could not see a way get the rubber right under the dash on the floor up without removing structural beams. Not even sure I have the tools to do it. Very wet there, but I think it will drain and I can get it with a towel later. Should I just let it sit and dry?

2) Carpet is sitting in my bathtub. It will not be even close to dry by the morning. I will be able to lay it out in a spare room (spare office at work, I don't want that in my house) to dry. I'll be calling an upholsterer to see what can be done, but I'm cheap. Other than hitting a fabric store for new padding, what could/should I do?

3) With the mildew smell coming only from the floor vents, can I assume that it was just the carpet or should I find some way to clean the vents. How do I clean them?

4) My car is torn apart. What other repairs/maintenance should I do with everything out of the way?

Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 02-11-2009, 03:08 PM
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Call your insurance agent and see if you are covered for flood/storm damage.

Attack the rugs and upholstery with a wet/dry shop vac and get as much water out as you can. The faster it dries the less likelihood of mildew there is.

Were you able to see a pattern that leads to any conclusion as to where the water came in? You said you drove it through the car wash. Did any leaks show up there?

Was it wet on both sides? Front and rear?

Have you checked the drain tube for the A/C plenum? If that's plugged, it could cause a leak in a heavy rain on both sides, but I can't see that it would get the seats wet.

There are kits you can but to kill mildew and mold inside the A/C unit. They have long nozzles for spraying mildewcide in there.
 
  #3  
Old 02-11-2009, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dcotter0579 View Post
Call your insurance agent and see if you are covered for flood/storm damage.
Not worth it to me. Unless you think it would be worse than just the carpet, the repair will be much less than the deductible.


Originally Posted by dcotter0579 View Post
Were you able to see a pattern that leads to any conclusion as to where the water came in? You said you drove it through the car wash. Did any leaks show up there?
I only use the do-it-yourself washes now. But I did that prior to noticing the lake in my car. There was a pretty good storm this afternoon; no new water.

Originally Posted by dcotter0579 View Post
Was it wet on both sides? Front and rear?
Both sides, front and rear. A few gallons total, my guess.

Originally Posted by dcotter0579 View Post
Have you checked the drain tube for the A/C plenum? If that's plugged, it could cause a leak in a heavy rain on both sides, but I can't see that it would get the seats wet.
I did not. I'll check that tomorrow. The seats did not get wet, I just removed them to do a complete vacuum. And to get the carpet out.

Originally Posted by dcotter0579 View Post
There are kits you can but to kill mildew and mold inside the A/C unit. They have long nozzles for spraying mildewcide in there.
I went to Autozone for something like that. The clerk had no clue what I was talking about. I'll try a different one and see if I can find the mildewcide.

The carpet was almost completely dry this afternoon. I think it will be done tomorrow. Then I'll hit it with some bleach on the padding side and vinegar on the carpet side and let it dry again. I might still need to take it to an upholsterer to get new staples put in from where the plastic strips tore from the carpet, but that's it. Hopefully I'll get another big storm soon so I can check for more leaks, but I really think my problem was temporary.

MRR

Does the 2001 have a cabin filter? The manual doesn't mention one and I cannot find one in an auto parts store, but I figure someone here might know for certain.
 
  #4  
Old 02-12-2009, 11:53 AM
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I've used an A/C cleaning kit made by DWD2. I think they sell it at ackits.com, but you could google it. You drill a small hole near the evaporator, attach a hose and spray the foam in-- it foams up through the whole system then runs out the A/C drain. It works great.

I also have a lot of mildew under my carpet-- I think it started long before I bought the car. Anyway, in the spring I'm planning to just buy a new carpet-- there's an ebay seller that has pre-formed carpets for about $190 and I'm planning to try that. You can get the carpet with or without the factory-style jute padding. I'm thinking about getting it without and using a non-organic sound/heat insulation so I won't have a repeat in case it gets wet again.
 
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:20 PM
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No cabin air filter in the 2001.
 
  #6  
Old 02-13-2009, 05:01 PM
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Dealer said that a mouse might have made its way into the drain; pretty clogged.

Washed the car today. No unusual leaking from the windows. Possible leaking from the driver's side floorboard area. It's hard to tell because that area hasn't dried yet. Didn't notice anything pouring out. Certainly no leaking from anywhere else.

MRR
 
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:05 PM
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Probably not a mouse. Small leaves can get down into the plenum through the grate and can find their way into the drain tube. Then general dirt and bugs can finish the job of plugging it up.
 
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:08 PM
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One more thing. If you can, put a small fan inside the car to keep the air moving over the wet rugs. It'll take days to dry them out completely but anything you can do to speed up the process is good.
 
  #9  
Old 02-13-2009, 08:54 PM
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Carpet's already been pulled out of there. Just a small amount of water left in some padding in driver's front. Believe it will be gone tomorrow. Thanks for all the help.

MRR
 
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