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Trunk Leak Mystery
Old 02-27-2010, 04:39 PM   #1
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Trunk Leak Mystery

I've had this problem for years. If our Echo is out overnight, or driven in the rain, we find things are soaked in the trunk, and there are about two cups of water in the spare tire well.

I've gotten in the trunk with a bright work light, and had Lena spray the hose all over the trunk area. We then switch places, and try some more, but we never get a single drop to come into the trunk.

Visual inspection doesn't show any places where the water might get in.

It doesn't seem to be coming up from below, because the things in the trunk are wet.

A small amount can dribble in if I open the trunk when there is water sitting on it, but just a tablespoon or two.

After this last time, I left the car out in the rain, and no water came in. One guess is that a stick or something gets stuck under the lid, but I think I'd notice that.

Any ideas of how this can happen?
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:15 PM   #2
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try squirting the water around the rear window. I had a car where it was leaking in the between the window and the rubber seal.
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:27 PM   #3
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I had a similar problem with DW's Taurus so I googled "Taurus trunk leak" and found a number of forums where people described the issue and its solution. It turned out the leak was between the upright pinch flange (where the weather strip is attached to the sheetmetal) and the weather strip itself. I slopped up the weather strip with clean silicon caulk and reinstalled it, effectively gluing it to the body. Your issue could be completely different, but try the google thing. Also look for a loose rubber plug on the underside.
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:38 PM   #4
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TA, my suggestions:

Park car in the same location and attitude that it has collected water in the trunk before.
Forget the hose. It's a poor approximator of rainfall. Use a sprinkling can instead, and be reasonable at the rate you are pouring water on. Just do it longer.
Pour water on the roof, too, and in the roof rain gutters, assuming an Echo has rain gutters on the roof edges.
Rear window, as mentioned by jwkde. But use the sprinkling can to act as rainfall.

Also, open the trunk lid, and see how water that flows down the sheet metal, and flows into the gap created between the front edge of the trunk lid and the body, see how that is handled. Usually a rain gutter type effect that will direct water to each side, and down the back of the car. Any voids in the sheet metal in there? Look particularly close at seams in the steel. It only takes a small opening or crack.

Also look at the trunk weatherstrip where it touches the underside of the trunk lid, at the forward edge of the lid. If it rains just right, water can flow down a back window, over sheet metal, and sort of "jump" over the gap between the body and the front edge of the trunk lid. A film of water can divert underneath the edge of the lid, and hit that seal real good.

I'm assuming this car does not have a sunroof.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:31 AM   #5
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Do you wash the car at a drive-thru car wash? Wife had a T-Bird that she ran through the car wash every 2 weeks and it did that. The weather-strip gasket had shrunk and separated below the latch, leaving a 2-inch gap, and everytime she went to the car wash it would blow water through that gap. My LBYM solution was taking duct-tape and bridging the gap--cheap, but worked.
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:33 AM   #6
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Its probably a shrinking gasket somewhere. I had one in the back door of my jeep and water would get in on occasion.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:38 PM   #7
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I've gotten in the trunk with a bright work light, and had Lena spray the hose all over the trunk area. We then switch places, and try some more, but we never get a single drop to come into the trunk.
You two must trust each other implicitly!! We had a guy at work who said he could jump, flat footed from the floor into a steel-grate laundry basket. Sure enough, he could. Soon as he landed inside the basked, we closed the lid on him. Paraded his hiney all around the plant to the delight of all (except him, of course). There was some water involved at one point and we finally began to worry for his (well, actually our) safety upon letting him out. A brave soul slipped the catch and we all ran like chickens. We even wrote poems and songs about the incident and presented same to him upon his retirement. He had cooled down by then - but just barely.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:03 AM   #8
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I don't remember the design of your car but if I can let you know how i repaired our leak in the last car. It was a Pontiac Bonneville and I couldn't find the leak either. Finally a fellow Bonneville owner had the same problem and told me it was comming from the rear tail light assembly. The section that bolts the lens assembley to the shell broke loose and the seal was no longer tight so the water would eventually leak though the weather stripping seal around the rear tail light assembly. I epoxied the broken plastic part and the problem was solved permanantly. I always thought it was the seal around the weather stripping to the trunk since that was the only opening to the trunk but I was wrong.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:58 AM   #9
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One other thing that can be a problem.... the water might be rising from somewhere... it might puddle when it is raining... and only leak if it rans a lot... your hose spraying just does not enough time to get it to where it leaks...

If you are only getting leaks some of the time when it rains.... take note of how long it rained before you saw water... then make sure you are in the trunk that amount of time when looking....
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:48 PM   #10
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What does Toyota say?
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:47 PM   #11
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What does Toyota say?
"Oh what a feeling....."
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:19 PM   #12
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What does Toyota say?
Look out!
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:48 AM   #13
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Maybe this thread has devolved to the point where someone should suggest the most obvious solution. I’m sure a special edition could be arranged for this pervasive leaking problem.

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Old 03-02-2010, 08:08 AM   #14
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Thanks for the tips. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:09 PM   #15
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I second the rear tail lights. Check to make sure it is properly bolted in and the tail light casing is properly sealed.

Also on my car the antenna wasn't properly sealed and water leaked through there. You can get some sort of silicone seal from home depot or lowes to seal it up.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:06 PM   #16
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Update

This problem comes up once a year, when Jenny visits, and the car is left outside during a winter rainstorm.

Well, I may have finally solved it. I can get a good stream of water leaking in if I direct the hose spray onto the keyhole. Even if it is a simulated rain shower, and not a strong stream, there is some water leaking in.

Anyone heard of that being the source of a leak?

Next test will be to leave the car out during a strong storm with dry rags right below the keyhole. If they get saturated, then that's the problem.

A solution may be trickier.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:39 PM   #17
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Did you have someone in the trunk with a flashlight and someone with a holes? Is that how you determined it was comming from the keyhole, if so I'm actually surprised.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:56 PM   #18
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It might be a situation when they cut the hole opening, it was a little too big. You may want to try to use a good quality clear caulk and try to use a toothpick to apply it as thinly as possible to stop the leak. Best to apply on the outside, but you may be able to do it from the insde too.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:56 PM   #19
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Did you have someone in the trunk with a flashlight and someone with a holes?
Al, I'm eagerly awaiting your answer on this one...
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:01 PM   #20
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Al, I'm eagerly awaiting your answer on this one...
...must resist...
this slow pitch is Al's turn at the plate....
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