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Tracing Water leak / Roof Rail track & trim removed

Iwillnc

Well-Known Member
Messages
232
Location
NC
I’ve finally decided to trace down the water leak I’ve had for a couple years on my passenger side. As you’ll find out this has been an absolute mess of a search, I am still no closer to solving my problem.

I began by pulling down my head liner enough to see the metal and rule out several possible leak locations. I first cleaned off my antenna (2003 only FYI) and made sure it was sealed and secured better than it was from factory. Of course I checked my center lights, no water there. I checked the corner light, it’s still sealed well, as well as the trim bolt that goes into the truck body under the light. They are all well sealed and you can feel the back end of both the bolt and the light electrical - all bone dry. I finally noticed the water was entering at the extreme forward right between the sheet metal and the glass of the windshield. There is NO other possible leak location I determined.

I finally decided to pull back the windshield seal at the top and check for obvious leaks, there were none. I then filled the gap with some flowable window sealant in an effort to seal any leaks. I have tried and retried this 5-6 times now and could not seal the front.

Finally I decided to pull up the roof rail track in order to check the body seam seal, it is perfect.

I can only figure one thing, the water is leaking in further up the window seal and following a tunnel inside the sealant to the corner edge, there is no other possible explanation.

In my last ditch effort to solve this issue I have filled the entire seam all the way to the top, frankly I don’t possibly see how it could leak the way it is now. I am at a loss and feel I may just need to get the windshield resealed. This is not a permanent solution obviously, but my goal at this moment is to stop the water no matter what so I can slowly work to find the spot it’s leaking in.


By the way, if anyone braves pulling off the rails, go ahead and buy a new tube of RTV and seal those rear lights like you would the front. Unlike the front lights the rear cannot be accessed without removing the full rail.

Additionally the rail does NOT split, it looks like it should come apart into 3 pieces to be removed, this is wrong, the entire length of the rail must be removed***

I would post pictures of the removed rails and problem areas but it appears the site does not support my phone oddly.

 

alrock

El Diablo
Staff member
Messages
10,148
Location
Scottsdale
If you use the Tapatalk app on your phone the pics should upload. There are restrictions on the dimensions and overall size for the pics that can be uploaded so many people use hosting sites to place their pics and then link to them.
 

Iwillnc

Well-Known Member
Messages
232
Location
NC
I don’t have pictures just yet but I believe I may have solved this issue 4 days in. I noticed the body seam under the side marker light plastic trim there was a very slightly crack, I mean too small for a pin to go into, probably 1/2 inch long, I mean this crack is almost invisible. I temporarily filled the crack with some flowable sealer I had used on the window. And started spraying.

My only guess is there is a channel in the body seam that’s running up to the front windshield.

I have tested twice so far and I get a very slight amount of water - I can’t prove this isn’t from the last test or that there isn’t another very tiny crack in the body seam sealant.

However there is a HUGE difference - for once there aren’t drips of water going everywhere.

I plan to test this 5-6 more times and look for more cracks in the body seam.

I am very astute and pay a lot of attention to details, this has been absolute hell to find. I tried all the tricks, compressed air, soapy water, nothing has worked.

Once I have determined that this in fact the leak point I will begin stripping away other silicone and re glue the windshield rubber seal down. The actual leak points will be coated in RTV. I will also consider having the entire seam stripped and resealed at some point in the future.

This isn’t a problem solved for sure yet, I have failed enough times to know not to yell success yet - but this is documenting this for some owner in the future.
 

Iwillnc

Well-Known Member
Messages
232
Location
NC
Semi-big update

I was still getting a ton of water in and was able to trace it up the passenger side door to a body seam, so it was not coming from the door seal as it appeared but the sheet metal break where the upper panel was spot welded to the lower panel.

This could only mean one thing, the water was coming from higher up.

The floor board had over a gallon of water after one nights rain.

Out came the chisel and hammer, I knocked out the entire passenger side body seam seal as daunting as that was and filled it in with fresh seam sealer (still have to paint)

I checked the next day after a rain and there was about a thimble full of water in the rocker area.

Today we are having a very heavy rain and I am back to taking on water though significantly less water than it was. My headliner is dry, which is a first for a long time with this truck which means I did solve the main issue.

Now tracing this leak appears to be coming from the firewall, which if I remember correctly there was a recent thread about a leak in the cowl.
Which frankly sounds 10x worse than knocking out a roof body seam seal with no experience.
 

Zach

Mall Crawler
Messages
4,812
Location
So Cal
Semi-big update

I was still getting a ton of water in and was able to trace it up the passenger side door to a body seam, so it was not coming from the door seal as it appeared but the sheet metal break where the upper panel was spot welded to the lower panel.

This could only mean one thing, the water was coming from higher up.

The floor board had over a gallon of water after one nights rain.

Out came the chisel and hammer, I knocked out the entire passenger side body seam seal as daunting as that was and filled it in with fresh seam sealer (still have to paint)

I checked the next day after a rain and there was about a thimble full of water in the rocker area.

Today we are having a very heavy rain and I am back to taking on water though significantly less water than it was. My headliner is dry, which is a first for a long time with this truck which means I did solve the main issue.

Now tracing this leak appears to be coming from the firewall, which if I remember correctly there was a recent thread about a leak in the cowl.
Which frankly sounds 10x worse than knocking out a roof body seam seal with no experience.

Have you ever replaced the windshield? Have seen that before where they reseal it good
 

Iwillnc

Well-Known Member
Messages
232
Location
NC
No still have factory original windshield.

I also found where the drain for the sunroof can break off in the cowl and run down the sheet metal into the inside of the cab so that’s my next check.

Resealing the roof body seam seal made a big difference so I’m on the right track but still fighting an uphill battle.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

rascole

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,374
Location
Bellflower, CA
The factory captive nuts used for bolting down the plastic roof trim and rail mount are known to rust and break. I had several rust and ended up welding in all new nuts. The front 2 were rusted the worst.
 

Iwillnc

Well-Known Member
Messages
232
Location
NC
The factory captive nuts used for bolting down the plastic roof trim and rail mount are known to rust and break. I had several rust and ended up welding in all new nuts. The front 2 were rusted the worst.

Mine were checked and are in excellent shape I even used dielectric silicon on the bolts when reinstalling to be sure they would not leak


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Iwillnc

Well-Known Member
Messages
232
Location
NC
https://www.ebay.com/itm/174035410980

This is what helped me the most in stopping my leaks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Oh no I’m quite sure that is not my problem, I replace those every 5 years and my current ones only have a couple months on them. Replacing the body seam seal has stopped all wetness in the headliner completely, I can physically see the water coming from the firewall behind the HVAC system.


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MilamJR

Well-Known Member
Messages
789
Location
Alabama
Oh no I’m quite sure that is not my problem, I replace those every 5 years and my current ones only have a couple months on them. Replacing the body seam seal has stopped all wetness in the headliner completely, I can physically see the water coming from the firewall behind the HVAC system.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Glad you got it fixed.


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Iwillnc

Well-Known Member
Messages
232
Location
NC
Glad you got it fixed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Fixed the roof leak lol, still have water coming from firewall unfortunately.

Easily solved by parking the truck with the front end tilted toward the sky but doesn’t solve the problem permanently.


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