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Water Leak From The Roof, Front Roof Lining All Along Is Wet.....


Justin Smith
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ARGHHHHHHHH ! ! !

As I was driving home I changed gear and I felt a drop of water on my hand. I`ve had leaks through ceilings at home so instinctively looked up and sure enough there was drops of water coming out by the side of the interior light fitting. Closer inspection revealed that the front of the roof lining (where it abuts the windscreen) was wet along its entire length, there was water all over the front of the stereo, and some water in the trinket tray behind the gear lever. I don`t actually understand how the water could be spread over such a wide area of the car ! My Focus has always seemed to fog up very easily inside but apart from that I have never noticed any evidence of water leaks before so I a little bemused by the fact it`s suddenly become so bad.

Is this type of roof water leak common and what is the cure ?

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Has it had a replacement windscreen at some point? Have a look as there could be a dodgy seal on it. Masking tape a hosepipe on your roof with the end in the windscreen channel and let it trickle for a while to rule this out.

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The Ariel base can leak pop the light out and you may find its coming from there theres a rubber seal that just rots away or it gets loose and wont seal properly as there's a locating hole in the roof it runs down towards the windscreen and because the roof lining has a lip spreads across it

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I stripped down the aerial, this article helped, and found that there was no sealing gasket fitted between the aerial and the roof at all ! I must say it didn`t look like there`d ever been one there, and close inspection of the linked to graphic doesn`t seem to show one either. If that amount of water from the leak has come from that aerial fitting I`d be at a loss to explain how it all got through, maybe it runs down the aerial and finds its way through the base / roof joint ? ! Rather disappointingly there didn`t seem to be much evidence of water ingress beneath the aerial fitting, even allowing for the fact I`d left a dehumidifier on in the car overnight ! Anyway, I refitted the aerial base with a smear of silicone beneath it and we`ll see if that cures the water leak.

Whilst I was at it I checked the drain holes in the sun roof, pouring water in at the top resulting in pools of water behind the front wheels, so I assume there is no problem with them.

If the leak is still present it must be the windscreen......

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Try the hosepipe. I would have done that first to be honest as its the easiest test.

I did actually try the sun roof drain holes before the aerial base, I just forgot to write it on the first draft !

I used a jug of water and a funnel to direct the water straight into the drainage channels, thus, if water appeared by the front wheels, it must have come from the sunroof drains.

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Unfortunately I got into the car today to find more water..... I assume it isn`t the sunroof drain holes because water drains through as mentioned above, nor the aerial attachment as I`ve now siliconed that. The only other thing I can think of is the windscreen seal at the top. Am I right to conclude that and if it is that how difficult is it to cure ? I mean properly as opposed to tying to smear silicone on it, is that a bodge, or is that how a garage would cure it ? ! ?

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Have you tested it yet?

It would be a new windscreen i think to do the job properly if it is the seal as i would imagine it to be near impossible to remove it without damaging it. Give a local windscreen company a call for a quote to re-seal it and see what they say

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Have you tested it yet?

It would be a new windscreen i think to do the job properly if it is the seal as i would imagine it to be near impossible to remove it without damaging it. Give a local windscreen company a call for a quote to re-seal it and see what they say

Bleedin` hell, particularly for a heated windscreen, that sounds expensive.......

Maybe silicone isn`t such a bad idea ! Only joking, well half joking.....

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Guy in work was quoted £60 for autoglass to come out, remove and replace/reseal his windscreen, try phoning them. His car btw was a mk6 facelift fiesta.

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Guy in work was quoted £60 for autoglass to come out, remove and replace/reseal his windscreen, try phoning them. His car btw was a mk6 facelift fiesta.

Thats a good price. I wasn't sure if it was possible or not to remove it without damaging it. Good to know!;)

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Justin, you are in the same position that I was in a year or so ago.

The Focus I purchased had previously had a new front screen fitted. It was fine in the dry but after heavy rain and parked at a particular angle it would leak just as you describe.

It wasn't the aerial. Definitely coming from the top centre of the screen.

The advice from other posts here was to remove the headlining and apply sealer around the earthing strap which may not have been properly finished when the screen was replaced. I balked at this, too difficult for me!

I decided to seal up the screen from the outside by filling the gap behind the rubber gasket between the top of the glass and the forward edge of the roof.

But which sealer to use? Advice here and independently was that regular silicone sealer is NOT compatible with the stuff now used on vehicle windscreens.This is the one I used

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Windscreen-Sealant-Window-Sunroof-Cluster-Leak-light-Repair-Sealer-black-/221930842939?hash=item33ac1beb3b

I put up with the leak till the weather warmed up because I wanted to have the sealant into a dry area. A few strategically placed old towels kept the gearstick and seat area dry till then.

After a spell of a couple of weeks hot sunshine and no rain, I started. Pulling back the gasket is not that easy, but with a bit of fiddling it gets better with practise.

Beginning at one side of the screen and with the cartridge in the applicator

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SEALANT-TUBE-CARTRIDGE-GUN-SILICONE-MASTIC-CAULK-APPLICATOR-SKELETON-TRIGGER-/371382316187?hash=item56781c6c9b:g:jLsAAOSwHnFVo3UL

I pumped the stuff in until it was coming back up again. It needed more than half of the cartridge to fill across the top.

There has never been a drop of water through since.

Let us know how you get on.

ScaniaPBman.

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Thats a good price. I wasn't sure if it was possible or not to remove it without damaging it. Good to know! ;)

It's only £50-£75 excess to have a new screen fitted on insurance, better off doing that lol!
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Guy in work was quoted £60 for autoglass to come out, remove and replace/reseal his windscreen, try phoning them. His car btw was a mk6 facelift fiesta.

I phoned Autoglass for a quote, they said to remove and replace my screen would be £126 and there was a good chance the screen would crack in which case it would cost £533 for a new screen. I then phoned a local windscreen replacement company (Bees of Sheffield), who said they thought it`d be more helpful if they could to see it. He was very helpful and said if it had a Ford branded screen it was probably original and therefore less likely to be the cause of the leak. In actual fact my screen is branded Pilkington so, he said, that implied it had been fitted aftermarket, which it had as it happens because the bottom trim wan`t fitted correctly !

He also said he didn`t think the screen was the cause of the leak (though he couldn`t be sure) because :

1 When he shut the door no water or bubbles / froth came out of the (wet) seal.

2 If anything there was an excess of sealant (across the top of the screen) rather than an insufficiency !

3 He said the screen wasn`t flexing at all when he pushed it at the top.

He quoted £85 to refit the screen (plus £15 for a new trim if needed), and £300 for a new screen (heated with the rain sensor) if needed. He reckoned there was about a 50% chance of screen cracking when taken off......

Anyway, I`ve temporarily put a tape across the top of the screen (covering the joint between the screen and the body shell) to see if that cures it. If it stops it`s got to be the windscreen seal, if it doesn`t then it must be something else.

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Justin, you are in the same position that I was in a year or so ago.

The Focus I purchased had previously had a new front screen fitted. It was fine in the dry but after heavy rain and parked at a particular angle it would leak just as you describe.

It wasn't the aerial. Definitely coming from the top centre of the screen.

The advice from other posts here was to remove the headlining and apply sealer around the earthing strap which may not have been properly finished when the screen was replaced. I balked at this, too difficult for me!

I decided to seal up the screen from the outside by filling the gap behind the rubber gasket between the top of the glass and the forward edge of the roof.

But which sealer to use? Advice here and independently was that regular silicone sealer is NOT compatible with the stuff now used on vehicle windscreens.This is the one I used

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Windscreen-Sealant-Window-Sunroof-Cluster-Leak-light-Repair-Sealer-black-/221930842939?hash=item33ac1beb3b

I put up with the leak till the weather warmed up because I wanted to have the sealant into a dry area. A few strategically placed old towels kept the gearstick and seat area dry till then.

After a spell of a couple of weeks hot sunshine and no rain, I started. Pulling back the gasket is not that easy, but with a bit of fiddling it gets better with practise.

Beginning at one side of the screen and with the cartridge in the applicator

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SEALANT-TUBE-CARTRIDGE-GUN-SILICONE-MASTIC-CAULK-APPLICATOR-SKELETON-TRIGGER-/371382316187?hash=item56781c6c9b:g:jLsAAOSwHnFVo3UL

I pumped the stuff in until it was coming back up again. It needed more than half of the cartridge to fill across the top.

There has never been a drop of water through since.

Let us know how you get on.

ScaniaPBman.

Thanks SPB I may end up doing this if the it proves that the water is coming from the screen top. As mentioned above I have a wide piece of see through waterproof tape spanning the gap as we speak !

Have you any more hints on pulling back the gasket ? ! ?

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Firstly, I also tried sealing the top of the screen with high quality duct tape but it made no difference. The water kept coming in. I suspect that it was entering from the top corner and running across. Try taping right down the side as well.

Secondly prising the gasket back was indeed tricky. I fashioned a piece of sturdy plastic to a point and eased it in under the gasket at the top corner then slid it across to where I was working. You need something softer than the paint to stop scratching. Once you get the plastic piece to where you want, the nozzle of the sealant cartridge can be pushed in to the cavity through the small gap either side the plastic. It took me several attempts to sort this out, just have a go yourself. I am sure you will come up with something better. How about a wooden clothes peg? Remember, the sealant recommended never actually sets hard.

ScaniaPBman.

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Excellent advice SPB.

I have got a slight worry, did I read somewhere that the windscreen was an integral part of the strength of the car and therefore, one assumes, if it isn`t fully bonded to the body Shell (and a water leak hints it may not be) that may have a significant effect on the crashworthiness of the vehicle ? Or is that just a sales ploy from the windscreen manufacturers / fitters ? ! ?

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Excellent advice SPB.

I have got a slight worry, did I read somewhere that the windscreen was an integral part of the strength of the car and therefore, one assumes, if it isn`t fully bonded to the body shell (and a water leak hints it may not be) that may have a significant effect on the crashworthiness of the vehicle ? Or is that just a sales ploy from the windscreen manufacturers / fitters ? ! ?

It's true - up to 30% of a vehicles' structural integrity is in the windscreen

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I`m assuming you don`t work for a windscreen company ! But seriously, how much strength could be compromised by a less then perfect bond at the top ? And, more to the pint, would a small water leak imply a significantly weaker bond ?

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You assume correctly - I'm retired - what is work ? :)

I'm not a windscreen fitter so the precise % of reduction in your vehicles' integrity in your unique case is simply unknown, but your vehicles' structural integrity has been reduced.

I would suggest that yes, water ingress suggests a less than a 100 % perfect bond & therefore a weaker bond.

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  • 5 months later...
On 07/01/2016 at 9:58 AM, ScaniaPBman said:

Justin, you are in the same position that I was in a year or so ago.

The Focus I purchased had previously had a new front screen fitted. It was fine in the dry but after heavy rain and parked at a particular angle it would leak just as you describe.

It wasn't the aerial. Definitely coming from the top centre of the screen.

The advice from other posts here was to remove the headlining and apply sealer around the earthing strap which may not have been properly finished when the screen was replaced. I balked at this, too difficult for me!

I decided to seal up the screen from the outside by filling the gap behind the rubber gasket between the top of the glass and the forward edge of the roof.

But which sealer to use? Advice here and independently was that regular silicone sealer is NOT compatible with the stuff now used on vehicle windscreens.This is the one I used

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Windscreen-Sealant-Window-Sunroof-Cluster-Leak-light-Repair-Sealer-black-/221930842939?hash=item33ac1beb3b

I put up with the leak till the weather warmed up because I wanted to have the sealant into a dry area. A few strategically placed old towels kept the gearstick and seat area dry till then.

After a spell of a couple of weeks hot sunshine and no rain, I started. Pulling back the gasket is not that easy, but with a bit of fiddling it gets better with practise.

Beginning at one side of the screen and with the cartridge in the applicator

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SEALANT-TUBE-CARTRIDGE-GUN-SILICONE-MASTIC-CAULK-APPLICATOR-SKELETON-TRIGGER-/371382316187?hash=item56781c6c9b:g:jLsAAOSwHnFVo3UL

I pumped the stuff in until it was coming back up again. It needed more than half of the cartridge to fill across the top.

There has never been a drop of water through since.

Let us know how you get on.

ScaniaPBman.

I finally got round to ordering some of that sealant, it did at least mean the tape across the top of the windscreen was there for 6 months and was a good test that the water was definitely coming from there !

I ordered the sealant at work but when I got home and examined the windscreen edge closely (to check how I`d get the sealant in) it seems there is a seal / trim missing, see picture. I checked another ford Focus in the swimming pool car park and it confirmed that the trim / seal isn`t there ! I take it there is now nowhere for the sealant to go so it wouldn`t work ?. 

What can I do ? ! ?

Am I right in assuming that, even if I managed to get one of the seals fitted, it wouldn`t actually cure the leak ? It looks more like a trim than a water seal. I`d have thought the actual bonding of the windscreen to the body is the seal ? Am I right or wrong ?

Incidentally I was talking to a windscreen fitter in Sheffield who said the actual cause of the leak is that Focus cars of the same model as mine have an awkward plug / socket arrangement for the heated screen and it`s that which sometimes makes the water seal fail. He said the later model has a connection which doesn`t affect the seal so much.

Ford Focus -  missing windscreen trim.jpg

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