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sigtauenus

2000 Rx 300 Water On Floor Problem

14 posts in this topic

2000 RX 300, 140,000 miles, owned approx 1 year. For the past week or so, my wife has been complaining about a smell in the car, and we thought it was something dropped by the kids (3 and 5) who are terrible about dropping anything from cheerios and gold fish to almost whole cereal bars behind the seat. Friday night my wife came home from work and started cleaning out the car, and came in for some paper towels saying the kids spilled something in the back seat. She came back shortly after saying the carpet was soaked.

Saturday morning we looked at it again and put a home dehumidifier in the rear cargo area and left the car closed up hoping it would pull the moisture out of the carpet. After a few hours and a disappointingly little bit of water in the dehumidifier bucket, I looked at the carpet again and realized this was a larger problem. It took me 3 hours, but I gutted the interior, removing the seats, center console, some of the edge trim and pulled the carpet out.

The under padding was soaked. I took the opportunity to spray off the carpet with the hose, hopefully rinsing all of the stagnant water out of the carpet, and then set it out to dry. I then went back and looked over the car more thoroughly. The firewall pad seems to be a rubber layer on top and then a fibrous layer underneath. That too is soaked from what I can tell. Every low spot in the floor pan had sitting water in it. I looked into the cargo area and there was standing water in the spare tire well. I took pictures of it all, but don't know at this point that it is worth posting them.

I used some towels and dried up all the water I could find, and then put the seats back in so we could still drive the car. I will wait until we figure out what is going on before putting the carpet back in.

I am in Virginia Beach, and yesterday and today the weather was very nice, very dry. The carpet was outside overnight and at this point is almost completely dry. Actually the carpet itself is dry, but the padding has some damp areas still. If tomorrow's forecast is nice, I'll put it out again in the morning and that should take care of the carpet.

We drove the car around most of the afternoon running errands and then my wife went into work for a meeting. Tonight she just came back and said there is water on the floor again. There was a small bit of pooled water in front of the rear seats, and also some small puddles in the spare tire well. I am not sure if this is residual water that may be working out from under the sound deadener or if it is fresh from wherever it is coming from.

I did some searches and found problems with the a/c drain, a/c evaporator case cracks, windshield leaks, door seal leaks, and sunroof drain tubes clogged or disconnected. None of these problems explain the extent of the water we are experiencing.

The previous week or so has seen an excessive amount of rain in this area. We normally keep the car in the garage but were doing some cleaning and taking stuff to salvation army, so the garage was full of clutter so the car was out in the rain the whole time. I methodically and liberally used the garden hose to check all the normal suspects, starting at the front and bottom and working my way up and back. There was no indication of water entering the vehicle after dumping water on it continuously for a good 10 minutes or so.

I checked the a/c drain and it is working fine. If a single seal had leaked, or if we had left a door open or a window down, I would think there would be some other indication of water in the vehicle besides just the carpet being wet. If enough water was coming in to soak the carpet and padding, such as with a door ajar or window open, then surely there would have been pooled water on the leather seats or console, etc. Also considering the rear axle hump between the rear seat and the spare tire well, it seems unlikely that a leak sourced in the very front or the very back would be able to flow past that hump and soak the rest of the vehicle. The only thing that makes any sense is the car literally being flooded and my wife says she did not drive the car though flood waters (the storm drains in our subdivision has been known to back-up during severe storms, and the low area near the subdivision exit floods about 2-3 feet deep).

I have a water leak specialist scheduled to come check the car out tomorrow, but I suspect he will do the same thing I did with the hose and checking for leaks.

Are there any suggestions for what I can do to identify the source of the water?

Also, in the past week, the factory stereo stopped working. Actually, all indications on the display are that the stereo comes on and all functions seem to work, including all display functions with the cd changer, but there is no noise at all coming from the speakers. I found a pioneer unit with a speaker, possibly a subwoofer, under the passenger seat, and another pioneer unit, possibly an amp, behind the rear passenger seat. I suspect that one or both of these have water damage, but with no wiring diagrams or drawing of all the sound system components, it will be challenging to identify what part has failed. This is a minor issue compared to the obvious main problem, but any suggestions on this would be appreciated as well.

As far as I can tell, everything else on the car is working fine.

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I did water leaks many years ago in the course of the work that I did and I never had a leak that I couldn't find the source of. I am amazed that you said you ran the water for a good 10 minutes and found no leak. Water is a good lubricant (only in this circumstance) and sometimes wouldn't show up for a little while with one on the hose and the other in the car watching (generally standing on your head). But even in tough leaks, as soon as it "lubed" it's own path, it came in with ease. If you have that much water coming in, it has to show it's ugly head after while. It's not raining INSIDE the car is it? :lol:

I don't know how you did the water test, but I wouldn't do it with a sprayer end on the hose, just straight hose so you can introduce plenty of water.

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90% of the time the source of a leak such as you've described is one or more of the sunroof drain lines being clogged by years of falling debris, especially on a vehicle as old as yours. If this vehicle has never had its drain lines blown out with compressed air to clear the built-up debris, I can almost guarantee you that's your culprit. Regardless of what your "leak specialist" determines and recommends, be sure to blow out those drain lines....

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90% of the time the source of a leak such as you've described is one or more of the sunroof drain lines being clogged by years of falling debris, especially on a vehicle as old as yours. If this vehicle has never had its drain lines blown out with compressed air to clear the built-up debris, I can almost guarantee you that's your culprit. Regardless of what your "leak specialist" determines and recommends, be sure to blow out those drain lines....

Thanks for the tip. I just talked to the leak specialist, he said $160-250 on average. Considering I saw references to $3400 to have stuff like this fixed at the Lexus dealer, including having the carpet replaced, I do not mind paying somebody 2 bills to identify what the source of the leak really is and prevent more extensive damage than I'm already facing.

Also, I found the technical manuals here in the forums for the '99 RX 300 and from what I can tell the sound system is close enough to '00 that I can use the troubleshooting procedures in the body electrical manual to find the culprit with the stereo problem. Given what I already know and have checked already, I suspect it is the power amplifier got wet or a wire harness connector is shorting to ground due to being wet.

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As a follow up, for $180 I found out it was the seals on the back side of the taillights. Somebody had changed out a bulb at some time and did not put the wire loom back in the clip, and wire was caught in the seal of one of the pegs that goes into the quarter to align the light. So then water came into the well under the storage compartment on the side, overflowed into the spare tire well, and then overflowed over into the front of the car. The $180 included reassembly of everything removed to identify the leak source as well as a 1 year warranty.

The reason I did not find the water leak myself is I was pouring water on the door and hatch seals and not running water over the car in such a way that it ran onto the light housing as I did not have any reason to suspect it. According to the leak guy, this is a common problem with taillights leaking and water then moving up into the main compartment of the car.

Based on this, I suspect the stereo problem is going to be the amp under the rear seat unless it miraculously dries out and works again by itself.

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As a follow up, for $180 I found out it was the seals on the back side of the taillights. Somebody had changed out a bulb at some time and did not put the wire loom back in the clip, and wire was caught in the seal of one of the pegs that goes into the quarter to align the light. So then water came into the well under the storage compartment on the side, overflowed into the spare tire well, and then overflowed over into the front of the car. The $180 included reassembly of everything removed to identify the leak source as well as a 1 year warranty.

The reason I did not find the water leak myself is I was pouring water on the door and hatch seals and not running water over the car in such a way that it ran onto the light housing as I did not have any reason to suspect it. According to the leak guy, this is a common problem with taillights leaking and water then moving up into the main compartment of the car.

Based on this, I suspect the stereo problem is going to be the amp under the rear seat unless it miraculously dries out and works again by itself.

Glad you found the problem- and I trust it is fixed also. $180. wasn't bad at all for that.

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90% of the time the source of a leak such as you've described is one or more of the sunroof drain lines being clogged by years of falling debris, especially on a vehicle as old as yours. If this vehicle has never had its drain lines blown out with compressed air to clear the built-up debris, I can almost guarantee you that's your culprit. Regardless of what your "leak specialist" determines and recommends, be sure to blow out those drain lines....

FYI. There is a proposed class action for this very common problem. For information contact me at jsantoli@santolilaw.com or call 1-800-279-6996. Jos. Santoli, Esq.

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The problem with most class action lawsuits is that the lawyers get 75% of whatever dollar figure the judge decides upon, then the actual harmed consumers get the crumbs that are left over....

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90% of the time the source of a leak such as you've described is one or more of the sunroof drain lines being clogged by years of falling debris, especially on a vehicle as old as yours. If this vehicle has never had its drain lines blown out with compressed air to clear the built-up debris, I can almost guarantee you that's your culprit. Regardless of what your "leak specialist" determines and recommends, be sure to blow out those drain lines....

Thanks for the tip. I just talked to the leak specialist, he said $160-250 on average. Considering I saw references to $3400 to have stuff like this fixed at the Lexus dealer, including having the carpet replaced, I do not mind paying somebody 2 bills to identify what the source of the leak really is and prevent more extensive damage than I'm already facing.

Also, I found the technical manuals here in the forums for the '99 RX 300 and from what I can tell the sound system is close enough to '00 that I can use the troubleshooting procedures in the body electrical manual to find the culprit with the stereo problem. Given what I already know and have checked already, I suspect it is the power amplifier got wet or a wire harness connector is shorting to ground due to being wet.

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Hey I'm having this exact problem. Can you please send me. Email so I can give you my cell number. I would like to talk to you quickly over the phone on where the locations are to inspect myself.. thanks my email is w_Burwell@yahoo.com

Thanks in advance. It will be quick!

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I know it's years later, but did you ever find a cause and solution, if you still follow this thread. My story is strikingly similar, and I am equally puzzled, altho I do not have a thousandth of the technical skills you spoke of to tear apart my car:

http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/topic/60116-2000-rx-300-water-on-floor-problem/

Don't want to clog forums with questions already asked/answered. But my RX300 has a mysterious leak somewhere when it rains, such that the carpets get soaked (the low spots being worst of course, but the driver's side left side well seems quite wet, as well as the spare tire compartment having standing water in it at one point. Most everything left in the car ended up rusty, given the time before I really took notice (all I noticed at first was the interior windows always fogging up into 'unseeable' condition. But I live in the Pacific Northwest (rains 9 months of the year), the car was kept outside on a driveway with a modreate steep downward slope (that's front (high) to back (low) for the car), and I think probably the covers over the carpet hid it until it soaked thru those, too, and I began paying more attention and finding the leak problem results in many parts of the car, from the floor carpet to under the optional carpet rear cargo carpet protector (that could've been just condensation on the rubber back over time, rather than the result of a direct leak - I can't be positive.) But things like having standing water in the well of the spare tire (the lowest point in the frame of the car) was pretty alarming. At the time the weather was dry, and for days on end, I put the car outside with all the openable things open, and put heaters and fans pushing air into it, while removing all mats and spray regularly and liberally with Lysol (anti-mold IMHO), as well as putting one of those things you use for drying out basements (draws water into it) when the car needed to be closed. Good news was that it made me clear space in the garage to keep it out of the rain. I don't drive much, so I haven't noticed a return of this. But I'm sure it's still there. The other day it rained and some of the carpet might or might not have been damp - hard to tell. Maybe it takes a certain amount of rainfall to accumulate, maybe not. I'm not eager to repeat what I did last fall. The car is a 1999 Rx300, with only 85k on it - but it spent a lot of its life outside in torrid Texas summers, where temps are in the 90's and up for months - probably not real good for rubber seals and drainage channels. It does have a sun/moonroof which, while almost never used (open), does of course have seals to it. I cannot say where, exactly, the leak came from.
My problem is this: In reading the forums, that kind of problem is mentioned for many different Lexus model. The problem cause, and solutions, both have numerous conflicting answers, from drainage holes in near the sunroof to windshield replacements being the problem (yes, I had my windshield replaced in the last couple of years. Even if I knew *which* was the problem's cause, there is often not a singular or confirmed working solution: e.g., in one thread, clogged drainage holes are near the sunroof are deemed to be the likely problem. Some threads/sites say there's a kind of black wire you can feed down those holes to clear the clog (I wonder - would that not have a high chance of poking new holes in portions of the drainage system that might be rubber, long weakened or compromised by the heat?), to the solution of clearing out the holes with 'air'. Others said, 'not your problem - tell your insurance company, likely they may pay for mold'. That sounds dubious, but even if so, do I have to let everything re-mold to do that? Not great.?
So, I realize 'different ideas' always exist. I'm wondering if 1. People have had experience with confirmed ID of problems; 2. What solutions actually worked and how was it done? (compressed air in roof drain holes the safest thing that 'worked'?). I thank all in advance for any help, and apologize if this should be in other forums and/or not reposted elsewhere. BTW, the dealer where I live now I do not consider honest nor trustworthy, so I don't think they'll be an ally in this, but I may be wrong on that.

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In response to to blexusaowner who said the most likely culprit of the sunroof drain lines being the culprit of water entering the car cabin and soaking the rugs, as well as anyone else who tried that route - outside of taking it to the dealer, where could one get the right dispenser and pressure to do this oneself, assuming you don't have a strong air compressor? Can the tire air fill-up stations at gas stations be adapted? Are products like this appropriate? http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2845784

I assume 1. it needs to be 'just' air, as anything designed to clean metal or pvc type drains would likely damage the type of plastic that I *think* seems used in the lexus drain system, and 2. How does one tell not only how much air pressure is enough, but is it possible for it to be *too* powerful, damaging the rubber or plastic sections of the drain? Thanks!

Also - other forums/posts list a new windshield as also being the cause of such leaks - does anyone know how you would test for that, and if there is a 'key' indicator that points to the new installed windshield as the cause of the leak? I did have my windshield replaced in the last few years.

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