Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Unexpected Weekend Project: Sunroof Leak

With all the needed rain we had this weekend,  it also brought me a lot of trouble.  While my car is getting fixed from the rear end collision I suffered, I was driving my backup.  The beautiful Ford Expedition.  It was raining so hard that I had a large leak that sprang from my sunroof when I was driving.  I am not talking a few small drops, I am talking streams of water!  Major streams of water!

After I got it home and started to dry myself off, I could hear water sloshing around in the sunroof area.  I am not an extreme genuis by any means, but I know this is not good.  I opened the sunroof and could see that water was pooling all around the sunroof opening.  A quick internet search told me that there were drain tubes in the sunroof opening that are supposed to carry this water away.  It appears they are plugged up!  Here is a picture I snapped with the headliner slightly removed so you could see them.

gray tubes sunroof drain
Gray tubes that carry water out of the sunroof
See those gray tubes at the upper left of the photo?  Those are the beauties that are clogged. Now how to unclog them?  If you open your sunroof and look at the corners, you will see some holes.  These are the drainage holes that lead to these tubes.  I tried to get a picture of mine but it did not turn out very well.

sunroof drain hole
Drain hole in the upper right area of this photo

On the top right of this photo you can see a hole.  Sorry, there are other things in the way, but they are right there in the corner of the sunroof. Mine were in the front corners, towards the front of the car.  I have heard that others have them at all four corners.  Mine only had the two front holes.  

Now I had to figure out how to unclog the tubes.  My tubes were made of a rubber so I was trying to be very gentle and not puncture them.  First, I started to clean up the interior part of the sunroof.  I mean the part that the glass covers from up above.  I cleaned and scrubbed all of the dirt out really well.  This I am sure is what caused my tubes to clog.  I will now get up there and clean that out often to prevent this problem from happening in the future.  Now to unclog the drain, I started with a small piece of  copper wire.  I stuffed it in the drainage hole trying to clear the clog.  This did not work because the water was not disappearing.  So I tried this several times with no luck

I went on the hunt for something rigid, yet more flexible than my copper wire.  I finally stumbled across this:

sunroof drain unclog
Cable tie, the best sunroof drain unclogger!

The ever multi-useful cable tie!.  It was perfect.  I was able to insert it into the drainage hole and clear the clog.  I did this several times to make sure it was all cleaned out.  I then grabbed a large cup if water and poured it into the sunroof area to make sure the drain was functioning.  All was well.

So there you have it.  About 2.5 hours of my life that I will never get back.  Hopefully this will help someone else out there with a leaky sunroof....

Remember, save money and stay geeky!

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  1. The pictures were great and helpful!!! I loved the clever cable tie tip. Your kindness was appreciated.

  2. Glad it helped. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will now dry off from the rain storm INSIDE my truck and clean those suckers out!

  4. This post was absolutely helpful!! Thanks so much.