01 Elantra. Water entering passenger compartment causing numerous problems. Now dealer won't help. Hyundaitech to the rescue?

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Hi Guys,
We bought a new 01 Elantra +extended 100k warranty in October 2000 and were very pleased with it until the central locking stopped working in December
2002. Upon inspection at the dealership it turned out this was caused by a large amount of water in the driver's foot well. We were assured the problem had been cured, and the wiring harness replaced, and off we went happy that our warranty had done so well for us.
A few months went by, and the central locking went wrong again. Same thing, the water caused it. Once again we were assured they had found the root cause of the water coming in, and that it would not happen again. However, in April 2005 the car went in for the 10th (!!) problem caused by water entering the foot well. In this time the windshield had been replaced (at our expense, as ours had a crack), and each time we were assured they really had found the entry point this time.
So in April they water tested it for a number of days, and sure enough after almost a week under water at the dealership, some water started to enter the foot well. We were told this was coming in through a body seam, which was duly sealed and the car returned to us. We were elated (again) that they had at last fixed the problem which had been troublesome for so long, and which they should have fixed 2 and a half years ago.
Well, that was about a month ago, and so far it seems no water has entered the drivers foot well. BUT. Ever since the extensive water tests, when we take a left turn, water shoots out from behind the front passenger glove box. Whoever is sitting in the front passenger seat gets a wet foot, and the electrics down there get a bath. We phoned the dealership and agreed to leave it a while to see if it evaporates or empties. As the problem was still occurring, we booked it in again and they said the "air box" had filled with water when they were doing the tests, and they drained and dried it. On the journey home from the dealership, no water was coming out from behind the glove box, and the problem seemed cured. That is, until the next morning, when it started coming out again.
My wife phoned the dealership, and they told her to bring it in. When she go there she was told there was no more they would do. This seems very unfair, seeing as the "new" problem is not the original water coming in (they actually seem to have cured it at last) but the problem THEY caused.
Can I easily locate the "air box" and see if it's got water in it? do they mean the box that holds the air filter? If it was empty the other night, but now has water in it, where could it be coming from? Am I the only one who has had this problem?
Incidentally, I wondered if the water was coming from the heater, as it seems to be coming from above that heater assembly under the center console, but seeing as it is cold water even when the engine is hot, and we do not seem to be losing any water from the cooling system, this seems to not be the case. It seems the water is of an external source.
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Frustrated Elantra Owner wrote:

If your that frustrated, why not drill a couple holes in the floor? Not an ideal solution but it should at least keep your wiring dry.
I had a '71 Opel Kadet back in the day and it had water in the floor every time it rained the whole time I owned it.
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whoops. sent from different account.
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Well, the orignal water "settling" problem in the driver side foot well seems to be repaired now (although we won't really know for a few months), but if it returns that might be my only option, as the dealership has now washed it's hands of us.
One thing I forgot to mention, moments before the water comes out from behind the glove box on left turns, we hear a kind of "rushing" sound coming from somewhere behind the dash. This can be best described as something like scraping gravel/sand/water. It's like something, somewhere, is filled up, and it's all moving on left turns. Oddly, no noise is heard on right turns, and no water comes out. I can't ever hear water swilling about, either.
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Could you put the left side of the car up on ramps to simulate a left turn until all the water has run out?
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Strange you should say that. Over the weekend I jacked up the left side on a trolley jack as high as it would go. No water came out, and no water movement noise could be heard. I fully expected water to come flying out of any little aperture it could find!
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do you think it could be the drain hose for the air conditioner, maybye its off of the connector underneeth the dash?

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That's an interesting point. So if I was to wait for a dry day (yeah, in Washington state, right!) and run the air conditioner, I could look out for the tell-tale puddle under the car. If it's there, the drain is working, if not, it could be going somewhere else. That is, of course, if I can't find out on the Hyundai website where the drain hose is and what it looks like.
It seems not even more water is shooting out than before. When I looked last week it seemed to be coming from behind the middle console somewhere and flowing to the right, now it seems to be falling vertically from just above the large connector block about two thirds of the way across the glove box. Its landing directly on to those connectors, so I am sure if I do not sole this problem ASAP it's going to give us some electrical problems
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I just found this on the Hyundai website. I'm thinking of taking the glove box off so i can see where it's coming in. the mention of draining through the block connector is making me think this is the problem. Is there anything above that connector where it could be coming from? Where abouts is the heater blower? I can feel it but not see it.
Water leaks through the fresh air intake plenum may drain through the heater blower motor resistor block connector, or in the area around the heater blower. Ask the customer when the condition occurs: If the leak occurs regardless of fan speed, the cause may be a leaking seam. If it occurs after the fan has been operated at a high speed, water may be drawn in with the air. If it occurs only during extended rain storms, the leak could be a slow seep. If it occurs during car washes as well as rain storms, look for a larger leak. Prepare by removing the plastic cowl top cover at the base of the windshield. Carefully reach inside the cowl to the right side to find the fresh air intake plenum opening. Make sure that there is no debris around the intake. Run low pressure water from a garden hose into the cowl area, allowing most of the water to drain towards the right side of the cowl. The water should drain freely through the right fender. If it does not, look for a blockage in the far right side of the cowl area. Use the same procedure to check the drainage towards the left side of the cowl. Run the water towards the right again. Set the fan to high speed, and select "Fresh" air intake. See if any moisture appears around the heater blower motor area. This may be caused by debris blocking the drainage through the fender. If there are no debris, remove the blower motor and fan assembly. Look up into the plenum area to see if any leaks are visible. Use your hand to feel for moisture. Identify the welded seam that the water leaks through, and apply seam sealer to it. If possible, repair the seam from the outside cowl area.
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OK, I took off the glove compartment and all now I can see exactly where the water is coming from. I have uploaded a photo here :
http://www.2hosts.com/elantra.jpg
It starts on the left (#1) and follows the path where I drew the arrows, then comes out of the thing marked #2. I had my wife drive the car while the "#2 thing" was removed, and could feel the water rushing in from the left when she went round a tight left bend.
I also took the passenger side piece of black plastic off just beneath the windscreen (the thing with the grill) to see if any water was in there. I couldn't see any though, because whatever chambers or channels are the just bend off elsewhere. I have a strong hunch it's coming from in there somewhere though. How can I get down in there to empty it or clear a blockage if there is one? Where do those chambers lead?
So, where can this water be coming from, and how do i stop it?
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This does not appear to be a problem caused by the dealer doing the repairs. I'm not sure why they wouldn't be willing to fix it if you paid them, though. Although most dealers don't do water leak work themselves, they sublet to water leak specialists like Water Doctor or Auto Seal Tech. By the same token, you could deal with these companies directly.
But before you do that, consider that your source is likely one of two places: 1. Water from the evaporator that does not escape due to a clogged drain, or 2. Water that enters from the air intake under the cowling at the bottom of the windshield.
Considering that the water seems to be starting on the left, case #1 is by far your most likely culprit.
Check your evaporator drain hose. I can't see it in your picture, but it's either not two far out or hidden. It'll be on the left side of the picture coming off the bottom of the heater box (the big box on the left) and going through the floor. Take the hose loose from the heater box and verify it's not blocked -- clear as necessary. Also probe into the heater box to verify the drain isn't clogged inside.
If you find the water is coming from the fresh air intake, you may be able to construct a shield to install over the intake to prevent water entry.
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Thanks Hyundaitech, I really appreciate your help. So if I check #1 and all the drains are ok, how do I proceed with the cowling? I took it off, but there just seems to be a myriad of chambers that you can't see into. Is the air intake down there in the wing, and if so how on earth do I get to it? Would it be a good/bad idea to syphone any water out of that thing marked #1 (and as far to the left of it as possible) until nothing shoots out, let a hose run into that cowling and see if it fills up again?
I would guess we are getting about a quarter or a half half a pint per day coming out. My wife drives about 20 miles to work and back, so the car isn't used a lot. she doesn't run the A/C at the mo. will the evaporator produce that much liquid?
someone mentioned a faulty heater core, but surely that would cause cooling system water loss and the water coming into the car would have antifreeze in it... right?
PS. Can i check the pipe blockages with something like a pipe cleaner? i don't want to put anything too hard in there if it will damage anything.
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You can probably actually fully remove the rubber drain hose to check it. If you pull the drain hose off the heater box and water immediately starts running out, it's a pretty good bet that the hose is blocked. I usually probe the heater case with a long screwdriver or such. (Just be careful not to stab hard enough to puncture anything inside).
The A/C evaporator will produce no water if the A/C doesn't run. When the A/C is running, it acts as a dehumidifier due to its cooling of the air. Keep in mind that your A/C may turn on automatically anytime you use the defrost. Also be aware that there may be a significant amount of water built up from previous A/C use.
It'll be a good idea to drain the water from anywhere it's present in the system.
If your heater core is leaking (and you have anti-freeze in your cooling system), the liquid will quite obviously be coolant, not just water.
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Many thanks. Once my wife gets home I'll investigate. She'll be happy to have her glove compartment back, I expect!
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just thought of something else. Where is the water that falls into the cowling below the windshield supposed to drain to? I mean, where is the actual drain?
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The air intake is typically at the base of the windshield on the right side (above that box on the right side under the dash which houses the blower motor).
The water is typically intended to drain off either side of the area under the cowling into the area between the structural portion of the car and the back of the fenders.
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Ah, I see what you mean now, if it was coming in from there, it would probably not be shooting from the left (where I drew that #1) and would somehow be coming from above #2 instead. When you say the box that houses the blower motor, do you mean above my #2 box. Taking off #2 drops down a white finned circular thing. Is the blower motor above that, or is above the assembly in the center? Inside #2 abiove where the finned thing was is absolutely bone dry. Putting my hand inside #2 and reaching to the left inside #1 I can feel water moving close as she turns left, then of course it all comes rushing out on a harder left.
From the way you describe it, it sounds like the shaping below the cowling would make it very difficult for water to end up where it wasn't supposed to be. Unless of course the water testing was spraying water at a very unnatural angle. I know they were testing the front end and under the hood, so assumed they had mistakenly got filled something up with water.
I feel like I am getting closer to solving this problem. I'll let you know how I get on. :o)
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There's no way this bolt would have come off just by pulling the hose out unless it wasn't attached to anything. I suspect that for some reason that the hose was actually plugged with this bolt. I suspect personnel doing the water leak work installed it-- possibly for some leak diagnosis, but my ideas of what this would accomplish are very sketchy. Perhaps if you go back and show it to them they may have a slightly different tune about your problem.
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You raise a very good point. I wondered if it was poked into the bottom of the hose, because the hose was pretty hard to pull out, then it suddenly came free. Also, there was absolutely nothing inside the hose blocking it, so i had to assume it was kinked somehow. So I shouldn't worry about the bolt?
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No, I wouldn't worry about it. From what you say, I'm almost positive the bolt was the cause of the problems. You pulled out the hose, water gushed out, nothing was blocking the hose, and suddenly you found the bolt directly under the hose exit.
If this were an actual bolt holding something together, it wouldn't just fall off the car like that.
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