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 Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon

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dmg4

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Location : Geneva, New York

PostSubject: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:55 am

Admittedly, my skills in auto repair are moderate to minimal, but I have built and worked on boats, so I'm pretty good at keeping water out of where it does not belong, and at removing it if it happens to get in.  I'm also blessed with a heated garage, essential to doing more than grousing about the weather in upstate NY at this time of year.  So, I thought I'd share this weekend's project, in case others find it useful.  

How to make a self-bailing wagon:

1.  Remove the port and starboard quarter panel covers, spare tire, jack, and lug wrench (arrrgh! driver and passenger side, respectively, for landlubbers).
2.  Is there any water present?  If yes, note any signs of tracks from source, mop it up and proceed.
3.  There are drains on both sides of the car, but they are often compromised.
4.  The drain on the starboard side is at the bottom center of the spare tire well.  If it looks like a drilled hole and nothing more, you are missing a part.  Don't bother junkyarding for a replacement: all you'll find is a 20-yr-old hard rubber turd, and it's not worth buying a new replacement part, even if you could find one. 
5.  Unless you have a lift, this part is done on your back.  The portside drain is about 9 1/4" to the rear of the bottom rear edge of the wheel opening, on top of the lip of the lower edge of the body panel.  The opening is roughly rectangular in outline.  If the car has any aftermarket undercoating, this is likely gummed up, but it is there (thanks to Silverfox for the precise location and tool advice).
6.  Put on eye protection for this part: A small cablelock tie is a good tool to clean this drain.  Aerosol brake cleaner is also pretty good for addressing the gunk in there.  Did I mention eye protection?
7.  Found both drains and now they are open?  Proceed. You'll want both wells squeaky clean and dry for the next part.  Fold down the rear seat.  Have a small flashlight and possibly an agile friend available.  Go to your local LaserWash... one of those "touchless" places that has water pressure and volume that can remove pinstriping.  This is not a job for the average garden hose.  You will need to be in the back of the car during the wash, so if you can't crawl back there from the drivers seat in less than 60 seconds, put the friend back there, or load yourself back there with flashlight in hand, and let them drive the car into the wash.
8.  Watch for leaks.  Be patient...it sometimes takes a minute for the water to find its course. Stay put for the "blow-dry" cycle. The air pressure is intense and can reveal tiny leaks.  Water dripping out of the rear grab handles?  The seal around the top of a rear side window may be compromised.  Water trickling from seam near taillights?  The seam sealer is cracked.  Water from elsewhere?  Likely leaking of 20 yr old rivnuts on the roof rack.  Some water is no big deal.  It just needs to get out fast. There are many other ways to do this step, but this works really well, and you get a clean car to boot. Proceed.
9.  Clean and remove all dirt, sand, flaked paint, donuts, dead bugs, etc from the interior wells.  Leave ANY  crud back here and you'll waste your time because it will wash into those tiny drains and plug them.  Use a metal-adhering 100% silicone caulk to seal any cracked seam sealer.




10.  Apply a rust converter (Rustoleum brush-on is good) and then a good rust preventive paint (brush or spray, your call) to the bottom of the wells.  You'll want a clean smooth path for water to follow.  It will also be easier to keep clean in the future.




11.  Here's the trick to self-bailing: Ideally you need some kind of a downward sloping and rear facing aperture.  Surface tension of water can be obstacle to it entering a small opening.  It doesn't take much to overcome it, but it takes either "head" from depth of water in the bilge, forward motion, a lower pressure outside the car, or a combination of all three.

12.  A small plastic barbed 1/2" ID Tygon Tubing elbow makes a good drain for the spare tire well.  It can be epoxied in place, and reinforced from the outside with JB Quickweld.  Inside, make sure the aperture is flush with the bottom of the well.





13.  For the passenger side, I made a second drain.  That little rectangular bugger does not impress me.  I drilled a 3/16" hole at the very bottom of the well.  I then stacked four nylon washers.  On three of the washers, I clipped out a 1/4" section, bonded them together with epoxy, and plugged the top with JB Quickweld.  Sanded and painted, it matches the body.  Clean the exterior area around the new drain and attach with epoxy.  It's not visible unless you are  down there looking for it.  You could just drill a hole to the outside, but you'll get crud splashing up into the well, and that might plug the drains on the way out again.  This is more a little more work up front, but less later.



I've done this trick on my last three "boats".  It works.  Water in, water out.

Periodically check the drains to make sure they are open.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:54 am

I dug the cracked sealer out of the channel under the edge of the roof rack side pieces, and filled it with regular house roof cement. You must be careful to leave enough space for the roof rack side piece to fit in the channel (about 1/4 inch).

If the top of the glass seal is leaking, or the side to roof seal is leaking, the water will fall on the top of the headliner, and run down to the grab handles. The headliner is shaped to have a channel for the water. You will probably find water in the trays on the spare cover, and storage compartment if this is the case.

If the culprit is the glass seal on the quarter windows you should address the issue, because it will eventually rust the body where the seal attaches, and could make it impossible to reseal it in the future. Resealing the quarter windows and body seam under the roof rack is the only way to stop the water from dripping in the spare cover and storage bin top trays. If you are a DIY person, and it intimidates you, I have done both of my quarter windows, and can offer phone support for you. If you acquire the right tools, and have the time to do it, the removal and reattachment is not all that bad. Most of the time will be spent taking out the cargo bay interior, and prep work on the body mounting flange. You will probably be waiting for different applications of paint/prep to dry, more than anything else. Depending on the individual piece of glass, the actual time spent removing one (after getting to the point where it is accessible) can take from 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. If a glass shop does it, they will probably gouge up the wing window pillar on the inside. I have a pair of 91 OCC/Roadmaster quarter windows as spares, and may pull a pair of 92 OCC/Caprice windows.
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:27 am

Just for clarity: the Cathouse Red Caprice is not leaking anywhere.  There was one small leak from cracked sealer at the base of the port taillight, but it's now fixed.  Water from that leak had caused some very mild surface rust in the well (now fixed).  On the starboard side, the absence of a proper fitting allowed a small amount of water and dirt to splash into the spare tire well.  That's now cleaned up and fixed too.  Past wagons had a few significant leaks, but they were properly fixed before they left me. Our local glass shop (Geneva Glass) has one "vintage" tech who handles all R&R window repairs from vintage cars.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:58 am

I did not mean to imply that you had any leaks. I only wanted to expound on the possible source of leaks, and how to verify them.

I have had numerous leaks from obscure issues that I have found in the scope of repairs on my OCCs. The one that troubles me most is the vista glass rear support. I had rust on and around it to the point where I could stick my thumb through the holes. There was one under the vista glass reveal, both corners behind the roof rack front cross piece, and the back side of the support looked like it had been shot with birdshot. These all are probable leak sources, and should be checked as well.

You are fortunate to have a glass guy to work on vintage cars. I do not know of anyone locally here in FL who I would trust doing the glass on my car.
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:01 am

Quote :
I did not mean to imply that you had any leaks.

Must...restrain...inner...teenage...boy.
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:01 pm

I had a leak where the rear door bracket / hinge bolts to the body. I took one bolt out at a time and loaded it with caulking. Stopped the leak.

Tom
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3TONFUN

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:42 am

I'm getting water under the passenger side middle seat. I think I have a split seam that was compromised when I was hit in the quarter panel.
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:49 am

I'd start by removing the seat bottom and trim covering the spare. Wait until dark and put a bright light in exterior of the wheel well. The seam might be separated slightly. Look for any sign of light from inside the car.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:52 am

3TONFUN wrote:
I'm getting water under the passenger side middle seat.  I think I have a split seam that was compromised when I was hit in the quarter panel.

You could have a rust hole in the front of the wheelhouse.
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4oldcars

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:36 am

Can I butt in - - - I see a blister on the D post external panel. I've seen mention of this in other threads but never a reason or cure.
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:02 am

4oldcars wrote:
Can I butt in - - - I see a blister on the D post external panel.  I've seen mention of this in other threads but never a reason or cure.

I'd start with checking your roof rack.

Tom
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:54 am

And then there is this solution to leaks in the driver's seat. Fully tested by NASA scientists on drives from Texas to Florida. Get yours in time for Wagonfest!

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Chevy freak '91

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:50 pm

Those are good tips, DMG, thanks! I have regarly water in the left back compartment. I think the leak is in one of the screws of the roofrail. But I think I'll settle for a good 'water out' solution.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Keeping water out of rear quarters: self-bailing wagon   Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:59 pm

You should try resealing the body to roof seam under the edge of the roof rack side rail. It is not all that difficult, and has a high probability of being the source of your leak.

To check for leaks, I took one of the wing windows off, and made a seal from a piece of cardboard. I put a small shop vac in the cargo bay, and ran and sealed the suction hose and cord through the cardboard seal. I used a switched extension cord so that I could turn it on and off from the outside with the doors and tailgate shut. I put some bubble liquid/dishwashing liquid on the suspected leak areas (outside), and turned the shop vac on. The vac will suck air into the car and pressurize it, anywhere the bubble liquid or dish soap is on the car, and there is a leak, it will make bubbles. I have posted this technique in other threads. It works.

I tried smoke, and it came out of gaskets that were pushed open by the pressure. E. G. door seals.
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