2004 Water Leak
Had some rain here in Northern California the past few days. Noticed under acceleration there was a water sloshing sound coming from what I thought was the back seat. Weird. Never had that happen before.
Pulled the rear seat. Dry as a bone. Looked in the spare tire well. Ditto. Put my hand under the passenger rear floor mat. It's damp. Yikes.
Turns out the 2004s have an assembly problem with the firewall -- which allows water to get into the rocker panel, of all things. There are some rubber "weeper" vents under the rocker -- but they're not designed for this -- so they clog up with dirt. What ends up happening is that the water builds up to the point where it flows into the passenger compartment through some holes on the side of the floorplan under the carpet.
Rather than have a dealer try to fix the firewall seam (pulling fenders and the dash seems a little scary), I just drained the rocker panel and put some new vents in:
1. To remove the plastic rocker panel cover, remove the screws from the front and rear of the piece. There are four of them in the wheel wells. Can't miss them.
2. There are more screws under rubber seal at the bottom of the door. The seal by the stainless sill plate. Just flip the rubber up and you'll see them.
3. Underneath the car are several more screws.
4. Once the trim is removed, park the car so the nose is lower than the front. A jack will work, too. With a screwdriver, pull out the nylon screw receiver closest to the front wheel. If you have water in the rocker, you will know it -- and a bunch of it will drain out.
5. Take a drill and put some vent holes in the bottom of the rocker -- front and rear. Hit with a little primer to prevent rust and you're all set.
All in all, I'm not happy about this. If I lived where it snowed and had to drive in the salt, I'd have to get the firewall fixed -- but out here it shouldn't be a problem. FYI.