Where is my top Leaking?

For the days when you don't want to be totally exposed. Get help here for the top.

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Location: Duluth, Ga

Where is my top Leaking?

Post by Briano1234 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:40 am

Where is my Car and Top Leaking from?

Here are a few of the areas that I have found where the water leaks most occur
Water in your car or drippy knee is no fun can ruin window controllers on 90ish cabs
and the fuse panels.

Here are the areas that I have found to be causes and the cures for each one.

Rain Tray Drains

The Rain Tray Drains are the leading cause of water migration in to the interior.
Plugged drains cause a lot of mischief.

Plugged Drains on the drivers side can cause water to back up on to the ECU connector,
and Open Feed troughs for the Antennae and right on to your fuse box, causing at the least
blown fuses, but can lead to corrosion of the plugs, and relays. Holes from rust around the front windshield casket can cause the same.

A typical rain drain that was plugged, VW in their wisdom routed the windshield wiper hose up through it.... Water will back up and pour through the plenum opening see there is only 1/16 inch lip. Water will pour over the Window Controller or Cruise Controller.... The driver side hole is under the ECU on the 90ish models


Note that the Fresh air plenum is removed.

Below shows a clean tray and drain with the hoses re-routed to avoid any possibility
of material getting trapped.


If you have had water migration you will want to remove the 2 screws that hold the Fresh air inlet to the rain tray (under the passenger side knee bar are 2 Phillips screws) remove the cover and using new foam (Available at your favorite hardware store) then reseal it. This foam dry’s out and either turns to goo or crumbles (Depends on the material the foam is made of). You have to clean it off the old plenum, and the hole.

You then want to see the following thread to create a leaf and debris guard to prevent large things from plugging the drains:


The second area that I see folks ask about is the Drippy Knee...

This is caused by a few things one a saggy or mis-aligned door being the big causes.

Here is what the door vent seal should look like.



If yours looks like this:


You have some adjusting to do.

First and foremost is to get the Sag out of your door see fixing your saggy doors.

http://volkswagenownersclub.com/vw/show ... y-Door-Fix

If your doors aren't sagging then you may need to adjust your windows:
The window has to roll up square to the seal it can't be angled.

http://volkswagenownersclub.com/vw/show ... indow-stop

While you have the door card off now is the time to clean all the crap out of the bottom of the door.
Leaves and dirt and broken window glass can impede the draining of water out of the door. If you look carefully at the bottom edge of the door where the outer skin is welded to the inner frame there are tiny drains, that allow water that gets between the glass and the scraper to drain out prior to getting in the car. Debris in the bottom of the door will plug them suckers up.

There is also a drain plug in the bottom of the door that if missing will cause water toenter the cabin and soak the carpeting.


You can fill that hole with Silicone or Tape over it. If your doors are full of water, then open the door and remove the plug to allow the water to drain out of the car.

Now if you window is square and the door isn't sagging and you still have that gap, then you
will need to loosen your door off the hinges (takes 2 peoples and a jack) and reposition your door in the frame to get that upper vent seat to be under the "A" pillar seal.

Another area that leaks quite a bit is the Frame to Windows seals. There are 3 of them per side, and they probably weren't adjusted correctly when the top was replaced so you will need to reset them.

The window seals are seated in trays, and you have to take them out so you can get to the screws to reposition the tray however they placed closed cell foam under them that turns to goo, so you have to replace it.

To remove the seals, you have to place a flat screw driver between the tray lip and the seal rubber, then carefully use the screw driver to pry it out of the tray. (similar to changing a bicycle tire) There are keeper fingers on the ends and you have to pull the seal up and out of them prior to taking them off.


Now you can see the screws that attach the tray to the frame.


See that they are adjusted so that they are at the furthest limits of the frame. This is imperative to
ensuing a great seat for the glass to the seal... The glass will be centered in to the seal when you roll it up, and there will be equal seal on the inside and outside of the glass.

Before you can reposition it, replace the foam, I used a plastic ICE scraper to assist then cleaned all residue off the tray and the frame with Brake Cleaner on a RAG. Don't over soak the rag as Brake Clean can eat Paint and plastic.





Make sure that you adjust the tray to lay flat as they usually bend a bit when removing them.


After renewing the foam and repositioning the tray to the outer edge of the frame
use a little WD-40 as a Lube to assist you in replacing the seal into the tray.


To replace the seal, I usually hook it on the outside lip, then squeeze it in to the tray with a pop. You will probably have to slide it a wee bit left or right to seat it in the fingers.

WARNINGS.... The Center TRAY because of the "B" pillar cut out is FRAGILE do not tug and pull on it be gentle. Remember to "pop" out the middle of it and then push it out of the fingers on the edges.

The Front most seal is GLUED at the very front to the top frame, and has one Screw on the very front lip that has to be removed first.


If you want to make a pair of Rain gutters and install them now is the time to do so.....

http://www.mk1vw.info/modules.php?name= ... wtut&id=39

When the seals are positioned correctly then the window glass will fold into the seal and have sealing on both sides of the glass, you can see the difference:



Now we come to the "A" pillar seal.

It has to be clean, and the wipers need to be plumped.

http://www.mk1vw.info/modules.php?name= ... wtut&id=95

Your tops "A" pillar seal is clean then make sure that your J-Hooks are putting enough pressure on the frame to hold it tight.

Using a 10mm wrench loosen the locking collar and Twist the hook in no more than one turn usually. Holding the hook with a pair of pliers re-tighten the locking collar, if you don't have a collar then find a nut, it is imperative that you have the hooks at the correct tension.

If your top isn't laying flat when you close it you will need to adjust it.


To adjust it open the top, you will find a re-enforcing strip that is held by 8 screws.


You will need to remove them and gently pry off the bar (do not bend it) if the previous owner glued the Top at that point then you will need to carefully separate the top material from the frame.

Replace the bar and reposition the screws.... Working from one end of the top take 3 screws out at a time and pull up on the tops material, this will allow the tops edge to curl, we need a 45 degree curl up and replace the screws and fully tighten them move over to the next 3 untill you get the same curl to the whole length of the top.


When you now close it the top will look like this:


The Dreaded Rear Window Seal.......

There are quite a few reasons that the rear window leaks mostly because the seal isn't fitting correctly whether it is the outer seal or the inner glass seal dirt can build up over time and distort the seal enought to allow water to migrate.

The best course of action is to carefully remove the rear window seal and glass.

Best if two people do this.

First from inside the car remove the connectors from the rear window defroster, gently pry them off with a flat blade. Now lift the inner lip of the seal and remove the wire from the seal and from around the seal and out of the hole in the bottom.

################ WARNING ################

Again if the previous installer glued the seal externally you need to be watchful as you can ruin your top.


Gently take a WD-40 can and using the straw, insert that between the outer gasket lip and the inside of the frame and spray the entire perimeter of the outer seal. Give it a few minutes to work, Do the Same on the inside.

On the outside of the seal carefully insert two thin flat blade screw drivers between the seal and the frame at the upper two corners... and gently pry the window out.

At the same time from the inside pry the seal away from the frame with one hand while pushing with the flat of your hand against the glass..... Working together with the person on the outside,

########################## WARNING ###########################



You will see the glass and seal start to come away from the frame, When there is enough area of free glass you can then start moving around the top and both sides to pull it free. IF your TOP is OLD then you do stand the chance of ripping it.... CAREFUL is the watch word.

Now that you have the glass and seal out remove the seal from the glass by gently pulling it out.

Clean the edges of the glass


Clean the inner part of the seal with Lacquer Thinner on a rag that is wrapped on a screw driver... DO NOT PUCTURE THE SEAL.

Clean all the goober and dead plumbers putty out of the outer part of the gasket.


After you have cleaned the bejeesers out of the seal, use WD-40 to put a shine on it.

Replace the seal on the glass the holes are on the bottom of the glass, and the left and right side, if you start the seal and hold it at a 45-60 degree angle to the glass it goes on rather easily.


Set it aside.

Now you need to go over the edge of the frame looking for rusted areas and or unseated staples.


Repair what needs to be fixed, if you feel that the staples aren't laying flat then use a hammer and a punch and flatten them. If there are real bad rust areas on the frame then you will need to carefully remove enough staples to peel back the vinyl and repair it. Re-staple it and seat them good.

Run a thin bead of silicone sealer around the frame notch. This will cover up the staples and ensures that there is a good tight seal


To replace the window, take a piece of Masons Twine and carefully wrap it around the gasket 2 times leaving plenty of bitter end to grab on to.

Place the window in the bottom of the frame and then carefully let it fall into the frame.

With your Helper pushing on the glass with the Palms only... From the inside pull on the twine and you will see the seal pull in go slow and you may need to help it a bit by prying the seal out with your fingers...

Once the seal is seated, then re-run the defroster wires in the bottom holes, the through the side holes and attach the connectors... Then you can push the wire under the lip of the gasket.

Last but not least, Close your door with the window up and a dollar bill between the glass and the "B" pillar seal, if you can move it about with out the least tension then you need to either adjust your glass at the back rail (there are 2 10mm bolts and 1 10mm nut)



If that doesn’t get the seal to seat against the glass you may need to PUMP your seals up.

From what I have seen there are 2 types of "B" pillar seals a pre-90 and a post-90 I will call it, that is that the pre-90 seal is closed where the post-90 seal is open.

To Pump the Pre-90 you can pierce the seal and insert either silicone or expanding crazy foam in to the cavity A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY.

On the Post-90 you can clean the inner part of the seal and using Self Sticky closed cell foam expand the seal.

You will need to clean the seal with alcohol, or Lacquer thinner... (CAUTION as you are near Paint)
Then peal and stick Trim it to "hide", and wallah you are done.


Cleaning the Seal.


Inserting the foam.


Nice and tight


This is only what I have found to be the major causes of leakage, there are probably plenty more.
If you screw anything up...it’s on you.... not me.

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

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