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Old 02-15-2018, 09:56 PM   #1
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Clean your drains...a RANT.

Even the least knowledgeable car owners know the basics of of required maintenance...oil changes, tire pressure, etc., yet many of the more experienced DIY'ers either don't know the importance of, or just put off cleaning drains. In either case, EVERYONE should be educated and practice cleaning drains on (at least) an annual basis. Personally, I place a lot of the fault on the car manufactures for not placing enough emphasis on proper cleaning and also for not placing a diagram of locations, preferably on page 1 (in big bold print) of the manual. Additionally, why can't the drain holes and tubes be of a slightly larger diameter...maybe a1/2 inch?

Now that the preachy lecture has concluded, I'll share how I don't even follow my own advice. First, I should state that my Boxster is never parked outside (therefore I reasoned that the drains don't need cleaned...yeah, I know), but in the past several years I've had three vehicles that have had issues linked to clogged drains. First was a '04 BMW X3...I was having some electrical issues (dead battery, etc) that led me to check on the battery. For those who don't know, the X3 battery is in the back below the floor in a recessed cubby. When I checked the battery, it was almost completely submerged in water caused by a clogged drain in the sunroof that led to water draining down the rear pillar and filling the battery compartment. I cleaned what I could, but ended up paying BMW to remove lots of interior trim (including the entire headliner)...and bought a new BMW battery. Lesson learned, right? Nope.

Next was a '01 Audi A6 2.7T...one day my wife was driving and I was in the passenger seat and noticed that the floor was slightly damp, not soaked, just damp. I had her drive though a car wash (while I was upside down in the passenger floor well with a flashlight) so I could look for water intrusion. I found a few drips from the passenger floor heat vent, so at home in the garage I started to investigate. As I discovered on this model the climate fresh air intake was mounted next to and just below the shroud at the bottom of the windshield (where the wipers reside) and upon pulling the cover and filter, found water in the intake down to the blower motor an onwards to the foot well vent. I pulled the passenger seat so I could pull up the carpet and to my surprise, I found the entire front and rear footwell filled with several inches of water, completely submerging various electronics, and the carpet only felt damp because in many locations the carpet didn't set on the floor pan, but rather on raised cross supports. I shop-vac'ed at least 8 gallons, and propped up the carpet and let dry for a week. As it turned out, the cause was the drain at the base window shroud, and not from obvious debris (leaves, etc) but from a blockage in the drain tube itself.

Next (yes, I still didn't learn) was a '10 Audi Q3...passenger floor felt damp (sound familiar?). I pulled up some of the carpet, luckily only the carpet was damp. As I had experience with the other Audi, I started at the HVAC...nope, so car was off to Audi service, and to make the story short, after several attempts, they couldn't find the problem, and suggested it might be the door seal. I didn't accept this answer, so I started investigating at home. I started at the sunroof, and with it opened, I poured water in the sunroof surround (where the tracks reside) and found it really wasn't draining; I eventually discovered that when the sunroof "pan" overflowed, it ran down the interior of the A-pillar. Again, no obvious debris, just a blockage in the drain tube.

The reason I felt compelled to post this rant is due to the number of threads that read something like "my bla-bla-bla doesn't work" and usually the same couple of very helpful individuals respond "check your immobilizer"...which I am actually quite surprised that they aren't tired of posting the same response again and again. Is the location and design of the immobilizer a bad design? Maybe. Could some of the issues be solved by cleaning drains? Probably. Will whistle-clean drains solve all water issues? No, but at least it's something that CAN be done proactively.

I hope my little tirade motivates at least one person to clean their drains. If nothing else, it has prompted me to go clean mine tomorrow. Or maybe next week. Or at least before summer driving season....well, I'll get to it sometime.

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Old 02-15-2018, 10:16 PM   #2
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Two tips:
If you park outside and are concerned about the immobilizer getting wet, ICU Doctor sells a waterproof box for it, I park in a garage so I slipped my immobilizer into a heavy duty plastic bag just to have some protection. Second, you can buy a set of vents that keeps debris from being able to clog the rear drain holes. Most people don't know about it since it was introduced on the 987, but it fits the 986. I have pictures of it one my website under upgrades > exterior. The part number is: 987 561 487 00, and I recommend everyone buy a pair.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:54 PM   #3
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Stainless steel screen material over the drains (like screen door screens)...one and done.
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:11 AM   #4
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I have both the immobilizer box and the screens. An ounce of prevention...
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reminder!

https://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/drainsdiagram
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:40 PM   #6
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Personally, I like a good rant - all good points and well said!

BTW - I keep a spare immobilizer, ECU, and a key fob transmitter. With 20 year old electronics (which is about a century in electronics years), anything can happen.)
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:49 PM   #7
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How do you get to the drains? Just open roof half way maybe ?
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:19 PM   #8
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How do you get to the drains? Just open roof half way maybe ?
In the frunk, there are two panels adjacent to the battery tray, remove these and the drain on each side is toward the bulkhead and obvious. The rear, yes, put the top in service mode and you will see the holes on either side toward the front of the top recess.

To the OP... dang, in 36 years of driving I have never had a drain flood a car, probably cursing myself now... but dang... your story is just crazy! I did once have a rear window washer line break in the roof access of an SUV, that was a serious pain to fix!
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:15 AM   #9
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And thanks for the link to the diagram. It's just like me to jump on a soapbox and lecture without actually providing any helpful information. That being said, I should come up with a procedure for an easy way to clean. In the past, I have used compressed air, but I really never liked this approach as on some cars there "could" be a elbow in the tube that the air pressure could easily separate leaving an internal disconnected line...which is even worse. I was thinking about making a reducer for my shop-vac, and perhaps (if I can find the outlet under the car) sucking some nylon twine through the drain tube...just for the extra good flossing. . Now if I can just find some mint twine...
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:16 AM   #10
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This is what I did to mine. Still working well.

http://986forum.com/forums/boxster-general-discussions/61220-how-do-you-clean-your-drain-holes.html
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:32 PM   #11
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I like it

Well done
I lke it
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:26 AM   #12
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#deadthread

Last edited by GTA_G20; 02-18-2018 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:49 AM   #13
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More details. Bigger pics.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:51 AM   #14
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Could you delete the damned pictures? They make the thread impossible to read. Posting super large pictures is not a nice thing to do?
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:57 AM   #15
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Sorry man. Iím on mobile they are appropriately sized here but Iíll delete
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:47 AM   #16
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Thanks! You are a good guy!
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:02 AM   #17
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Tom,

Are your ECU, immobilizer, fob with you in the car ready to use at anytime?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thstone View Post
Personally, I like a good rant - all good points and well said!

BTW - I keep a spare immobilizer, ECU, and a key fob transmitter. With 20 year old electronics (which is about a century in electronics years), anything can happen.)
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:12 AM   #18
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Remove obvious debris from the top of each drain. Place a quart measuring bottle beneath a drain. Pour a quart of water in each drain. See if it flows out the bottom in the right place and amount. Next some dish washer liquid. And another quart of water. Then blow air through the tube. Do not use any sharp rigid implement.

Do not ignore the foam catch basin under the clamshell.

Diagrams and more complete suggestions thanks to Maurice/1stchoir link elsewhere in this thread.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:39 AM   #19
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A drain must be maintained properly. If ignored, they may create a huge mess in the future. A boiling water can also be poured down the drains if we face any blockage. Ig the problem seems to be complicated it is always recommended to consult with drain cleaning NJ professionals to get an accurate solution.

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