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Rover SD1 Forum Snippet #11 - Rover SD1 Bulkhead Water Leaks

"I noticed a wet patch on the floor when changing Interiors. Upon lifting the carpets, I found the whole offside completely sodden. The glove boxes seem OK, but I can't see where the water is getting in, any ideas would be greatly appreciated?"

Not the first, and definitely not the last Rover SD1 owner to render such a heartfelt plea for help, particularly in the middle of the worst winter snow storms for thirty years.

Offside or nearside, several possibilities come to mind:

# With so much frost about the car could have sprung a "windscreen to aperture" leak eg, where, say, the frost has opened up a gap and the melting snow and ice pours through. This type of problem does not always let water into the glove boxes because it depends just where the breach has occurred.

Its not a disaster and can be easily resolved by getting a professional to seal both sides of the chrome windscreen finisher ("finisher to glass" and "finisher to body") with high quality sealant (Black). Yes it can be done DIY, but one must ensure all the gaps are clean and dry before application. Its not a job one can get right second time around. When done properly in Black Sealant, the finished job looks great.

This does not obviate the need to be sure that the windscreen is not seriously detatched from its aperture as in the original Rover SD1 design the bonded windscreen was considered to be an important part of the structural integrity of the whole body.

# There may be the much dreaded corrosion of the driver's side bulkhead where the pedal box is fitted to thin metal thereabouts, thus, many years of clutch/brake pedal pushing can fracture the bulkhead. The corrosion is caused by spilled brake fluid removing the paint from the bulkhead and water trapped by the engine bay sound-deadening pads getting plenty of corrosion practice, especially if mixed with road salt.

The solution is to strip off the sound-deadening pads internally and externally to inspect and repair. Knowing a friendly welding midget, helps no-end as it did for me when I found one who did a smashing job on my former Rover SD1 Efi Vanden Plas.

# There can be a situation where rainwater running down the bulkhead from the scuttles (as it is supposed to) encounters a badly routed or grommeted cable and the water simply diverts indoors. This is not a rare occurrance particularly when prior or current owners have modified existing cabling or added through bulhead connections for accessories etc, and paid too little attention to sealing against water intrusion.

The solution is to inspect all cable entry points thereabouts to ensure they are water tight.

# The sunroof drain pipes can get blocked with debris and rain water comes down the pillars and leaks indoors variously, depending upon the location of the faulty drain.

An associated problem can occur when the front sunroof drain pipes have become mis-located to run the sunroof drain water indoors instead of down through the cill. Also the same rubber pipes can be previously damaged by bodywork butchery or welding damage.

The solution is to inpect all possible drain pipe locations for blockage, damage or mislocation.

# The possibility of a leaking heater matrix cannot be overlooked but normally one would surely notice the loss of fluid in the engine cooling system.

Even so, if such coolant losses have been attributed to a phantom leak elsewhere cured by continual topping up, the fluid inside the car would have the sweet smell and taste of anti-freeze.

# Its quite common for the rubber drain flap (in the dead centre of the bulkhead just below the bonnet catch) that is supposed to drain water from the air intake (plenum) chamber below the air intake grills to become blocked with leaves and other natural debris. I recall owning an SD1 that had so much silt there-abouts, there was growing moss inside the air intake cavities. The result is, heavy rainfall, melting snow or ice, and even enthusiastic valeting with running water, fills up the chamber sufficiently for the water to spill inside the car by any path it can find before it can leak away via its proper drainage route.

The solution is to carefully poke out any debris without damaging the fragile rubber drain flap.

As a general observation, for two people, one armed with a hose and the other with a torch, working as a team; it's possible to play water gently around all the various external possibilities whilst the spotter inside the car searches for water ingress using the torch.

All glove boxes and local carpets being removed helps the spotter no-end. Remember to start low down with the hose-play, working higher bit-by-bit, to gain maximum effect from the test process.

Mitigating the effects of water leaks into the car is an interesting alternative to fixing, here:

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Earth Strap Secret to Rover SD1 Efi Problems

Can there be any Rover SD1 owner, past or present, who has not experienced that sinking feeling upon discovering that the whole car has become a splish splosh playground worthy of paying a full terms fees at the local swimming pool just to take life-saving lessons from the local Olympic swimming star simply to prevent one's children from drowning on the regular school run?

Thats how Danny felt when he wrote about bulkhead water leaks:

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Ramon Alban

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