Question about 1997 Buick LeSabre

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Rain water leaking into passenger compartment, 1997 Buick Lesabre

When I bought used 97 Buick Lesabre in Dec, 08, there was water soaking the floor carpets, front and rear. It seemed the problem was more on the left (driver's) side. There was no smell of anti-freeze and there is anti-freeze in the cooling system.

I wet-vacuumed out about a quart of water. The trunk mat was damp.

I have found that the driver's seat belt buckle could sometimes flop into the doorway, when closing the driver's door, causing the door to remain partially ajar. I have tried to be careful to prevent that, since I noticed that problem.

I got the floor carpets mostly dry, but then it rained again for several days.

I found the rear parking/running light assembly had a wire shorting to the inside of trunk lid on left (driver's) side. The molded rubber gasket that leads the lighting wires safely through the inside trunk lid had been displaced, resulting in occasional shorting and the possibility of rain getting into trunk in small quantities, through the un-gasketed 1 inch diameter hole in the trunk lid, behind the light assembly. I reseated the rubber gasket.

We had several more days of rain, and more water soaked the floor carpets, mostly on the driver's side. The amount was less than previously.

Today (Jan. 09), I found the left (driver's) side plastic windshield molding that goes vertically down the left edge of the windshield had been dented in about 3/8 inch, for about 2 inches of its length near the bottom. (I suspect a tree branch had fallen on it.) The result of the dent was a space where the overlapping outside door weatherstripping did not seal well against the molding for about 2 inches.

I removed and pushed out the dent as much as was practical, then re-installed the molding. The overlap weather seal is much better, but probably not perfect.

I see a section of about 3 inches of the interior door-jam rubber weatherstrip molding has worn away (or been torn) leaving about a 1/4 inch by 3 inch hole/tear in the rectangular-cross-section of the weatherstrip on the driver's side, near the locking striker. There is a similar, but smaller, tear in the passenger's-side door weatherstrip. How might these holes/tears be patched?

What suggestions can anyone offer for curing the water problem leaking into the passenger compartment? Are there any known problems with this 1997 Buick Lesabre model, which could account for the rain-water leakage?

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  • dkgatherer Jan 09, 2009

    We have a 2000 Buick Century that started leaking water into the passenger footwell after a tune-up at Jiffy-Lube. They could not undo whatever they did and we cannot pinpoint the water entry location. We even took it to a Buick dealer and they also could not solve the problem. It sounds like a Buick design problem.

  • k1b234 Jun 12, 2009

    I have been told that there are "weep tubes" that get clogged up, which are located in the cowl area in front of the windshield. And that there are water leak specialists, who can come out to your house to fix this type of problem.

    Any comments before I resort to a specialist?

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I have exactly the same problem with the same car. Previous owners garaged it and barely drove it. Now that it's parked in my driveway in the rainy Northwest, problem is a lot of rainwater pooling in the rear foot area, drivers side only.
No moisture at all on the passenger side, front or back. And none in the driver's feet area. Just the back seat, driver's side. No antifreeze smell, etc. And this is a problem when the car is parked; it's not water coming in from underneath or rainwater being driven into the car through gaps while driving.
I found two cracks in a part that I believe is called the "eavestrough." It's a single black plastic piece of molding that is screwed against the body over both doors. This seems to be a common problem -- I went to a local junkyard, found the same make, model and year of car and the plastic molding was cracked in exactly the same two places as on my car. Even with all the screws snugged, it's still a pretty loose fit, with gaps that could easily let water drip down.
After pulling off several pieces of molding and trying to figure out what's going on, here's my suspicion: Water is dripping through the eavestrough and, on the outside of the car, down the column between the two doors.
Normally this would not be a problem. But I noticed that there was a little gap between the car body and the strip of rubber molding that runs on the car body underneath both doors. When I removed this molding (it's screwed on and very easy to remove and reinstall with a 7mm nutdriver), I found that water was getting underneath the molding.
But here's the really odd thing: In addition to the screwholes for the screws holding that bottom molding on, there are three larger holes drilled into the car body underneath that molding. It was apparently made that way (the holes are painted). I'm completely mystified why Buick would leave holes in the outside of a car body like that. They're clearly not drain holes.
My best guess is that that's where the water is getting in. It runs down the pillar between the doors, pools on the rubber gasket/molding beneath the door, and then drips right into the car body through one or more of those holes. The area behind the driver's seat just happens to be the closest, lowest point in the car, so the water pools there.
Today, I sealed everything with a good, clear silicone sealer. Sealed all the gaps in the eavestrough, plugged those three exterior holes under the molding, and added a bead of sealer to the gasket below the door. For good measure, also put a squirt of silicone in every screw hole before reinstalling. I wet-vacced the carpet, which I'm trying to dry as quickly as possible.
If this doesn't work, I'll post more about next steps.

Posted on Nov 01, 2009

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I have a 2000 Buick Lesabre and had the same problem with water coming in the passenger side and then draining to the rear. I have fixed the problem. The solutions that I was given were not correct.

On the Buick there are two body sections that are joined together on the right side facing forward. If you would look down into the drain cowl you will see that were they are joined the factory had caulked it with some type of compound. This joint runs from under the glove box forward to the back side of the right wheel well where a rubber one way flapper drains the cowl.

The solution was to run the front wheels up on blocks so the car was lower in back then in front. I then took a tube of self leveling driveway joint seal from Home Depot, put a clear plastic tube to extend the end of the caulk tube and covered the factory caulk with the new caulk, Make sure to run the caulk up where the joint turns vertical under the glove box. It is a tight work job but it can be done. Run the caulk all of the way to the flapper drain making sure that you don't get caulk on the flapper as it might seal it shut.

Let the caulk set up then lower the car. With the car in a level position any water coming into the cowl will drain forward and out the flapper drain. Thats's it. Neve have had a problem since but two inches of water before.

Posted on Sep 22, 2010

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It might be coming in from the wind screen seal get someone with a hose to spray water on the window while you are in the car and look for water leaks only way to do it

Posted on Jan 09, 2009

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