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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been helping my friend to fix four water leaks with his MDX. Two leaks in the front and one in the back visible at the sub-woofer. The two in the front were also visible by the top of the windshields above the front pillar's air bags. After removing the weather strips and roof rack, we cleaned the channels and re-sealed for what seem to be small cracks in the factory glue. After sealing, we tested the roof rack channels with a water hose. Everything was good and normal. Then, we lifted the carpet at driver and passenger sides. The carpet was extremely wet at both sides. We then cleaned and dried the carpet and everything.

Now, here is when the battle for finding the big and unknown extra water leak came into play. When we were drying the carpet, we had to stop because a short rain came upon us. After the rain passed, we went back into the car to continue the drying process. To our surprise, we found more and recent water on the floor. Certainly, this new water came from the rain. The big question was where is the leaking point?

We were able to follow the leak coming from the Left side of the car, not in the roof, but from the left side panel. We removed the side panel and tested with water specifically in the side and behind the wiper motor. We used different color dies to determine the exact point. We found two points of leaks. One at the left corner where three or four different panels joint, and at the drain behind the wiper motor. At this point there is a joint of two panels, the piece of the wipers and the front to back side beam panel that is the main structural side beam. At the wiper panel there is a hole and right underneath is the beam panel. Water goes between the two panels and then right into the cabin at the left and top side of the drivers side. At top and behind the fuse panel. The leak goes straight into the corner of the floor panel.

This picture is inside the corner, the redline shows the cracks in the factory glue/sealant.

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Water inside the driver side. This water came in as a test with half of a cube.

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Yellow lines show the path of water going inside the corner at the left side of the windshield and through the wiper motor bay.

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I hope I explained myself correctly for future reference. Next is the repair after applying sealant. (I know, we used too much, but bear in mind these are difficult areas to reach.

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Redline shows where we sealed the hole at the wiper motor panel and the front-to-back beam. The drain of this panel is not compromised because of the gap that is between the edge of the wiper-motor panel and the side panel that adds structure to the front-to-back beam.

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I hope this helps others trying to find a mysterious water leak point in the chassis.

We will proceed to seal the same hole at the RIGHT side of the wiper-motor panel just in case.
 

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what sealant did you use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
what sealant did you use?
We used 3M Urethane Seam Sealer, 08367, Black. However, we followed with Flex Seal clear spray on top of the Urethane in those hard to reach areas/spots/corners to be sure we sealed any small hole in the dense hard-to-flow black Urethane. That is the whitish substance shown in the fotos.


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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
We have confirmed the Right side (passenger) has the same water leak from the same point. It does not take much water for the water to show inside the cabin. So, there we have another possible water leak point not known up to this moment. (I think).

My questions are:

1. Was there insufficient sealant from factory?
2. Did sun and heat dried out and cracked the factory sealant?\
3. Is this a typical problem to the 2009 model?
4. Do we have this problem and we haven't noticed? (My friend's GPS DVD got bad due to corrosion. Now we know due to this water leak problem keeping the carpet humid all the time in rainy and hot Houston weather.

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The spot is behind these two grommets

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
We sealed the Right side with just sealing the hole in the wiper-motor panel. With the help of a scope camera, I sealed the hole effectively and did not have to use Flex Seal spray. The seal was tested again with lots of water with excellent result.




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there are lots of water intrusion spots on MDX. Usually it's the front fusebox area and as well the rear from the tailgate hinges. Will be ordering some of the 3M urethane for another project! Thx for all the info you have provided!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
there are lots of water intrusion spots on MDX. Usually it's the front fusebox area and as well the rear from the tailgate hinges. Will be ordering some of the 3M urethane for another project! Thx for all the info you have provided!
Exactly, the front leaks by the fuse box is coming from the points I sealed in the wiper-motor panel in my friend's MDX. Both sides L and R had the same leak. I will seal my MDX at the same points too. I do not have such leak (yet!) but I want to be preventive on this one issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The final details of the water leak repair



After applying rust neutralizer



After primer




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This makes me seriously doubt Acura's build quality. Very bad news

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Sadly I discovered same issues in the front (water intrusion both on driver and passenger side resulting in water collecting under the carpets :(

We recently moved to a place which does not have either a garage or a cover, so the car is exposed to elements 24/7 now and with rainy weather recently electrical started acting up (dead liftgate: no power, no manual opening; alarm triggered when starting the car even though it's unlocked from the keyfob, automatic steering wheel tilt not working, cabin lights staying on even after locking the car) after hard and continuous rain.

Today after stumbling on this topic I went ahead and checked the under carpet spaces on driver and passenger side and found water (more on the driver's side than on passenger, but still).

I am deeply saddened by this.

While I think I understand what you did mostly, I'm still trying to make sense out of it, but I already ordered 3M sealer and I'm hoping to fix this sooner than later. I'll have to find out how to remove the fenders and especially the plastic cowell. I REALLY hope I don't have to remove the entire wiper mechanism for that. Can you confirm?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Sadly I discovered same issues in the front (water intrusion both on driver and passenger side resulting in water collecting under the carpets :(

We recently moved to a place which does not have either a garage or a cover, so the car is exposed to elements 24/7 now and with rainy weather recently electrical started acting up (dead liftgate: no power, no manual opening; alarm triggered when starting the car even though it's unlocked from the keyfob, automatic steering wheel tilt not working, cabin lights staying on even after locking the car) after hard and continuous rain.

Today after stumbling on this topic I went ahead and checked the under carpet spaces on driver and passenger side and found water (more on the driver's side than on passenger, but still).

I am deeply saddened by this.

While I think I understand what you did mostly, I'm still trying to make sense out of it, but I already ordered 3M sealer and I'm hoping to fix this sooner than later. I'll have to find out how to remove the fenders and especially the plastic cowell. I REALLY hope I don't have to remove the entire wiper mechanism for that. Can you confirm?

Thanks!
I would go for sealing the top part first. There is a chance that will fix the water leaks both sides. Do not remove the fender panels yet. Do so until you confirm the top sealing is not enough.

To access the top sides, remove the wiper motor cover and wiper motor assembly. Then, remove the so called water drain valve on each side of the wiper-motor panel. These are black plastics. This work is easier if you have a scope camera to help you guide the sealant tube tip inside the cavity and apply the sealant on top of the problematic panel hole. See foto. Then, use a large and long screwdriver to spread the sealant on the hole.

If you don’t have camera or have difficulty applying the sealant on the spot, use Flex Seal spray in the whole cavity. Flex Seal is liquid, but takes 48 hrs to fully cure and it is less sticky to the paint than the 3M sealant.






I have a couple of videos with my scope camera but don’t know how to attach them here.


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Anyone with a 2nd gen MDX that doesn't suffer from the water leakage? I am from CA and my car is always garaged. So it is hard for me to tell. But I may visit Seattle soon and this is very concerning.

Why am I reading a lot of such reports recently? Does the factory sealant shrink overtime?

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have been thinking about this issue and I am developing a theory that I will try to explain with pictures in the days to come as I document the sealing of my own MDX.

If my theory is correct, all of us owners of 2007-2013 frames have this potential problem to be developed soon or later. I am assuming the frames of the next gen is somewhat different in its construction because of the facelift changes done by Acura for that generation. However, it can only be confirmed by owners of each corresponding year.
 

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what rust neutralizer have you used? I've found some intrusion by the rear fusebox that's coming in from near the tail-lamp area...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
what rust neutralizer have you used? I've found some intrusion by the rear fusebox that's coming in from near the tail-lamp area...
From AZ, you can get in spray too. I prefer liquid. Use a disposable brush. Clean the metal with a wire brush or wire wheel on a drill to remove most of the rust. Then apply the rust neutralizer. It will change color on all metal/rust surface.
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Okay guys, I just sealed my MDX as preventive maintenance for the future as I am planning to keep this car until I cannot get parts for she.

Here are the steps and my theory:

1. First set of picture show the wiper-motor cover is designed to minimize the amount of water leaked between the windshield and the cover. All water is drained on the sides away from the wiper-motor space under the cover. Sun heat starts deteriorating the rubber seal and the gap between the cover and the glass starts to increase allowing more water into the space.

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2. Now remove the wipers and wiper-motor cover by removing three clips. One at each side and one at the center. Be careful not to break the clips and do not lose them as they might tend to fly away when pulling them out. Then, slide the cover toward the front of the vehicle to avoid breaking its tabs. When using a socket or wrench to loose the wiper nuts, hold the wiper arm to avoid rotation movement of the wiper to avoid damaging some plastic connectors in the wiper assembly mechanism or motor gears. Do not pull the wiper arms in their direction of rotation, this might strip the base gear splines and wiper arm. Instead, pull them vertically.

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3. The cover has tabs in various places. These tabs lock in with the border of the glass to keep the rubber seal under some pressure against the windshield. With sun heat, these tabs loose their shape and start to loose the cover reducing its pressure against the windshield. This allows more water into the wiper motor space.

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4. Remove the three fasteners of the wiper-motor assembly. Slide the assembly toward the center of the vehicle and be careful not to make hard contact with the windshield as you might crack or dent the border of the windshield.

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
5. Remove the two water valves. There is one at each side.

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6. Now you have access to the spots we need to seal. Pictures show Driver side and passenger side. We need to cover the two holes in the wiper-motor panel. I scratch my head to figure out the purpose of these holes. My best guess is either they are used by assembly robots for grabbing the panel or for alignment. Pictures show there has been presence of water in the panel. However, I still do not have any intrusion of water in the cabin. At what point in the life of the car the water intrusion will happen? Probably when sun heat continues deteriorating the factory sealant in the panels.

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7. Proceed to clean the surfaces and area around the holes. I use shop paper towels pre-soaked with windex.

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
8. Now, this is the hard part. To apply sealer on top of the holes. I use a bore scope camera for it. Then, a large and long screwdriver to spread the sealer around. Make sure you spread enough sealer. I applied more sealer after taking these pictures. Since the sealer tube will dry with time, why not have more than enough to seal the car. Do this on both sides and reassembly in reverse order.

9. To install the rubber water valves, apply a bit of grease to each post and the post will go into its hole with ease.

NOTE: in my friends car there was another water intrusion point outside the two spots I showed you in this procedure. That is why I had to remove the left fender panel in order to get access to a cavity that is on the side and behind the panel we sealed in this procedure. I was able to find it using water and color dyes used in pastry. One color was coming from this spot and another color from the other spot. The other was seen with the scope camera and it is shown in the initial postings.


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
After few days and heavy rains in Houston, my friend reported good news on the driver side but not so on the passenger side. Passenger side I only sealed the top of the lateral beam in the wiper-motor panel. In the driver side, I sealed the same wiper-motor panel plus I sealed inside the lateral beam behind the driver’s fender.

So, I proceeded to remove the passenger side fender and after pouring water inside the beam, I got water inside de cabin. It is less water because the top ingress point is already sealed.

This means, we will have to seale both spots in order to take care of all water intrusion at the front of the cabin.







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