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I know the causes for this have been discussed a lot. What I want to know is if Acura has been sympathetic to MDX owners who have approached them to ask for warranty work to address leaky seals inside the fender. This will cause rusty floorboards with perforation issues which are (please confirm this) addressed by an unlimited mileage warranty. Mine is a 04 and before I approach Acura I want to know if they will laugh at my asking about a 13 year old vehicle.
 

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Did you call Acura? If so what did they say?
I have the same issue and can’t get to the bottom of it... I have paid to have the leak fixed but it hasn’t been fixed. The person I took it to said one of my drains was out of place. Which it is possible for that to happen, that’s not what is causing my leak.


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The drain from the sunroof travels down through the side pillar (by the windshield) on each side, and if any part of that drain tube is disconnected, you get wet carpet. Here's a diagram of the left side (the right side is similar) showing how the drain works.



You can "test" these drains by pouring water into the front corners of the moonroof channel (you can easily see the inlets to the drains there). If you pour in a quart, but only a cup comes out the bottom of the car, you'll know what you need to know.

It's also possible that the A/C drain is clogged up, which will also lead to wet carpet. This one is a bit easier to figure out - if your car doesn't have a puddle underneath after running the A/C for a few minutes, your drain is blocked and needs to be cleared out.
 

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Habbyguy- I'm trying to find the water leaking into the floorboards in my '02 MDX. I have the front left mudflap and fender cover off. I see 2 hoses that might be drains for something. One of the hoses is only about 1/2" long the other has tubing that goes forward towards the front bumper.

Where could I find a diagram of where all the drains go that could be causing water to leak into the front floors? I see you posted the diagram for the sunroof drain. Is there a diagram showing how it exits the car by the front fender? Are there drains or drain hoses for the windshield too?

Is there any kind of diagram or photos regarding the water in the pillars that people say could cause water to get the floors wet?

Can't load a photo for you to see.

Any help would be appreciated thanks!
 

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Look for the hose referenced in the diagram in my posting above (the right side is pretty much the same). The obvious rubber hose looping around should connect to the actual drain going through the inside of the fender (to the outside). The wet pillars can be caused when the drain line leaks near the sunroof (whether because the line is plugged and the water overflows, or the line is cracked or pulled loose).

But think about the possibility that the water's coming from your A/C "heater box" in the middle of the dash. The odds of having both sunroof drains fail simultaneously is pretty slim. I don't have easy access to the data, but you should be able to google / search on air conditioner drain and find some info. I've had that happen to other cars, including a first generation VW GTI that would soak my feet on a hard right turn. ;-)

And FWIW, this time of year, a lot of us have wet floorboards because of all the snow and ice that gets dragged in. You don't "think it's wet" outside, but once all that debris melts, it's gonna soak your carpets pretty well.
 

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To the original post, the windshield washer fluid hoses to the front and rear route under the passenger side fender. You might be seeing those. After the fender, the hose going to the rear starts routing down from around the kick panel and along the door sill. You could have a helper run the fluid and you should be able to see or feel movement in the hose. (Not saying they are leaking, just suggesting what they are.)

Re the wetness, probably very low probability but the heater core or hoses to it could be leaking. Maybe try a white towels in the areas along the firewall and floor to see if it catches drips. Coolant has a distinct smell too.
 

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After more digging I've found it's not the sunroof drains. Those are working fine. I found how they exit behind the fender covers by poured water in through the sunroof and it drains fine. I have found a seam behind the fender cover I will fill with RTV caulk.

I'm trying to find the AC drain under the SUV now. I understand it's behind the firewall on passenger side, under the car. I used a jack, lifted the X, got under it looking up for a hose or nipple that hangs down that not attached to something on both ends. I can't find it. I went and bought a Haynes service manual with the thought it would have a diagram that specifically shows the AC drain but all it tells me is the AC system is pressurized and a service tech should do any AC repairs. UGH! My owners manual does not show the ac drain either. The only photo that I can find online that says it's the AC drain shows a flexible hose that is more like insulation over a pipe and neither end are loose to check for a clogged drain.

Does anyone have a photo or diagram that show what the AC drain looks like and where specifically it is? Is my understanding that end of the AC drain should simply be hanging free under the SUV correct?

I did learn from the Haynes manual that I should clean the AC evaporator coils as that could be part of the smell problem that remains. Do I get to the evaporator coils through the glove box? The manual says to use a foam cleaner and it will eventually drain out through the AC drain. So I need to figure out if that drain is clogged or not first right?

Any recommendations on which foaming evaporator cleaner to use?

I did buy a new cabin filter to install after I clean the coils and I know how to install that.


Also, I cut out all the padding and insulation under the carpet on both sides of the center console because it was soaking wet and the smell was awful. Then I sprayed a bleach cleaner on the metal floor and on the back of the factory carpet that is black plastic. I let is sit for a few hours then wiped the areas with a clean damp towel. (I don't want to corrode the metal from using bleach.) Then I drove around with the heat on high to dry it out. Should I be concerned about replacing the padding under the carpet?

Thanks so much for any advice. I'm obsessed with this project now. I still love my car but the smell of dirty gym sox/wet dog/mildew from the water leak is bad enough my friends don't want to be in my car! And I don't even own a dog! lol

I'm just not (yet) willing to pay the dealer $185 per hour to let a dealer investigate this. I called 3 local service depts asking if they are familiar with the 1st Gen X water problems. They all said no, they would charge a diagnostic fee $185 per hour and might need to refer me to a body shop. With this being such a common problem with the X's you'd think the dealers would know what to do by now.

Anyone in the Seattle area know any place that has fixed your water leak issue?

Again, thanks for your help and advice.

I have photos but when I try to attach them or drag and drop them to upload, it keeps wanting a URL rather than a file. Oh well...

Sorry, one last thing - the air vent fan controls on the Nav screen that direct which vents the air goes too, the fan speed and the AC On/Off button only work intermittently. I've replaced the fuse and unhooked the battery to reset the Nav, but that didn't fix those controls. And the Nav is still working fine.

The "hard" buttons above the Nav screen for Defrost, rear defogger, recirculate, temp, etc work fine.


You guys rock! Thanks for the help :-D
 

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After more digging I've found it's not the sunroof drains. Those are working fine. I found how they exit behind the fender covers by poured water in through the sunroof and it drains fine. I have found a seam behind the fender cover I will fill with RTV caulk.

I'm trying to find the AC drain under the SUV now. I understand it's behind the firewall on passenger side, under the car. I used a jack, lifted the X, got under it looking up for a hose or nipple that hangs down that not attached to something on both ends. I can't find it. I went and bought a Haynes service manual with the thought it would have a diagram that specifically shows the AC drain but all it tells me is the AC system is pressurized and a service tech should do any AC repairs. UGH! My owners manual does not show the ac drain either. The only photo that I can find online that says it's the AC drain shows a flexible hose that is more like insulation over a pipe and neither end are loose to check for a clogged drain.

Does anyone have a photo or diagram that show what the AC drain looks like and where specifically it is? Is my understanding that end of the AC drain should simply be hanging free under the SUV correct?

I did learn from the Haynes manual that I should clean the AC evaporator coils as that could be part of the smell problem that remains. Do I get to the evaporator coils through the glove box? The manual says to use a foam cleaner and it will eventually drain out through the AC drain. So I need to figure out if that drain is clogged or not first right?

Any recommendations on which foaming evaporator cleaner to use?

I did buy a new cabin filter to install after I clean the coils and I know how to install that.


Also, I cut out all the padding and insulation under the carpet on both sides of the center console because it was soaking wet and the smell was awful. Then I sprayed a bleach cleaner on the metal floor and on the back of the factory carpet that is black plastic. I let is sit for a few hours then wiped the areas with a clean damp towel. (I don't want to corrode the metal from using bleach.) Then I drove around with the heat on high to dry it out. Should I be concerned about replacing the padding under the carpet?

Thanks so much for any advice. I'm obsessed with this project now. I still love my car but the smell of dirty gym sox/wet dog/mildew from the water leak is bad enough my friends don't want to be in my car! And I don't even own a dog! lol

I'm just not (yet) willing to pay the dealer $185 per hour to let a dealer investigate this. I called 3 local service depts asking if they are familiar with the 1st Gen X water problems. They all said no, they would charge a diagnostic fee $185 per hour and might need to refer me to a body shop. With this being such a common problem with the X's you'd think the dealers would know what to do by now.

Anyone in the Seattle area know any place that has fixed your water leak issue?

Again, thanks for your help and advice.

I have photos but when I try to attach them or drag and drop them to upload, it keeps wanting a URL rather than a file. Oh well...

Sorry, one last thing - the air vent fan controls on the Nav screen that direct which vents the air goes too, the fan speed and the AC On/Off button only work intermittently. I've replaced the fuse and unhooked the battery to reset the Nav, but that didn't fix those controls. And the Nav is still working fine.

The "hard" buttons above the Nav screen for Defrost, rear defogger, recirculate, temp, etc work fine.


You guys rock! Thanks for the help :-D

After I used RTV caulk on the fender seam all of the water on the carpets stopped for me. You might want to give that a try first and see if your problems go away.
 

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I searched through the manual, and couldn't find any reference to the drains - very odd.

I read a post where an MDX owner said his front carpet was getting wet because the REAR A/C drain was plugged. Here's the location of that one: http://www.mdxers.org/forums/73-first-generation-mdx-2001-2006/37077-water-front-passenger-floor-board-print.html

Here's an interesting thread on another forum (with no mention of A/C drain problems, FWIW)... https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/Discussion-c1076_ds473070

But finally (!) I found what I was looking for (info on the drain line for the front A/C)... http://www.mdxers.org/forums/18-maintenance/25882-condensate-drain-line.html

Hope some of that helps. I'm guessing you should be able to eliminate the A/C as the possible source easily enough assuming the info above helps you find / check / clear them.
 

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For an 06 X, the front AC drain point can be seen from the cabin. It's located about where the passengers left foot would be. The parts diagram shows it from the engine side near #14 and the drain hose is #17. If you locate the drain point from the cabin, you can get a sense for where the hose is on the engine side - it's behind the engine about 1/2 down the firewall below the heater hoses.

Re the AC smell, we've never had the musty odor in our X but my 08 TL gets hit twice a year in fall and spring. I use a spray product called Frigi-Fresh made by BG Products. It's a very fine mist aerosol spray. In my TL, I remove the cabin filter, turn the AC fan on high and spray about 1/3 of the can. Then I turn off the fan and spray the vents. (For my TL, it sometimes requires a second treatment about a week later.) This might not be enough. For the Frigi-Fresh, if you find a dealer or distributor, it's about $8 a can (about 1/2 the size of a rattle can). You can buy in on Amazon for $20. If your system has been plugged or really dirty. I also keep the vents on recirc to minimize outside air, dust, and pollen into the system. Even with a cabin filter, spores can get past it. Once it's in the system, controlling it is about the best you can do. I've done the same using Lysol since it's the same active ingredient. However, the Lysol droplets are bigger and tend to wet the parts. However, I think the Frigi-Fresh last longer and probably gets deeper into the AC system because of the fine mist.

I've never tried foam but in theory should work. The challenge might be how to get it in there since there are no access ports. By looking at the parts diagram, you might be able to identify where to carefully drill a hole to get the foam straw in right at the evaporator. Just go slow and you probably only need to drill about 1/8 deep. Maybe drill a little, check for penetration, drill some more, etc. You could plug the hole with some RTV or RTV on a short, blunted screw.
 

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A quick edit: I meant to say, The Frigi-Fresh might not work, if your system has been plugged or really dirty. Also, note in the parts diagram that the evaporator sits on what is probably Styrofoam insulation. Mentioning that in case you drill in that area. Lastly, from the diagram, looks like the evaporator is adjacent to the cabin filter so that might be the easiest way or second way of getting foam in there.

Re replacing the insulation, your carpet probably won't fit right because of the gap created and you'll probably notice more noise. An auto upholstery shop should be able to supply you with jute, high density foam, or plastic spun insulation materials that you can cut to fit. Alternatively, if you have wreckers near by, you might be able to source from them if the car hasn't been open to the elements. I had a leak at the steering joint on my TL that came into the cabin that made a huge mess. I was able to source carpet and insulation from a pick-your-part yard for $20. It was a lucky find as I was there for something else. Some of the yards like LKQ have searchable inventory - only lists the car, year, and model. You can also set up alerts.

If the carpet still smells, you could try removing it and cleaning it with a rental carpet cleaner and odor neutralizer. You probably have to remove the center console. On my TL, I was able to cut away enough carpet under the console and tuck the replacement under the console without removing it. It was also in two parts, front and back, so I didn't have to splice under the seats. The parts diagram on the ehonda website gives you a clue to how it's installed.
 

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In case you need carpet, new, OEM carpet is probably north of $500. You might be able to find semi-custom non-OEM through an auto upholstery shop or online.

Yards are always iffy and for something like this you probably have to see it first but here's another source and quick search via car-part.com. Might be worth a call and visit if close enough to you.
 

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LeftOverParts Thank you so much for all the info. I've been looking for the AC drain under the SUV not on the back of the firewall. Good ideas about the carpet and pad too. Funny thing- I never did like the drivers foot rest just behind the emergency brake peddle. I almost did buy my X because it was uncomfortable to me. Now that I pulled back the carpet I found out is was just a piece of styrofoam. Not sure I'm going to put it back in. Hahaha

Habbyguy, Thanks for the links to more info. I've read that link and so many others. Watched a lot of youtube info on water leaks in Acura and Honda's

You all all very appreciated! Thank you. What's the secret to posting photos to show you?

Is Tim still around selling parts? Can't remember where he worked but he had great group buys back in the early 2000's
 

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You can only really post links to photos, so you have to load them to a website first. I have a business website, so I just upload any images there. There are a few free photo hosting websites that you can use as well. Those seem to eventually time out (leaving otherwise useful postings from years ago photo-less).
 

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Not sure I use the best way to post photos since I have not been on the forum too long. From a desktop, I just open my photo folder and drag drop the photos under the post where the site indicates it. I usually name the photos in case the thumbnails are not shown. Occasionally, have labeled photos with a photo editor and uploaded those.
 

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In case you need carpet, new, OEM carpet is probably north of $500. You might be able to find semi-custom non-OEM through an auto upholstery shop or online.

Yards are always iffy and for something like this you probably have to see it first but here's another source and quick search via car-part.com. Might be worth a call and visit if close enough to you.
You will save alot of money pulling a carpet out of an mdx that has been junked. I got a the full carpet for 20 dollars and it was pristine .. luck shines on us all sometime:) Where I live 4 MDX's show up every week in a 25 miles radius at the 5 pick n pull yards near me. It takes an hour of time to remove the front / back seats and pulling up all panels at the base of the carpet on all four corners of the floorboard where it is tucked under the panels. Try to find a car with low miles ( a grandmas car or one that has been taken car of. I was lucky because the previous (only) owner had custom rubber mats over the carpet for the life of the car. Row52 or pick n pull websites show the VIN #. Check car fax for free to see the vehicle history and # of miles....aves you a trip out to the junkyard. You can also sign up for push notifications from row 52 or pick n pull websites. Get there when the cars hit the junkyard. Oil and dirt from salvagers can trash the carpet in a day of foot traffic in the car. I have an 02 mdx with 290000 miles. The carpet will be the last renovation job. But I ran into a snag!!! Very wet carpet on driver and passenger side. I live in California and it has been raining.
I'm going thru the process of identifying my wet carpet on both the passenger side and drivers side. Thanks to the detailed posts here I'm now going thru a process of elimination to determine root cause of the water..from 4 possible problems.
Ruled out 1) Sunroof drain clogs - check all of them. ..All 4 drain holes are expelling water in full ...1 8oz cup in = 1 8 oz cup drained.
Ruled out 2) AC drain plugged - Ran the AC for 4 minutes. water is expelling from under the car so it appears be draining properly.
Possible cause - Windshield seal broken. At high speed. I hear a whistling sound at the dash where window hits under the dash. So logically if air is getting in...water might be too. Safelite thru my insurance did the work. I will have them test it... even if i have to pay.
Very likely cause 4) Broken seals where fender meets the firewall. The is the toughest fix of all cause it required work.. which I can do bases on what I read. I believe I have to pull the both doors and both remove fender covers to fix the flashing.
So my questions ... before I start pulling the car apart.
1) Does it sound like the seals are broken on both sides of the car. or can the drivers side seal cause broken cause water draining to BOTH the passenger and drivers side floorboard.
2) Where is the location of the broken seals where the fender hits firewall. Any pics would be helpful.
3) Is it true I have to remove the doors and fenders. what are the steps needed here to fix this.

I'm not going to install my beautiful (used) carpet until i fix this problem. Also Now I know where the musty smell is coming from. Can't wait to fix it. This car is my baby and it is fully restored inside once the carpet is done ... so no rust / no dings / engine and tranny is great shape.

Any advice & pics would be helpful before i embark on the the final root cause analysis / associated fixes.
 

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The whistle you're hearing is a clue that it's quite likely you DO have a gap in the windshield sealant / adhesive. My MDX's first new windshield had the same issue - though I live in Arizona, so never really noticed water getting in - we get 7 inches of rain a year!!!). ;-) That sounds like the most likely problem, since a) you have another symptom pointing at it (the whistle) and b) both sides are getting wet - that could be because of both fender seals giving up the ghost at the same time, but barring any Dukes of Hazzard stunts, sounds unlikely.

FWIW, I only found out about the gap in the windshield seal when I had the windshield replaced a second time (fairly soon after the first), and saw the obvious gap at the bottom of the windshield (near the center).
 

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The whistle you're hearing is a clue that it's quite likely you DO have a gap in the windshield sealant / adhesive. My MDX's first new windshield had the same issue - though I live in Arizona, so never really noticed water getting in - we get 7 inches of rain a year!!!). ;-) That sounds like the most likely problem, since a) you have another symptom pointing at it (the whistle) and b) both sides are getting wet - that could be because of both fender seals giving up the ghost at the same time, but barring any Dukes of Hazzard stunts, sounds unlikely.

FWIW, I only found out about the gap in the windshield seal when I had the windshield replaced a second time (fairly soon after the first), and saw the obvious gap at the bottom of the windshield (near the center).
Thank You Very Much for the reply. Yes. I'm puzzled why if it is the windshield that I would have water on both Pass / Driver side. i will rule them out and post the results.
 
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