Water leak from front cowl - 4/20/2003
While running wires for my OBA setup I discovered a good deal of water under the carpet. I had to take the carpet out to let it dry. While I had the carpet out I tracked down the leak. We started by hosing the usual places... doors, roof rack and finally the cowl area. When we got to the cowl the leak was very clear. I dumped some ink in the cowl just to act as a tracer. Sure enough it was from the cowl. After the shield was removed from the cowl a while plastic vent was visible on the far right side of the cowl. Problem was the opening was only a short area open on the left side of the cowl. We tried to use some silicone caulk to fix it. We used a lot, but upon testing the leak was still present. This meant that I needed to take the dash apart to get at the area that was leaking.
I found that while I had to take a lot of the driver's side apart that the steering wheel and column could remain in place because the dash could pivot enough to allow the remover of the heater box. Prior to disassembly I disabled the air bag system as not to accidentally blow a bag. The R134a refrigerant had to be evacuated before disassembly too.
Also, since I have the carpet out I will be putting I will be putting sound deadening material under it and other places. That will be in a future write-up.
That was accomplished by pulling two fuses (bottom right of fuse box). Below are a few images from the tear down. I took several pictures as an aid to reassemble. They can be seen here.
Dash pulled back from heater box
Foam blue from tracer ink
Position of offending seal
Offending seal -- just foam -- this was suppose to last several years??
I like how they sloppily put the foam on
Upper hole is into cowl; lower two into engine bay