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General E46 Forum
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:08 PM   #1
Hogan773
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Please give me a steer on this unconventional "fix" I'm thinking of doing

I posted in a different thread that both of my rear footwell drain holes under the carpet had become rusted around the plastic plugs. One plug had broken so the indy just jammed some some buytl in there to "seal" it. Now the other side has rusted so much that the plastic plug was hanging down, by a thread, and almost falling off.

I've lifted the carpet and there is moisture in there. Probably from vapor barriers that continue to re-open every year or two. I last resealed them about 18 mos ago and am probably due to do it again.

Anyway, on to my "unconventional fix". I scraped away the rust, applied rust reformer, and then painted over with black rustoleum on both top and underside. One of the holes is now 2 inches wide instead of one, since the whole floorpan was rusting through around that hole.

My options are to just seal it up again fully with a piece of aluminum sheet, epoxy, and some permatex black on top. HOWEVER what I am thinking of doing is installing a very small length of 1/4" ID plastic tube that will hang down and leave a small opening. THEN I will also insert a few pieces of 3/8 OD pvc tubing under the carpet (horizontal, like runners) to LIFT the carpet slightly above the floorpan. It won't show once the floormats are put on top.

My thought process is that if water gets in there again, 1) the insulation might be raised up a bit so it won't sponge it all up and 2) the new "vent hole" will allow some air up in there so that any moisture can dry out over a period of days.

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS THINK?

Risk would be that water somehow splashes up in there, but I am thinking that an inch of tubing, angled slightly aft, would not be very likely that water will find its way all the way up and inside the car.

Another question I have, is there some risk that I am now allowing exhaust to "enter the cabin" through my two vents. The air would be pretty trapped below the insulation, and these vents are several feet away from the tailpipe anyway, and it would only come into play when sitting idle at a stoplight.

Last edited by Hogan773; 09-24-2013 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:19 PM   #2
Stinger9
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I take a different approach. Why are your vapor barriers requiring so many fixes? I have my original for nine years without a leak.
I'd want to get yours fixed once the right way and not have to worry about this happening again.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
Hogan773
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Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
I take a different approach. Why are your vapor barriers requiring so many fixes? I have my original for nine years without a leak.
I'd want to get yours fixed once the right way and not have to worry about this happening again.
All window regulators were done over time, and indy didn't seal them correctly. About 2-3 yrs ago I went in myself and did it all with Windo-Weld and a hairdryer. Now I notice that there is some water spotting on the rear pax doors after a hard rain, which means that they have opened up a little again. So I need to re-open, re-soften the butyl with a hairdryer, and press to seal again I assume. It's not as bad as the first time where the carpet was soaked, but I'm assuming that is where the small amount of moisture is coming from.

I'm assuming that, living in Chicago, when it gets to be zero degrees outside that the butyl might get "less sticky" and start to pull away from the foam VB a bit. I didn't think it was that uncommon that people had to re-seal these every few years. I was just trying to implement an additional feature that would help keep the floorpan area dry in the event that some water does migrate down there, for whatever reason. Basically I don't want to be opening my doors every 6 months just to check it, and basically I don't want to be popping my rear seat and pulling back the carpet every few months to check it either.......it's too much of a pain.

I'm surprised that nobody else has had the "rust around those plastic plugs" issue in the rear footwells. I can't be the only one out there to have experienced this. I'll bet if people looked at the plugs from underneath and/or pulled up the carpet, more people might have this and not realize it. My carpet feels BONE DRY from the top yet the insulation underneath is damp and there was some visible moisture on the floorpan. It can't be a good thing to basically lay a giant damp sponge (the insulation) on an area that for some reason is rusting (the hole around that plastic plug).
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
Hogan773
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So nobody else has ever found rust around the rear footwell drain plugs among the thousands of E46s out there on this board?
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:26 PM   #5
tks
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Please give me a steer on this unconventional "fix" I'm thinking of doing

I pulled up my passenger carpet today because I know bmw likes to stack their ground wires and guess what! There's one in the top right of the passenger seat... there was foam near it so I pryed that away and reached the nut which is a 10mm if you must know and Now I've extended a ground point. My carpet is very dry.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:01 AM   #6
Hogan773
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Originally Posted by ruskisky View Post
I pulled up my passenger carpet today because I know bmw likes to stack their ground wires and guess what! There's one in the top right of the passenger seat... there was foam near it so I pryed that away and reached the nut which is a 10mm if you must know and Now I've extended a ground point. My carpet is very dry.
Ok and do you still have two fully intact plastic floor drain plugs and no rust? Maybe you do. I just can't believe mine is the only car whose drain plug HOLES rusted out.
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:49 PM   #7
Stinger9
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Do know many could have this and not know it.
Not the first place people go to look frequently on their car.
Out of sight, out of mind.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #8
Hogan773
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Do know many could have this and not know it.
Not the first place people go to look frequently on their car.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Thats what I had thought until I was down there and saw the plastic drain plug hanging down by a small piece of metal while three quarters of the way around it had rusted out around that plug

I mean what the heck is the purpose of those plug. TThey don't drain and in other holes there the factory sealed it with a big dollop of goop. Why bother to put a plastic plug there that just seals the hole in the metal anyway.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:53 PM   #9
bmwbob89
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They are most likely where the machinery at the factory held the body during assemble. Then they just put the plugs in after. They are not supposed to be drains. You may have a windshield or sunroof leak too.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:42 PM   #10
Hogan773
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Originally Posted by bmwbob89 View Post
They are most likely where the machinery at the factory held the body during assemble. Then they just put the plugs in after. They are not supposed to be drains. You may have a windshield or sunroof leak too.
Sweet. Those can join my coolant leak, small power steering hose leak, as well as the apparent oil leak at the bottom of the oil pan. My wallet also leaks a lot when I'm near the car it seems.
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:32 AM   #11
Stinger9
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Not a great choice of car to own as it gets old unless you DIY and like it.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:52 PM   #12
Hogan773
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Not a great choice of car to own as it gets old unless you DIY and like it.
True dat

I actually am enjoying learning to diy. I have done some basic stuff already like oil changes and brake flush. I think I am capable of brake pads and rotors but haven't done one yet. I also could see doin water pump etc. I ddon't think I can easily do all the front suspension stuff.

Update on my rear footwells. With carpet still peeled up, last night was a decent rain. This morningthere was water on the floorboards on bboth sides rear footwells. Quite a bit. So I am thinking could be sunroof drains coming down the B pillar. Or rear vapor barriers but the felt area at the doorsills wasn't wet. I do see that my sunroof glass is angled a bit low in back. Maybe I need to raise it higher. I saw another post that said Bentley says it is sposed to be 1mm above the roofline in the rear. Maybe it is allowing lots of water in and maybe I also have a drain problem. However the headliner isn't wet or stained at all. But a good 8 ounces of water was sitting in those footwells and it is easy to see when the insulation isn't there to soak it up
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