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Free foot washing: long reply...

I own a '72 and had a similar, albeit minor, problem with water leaks.  Stuff to

Pull back the trunk liner that wraps around the fresh air intake plenum (the box
that sits in the trunk below the intake vents in front of the windshield).  
Check for rust -- this was an area where I had water leaks into the trunk area.
*Fixes: Weld in a new metal patch or cut out the old and use fiberglass.  Make 
sure to primer both sides of all metal...  Use rust converter on small rust or 
as a temporary fix until you can repair the metal (rust converter, for those who
don't know, can be found at any auto store -- it is a liquid chemical that you 
brush on rust and converts the rust to primer!  Coolest stuff since duct tape 
and the 13mm ratchet.  Read the directions.)  In a pinch?  Clean the area well 
(use the rust converter, too) and apply RTV (a silicone sealer found at any auto
store, but don't use the stuff meant for engine gaskets!).

Check the seals around the fresh air box itself.  This will require disassembly.
While you're at it, you can scoop out all of the crap that has accumulated over 
the years and check all of the seals.  There should be a screen at the top to 
help keep stuff out.  Also check the very bottom hose that allows water to flow 
out, make sure nothing is blocking it.
*Fixes:  RTV the bad seals if you cannot directly replace them.  Be sure to mold
(contour) the RTV like the seal.  Use something like Armour All(TM) to freshen 
the seals.

Check the whole front firewall for rust patches & holes.  Water can seep in the 
smallest of holes.  Also check all of the grommets in the firewall (like the one
for the speedo cable) making sure they are whole (as in 'one piece', not as in 
'holey' :)  A good check is to open the front hood, then crawl in the front 
footwell areas and inspect the front firewall -- if you see light, you're 
looking at a problem!
*Fixes:  See above; replace grommets.

How old is that window rubber?!  Water can leak through old rubber, down the 
firewall and onto your toes (and wiring).
*Fixes:  Replacing any of the window rubber is very simple on the VW -- all you 
need is yourself and someone who is tall enough to push on the selected glass 
from the outside (i.e. your average 6 year-old could help).  So, replace the 
glass!  It should be about time for a new windshield (I replaced my stock one 
last year and, boy, was there a difference in visibility!).  Can't do it right 
away?  Grab yer RTV with the nozzle attached, this time the clear stuff (it 
comes in a variety of colors, including clear), poke the nozzle in between the 
rubber and the glass, and start squeezing, moving the tube as you go.  What 
you're doing is making a bead between the glass and rubber.  The window rubber 
will squish on the RTV as you move.  Once done drawing the bead you will likely 
have some of it squish out onto the glass itself.  Just take your finger and 
carefully wipe it off in a long, even stroke (this is called making a 'fillet', 
very similar to a 'fillet weld').  Try to seal both the inside and outside.  Any
leftover RTV can be easily scraped away with a razor after it dries.

Speaking of rubber, how's about the door and window seals?  Bad seals, even when
the car is at a standstill, can leak water into the body, especially if there's 
a good wind blowing.
*Fixes:  Again, new rubber.  I know, I know, it's expensive, that's why I 
haven't replaced mine yet.  But, you can use the ol' RTV or go to an auto store 
and buy some general adhesive backed weather-stripping to replace/modify 
whatever you've got.  I used 1/4" (I think) adhesive weather-stripping to 
replace the rear hatch seal, the used black RTV to seal both sides of the 
weather-stripping.  Some slight trimming was involved, and I think the neighbors
thought I was a little weird, opening & closing my hatch continuously while 
looking at it from every angle.  But, hey, it's sealed!

Other:  How are your footwell heater openings?  These can rust (read: expensive 
to repair) and collect water.  How?  When you drive, water gets splashed/sprayed
up into them.  Generally, the water prefers to pour out inside the cabin, not 
back outside where it belongs :)   Look for other holes on the floorboards and 
UNDERNEATH THE BATTERY!  Water could splash in and enter the cabin through a 
leaky rear kick panel or heater duct (hey, rust is to VWs like termites are to 

Good luck, I hope you can find the problem.  Luckily, it can be patched quickly!
     Toby Erkson
     modified '72 Squareback

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Free foot washing
Author:  type-3-errors@umich.edu at SMTPGATE
Date:    10/14/96 2:04 PM

My '71 Squareback seems to think my feet stink. When it rains, water
pours in the front under the dash. I've left it outside by mistake and
found up to 3 inches in the floorboard. Does anybody have this prob or
know what causes it?

Steve B.

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