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Wet Ls430 Footwell - Ouch!

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Hi All!

Thanks for ealier reply post for my key problem, however I now have a 'new one'. Watching all the recent rain and thinking that's not bad for the reservoirs, I didn't image that I would find a full one in the front near side footwell of my newly aquired 2001 LS430. This is NOT supposed to happen!

Having read a number post with excellent advice, I have carried out a few rudimentary checks. The sunroof when open, shows very little sign of water ingress, and the roof lining is not damp; the heater filter is also dry as is the surrounding area of fuse box etc etc. However, this all came to light in finding that the upper glove box interior was very damp before I discovered the very wet carpet. Oddly, the lower glovebox is dry although there was evidence of a little water on the underside of the box door.

The main puddle stretches from below the raised portion of the floorpan nearest the seat, to a mid point at the bulkhead at the lowest level. Some of the verticals surfaces are damp and I suspect this may be the result of capillary action rather than the product of a stream of water from the wiper drainage or elsewhere, which is a little contradictory!

What I can't see is any drainage 'holes' in the sunroof or near the moulded grills in the trim at the bottom the the windscreen, that I can check and clear as suggested in one of the threads.

As my mechanical ability ceased with the demise of Solex Carbs and side-valve engines, I am hoping someone out there can give me a clue other than flogging a car I have had for just three weeks!

The advice regarding aquavac treatment of the floor and running the engine with the heater down vent is sound, and when it stops raining that is something I intend to do!

In the meantime, I am open to suggestions of all types excluding changing the car!!

Thanks in advance,


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Not sure if this applies specifically to the LS430 but there have been cases on other vehicles where water is getting into the pollen filter due to the drains around the scuttle panel becoming blocked. The built up water then runs down into the external air intake vents which connect to the pollen filter. This then fills up with water and drains out into the passenger footwell.

Lift the bonnet and check for leaves around the intakes, there are also normally drain holes in the plastic moulding around the windscreen wiper spindles which if blocked will cause a water build up.

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Hi Steve,

Thanks for the response, I have checked the pollen filter (lower glove-box) and that is dry, as is the surrounding area as far as I can detect. I still cannot get my head around the fact that the upper box is damp internally and the lower is dry. The box I think, is a sealed moulded plastic construct, so logically the only way it could become damp is by a drip feed from the outside of the casing via the door or outer rim?

The 'grill like' intakes under the bonnet are clear, and I took a jug of water and pored a small amount into both the drain 'gutter' and also the channel of the sunroof. In both cases the water quickly drained out of the skirt.

But that doesn't mean that all of it is staying outside!

It is just very odd, that there is no wetness of the carpet at the point immediately underneath the glove-box which could indicate a 'drain' source.

I did notice that there are two hex bolt heads at the rim of the box immediately below and inbetween the upper and lower box lids. I am just wondering whether these are the retaining bolts for the upper and lower box and that by removal I can slide the box assembly out and access the bulkhead to see if there is a dodgy loom grommet?

I have been able to remove the door kick strip and the carpet has a foam back rather that a sealed rubber/plastic base. This would explain why the water is seeping upwards from the floorpan rather that being dripped from part of the interior.

Thoughts appreciated,



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  • 10 years later...

Hello, did you ever find the source of this leak? My 2005 LS430 has *exactly* the same problem and I have been trying to locate the leak for weeks now. I have taped up the seams, windows and sunroof - makes no difference.

What I have seen is that there look like drainage outlets under the car roughly inline with the front door hinges. On the side where the leak is, the outlet is wet, on the other side where there is no interior leak, it is dry - even after heavy rain, the other side is dry.

So what is the path to this drainage outlet (if that is what it is)? Maybe it is blocked and the water is building up inside and somehow getting into the passenger side footwell?

Or is this a red-herring and I should be looking at some other fix?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Also, has the windshield been replaced? Common problem there. One last thought, drainage pipe (rubber) from sunroof, is old enough to either be clogged or spring a leak from old rubber.

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3 hours ago, Micholas said:

Take your door card off and check the condition of the door membrane. Also check the rubber door aperture seal. 

Thanks for your help.

Door card - Is that the main interior trim panel on the door? (apologies, not familiar with all these terms).

Aperture seal - not sure whether you mean the entire door seal or just that vent hole. I've examined the main door seals and can't find anything obviously wrong. Also, I taped up the door round the edge of the door right down to the bottom edge of the car and after rain, the footwell was still wet.



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1 hour ago, peniole said:

Also, has the windshield been replaced? Common problem there. One last thought, drainage pipe (rubber) from sunroof, is old enough to either be clogged or spring a leak from old rubber.

Thanks also for your help. I don't know about the windscreen replacement. I did ask the wife of the previous owner but she wasn't sure. To be honest, I don't know how you can tell a replacement or not. there is sign of the seal going at one corner so I tried covering that with silicone a while back but no difference.

If the seal has gone, I am curious how water draining off the windscreen can end up in the passenger footwell unless the draining route is blocked or broken. Be great if there was a 3d model of the 430 you could zoom into to see what is inside it!

On the sunroof, I taped the whole thing round the edge to seal it off and the footwell was still wet. Inside the sunroof, it is almost perfectly dry and clean.

Where does the sunroof vent go to though? Is there a manual that shows drainage routes?

Assuming there isn't a hole in the cabin, there can only be a certain number of routes where water can get in.

Incidentally, I checked the aircon filter and that area and it is dry.

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20 hours ago, Edhead said:

If the seal has gone, I am curious how water draining off the windscreen can end up in the passenger footwell unless the draining route is blocked or broken. Be great if there was a 3d model of the 430 you could zoom into to see what is inside it!

You'd be surprised. I once had a car that had a tiny gap in the windscreen seal, where a new windscreen was incorrectly fitted. I didn't notice anything until the incoming water took out all the electrics. Once the dealer had it they found pools of water under both driver and passenger footwell carpets, and eventually traced the leak back to the windscreen. The fix involved various electrical components and new carpets. Thankfully it was a company car.

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Hi folks, just catching up here on this. Thanks again for all the help and feedback, really apprecaite it.

Anyway, as it was easier than taking the trims out I just basically went round taping up all the body/window/door joins until the leak stopped which thankfully I think it now has. And.... it looks like it is the windscreen and maybe the rear screen as well although that is more difficult to be sure of - just masses of condensation on the rear screen. So first job is the get the windscreen seal fixed - incidentally whilst doing some work on it, I noticed marks of the glass lifting suckers they use so perhaps it has had a screen changed and not sealed very well.

Sense of relief here. I was on the road yesterday and it was driving and riding so well I couldn't accept a water leak ruining it and every time I think about changing the car, it is the usual unanswerable question, just what do you replace it with? So let's fix the windscreen and see if that is really it.

Thanks again all 🙂


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On 1/1/2023 at 11:07 PM, peniole said:

Not a 430, but you can see on this infamous 400 (aka Sumo) common drainage problems and how he addressed them.



Just watched that - live and learn. Rust? Steel? I thought these cars had alu bodies?

re the screen - I haven't got the skill, tools and available mechanics to do it myself - can I trust the town's "Windscreens-r-us" to do mine properly, I mean really properly? Little choice I suppose.


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Edit: The below is for a LS400 UCF20 - It's late and I realised it's a LS430 after I'd posted.  Leaving it here in case it helps in any way.

It's not a difficult job for an experienced windscreen fitter but there are a few things that can make things get complicated/expensive.

1. The side trims screws can be difficult to remove - shouldn't be a problem with a good fitting bit

2. The top trim seems to cause issues (availability) for some fitters

3. The small bolt that locks the pantograph mechanism on the drivers wiper can be difficult to remove for a fitter with little mechanical sympathy.  When I had my windscreen replaced the fitter just unscrewed the small bolt and when it got harder to turn he just turned harder and snapped the bolt before I could tell him to wind it back in!  It was coming out ok but obviously had got some corrosion in the threads, a little patience and some penetrating fluid should have made it a non issue...

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