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Water under driver's seat... car wouldn't start


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I went out and did some errands today, and it had rained pretty bad last night. I knew the carpet behind the driver's seat was getting damp...

But today when I pulled back into the apartments, I stopped at the office to drop something off, and turned off the engine. When I got back in, everything would come on, but the starter wouldn't kick in. I started to push the car into the complex (I live downhill of the office, thought I could try popping the clutch), but I got stopped after I tried to pop the clutch. Then the engine started!

I checked under the seat, and there was water. Not a lot, but some of it was standing. Got back to the apartment, and got in there with a couple towels to soak it up, and then put a fan in there. It's sunny and dry today, so I hope it will dry out. I'm about to fly out to DC for a week, and I'll be leaving the car at my rent's, so I at least need to get down there today.

I might also mention the trunk warning light was flickering off and on right before I pulled into the apartment complex...

Could it just be the water down there that caused it not to start? Will drying it out resolve the problem, at least until it gets wet again? What can I check to stop this leaking? (I also noticed the seat belt was damp, so the part that rolls up outside of the cabin is getting wet)

Thanks,

M@

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  • Admin

Under the drivers seat is the control box for the alarm, central locking and the immobilizer.

You really don't want that wet. I would remove the seat and dry and clean all of the connections. It still may corrode and cause problems - it has happened to a few here.

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if your alarm/locking/immobilizer computer (the black box under the seat) is still working, you are lucky. i think it is a very bad design to put this essential piece of electronics in the lowest bowl-shaped part of the car! ;)

you can test to see if it's working by

- using the key remote to arm/disarm the system. (lock feature and remote receiver operational)

- intentionally setting off the alarm. (alarm operational)

- starting your car. (immobilizer operational)

locking computers are expensive, around $300. plus, they can only be coded with your immobilizer code ONCE. a dealer must do this (unless you have a PST2, but i wouldn't want to take the chance of screwing it up to the tune of another $300), so that's going to cost some labor. probably an hour's worth.

if you want to prevent it from getting fried in the future, you can unscrew the locking computer from its location (you may need to remove the seat) and put a Ziploc freezer bag around it (with the top part of the bag facing up). when re-installing it you will need to screw through the plastic bag. glue a rubber washer on the inside/outside of the bag where the screw(s) will go.

it's also a very good idea to make sure that all your drain points are clear on a regular basis. there are two under the clamshell - one on each side, and two in the battery compartment - one on each side. you need to remove those plastic cover pieces on each side of the battery. i think it's a T-20 Torx screw that secures these pieces. the drains can be blown out with compressed air to remove debris. better yet, gluing a small piece of screen over the drains would keep them from getting clogged. but you'd still need to check them every so often.

Edited by Chris_in_NH
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Thanks for the reply, guys, I figured it was likely the drains being clogged. I'll have to check/clean them when I get home. I flew to DC yesterday, and this event almost had me having to call a cab! And the unit seemed to work after I dried it up in there a bit... the doors would lock and unlock with the remote.

Chris, I'll probably do what you mentioned with the ziplock...though I've heard of someone doing it with some sort of tupperware bowl. That might be something I'll try.

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frayadjacent986 - is it just your drivers side? let me know how your ziplock/bowl fix goes...

my passenger side gets quite wet (behind the seat). is this most likely due to the drain holes as well? if so (would it be the ones in back or up front)? if it's just the passenger side getting wet/damp, is there danger of it leaking over to the driver side where the control box for the alarm, central locking and immobilizer resides?

thanks...

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frayadjacent986 - is it just your drivers side? let me know how your ziplock/bowl fix goes...

my passenger side gets quite wet (behind the seat). is this most likely due to the drain holes as well? if so (would it be the ones in back or up front)? if it's just the passenger side getting wet/damp, is there danger of it leaking over to the driver side where the control box for the alarm, central locking and immobilizer resides?

thanks...

I don't think there's anything under the passenger side seat... I could be mistaken, tho. Either way, we don't want water in the cabin at all!

I'll update this thread when I can do the ziplock/ tupperware mod... I guess it's gonna be a good idea for us to clean out the drain passages periodically.

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cool, i'll look forward to the mod update.

i agree, sucks having water coming in. are you aware if the passenger side and driver side is connected (below the seats)? if it enters through 1 side, does it stay there?

thanks.

I believe they're separated enough by the 'hump' between the driver's and passenger footwell.

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Well, over the weekend, since I was out of town, and it was rainy... dad got in there with his wet/dry vac and sucked out a bunch of water. I got back into town Tuesday afternoon, and though it was cloudy, it hadn't rained yet.

Got home and checked the drain, and it was kinda clogged. Didn't seem like a lot, since one jab of the finger broke it loose. I poured some water down the drain, and it flowed freely. Checked the other side, and it was not as bad, but still had a little bit in there.

Then I closed the top back up, and poured water on the top, and it appears to have all flowed out.

Yesterday and last night it rained... a LOT... I just went out and checked, and it's only a little damp under the seat, likely from before I cleaned the drain out..

So it appears the drain was the culprit. I probably will do the 'tupperware' mod sometime, tho. As I say, Porsche makes some awesome cars, but sometimes, they just do something STUPID.

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So it appears the drain was the culprit. I probably will do the 'tupperware' mod sometime, tho. As I say, Porsche makes some awesome cars, but sometimes, they just do something STUPID.

if you do the Tupperware mod (or the Ziplock bag) make sure that you glue rubber washers on the inside and outside surfaces where the screws will go. otherwise water will still make it through the screw holes. the best thing would be to find a solid rubber washer (no hole in it) and screw the screw through it to make a hole. that way the hole is only big enough for the screw.

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So it appears the drain was the culprit. I probably will do the 'tupperware' mod sometime, tho. As I say, Porsche makes some awesome cars, but sometimes, they just do something STUPID.

if you do the Tupperware mod (or the Ziplock bag) make sure that you glue rubber washers on the inside and outside surfaces where the screws will go. otherwise water will still make it through the screw holes. the best thing would be to find a solid rubber washer (no hole in it) and screw the screw through it to make a hole. that way the hole is only big enough for the screw.

Chris, I'll go with tupperware, I think... and I'll probably use some silicon to seal the screws when I install. For now, cleaning the drain seems to have helped... it rained like crap the night after I did it, and the carpet back there was only a bit damp.

I'll likely remove the driver's seat and do the mod all in one day. If anyone knows the dimensions of the control unit, that would be helpful, so I can find a tupperware container that will work. :)

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  • 1 month later...
So it appears the drain was the culprit. I probably will do the 'tupperware' mod sometime, tho. As I say, Porsche makes some awesome cars, but sometimes, they just do something STUPID.

if you do the Tupperware mod (or the Ziplock bag) make sure that you glue rubber washers on the inside and outside surfaces where the screws will go. otherwise water will still make it through the screw holes. the best thing would be to find a solid rubber washer (no hole in it) and screw the screw through it to make a hole. that way the hole is only big enough for the screw.

Chris, I'll go with tupperware, I think... and I'll probably use some silicon to seal the screws when I install. For now, cleaning the drain seems to have helped... it rained like crap the night after I did it, and the carpet back there was only a bit damp.

I'll likely remove the driver's seat and do the mod all in one day. If anyone knows the dimensions of the control unit, that would be helpful, so I can find a tupperware container that will work. :)

Did the car rectify itself?

I have exactly the same problem, I hope drying out will sort everything out..

My car starts ( sometimes) central locking playing up, alarm crazy and unpredictable, no stopping it!

Has you car sorted itself out?

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  • 2 weeks later...

It also doesn't help if your car is parked on a slant during heavy rain - I have found (here in Glasgow - where it rains like hell!) that a slanted car can overwhelms one of the drain points under the clamshell even if it has no blockage - leading to the carpet getting slightly damp. Overall answer - garage your car else things are going to get wet in torrential downpours!

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It also doesn't help if your car is parked on a slant during heavy rain - I have found (here in Glasgow - where it rains like hell!) that a slanted car can overwhelms one of the drain points under the clamshell even if it has no blockage - leading to the carpet getting slightly damp. Overall answer - garage your car else things are going to get wet in torrential downpours!

interesting. my car (that i just got) got it's driver's side wet during a recent storm. it was parked at an angle on a hill (driver's side down, nose down). both front drains were blocked, but the rears were clear. we'll see what happens next storm.

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