1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak - Honda Civic Forum



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Old 09-08-2015   #1  
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1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

Background: Two weeks ago I had an auto body shop repair (collision,,previous owner) a large dent at passenger side rear quarter panel, a few small dents at other locations, trunk rust repair (small water leak) and a complete two stage paint job. The body shop owner does all the work (no employees) and he showed me where sheet metal (weld points) was used previously to repair the quarter panel dent after he sanded down to bare metal. He said that the previous metal replacement failed and that's why it crumpled. He pulled and straightened rear quarter panel dent as much as possible and use a combination of Bondo-Resin and plastic Bondo (combined for 1/4 inch or less depth) with great result.
He used sheet metal to repair the trunk's passenger side drain channel starting from rear window seal to 2/3rds length of channel (towards rear end of car). He gave me a three year written warranty on body work and paint. IMO he did a very good job considering the price..$1000.

A lot of rain lately in my area and now trunk carpet is very wet at approximately passenger side corner near tail lights and middle of trunk near latch ... small amount of water in spare tire well. I removed and cleaned the trunk seal (inner and outer) with a tooth brush and spray bottle of dawn dish liquid/water mix. The inner seal was very dirty and looks like it may have had adhesive used on it at some point.

I noticed the trunk lid is slightly raised on each corner nearest back window:
1) Is the trunk lid supposed to make contact (compress) with the trunk seal?
2) Is it possible to lower the latch and adjust rubber lid bumpers to create a tighter seal?
3) Should I 3M 08008 Black Super Weatherstrip Adhesive to help waterproof the trunk seal?

I've read through several post on many sites concerning Civics and trunk leaks. The following are other possible intrusion areas that I will approach if it isn't the seal:
a) Tail light gaskets
b) Silicone over run-off channels..from back window to above tail lights
c) Replace rear window seal
d) Caulk or 3M adhesive around trunk vent perimeter
e) Caulk or 3m adhesive white bumper tab through-holes.
f) Reapply 3M seem bond as mentioned in TSB

I called the auto body owner today but, he's was not open (Labor Day). His trunk repair looks solid but, can't rule it out as a possibility. I don't recall the trunk lid being raised before he repaired/painted it so, he may have removed the trunk lid.
I plan to look for leaks with the back seats down, baby powder inside trunk, hose running water at several locations around trunk/rear window (2nd person using hose)
I plan to post pics on Wednesday but hope to get comments/suggestions in the meantime.
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Old 09-08-2015   #2  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

My 2000 civic coupe trunk was raised like that as well when I purchased it. I used brut force to push it straight. I feel like the trunk has an adjustment somewhere around those two counter balanced hinges. But I didn't want to work that hard as mine has a dent also and I will replace it someday. But really if the body shop can't level it output some weight and it'll settle down nicely.
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Old 09-08-2015   #3  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

I bet its rusted out around the rear glass LOL

Open the trunk, stare at the seal area. The channel forms a gutter all the way around, the water would have to be an inch deep before it would be able to enter over the trunk lid seal. If it's all correctly installed.

You could do the dollar bill check around the lid. Close it on a dollar and then pull on the bill to test the seal.

Some cars need tail light gaskets resealed, but I forget on which ones it was commonly needed.



I've never had any luck trying to make any adjustment at the hinge area. The main adjustment provided is at the striker and that won't make any difference at the front edge of the lid.
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Old 09-08-2015   #4  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezone View Post
I bet its rusted out around the rear glass LOL
You'd win that bet. Rust starts under rear glass seal passenger side... similar to the top two images in this link (not my car) : http://www.instructables.com/id/Fixi...a-Honda-Civic/ that's the area the body shop owner repaired with sheet metal on my car..but, he didn't pull the rear window for the repair. I also have a strong suspicion that's the issue. However several post I've read said they had the rear window seal replaced and it didn't solve it.

Quote:
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Open the trunk, stare at the seal area. The channel forms a gutter all the way around, the water would have to be an inch deep before it would be able to enter over the trunk lid seal. If it's all correctly installed.
That's what I assumed too. Two areas of the metal rim that trunk seal mounts on has been repaired and is too thick .. the rubber seal does not sit flush on those two spots so, it be leaking under seal in those spots.

You could do the dollar bill check around the lid. Close it on a dollar and then pull on the bill to test the seal.

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Originally Posted by ezone View Post
Some cars need tail light gaskets resealed, but I forget on which ones it was commonly needed.
I've read that on both the 5th and 6th gen this is fairly common problem area.

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Originally Posted by ezone View Post
I've never had any luck trying to make any adjustment at the hinge area. The main adjustment provided is at the striker and that won't make any difference at the front edge of the lid.
Okay , Thanks Ezone.
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Old 09-08-2015   #5  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

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Originally Posted by turd_ferguson View Post
You'd win that bet. Rust starts under rear glass seal passenger side...
AFAIK there's not really a seal, the glass is glued in with urethane, any trim is just decorative. Check closely, I'm pretty sure this is how they are.

The person at work driving a 97 had the glass people come out and remove the windshield (front) so he could do some rust repairs, then they came back out and reinstalled it a couple days later, after he did what he wanted.

Maybe your local glass people can do similar with your rear glass?
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Old 09-09-2015   #6  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

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Originally Posted by ezone View Post
AFAIK there's not really a seal, the glass is glued in with urethane, any trim is just decorative. Check closely, I'm pretty sure this is how they are. Maybe your local glass people can do similar with your rear glass?
My son sat in back seats (folded down) with flashlight while I poured water all over rear window, trunk lid, over lights, bumper and trunk vent outside area.
No leaks anywhere else except both driver and passenger side drain channels (shown in previous pics).
Seems leaks definitely seem to start near rear window..most likely due to rust or poor seal repair during prior ownership,

I brought it back to the body shop and the owner agrees.He told me to bring it in tomorrow and he will crawl into trunk while I water it down.. to pinpoint leaks. He said he has a guy that will lift the glass and reseal for $140. While glass is out body shop owner will do repair if needed. The driver's side proximal drain channel under the rear window doesn't look rusty at all.. he lifted the rubber trim a bit around that area and it looks good. However, it leaks about half-way down the channel which is most likely at the seem area. I know there is clear seam sealer ..is there paint-able seem sealer? The body shop owner is from Honduras and there is a bit of a communication gap as I don't speak Spanish and his English is good but, I am not sure if he fully understands all my questions and statements. He's a very nice guy and I am confident the leak will get resolved.

Last edited by Megalodong; 09-09-2015 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 09-09-2015   #7  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

Here's a few pics of my car:
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Old 09-09-2015   #8  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

Quote:
I know there is clear seam sealer ..is there paint-able seem sealer?
Yes, but you need to talk to a bodyshop person or supplier.
Bodyshop stuff is not my area, wrenches and paint don't mix well for me.
I let those people work their magic in their own shops.


Pic 4 looks crusty like whatever water has been getting in was running across it.
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Old 09-09-2015   #9  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

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Originally Posted by ezone View Post
Pic 4 looks crusty like whatever water has been getting in was running across it.
Another sign it's leaking from the rear seal..moving along that beam underneath the drain channel above. Time to break-out the Ospho http://www.ospho.com/ squirt gun.
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Old 09-15-2015   #10  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

I took it to him and he climbed in the trunk while I ran water over rear window and trunk. He saw the leaks and is convinced it leaking under the trunk seal and not rear window seal. He advised me to get either a new seal, junk yard seal in best shape I can find, or use removable. pliable sealant on the inner track (that mounts on the metal lip perimeter) of the current seal. I am not convinced that's the issue for the sides drain channels but, will make it a starting point.

After he climbed out of the trunk I ran water slowly over the rear glass while trunk lid was open. Near the middle of the drain channel that runs closest and parallel to the rear window the water skipped over that drain channel and into the trunk. I pointed out the trunk being possibly misaligned and the corners that are lifted up, as well as my concern that the lid is not compressing the seal. He agreed and used a sledge hammer (holding it close to the weighted end) and tapped from underneath along the drain channel that runs closest and parallel to the rear window while using his left hand to support the lower rear window/rubber trim on the topside. It bent that entire area up uniformly and resulted in the seal making contact.

For the driver's-side (side) drain channel I am positive the small leak is coming through the seam and I will coat that with seem sealer. The passenger side is yet to be determined and as stated I will start with trunk seal... any recommendations?

I have been referred to get this seal: Rock Auto's: https://www.rockauto.com/catalog/mor...nid=439&jpid=0 and this seem sealer: 3M Clear Auto Sealer 08551
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Old 09-15-2015   #11  
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Re: 1997 Civic EX Coupe Trunk Leak

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as stated I will start with trunk seal... any recommendations?
Your choice, man.
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Old 09-27-2015   #12  
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Update

Yesterday, I applied the 3M seam sealer to the driver's side drain channel and to a couple small areas on the metal lip the rubber trunk seal seats on. New trunk seal installed using 3M super weatherstrip adhesive. Still leaking on both sides though, driver's side channel leak is significantly smaller.
I chatted on-line with a 3M technician and he said that the weatherstrip adhesive will not adhere to the seam sealer and I cannot rule out those small spots that water may be getting through. I will pull the seal from spots and remove the seam sealer and reapply adhesive in hopes it will stop the leaks..yet, I have my doubts. When I lift up a bit on the new seal all around the perimeter it feels firmly in place, even on the small spots with seem sealer underneath.

Pretty sure water coming through the rear window seal (polyurethane) and dripping down under the metal lip the trunk seal seats on.. thus, making it appear that the trunk seal is the problem. I also noticed that water is dripping long after I turned the hose water off. On the plus side the new trunk seal has cured or lessened previous trunk rattle. This is frustrating to say the least. It is an 18 year old car so I guess it's not unexpected but, seems like somewhat of design flaw .. kinda like the the (under) seat adjustment bar being closer to the center rather than the door....lol.

Last edited by Megalodong; 09-27-2015 at 12:43 PM.
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