Permanent Fix for Windshield Cowl Water Leaks
Focus experts - where are the areas under the cowl where I can safely route rain to? Is the center area near the wiper pivot safe for constant water?
What I plan to do is use plastic sheeting to route the rain away permanently, rather than rely on some sort of seal.
Background: I bought a 2003 SVT last year and the cowl was clearly fiddled with at some time. I don't know if it was a windshield replacement or someone trying to fix something else, but there was a wide gap all along the windshield and the cowl did not lay flat on it.
Many people have leaks from in and around this area for mk1 Focus. It seems like most have the problem on the passenger side. HOWEVER, I only have a leak on the driver side (water near the dead pedal area). The most recommended fix seems to be to check a gasket on the cabin air filter housing, and then to reinstall the cowl with a fresh bead of sealant or other adhesive to stick the cowl to the windshield glass again.
I have owned cars with rain leaks before, and I can say from experience that most remedies such as "just re-do the sealant" are temporary at best. This is because of a design flaw that causes the seal to fail after use. It looks like I could easily "re-do" this cowl too, but it would just eventually fail again from flexing whenever I replace the cabin filter element.
I have found that the sealant that they use to glue your windshield in works best. Just take it to a glass company and see if they can squeeze a bead on it. It must be on the outside portion of the cowl panel tho and not underneath it.
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