Saturday, October 25, 2014

Soggy Driver's Footwell

Back in June last year, I thought I'd nailed the problem of water getting into the car. A problem that can often be the ruin of many a Mini owner's happiness... and carpets! I was suffering pretty badly with it last year until I decided to have a bash at solving the problem which I thought went pretty well. I made three posts on weatherproofing at the time.

So lifting up soggy carpets yet again was very disappointing, it seems Minis just love to let the rain in no matter what you do! The disappointment soon gave way to despair though when I saw the state of the floor beneath with bubbling paint and rusty patches, I was dreading the worst.



Once I calmed down and thought about the whole reason I bought the car, I managed to turn my anxiety into something more positive. Apart from the obvious 'driving it around', one of the main reasons for buying the car was to learn things, and this was a prime opportunity. Whatever was lurking under that rather tatty looking paint was not to be feared.


Driver Side
So with that in mind, I cracked out the drill and wire brush and started to remove the paint. As I started, the paint fell away very easily revealing the less than shiny steel floor. Although the surface was a bit pitted and discoloured, there were no signs of the dreaded big holes I had first feared. As there was surface rust present though, I applied a coat of Hammerite Kurust to the area to kill it off.



Once the Kurust had dried and gone black, a topcoat of Hammerite Smooth transformed the area.




Passenger Side
Although there was no water on the passenger side, the paint was in an equally sorry state with bubbled paint and rust. Additionally there was a rather ropey looking repair in the form of some white filler which had been clumsily stuffed in. Things like this are a bit worrying as they generally indicate a bodge job to cover something nasty.



As I lifted the filler away though it wasn't as bad as I had first imagined.  I noticed that the bitumen sound-deadening was loose in this part of the floor and I suspect that the filler was an attempt to fix that problem. Rather than leave it there as a moisture trap, I thought it best to pick it away where I could.



Then grinding the rest of the damaged paint away, I could see the floor was in a very similar condition to the passenger side. Again a good dose of Kurust was applied in the hope of keeping the tin worm at bay for now..



And once again a nice fresh coat of paint makes everything look shiny and new. Well nearly, the bitumen sound-deadening has discoloured the paint a little, but as the carpet will cover all this, it really doesn't bother me.



The Big Question!
Okay now that all that work is done, the big question is: Where is the water getting in?

The obvious place to check was around the door as this was the culprit last time. I checked the seals and inspected the weatherproofing but there were no signs of any potential leakage and hosing the window down with the door closed confirmed this as it was still water tight.

So looking back at the rust pattern the water had left inside the car, it looked like it was coming from under the cross member and running down to the footwell where it was collecting. The car is generally parked pointing downhill, so it was possible. The most obvious place to suspect was the jacking point holes as they were open.

Jacking Point


Being so low to the ground, it was difficult to see up inside the jacking point hole so I stuck my finger in and had a feel around. I was hoping for nice smooth surfaces inside, but unfortunately there was a great deal of rust. As I could pick rusty flakes out with my finger, I'm guessing this must be the place where the water is getting in as it's splashed up from the road.

At some point in the car's history, it has been repaired with oversills. Like many, I don't like oversills as they just cover up the problem rather than fix it and when I feel brave enough with a welder, they will be replaced with the correct panels. Until I get around to that though, I will do the only thing I can for now and blank off the jacking holes to make them water tight. Not the best solution I know, but it is a practical one as the Mini is still my daily drive.

Blanked Off Jacking Point


Hopefully this will keep my feet dry and the car rolling for another year or two, or at least until my welding skills are up to the job of sorting those nasty oversills anyway.



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