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Hi all,

My XM unfortunately has to spend all it's life exposed to the elements. Over the past month or two I have been trying to track down the cause of frequently misting up windows. A leaking radio aerial mount has been fixed with a fresh application of black silicone and I think a further application is required on the sunroof frame when weather permits. (The Citroen dealer who sold me the car many moons ago applied silicone to the front of the sunroof frame when I complained about a damp headlining and this silicone is now peeling off).

However the biggest puddle (and I do mean puddle!) has collected under the rear offside carpet / rubber mat and I'm at a loss to understand where it came into the car.
I would like to eliminate the rear sunroof drain line from my investigation. Can someone please describe the route of the drain line and point out where exactly it exits the bodywork. Any other suggestion welcome.


Hi Ken

The sunroof drains run diagonally down behind the trim along the TOP edge of the rear fixed window. They then drop vertically down to exit the body shell partway down at the rear of the wheel arch. To cause your problem it would have to be detached from the rear corner exit of the sun roof tray. If the water was comming this way the little bit of carpet on the outer edge of the back seat will be wet. Rear washer pipe runs in the frame over the passenger side doors. If this is the source then the carpet will be wet right up to the trim for the "B" pillar. After that check the foam underlay under the boot carpet first at the rear of the boot and if wet then also check at the front edge by the seat hinges. This is unlikely to be wet but is just possible as a route in from the rear lights/towbar wiring holes for the water because the foam underlay runs across the car as three separate slightly overlapping pieces. This foam is about 25mm thick, has an open cell structure on the underside and can soak up an immense amount of water. Only the rear boot piece of foam is easy to remove from the car to dry. It might be worth checking the gutter seal over the door by the wet carpet but I would expect you to see or feel wet on the door panel trim material.

I listed those first as they are the easy checks to do.

It is more likely that the water is coming in through the floor pan but first check the carpet for wet around the very front heater vent hole trims. If you regularly park with the car nose up it is just possible that the water is making its way through the foam underlay to the rear pan leaving most of the carpet dry. After that there are a number of holes formed in the chassis floor and filled with plastic/rubber bungs or sealed metal blanks so you need the car up in the air to inspect. Stripping the carpet is a last resort. The bungs can get punctured or ripped off particularly if the car has grounded. It is not unknown for the metal blank ones to corrode around the joint and start to leak. I can remember there being one of these rubber bungs virtually in the centre of each rear footwell as I used them as a start point for cutting up a body shell the other day. If you have still found nothing to cause the problems then check for general floor pan rusting and have a look around the rear jacking point. If the jacking point is at all bent or damaged then check all the floor pan seams in this area. Overloading or bending the jacking points of XM's regularly split the seams and cause corrosion and then water ingress. This often only wets the foam underlay so the owner can be in blissfull ignorance. You may need to strip underseal to do a full examination. This last problem is easiest seen by examining the top of the floor pan but stripping the carpet and underly out is a lot of work for the rear pans and horrendous for the front footwells.

Please let us know what you eventually find.

There's a possibility that it could be getting in via the tailgate, rear lights, etc. Check for signs in the boot of water passing thru.

Thanks for that comprehensive advice John. I have managed to gain access to the rear o/s footwell foam and it is well and truly saturated over the full area. Everywhere else, including the boot floor, appears dry on a quick check but I will investigate thoroughly and post my findings.

Thanks again.

Hi Ken

I have on a couple of occaisions had a problem with water coming in through the door, because at some time the panel has been removed and the plastic sheet that covered it has been holed or not refitted properly, this allows any water dripping from the bottom of the glass to land on the inside of the panel, run dow, and drip off the bottom, especially if the car is leaning in the opposite direction.

Yes Peter that is a possibility, although I would expect the inner plastic to be intact on the rear o/s door because it is the only one of the four I've not had to bits to repair a snapped wire (it will probably snap tomorrow!).
I will add the door possibility to my checklist.

Hi Ken,
My last XM, a saloon, had a choked drain pipe and the car filled up with water but it was mainly into the boot and then onto the rear footwell. To repair it I had to remove all the trim from the side that leaked and I fixed it with short lengths of garden hose!
My latest XM Estate, one very wild and wet period nearly two years ago got gallons of water into the rear O/S footwell and I took ages to find it. And ages to dry it out.
My car is outside too and a bit tight to a wall at the O/S. When I was reaching into my car to retrieve bits and pieces from the back seat my shoulder was rubbing on the rubber above the doorway and that is a track to allow the water to run out from the sun roof. I first taped over all of the sun roof glass edge and that stopped it. In the better weather I siliconed and patched up the track and it has been fine since. I had to remove all my seats and carpets to dry it out and believe me it awas some job.
Hope this helps.
Regards. Bob.
Hi all,
Have some very vivid memories of one of the worst weekends I have ever experienced with my XM. A local garage suffered a flood about 3 years ago and my car was in the garage at the time standing in 15 inches of water! They offered to try and dry the carpets but I insisted they removed all the carpets front and rear and also the foam underlay. It took two mechanics a whole day to remove the electric seats and the centre console and all the other various bits and pieces.
I collected a very heavy bag containing the carpet and an even bigger and heavier bag containing the foam soundproofing.
It was all soaking wet and I decided to make up a wooden frame with some steel bolts to clamp the edge of the carpet along one edge and hoist it up to a beam in my garage. Then I hired an industrial propane drier and a large cylinder of gas the blast directed at the carpet with the doors of the garage open it took 15 hours to dry the carpet!!
The worst was yet to come!! The foam soundproofing which incidently is 2-3 inches thick in places is a preformed factory pressing that exactly fits the profile of the floorpan. After several hours trying to dry the foam in the same way that I dried the carpet, I found I was getting nowhere and the large propane gas cylinder had a frost line showing it was over halfway to being empty!
Close examination of the foam showed it had been sprayed with a clear coat giving a nonpervious membrane. Trouble was there was water inside the membrane. How the hell it had got in there heaven knows. My other half and I spent about 4 hours meticulously scraping away this sealing membrane with two brand new wire brushes until we had removed this membrane it was never going to be rid of the water trapped inside.We then spent a couple of hours treading on the foam with miles of polyroll paper towels squeezing the water out of the spongy foam. Another 15 hours hanging from the roof in my homemade frame with the propane nearly exhausted we eventually got it completely dry. It had taken from friday night to monday morning to completly dry carpet and foam. The garage then had the task of refitting the whole lot after I had inspected the whole of the floorpan for any traces of damp before I would let them re-fit the interior.
They initially had suggested that I might consider scrapping the car!! My beloved XM a scrapper!! I went berserk at this suggestion! All is now well, there is no nasty musty smell inside the car and if I had allowed them to just try and dry the carpets inside the car ....well we all know what that would be like afterwards.
Hope this is of some little help to other Xm owners that have a damp carpet problem. God what an oracle this has become!!
Regards Merv.

What a story Merv!

This is REAL love!!

Wonder if I'd have hadthat courage myself...


I agree that does sound like a labour of love Merv.

You are quite right about the foam carpet underlay, it can hold a vast quantity of water and once it is there the only effective way to get rid of it is to lift the carpet.
By a combination of squeezing the foam and use of a hair drier (not at the same time!) I have managed to get the footwell carpet / foam dry without too much dismantling. Weather permitting I'm still trying to find where the water came in.

The drying out job would have been easier if I could have removed the hinged rear seat base out of the way. Does anyone know how the seat hinges are attached to the body?

Hi Ken

Tip the seat base forward and you will find (by feel not easy to see) just above the hinge pin on the vertical part of the chassis an vertical oblong rubber block fixed onto a projecting spike. You lever these rubber lock blocks out of the hinges (flat bladed screw driver) and the seat base lifts up and is free to remove.


Thanks for that tip. I have got the seat base out which has allowed me peel things back a bit more and the rear o/s footwell carpet + foam are now pretty much dried out. The floorpan appears sound and the blanking plate is still glued in place.

However with the seat out of the way I can now see a very tiny continuous trickle of clear water running backwards hard up alongside the central tunnel wall and collecting at the rear of the footwell and also water is slowly dripping off the innermost bolt head of the fuel tank support tube under the car (car is presently parked nose up on my sloping drive but normally is parked on a level road).

It doesn't appear to be either antifreeze or washer fluid (both would have a fairly distinct smell and/or colour). If the driver's footwell was wet then I would expect to see condensation under the rubber mat but there is none at all and the carpet feels quite dry.

Further questions - are there any external heater unit drain points to check for blockages and is there any way that rainwater can get into the heater unit and run out into the car via the heater ducts if the drains (if any) were blocked?

I think at this rate I will end up having to take out the driver's seat!!

Hi Ken

I missed out the Aircon drain tube assuming that your VSX was without aircon. This runs out of the centre underside of the dashboard in a short black tube which then goes into a large rubber bung bolted into the centre top of the exhaust tunnel just in front of the gear lever. All in there behind and below the radio, what joy. This tube is push fit at both ends but is known to block or become detached but only to soak the car floor when the aircon is running. Lots of cut-outs in the foam underlay inside at the bottom of the centre consle where you can check for wetness in the foam before you pull much out. This drain off arrangement comes from the bottom of the heating/cooling air flow box so any leakage into it from aircon condensate, leaking heater or perhaps leakage from the front scuttle air intake could possibly move that way nut it is normally the front carpets that get soaked. If you do find wetness in the centre console it might just be worth checking to see if the passenger side front scuttle drain is blocked with leaves as it can then start dumping water into that end of the heater box in the car dash. It normally goes straight through the heater fan motor so check the bottom of this for wetness.


Thanks for the recent info. My VSX doesn't have a/c (unfortunately) so is the heater /a-c drain you describe likely to be present or not? Also where exactly do the front sunroof drains exit? I had the o/s front wheel arch liner out but coudn't see any obvious drain tube.

Progress so far:

Fair bit of accumulated debris vacuumed out of the scuttle area but not bad enough to block the side drains so water ingress via the heater unlikely. Found that the lower edge of the laminated screen is starting to turn milky so refitted the screen trim with a generous silicone seal to divert water away.

Removal of the driver's seat (Surprisingly easy! 2 nuts + 2 bolts + 2 plugs to undo from inside the car!) revealed soggy wet foam below a dry carpet. Wet rear footwell has probably been caused by water draining from front to back. The mastic seal running along between the floor pan and inner sill wall was cracked along its length but no daylight showing through it thankfully. Damage probably caused by my local XM sill-seam crushing Polish tyre fitters plus my attempts to straighten them out last summer. Repaired by priming and applying a thick coat of fresh mastic.

Next step is a thorough hose pipe test and leak check before I start putting everything back together.


Hi Ken

I have just (sort of) found my leak, it was impossible to find until i took the plastic trim off from above the passenger door.
It was giving a wet front passenger and sometimes wet rear passenger floor, but not both at the same time. Water is running behind the trim panels all the way around the door undetected to the floor. Here you can see the leak for the first time with the trim removed so it drips off (into a bucket) and is visable.

user posted image

Just got to get the roof lining out now to see what the problem is biggrin.gif

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