Blocked Sunroof Drains, BX
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  1. #1
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Default Blocked Sunroof Drains, BX

    If there's one annoying thing with a BX particularly the 16V it's the habit of giving the front seat passenger a shower or the rear seat passenger a footwash when it rains; in other words, the dreaded leaky sunroof.
    It has to be remembered that by design, a sunroof cannot be made water proof so when driving in rain & water striking the sunroof albeit on an angle at say 100kph is always going to have a potential to end up in the car, so the basic principles employed are; try not to get any more water under the edge than is necessary and when it does, drain it out as quickly as possible.
    To this end they have used glass, so the water beads off it, an upturn all around inside the frame and most importantly 4 sizeable drain holes;
    The drains being the usual culprits and in particular the drain at the rear on the passengers side, and this applies on both LHD and RHD cars due to the obvious reason that when parked, that's the angle the car will sit on due to the crown of the road.
    Why is this drain often blocked? There are a couple of reasons.
    The first being that if the car gets any crap on the roof and more so if it is either constantly parked in an area where it can collect this rubbish (ie) Dust, leaves, road grime etc, and it wears the occasionsl shower of rain, the angle the car sits on will cause some of this to run into the channel on the passengers side and become trapped in there.
    Also there is a piece of what appears to be black velcro that is apparently used as an anti-rattle packing inside the hood lining area that comes unstuck and it too often finds its way onto the passengers side for the same reason.
    How does it get into the drain? Well as the clear plastic tube that is connected to the drain is approx 18mm in diameter and fits to the outside of the drain outlet, it stands to reason it won't block all that easily partway down under normal circumstances, but part of the principle of the way these things works is that when the car is moving, there's a certain amount of air pressure/venturi action drawing & forcing the water through the rear drain & this is why most blockages & leaks can be traced to them. The dirt & leaves start off as a partial blockage but then this grows as the dust attached to the leaves begins to get damp which in turn filters and gets stuck to it any other dust that happens to get in there until it's totally blocked. The piece of black velcro rolls itself into a thing about the size of a cigarette and in a lot of 16Vs in particular, sticks into a drain hole, again the rear passengers side normally, and has the same effect of acting as a catalyst to a total blockage; being black, it's also hard to see.
    How do you clear this blockage? Well the rears are fortunately the simplest of all. Firstly grab a nice bright spotlight and shine it right into the corners of the sunroof; the drains are there regardless of the protestations of the guy at the servo whose just finished telling you "Nah mayte; they don't 'ave 'em on this model; me mayte useta have one...they all leak!!" They're bloody hard to see but they are all 4 there. Now carefully examine for that piece of velcro for starters that is unless you've got enough leaves there to make a conservationist weep. If the big black hole is anything but clear and shiney, carefully (I constantly emphasise that word throughout this operation) get a pair of very long nosed pliers and try to extract any leaves or the dreaded velcro bit. Don't under any circumstances be tempted to push a screwdriver or a piece of fencing wire or Grannys favoutite number 8 knitting needle or anything else down through that drain as it can do one of two things; poke a hole through the plastic drain pipe or worse still, puch it off the piece of pipe it's connected to which then leaves the water all draining either into the car and/or all inside the hood lining.....nice!
    Next step is to remove the tail lights. Simple as it gets. There's a stainless steel spring clip that you simply press down and push forward ahd they'll hinge forwards. (While they're out, why not give them a wash under a tap somewhere to get rid of all that internal dust and make them bright and clean again?) Grope around in the area where the tail light fits and you'll find the clear (by this time covered in dust and going yellowish) plastic tube that is in fact the drain outlet. Wipe it (for obvious reasons) and then blow up it. Get someone to keep an eye and ear on the drain hole at the sunroof while you do. Repeat the dose on the other side and then set about proving they're clear by pouring a small jug of water down them which will also flush them out in the process. Water should flow freely from them.
    Front drains are a lot more complicated to access so woking from the top is by far the preferred option.
    The do's and don'ts:

    Try to work from the top if possible. Keep the area around the drain outlets clean & clear at all times. Blow through using the hoses & blowing by mouth. If it is a tight and total blockage which you feel can only be moved by mechanical force, use only that flexible coiled wire that is used for curtains and wind it up.

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    Don't Use anything hard to force into the tubes. Don't use any chemicals to clean out with. Don't use compressed air unless it's at a very low pressure; remember if you hole the drain pipe or blow it off at the sunroof end, the hood lining has to come out of the car to refit it...what a nightmare that will be!!


    Hope that is some help.


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Dave's Avatar
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    I took the whole bloody roof lining and sunroof out of my bx at one stage and cleaned the bugger right out. A few months down the track and its leaking again. If i was to do it again i would try and fit larger diameter drain pipes so they never block again.

    Dave


  3. #3
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Don't want to upset you Dave, but that wouldn't make a scrap of difference. If the drains are big enough to work on one car, they'll work on the rest.
    I think you'll find (as I did) that the frame has dropped & it's leaking between it and the actual sunroof.
    Slacken all the screws around the frame, push upwards and with upward pressure applied, retighten screws.
    Been quite a few in rainy old England also been trapped with that so you 'n me ain't Robinson Crusoe.


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts Dave's Avatar
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    Ahh crap, is that easy to do? With everything still in?

    If i have been getting a wet bloody leg around corners for three years and i could have fixed it easily. . . .

    Thanks for the help Alan


  5. #5
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Yeah; ain't life a bitch My 16V had the problem from both angles; the bit of velcro down the mouth of the drain & then when I got that out, it used to pour water on the front seat passenger. If it's any consolation, a well know Sydney repairer spent ages on it & couldn't cure it either and a guy with a 16V in the UK pointed me at this & 2 minutes & it was fixed.


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  6. #6
    Tadpole
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    Thanks Alan I will definitely look into that. Sounds a bit too easy that the drains can be unblocked just by blowing into it... but I'm not complaining

  7. #7
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by new2bx16v
    Thanks Alan I will definitely look into that. Sounds a bit too easy that the drains can be unblocked just by blowing into it... but I'm not complaining
    Repeated thanks to those who advised me not to go the sunroof way with our Xantia!!!

    Our 1995 Peugeot 306 has a sunroof - not a problem yet.... But she lives in a garage and is parked at work under cover. (Not undercover. She's not trying to be a Corolla.)

    Thanks Alan for more good advice.

    JohnW

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts Dave's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help Alan, are you going to be at the french car day at UQ this year? Maybe you can point the problem out to me then

    Dave


  9. #9
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    All going well I should be there with possibly a couple of the 'fleet' and should be floating between aussiefrogs and another stand close by. Hopefully will have my 16V as well as tthe series one 16V if 'his nibs' manages to give it a wash before then!! Catch you there; quite simple once you see it.

    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  10. #10
    Member Jon Wood's Avatar
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    A lazy way of dealing with this problem on the BX (as its almost always the rear drain tubes that get blocked) is to simply remove the rear lamp units, they just clip in; grab the rubber drain hoses that run behind them from the sunroof, then point some compressed air up both!

    As you're blowing the opposite way its quite safe, no tubes can fall off.

    Make sure that the sunroof is open before you start though.

    Works a treat
    Last edited by Jon Wood; 9th June 2004 at 08:20 AM.
    BX 1.7TD TZD 1993
    Berlingo Multispace 2.0 HDi 2004

  11. #11
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Wood
    A lazy way of dealing with this problem on the BX (as its almost always the rear drain tubes that get blocked) is to simply remove the rear lamp units, they just clip in; grab the rubber drain hoses that run behind them from the sunroof, then point some compressed air up both!

    As you're blowing the opposite way its quite safe, no tubes can fall off.

    Make sure that the sunroof is open before you start though.

    Works a treat

    That's why I said "blow up it;" Aussies are full of hot air!!!


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  12. #12
    1000+ Posts Dave's Avatar
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    Bring as many cars as you can Alan, be nice to see the 16 Valves out and about. Hopefully I will see you there

    Dave


  13. #13
    Fellow Frogger! sproose16v's Avatar
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    As you may have noticed the rain in Sydney last night, guess who's sunroof leaked like a bastard and wet his passenger seat? Yeah me! Good times! I guess tonight after work ill be playing mr plummer for a few mins and stuff. Alan S this post couldnt have come at a better time!


    Cheers
    1989 BX 16 Valve Mk1 - SOLD (And Missed)
    http://www.bx16v.cjb.net
    1992 R32 GTSt Skyline

  14. #14
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    Default Xantia Sunroof

    I've been following the discussion on the BX leaky sunroof probs with interest. Had that problem on an R25 and swore I wouldn't buy another car with a sunroof... but... at the right price it happened. A Xantia. I'm interested in knowing whether the business about keeping the drainholes clear (blowing upward from the tail light assembly) would also be the way the Xantia is put together & therefore work in the same way? Once you have a leaky sunroof, I think paranoia isn't far away in terms of preventative maintenance! Here in NZ it r-a-i-n-s. Just returned from weeks in Au & never saw a drop! = Paul

  15. #15
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulclifford
    I've been following the discussion on the BX leaky sunroof probs with interest. Had that problem on an R25 and swore I wouldn't buy another car with a sunroof... but... at the right price it happened. A Xantia. I'm interested in knowing whether the business about keeping the drainholes clear (blowing upward from the tail light assembly) would also be the way the Xantia is put together & therefore work in the same way? Once you have a leaky sunroof, I think paranoia isn't far away in terms of preventative maintenance! Here in NZ it r-a-i-n-s. Just returned from weeks in Au & never saw a drop! = Paul
    Did you come to Perth? You should have dropped in!

    JohnW

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