Leaking issues in jeep wranglers are a somewhat common problem among jeep users. Whether it is a new jeep or an old one, leaking water inside when raining can happen.
When talking about leaking it can occur due to defects in any part including hardtop, soft top, clogged cowls, water sealing rubber beadings around panels and so on.
With this guide I will tell you how to diagnose the defect causing a leaking issue and what are the fixations you can do to solve the issue.
You will find solutions not only for roof leakages of jeeps, but also for other types of water leaks that cause water on the floorboard in drivers or passengers’ side when raining, through this guide.
Do jeep hard tops leak?
Yes, jeep hardtops can leak water due to various reasons. Because a jeep hardtop is removable, that also can ultimately lead to leaking due to not fitting properly after removing.
Other than that hardtops can leak through loosely fitted removable freedom panels and defects in rubber seals around freedom panels mainly.
That means overtime we have to expect roof leaking issues in jeeps due to it’s removable top.
But most jeepers do not care much about these leaking issues.
There are a lot of simple fixes also we can apply to fix jeep roof leakages. We'll look at them in upcoming topics.
Causes for jeep roof leaks?
When talking about hardtop leaks in jeeps they can occur due to wearing or damages to the hardtop with the usage.
Hardtop removal and fitting many times can also cause defects in hardtops. Because of that they will not seat properly with the jeep as usual. They may lead to leaking issues over time through those gaps.
As I mentioned earlier, new freedom panels have a higher tendency to cause leakages with damage to rubber seals or clogging debrises on them.
But this new 3 piece hardtop is more convenient than the old one piece traditional hardtop when removing and storing.
Apart from above hardtop fitting latches may be disengaged or hardtop fitted bolts are not tightened properly can lead to jeep leaks when raining.
Even if you have not removed the hardtop, extreme trail riding also can loosen the hardtop mounting bolts.
Symptoms of a jeep roof leakage
Roof leakage can lead to water draining inside the jeep when raining. Water can be seen anywhere from seats, center console areas, inside windows or on the floor boards.
If the water drops around the middle areas of the jeep like on seats, the dashboard may be due to defect in freedom panels, or hardtop latches. After finding that we can apply fixes to solve it.
But water on the floor boards can’t be diagnosed simply. Because of that there are various reasons for that. We’ll look at them in the next topic.
Causes for water on the floorboard of jeep when raining
Water on floor boards when raining is the commonest issue among jeepers. Below are the defects we see mostly which cause wet floor boards.
- Defects of rubber seals around removable doors of the jeep
Normally a vehicle has two rubber seals to avoid water leaks from doors. One is placed on the door and the other one is placed on the vehicle’s body. When we close the door, those two rubber seals fit together and make the water tight.
But jeep wranglers have only one of those rubber seals. It’s placed around the removable door. It doesn’t have a rubber seal on the body. The reason for that may be due to it’s removable top.
But with that one rubber seal in jeep door, they can easily get into water leakages than other vehicles.
- Clogged cowls
Inside the jeep cowl there are two passages. One is to facilitate cabin air and another one goes under the jeep that drains water.
Most of the time leaves like things clogged inside this cowl and block the water drainage tube. That causes water to drain through the cabin air passage when raining. That water pools on the floor board
- Water from the jeep Air condition system.
This is a normal thing. Small amount of water can drop onto floor boards due to water condensation by the AC system under the dashboard. It’s not a big deal.
- Hardtop leakages
As I mentioned earlier in this guide, damaged roof latches, rubber gaskets and seals of freedom panels, debris on those rubber seals can cause water leaks into the jeep.
That water can drain under the plastic panels of the jeep and pool on the floor boards.
How to diagnose the place of jeep leakage?
Diagnosis can differ according to the situation. Below points will help you to figure out the place and reason for leaking water into the jeep.
Checking the rubber seals, gaskets for any defects.
According to the place where you see water accumulate inside the jeep you can check for possible causes.
You can start from the water pooling surface inside the jeep (as an example on the floor board) and work your way up to the leaking spots.
That is the simplest way to do that and it may not work for many jeepers. Then you can go the next way.
Using a garden hose or some water source you can shower water on the jeep and check for water leaks.
“But it’s not suitable to use pressure washers directly around leaking areas to check for rain leaking. Direct high pressure can cause leakages from rubber seals that do not occur in normal rain. So that can lead to misdiagnose”
Checking for damaged rubber seals of the jeep.
You can check around your door panel rubber seals for any damages or improper fitting with the body when the door closes.
You can remove freedom panels( if available) and check those rubber seals, latches for any defects or debris.
Especially if you go for a drive without freedom panels dust and different materials can sit on those rubber beadings. They can cause water leakages over time.
If there are visible damages on the rubber seals, they can be seen by careful checking. But most of the time water can leak through those rubber seals without any visible damages.
Because of that you can use the soap bubble method. I learned that from a genius youtuber who did a video showing this. I’ll attach that video below.
soap bubble method :
In this method you have to start the jeep. Then turn on the blower of the jeep and make air come into the jeep from out through A/C vents. Increase the blower speed to full blast.
Shut all the windows of the jeep and get out from the jeep, closing all the doors properly.
Now pressure inside the jeep cabin will increase and air will try to escape from the jeep. If air escapes from somewhere around doors or roofs that point have a leaking issue.
That place can lead to water leaks when it rains.
To find out air leaking points we can use soapy water. We can put soapy water into a spray bottle and spray around door panels. (Gaps between door and body, door and roof, door and pillar bars, around freedom panels and so on..)
If there are any leaking points bubbles will form in those points. With that you can find out potential leaking areas.
Below you can watch the video I mentioned previously.
How to fix a jeep leakage.
With one of the above methods you may be able to diagnose the leaking areas of your jeep.
But sometimes you may have to get the support of a mechanic to figure out and solve some issues.
If you are lucky and you have found the leaking spots below are some tips to fix those issues.
If the leak happens from hardtop
- You can tighten the loose bolts and latches if there are any.
Especially the loose hardtop bolts in front of the jeep can cause water leaks in many jeeps. So check them and tighten them properly.
- You can properly inspect and clean the rubber seals around the freedom panels
You can use wet clothes to wipe the dirt on rubber seals. Using cotton buds you can clean unreachable spots that have debris inside those rubber seals.
- Make sure rubber seals are properly aligned with hardtop
When fitting hardtops rubber seals can misaligned or fold without making a good water tight. Those areas can lead to water leaks and damages can happen to rubber seals over time.
So check them and readjust before tightening.
- Use a self adhesive sealant tape to seal the gaps
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After tightening bolts properly as well as cleaning and readjusting rubber sealants also doesn’t solve your jeep leaking issue you can use sealant tape to do some patch work.
After finding the leaking spots with the soap bubble method or other way you can fix those patch spots with a self adhesive sealant tape. They can be bought from your local store for a few bucks.
Use a scissor to cut small pieces according to the length of the area you need to fix and you can seal those leaking spots easily.
- If you have an issue with clogged cowl
You can easily remove the cowl by loosening the bots around the cowl. Then you have to clean the cowl.
You can clean the water draining passage of the cowl by using a wire attached to a small brush.
Cleaning the cowl properly solves most of the water pooling issues of the floorboards.
You can drain water from the floorboards by removing drain plugs on the jeep floor under the carpet.
- If you have water leaking issues due to damaged rubber seals, you may have to replace them. Without replacing them you may not be able to fix that issue sometimes.
01. How to fix Soft top leaking issues
Soft tops can cause leaking with the time because the vinyl materials they made can wear out easily. So that when using a few years water can come inside, absorbing to that material.
As a temporary fix you can use some sort of self adhesive tape or piece of vinyl material with suitable glue to fix those patches. But they are not permanent fixes.
You can use weatherproof cover to protect the jeep when parking on a rainy day.
To protect inside electronics and especially the clock spring of the jeep you can use a weatherproof dash and steering cover.
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You can read my jeep drying out article by clicking here, if you soaked your jeep due to water leak.
I told you possible reasons to leak water into the jeep when it is raining, reasons for pooling water on the floorboard, a couple of methods to diagnose the issue and methods to fix those issues.
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes these simple fixes also will not work in some cases. After trying these things accordingly, if you can’t fix the issue, it’s better to meet a mechanic to solve it.
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