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gomi_otaku, VW Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 3462
Experience:  VW FastTrack '00-'01, VW Academy Chicago and Seattle '00-present, VW Certified
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Passat: back

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Hi, david:

do you remember the water ingression problem of passat on me last year?
Now, the water ingression comes back again. The floor is full of water after a heavy rain, which caused the car cannot even start. I towed my car to the dealer, and after examination they said it is because cowl drain clogged with leaves, not related to the recall problem. The water come into the car because of the clog, and VW will not cover the repair. I was so surprised that water can still enter the car even after the their repair and recall. I am wondering is it reasonabl for what they said? Should they be responsible for the damage? What should I do to avoid the expensive cost for the fixing for my situation now? Thanks,david, I am looking forward to your help!

Part of the recall involved removing a rubber piece from the drain in the cowl area. Some people may not do this, and it is a rubber "valve" that is pinched shut at the bottom. The theory is that when water builds up, the pinched part opens up under pressure and lets the water through.

So, before they have a chance to do anything more to the car- take a look at it. If you look from the passenger side of the car, along the tie rod from the steering rack- if the rubber grommet is still there, it will hang down slightly. Under the recall you are supposed to remove the battery and take it out- we have found that if you go in with a long extension you can just push on the bottom of it until it falls out. But if it is still in place, the recall was not completed correctly and the drain will clog.

I would call VW of America and start a claim with them, asking for your situation to be reviewed by the local rep.

BTW- there is also another drain on the driver side which is not removed under the recall (not as important) but it can be reached from above sometimes, by hand, and removed, to keep leaves from clogging it up.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for your reply, otagu. Do you mean the clog may be caused by the rubber valve not the leaves? I am not familiar with the drain system, so could you please tell a little bit more about the relations among the drain, the leaves and the rubber valve. If the rubber has been removed, can the leaves still cause such problem, and should VW be responsible for this problem?


It would be great that if you could claim and let a local rep review my situation. The dealer has not told me whether they had remove the rubber for the recall, I believe there are some facts that they never tell me.


What should I do for the claim, shall I give you some of my information? Thanks!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
hi, otagu, the dealer told me that it is because of another drain on the driver side which is not removed under the recall (not as important), just like you said, it caused water come inside. If it is clogged by leaves, should I be responsible for all the damages?
There are two drains, but the plenum area where the drains are is ONE contiguous space- if leaves are blocking one drain, there is nothing preventing the water from flowing over to the other drain! And it would not be able to overflow to the point that it fills up the passenger footwell. It would have to overflow into both- and if the drain was removed, it should not be able to. I don't know why they are stalling or denying it, if it is caused by the drains, then it is a covered issue under the recall- it doesn't come out of their money! They just need to contact the recall hotline and get approval to make the repairs.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

hi, otaku:

thanks for your reply. I would like to accept your answer after I contact the dealer. The dealer said it is because I have not done the maintainece, which caused the leaves accumulated to get it clogged. Do you mean the driver's side drain removal is also included for the recall?

No- the driver side drain valve is not removed under the recall- it should not need to be, since the passenger side drain is in the same open space- there is no divider between the driver and passenger side in that plenum area. But there IS a divider inside the cabin floor- water flowing into the driver side can't flow across to the passenger side because of the "hump"
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

hi, otaku:


I get confused from your answer, what do you mean "if it is caused by the drains, then it is a covered issue under the recall-". The fact is that the leaves get the drain clogged and dealer said it is because I didn't do the maintainence. The water is now on both driver's seat and left back passenger's seat. I will add bonus if you could explain more detail.

If you were experiencing issues before the recall was done, it would be cut and dried- no questions asked- that your issues were caused by a manufacturing flaw which was being corrected by the recall. At that point they would not even argue about covering the additional repairs under the recall.
But since you had the recall done, and now are showing issues, it is more of a "grey area", and you are having to trust the word of the tech and your service advisor. He says it is leaves (which it could be, do you park where leaves fall on the car?). I know that if the recall says to remove the battery to remove the drain plug, you would have to clean out the leaves to get to the drain to remove it. If you did it the way I said, from beneath the vehicle, you might not note that there are a lot of leaves in the plenum. Who is responsible at that point, me for not doing the recall properly, or you for not periodically cleaning out the leaves (maintenance). So it is not a perfect black/white issue. If you contact VWOA there is always the chance they will side with you- it's worth a try, right? I can't contact them for you, you need to open a "claim" or report with them, and they will review the issue with the dealership you are working with.
If you have water on both sides, then it is possible the whole drain plenum could have filled up with water due to BOTH drains being blocked (even the one that had the valve removed) but it would have to be A lot of leaves, and pretty heavy torrential rains- and possibly parking the car pointing uphill?
gomi_otaku and 2 other VW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for your reply, otaku. The dealer showed me the leaves that they found, not huge amount, like half piece of bread(0.3oz I guess), but there is really a heavy rain. The dealer said it is because of the driver's side drain get clogged, while the other drain, which has been performed by the recall, is drain free. This statement made me confused from what you said. Anyway, I'll accept your answer.


By the way, I'd appreciate if you can provide the ways that I can open a "claim" or report with to VW.