Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOLVED!

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drealbmw
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Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOLVED!

Post by drealbmw » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:17 pm

I, too, was once a victim of mysterious water leaks in my Freestyle, but no more.

Frustration increased to hair-pulling levels until I decided NO MAS! I was tired of the white mold growing on the seats after every rain, and a musty smell like a graveyard. I decided to tear up the interior of the car until I solved the problem -- or else. The death match was on!




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That's because I was tired of water on the sun visor.




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I was tired of water on the control panel.




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I was tired of water on the floorboard.




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I was tired of water in the spare tire well.

What could possibly be happening? This didn’t happen when the car was new.




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I finally found out what happened. The drains in the sunroof got plugged up. See the standing water in the sunroof drain?




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But how plugged up was the drain? And how did it get plugged up? I inserted a Q-Tip inside the drain to find out.




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THIS is how plugged up. Unbelievable.




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First, a little background. There are 4 drains on the Freestyle sunroof. One at each corner. Actually, one at each of the front 2 corners, and one at each of the back 2 corners.

They are hard to see. In fact, you can’t see the back drains. But you can see the front ones, if you look carefully. The red arrow is pointing to the front drain on the driver's side. The reddish gunk in the foreground is silt and dirt.

So, what is the problem? It’s a matter of time and fine particles of dirt and dust. Over time, the water drains from the front, but little particles of dirt get trapped on the edge of the drain and dry there. The next rain or car wash occurs, and more dirt gets trapped at the edge of the drain and on top of the old dirt. Slowly, a dam of dirt and dust gets constructed. Finally, there is nowhere for the water to go. EXCEPT INSIDE YOUR CAR.

Lucky for you, all the dirt is at the opening of the drain, and not solid throughout the entire line. So a Q-TIP will easily solve your problem on the two front drains. Make sure the drain area is wet, and carefully use the Q-Tip to clean out all the muck. Problem solved.

Just make sure you do this before a problem occurs. How about every year or two? Open the moonroof, go outside the car and use a step stool so you can look down on the problem. Use a Q-TIP to clean out the drain, and a paper towel to sweep up any remaining dirt sitting on the runway. This is all you need to do, normally.

But what happens if you don’t clean the front drains, the dirt turns into a dam, and the water can’t drip out of the front drain? Then it has no choice but to go out the 2 back drains. You can’t see those drains because they are between the metal roof and the headliner.




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Unlucky for you, there was an engineering boo-boo. The plastic drain tubes inside the roof liner run NEARLY UPHILL. I drew a red line in the diagram that shows the original factory route of the drain tube running high along the roof on the passenger side. (The black line is Ford's solution that calls for rerouting the drain line.)

After a number of complaints, Ford issued TSB 07-3-6.pdf on July 13, 2009. The title is, “Water Leak -- Roof Opening Panel.” By the way, TSB stands for Technical Service Bulletin. A PDF stands for Portable Document Format, which means a computer can read the document. You can get that information for the TSB online by just typing in the TSB number, or click here.

Anway, Ford’s TSB said the solution was to reroute the drain tubes so the water always goes downhill. That will fix the problem on the passenger side. This is the easiest side to fix, because the new route for the drain tube naturally fits along the electrical wiring harness and the module. You can use a short cable tie to anchor it near the rear window.




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And here is the schematic for fixing the problem on the driver side. The drawing shows the foil wrapping the air-conditioning duct. The solution is basically the same as the passenger side. The red line shows the original factory route of the drain tube.

Now, if your front drains are open and leaks are NOT a big problem, you may not want to tackle the rear drains. Or you may not need to. If you want to tackle the job, however, it may take 3 or 4 hours if you are really, really good. I personally would plan for a day or two, and take it easy. It took me a WEEK to do this, because I did not know what steps to take. I hope it is easier for you because of this tutorial.

If you want to plunge in on the rear drains, here are the steps to lower the roof headliner. Remember, you do NOT have to take the whole thing down. Just lower it a few inches.




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First. Remove the 3 handholds in the roof. There is one above the front passenger seat, and 2 more above the 2nd row seats.




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Just fold down the handle.




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You can see the Phillips screws holding them in place.




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Second. Remove the B pillars. These are the plastic supports between the front row and second row. Here’s how.




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Remove the plastic covers that hide the screws. You can use a small flathead screwdriver to pry off the plastic covers.




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Then use a T20 Torx screwdriver to take out the screws.




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You have to use this special screwdriver because of the odd shape of the screwhead.




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This is the only screwdriver that will fit without damaging the screws. This will cost you $5 or so at the hardware store.




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Now you can yank hard on the dark gray pillars. They are held in place by simple clips. Remember, you don’t have to completely remove the plastic pillars. Just lean them back a little.




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Once the dark gray pillar is pulled back, you can remove the light gray pillar. This releases the roof headliner.




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See how the tabs in the center of the picture fit into the dark slot on the right of the picture? Make a mental note how the pillar holds up the liner.




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Now do the same operation on the C pillar, which is behind the second-row seats. The foil shows the air-conditioning duct on the driver's side.




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Finally, we attack the D pillars, which are at the end of the car next to the hatch. These are just simple plastic screws. There are 2 on each side.




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If you have problems, use pliers to unscrew them. Cushion your pliers with paper towels if you want to avoid scratch marks on the soft plastic.




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You can now yank back the light gray plastic.




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Note how the plastic slot holds the soft headliner material.




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Also note how the plastic tabs fit into the slots.




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In summary, this panel has 2 clips and 1 slot that must be aligned for proper reassembly.




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Finally, you can yank back the dark gray plastic on the bottom. Note how there are both plastic guides and clips that hold the plastic to the body. Use the plastic guides to line up the clips.




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This is very important when you reassemble the plastic pillars. Be careful to line up the guides FIRST! I was careless and bent one of the plastic guides because I tried to force the clip to go in without noticing the plastic guide. When I straightened out the plastic guide, it broke off. The clip still held the plastic panel in place. But it was not as elegant a solution as it could have been.




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Now you can remove the 3 plastic screws holding the headliner to the roof at the rear hatch. They just pull out.




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You can see the ridges of the plastic screws that keep the headliner up.




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Now you should be able to drop the headliner a couple of inches. You just need enough space to see the drain at the rear of the sunroof tracks.




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After you drop the headliner, here is what you see. A white plastic drain pan, with a black drain tube.




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But you may see a problem here. A tiny drop of water. Or a few drops.




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Or maybe a Niagara Falls of water! (I cheated here and blocked the black tube for this photo, just to dramatize the worst example I could think of!) But it demonstrates the problem.




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You can easily pull off the black tube.




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The hard part is disconnecting the white basin. Use a needle-nose pliers to squeeze the plastic legs together that fit into the metal slot. I circled the "U"-shaped plastic legs in red. Then push the plastic legs through the metal slot of the rail. This will allow you to remove the white basin.




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This exposes the rail that functions both as a drain and a ramp for the sunroof assembly. Note the glue spaghetti hanging from the rail. After almost 10 years, it is still pliable and tacky. (What is that stuff? No one knows. Not even Ford!)




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Once you have the white basin out, you can see the "U"-shaped leg that clamps the basin to the rail. Be careful not to crack this part off.




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Now it is plain to see that there is no dirt clogging up the rear drains. The problem is that the water has to flow UPHILL. That's what we have to fix.




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The red arrow shows a slot in the bottom of the white basin that can leak water.




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It is especially obvious if you flip over the white basin. We will need to plug this hole.




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The red arrows show how the water can escape the basin. It can drip out the back end, or down the hole. There would be no problem if more glue had been used. And if there was no hole in the middle of the white basin. Or if the front drains were open. But if the front drains are clogged, then all the water heads to the white basin in the rear. It backs up because it cannot flow uphill. And you have water pouring into your car.




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Riding in to save the day is Silicone Adhesive Sealant. This will stop the leaks! Squeeze a line of plastic sealant along the back edge of the basin and return it to the metal rail by snapping it into place. You might have to jiggle the white basin until it fits snugly. Then use the sealant to fill up the hole in the center of the basin.




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As you can tell, I probably overdid it on the sealant. But I didn't go to all this trouble, just to skimp on the glue.




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This is the same picture as the previous one. The only difference is that I sat in the Freestyle front seat and reached over the headliner to apply more sealant to the gap between the rubber bumper and the rail. I didn’t want to take any chances. Earlier, I had seen a few drops of water escape through here.

I think I stopped here for the day, just to give the sealant a chance to set and dry. It takes 24 hours to cure completely, but I didn't wait that long.




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This view of the roof shows how the water runs along the outside lane of the rail, which is obvious because of the coffee-brown dirt you see in the picture. You can test this theory by pouring some water into the channel shown by the arrow. Make sure you have something to catch it!




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This picture shows a turkey baster filled with water. The water never drained from the baster! The water stayed at this level. This picture proved that the water could not escape, because it would have to flow uphill to drain.




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Now, to work! See how the black drain line runs uphill to a plastic hanger, acting almost link a kink in the tube.




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Here is a photo of one of the plastic hangers. These must be removed and thrown away.




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They are easy to remove. They just slide off a metal lip. There are 2 hangers on each side.




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The red arrows in this photo (looking back toward the hatch) shows another hanger and a tie that clamps the hose along the length of the Freestyle. These must come out, too! See how the drain hose runs along the top of the headliner next to the roof. That's a real no-no!




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Here's a closer view of the previous picture. The red arrows show the hanger and tie clip that must be removed.




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Here are two more clips that must be removed along the rear hatch.




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The other side ties down the drain tube a little differently.




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You must yank hard on these tie clips to remove them. But they will come out.




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Once all the hangers and ties are gone, the drain hose is free and you can pull it out. Then reroute the hose along the walls of the Freestyle so that it drops quickly from the white basin. Use the Ford diagrams to guide your work.

The drain tube will be much longer than needed because you have a shorter route. So just pull the slack out of the tube, and cut off the extra at the end.

Remember to MEASURE TWICE before you cut the tube. I think I cut about 10 inches on the passenger side. The length depends on where you reroute the tube. On the passenger side, I sneaked the drain tube over the electrical wire harness and the module, just like the drawing in the TSB. I used a cable tie to anchor the tube at the place they recommended (Ford said to use tape, but that did not work out well for me).




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ONE WARNING! Make sure the new route of the drain tube is downhill and tight. If you do not tighten the drain tube properly, you might accidentally be forcing the water to try to go uphill again. This is a picture shot AFTER I fixed the length of the hose. Great Caesar's Ghost! I STILL had a kink going uphill!




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When I realized I still had the same problem, I tightened up the hose, and finally the drain was heading downhill. (You can barely see the downward slope on the right side of this photo, but it's there.) Now the water should drain quickly out the rear of the car.




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Moving the drain hose on the driver's side is harder because of the AC duct. The solution is basically the same as the passenger side, but the drain tube must be tied into position using cable ties.




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The AC duct is pretty big, so I had to buy extra-long cable ties. I found some 24-inch ties at the hardware store for about $5 for a pack of 10. Attach the hose at the bottom of the AC duct.




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This picture shows the cable tie too high, which would force the water to flow uphill again. I found my mistake, and then moved the tie and the hose down to the top of the foil on the AC duct. The red arrow shows where you can tie the hose to the top of the AC duct. This keeps the water always flowing downhill.




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You are almost done. Here is a picture of the parts I removed from the passenger side of the Freestyle.




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This photo shows the parts left over from the driver's side.

Now is the time to test your work. Pour water into the OUTSIDE edge of the railings on both the driver and passenger side of the moonroof, and watch the water rush out the rear. Make sure there are no leaks inside.

Congratulations! You’ve done it!

Now you can button everything back up. Just follow my instructions in reverse order.
Be careful to note the plastic guides. Try not to break one like I did. Just take your time.

Good luck and dry motoring! Let me know how it goes (and how long it takes to follow my steps.) If this seems like too much work, a mechanic can do it for a few hundred dollars.

One other thing. I tried to make a slideshow on YouTube to test my video skills. No audio and no moving pictures. And it is just a repeat of the same photos in this tutorial, but BIGGER. So you might want to check it out at YouTube to see if it helps.

The Freestyle is a great car, and I want to keep it running in tip-top shape for as long as possible. Good luck!



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Last edited by drealbmw on Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:53 pm, edited 6 times in total.

HHR
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle sunroof floorboard -- SOLV

Post by HHR » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Great write up and photos! I can't wait to tackle this job!

drealbmw
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle sunroof floorboard -- SOLV

Post by drealbmw » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:45 pm

Thanks. :P

I have been working on this problem for almost 3 years, but I couldn't figure out. :evil:

But now it's done. The stake is driven through its heart. :lol:

Wheelman
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle sunroof floorboard -- SOLV

Post by Wheelman » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:52 am

I never buy cars with sun roofs. They're a pain in the rear and an added cost to the vehicle. They have no real useful purpose.

drealbmw
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle sunroof floorboard -- SOLV

Post by drealbmw » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:11 am

I might be changing my mind to your point of view.

Both my cars have moonroofs, but I rarely use them. Maybe once a year I roll down the windows and open the roof, and run in the cool of the evening down the highway with the wind whipping about me. It's FUN! But that usually lasts 10 minutes, and then I close everything back up.

Maybe I like the IDEA of having a moonroof better than the reality of it.
Last edited by drealbmw on Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

pwschuh
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOL

Post by pwschuh » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:10 am

Superb write-up. Thanks.
2008 TX Limited
Silver Birch Metallic/Black leather
WeatherTech floormats all rows
Bought used on 17 Nov 10 with 20,000 miles

jpz
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOL

Post by jpz » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:50 pm

Excellent write up. I haven't tackled the rear drains yet but have had the front ones clog up on me a couple of times. This should be a sticky!

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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle sunroof floorboard -- SOLV

Post by Webmaster » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:43 pm

Wheelman wrote:I never buy cars with sun roofs. They're a pain in the rear and an added cost to the vehicle. They have no real useful purpose.
+1

knowitall
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle sunroof floorboard -- SOLV

Post by knowitall » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:44 pm

Wheelman wrote:I never buy cars with sun roofs. They're a pain in the rear and an added cost to the vehicle. They have no real useful purpose.
I call them stink holes because you can keep them open while you let er rip! :lol:

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Africa_FS_07
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle sunroof floorboard -- SOLV

Post by Africa_FS_07 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:01 pm

knowitall wrote:
Wheelman wrote:I never buy cars with sun roofs. They're a pain in the rear and an added cost to the vehicle. They have no real useful purpose.
I call them stink holes because you can keep them open while you let er rip! :lol:
WHAT??? :shock:

OMG!!! :shock:
i wonder who "Voodoo Bob of the Dead Poets Society" is hounding now.....:mrgreen:

HHR
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOL

Post by HHR » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:55 pm

I tackled the job yesterday. Took me about 5 hours.
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shadowwoodrn
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOL

Post by shadowwoodrn » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:31 am

Ok...got the moonroof problem taken care of but I also am having problems with the floorboards soaking wet... I saw something about the A/C drain....can you help with this?

drealbmw
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOL

Post by drealbmw » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:07 am

That is the next job I will tackle, shadowwoodrn. The damp floorboards from the A/C drain are still a mystery to me. I will be watching this winter (when I don't use the AC) and see whether the floor is still moist. Maybe you could post that as a separate item and see what people say.

And HHR! What an awesome photo! I am truly in awe! Good job from the TC (I presume).

Alfons
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOLVED!

Post by Alfons » Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:15 am

Thank you for this post! I just used it to easily solve the leak (front drains) for one of my Ford Five Hundred. I love this car class .. one Freestyle and three Five Hundreds!
Alfons in Michigan

2007 Freestlye
2007 Five Hundred
2006 Five Hundred
2005 Five Hundred
2003 Expedition

1941 Ford 3 ton V3000s
1944 VW Kubelwagen

DanfromSterling
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Re: Water leaks in 2006 Freestyle moonroof floorboard -- SOLVED!

Post by DanfromSterling » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:05 am

Great write up my freestyle is leaking at d pillar and filling spare tire well. Mildew smell in car. Plan to print write up to reference.

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