How To Clear The Sun Roof Drain Tubes
Courtesy of Lifer
Around the inner portion of the sunroof is a trough that collects and directs water that seeps in through the seal, just like the lower rear of a convertible top. Not high-tech, simple, yet ingenious in design. There are four rubber drain tubes running out of the trough, two in front and two in front. The rule is do not use compressed air to clean them as this will blow the tubes off the nipple connectors and you will have to remove the headline to access.
Interestingly, if you drop the rear panel in the trunk, the one held on by four nuts along the top edge, where the trunk light is, you can easily access the drains as they come down, and are plugged into the body's floor hole. Easy to get to there. Pop them up, squeeze the flapper valve and the dirt pours out.
So I opened the roof and on each side poured water from a glass and the rain in the inside from the headliner continued, proving the problem was probably the drains.
Wait - there's more. To clean the drain tubes it was suggested using .080 weed wacker string to rod them out. Two problems here. The first is that the rear drain holes are not visible unless to have x-ray vision. Hard to get to, even though they are in line with the trough. Second, the string is usually in a coil and not straight - hard to work with.
So, a trip to the Wally Mart and after looking for wire, rods, any stiff item, I found the perfect one. Solutions Peerless Dryer Vent Brush, 10 feet long, IPC 0 3916610417 8. The label is blue.
Perfect. I cut off the brush leaving a brass nut, a short spring that is very flexible, and another brass nut, then 9 feet of black, stiff, but flexible rod, and a handle. I filed the front nut smooth so it would not catch, and then easily fed the rod into the rear drains. Super. On the left side it went all the way to the flapper at the bottom. On the right side it hung up - the tube had gotten between the electronic panel and the trunk's back wall and was crushed flat. I freed it up, unflattened it, and the water poured out. I retested with pouring water in the trough on both sides and no water entered the inside of the car. Then I closed up the car and drowned the roof, windows, and all openings for 30 minutes with my water hose. No water inside.
Might consider cutting off the flapper at the end to prevent future clogs.
Re: How To Clear The Sun Roof Drain Tubes
I was told by the guy who sold me my '01 Catera that the drain tubes were between the front and rear doors behind some sort of panel (he had to unclog them himself less than a week after purchasing the car). Does this differ based on model years? The problem needs to be corrected immediately as the water that is now trapped in the rear driver side door is freezing and I'd like to prevent the floorboards in my car from being damaged. I'm a female college student who fortunately knows a little bit about cars (but clearly not enough lol), so any help is appreciated! :)
Re: How To Clear The Sun Roof Drain Tubes
I own a shop, I was working on a customer's Caddy and his sunroof drains were clogged. I removed the front wheels and wheel well/fender splash shields, partially, and found the rubber drain valves at the end of the drain tubes. They had a very fine sediment in them. I squeezed them and mud started to ooze out. Then drops of water I poked the mud with a straight metal pick tool and more water flowed. Finally I had good water flow and the tube emptied. I then blew the line out from above at the sunroof drain hole. Poured water in the trough and had good flow. Repeated procedure on other side.
At the rear, the the lines were clear all the way except for the check valves/rubber flappers which were full of sediment just like the fronts were. I removed the trunk interior liner enough to get my hands and a light in the area where the drains were, disconnected the white (LH) and black (RH) hard drain lines and cleared the flappers/valves. Poured water in sunroof trough and water flowed from all the wheel wells. Thanks Ranger for the above post because I didn't want to blow the lines off inside the car by blowing on them with compressed air. Your post was helpful and though this is 3 years after the fact, this is still a common problem and the thread lives on.