Sunroof drain tube leak - PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Forum for Infiniti M35 and M45, and Nissan Fuga owners.
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Sunroof drain tube leak - PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Postby tiafn2 » Tue May 03, 2016 9:16 am

Over the past 6 months I have been in a battle with water penetration into my '06 M45. From searching on this forum and others, it seems like a fairly common problem with different causes. Through various methods I eliminated all other possibilities of water leaks that I had come across: windshield, A/C condenser, sunroof seal, etc. All signs pointed to the drain tubes. Problem was that none of the fixes I tried worked. I tried blowing compressed air in them, I tried running hot water down the tubes, I tried running different kinds of wires down the tubes, etc. I was convinced that my problem was a clog at the end of the drain tubes. Turns out I was right but the reason it took so long to figure it out is that there is no real specific guide or pictures or video online or anything in the service manual regarding drain tubes. I always assumed that the tubes ran from the sunroof, down the A-pillar, and into the engine compartment to the bottom of the car where they are not accessible. Well that is not accurate. The tubes terminate outside the cabin at the front of the dash at the bottom of the windshield. The tubes drain into the same place that water drains from the cowl outside of the car at the base of the windshield. However, I only found this out after my friend suggested just pulling hard on the tubes to see what happens. He correctly reasoned that I was in store for a trip to the dealer whether I ruined the tubes or whether they remained clogged.

So I would love to say that after all my semi-scientific approaches to narrowing down my problem to the drain tubes that I also scientifically discovered where they terminate. But the truth is I just pulled like hell on one and it popped out. So I did the same on the other and it popped out as well. Look at the below pictures to see what we are dealing with in these cars. You'll notice that on the end of the tube there is a black rubber grommet. The tube is somehow very solidly connected to the grommet which is why pulling on the tube turned out to be no problem...again just pure luck. But take notice of the end of the black rubber grommet. You'll notice a little rubber flap that I have to assume is meant to prevent dirt and debris going back up the tube. What this little flap actually does is trap dirt that gets in at the sunroof and runs down the tube (you would be amazed at the amount of water and dirt that gets past the sunroof seal). So my fix was simply to remove the little flap. After 3-4 really strong spring thunderstorms here, I can safely say it's been bone dry in the car.




Last edited by Ilya on Tue May 03, 2016 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Updated post with images for easier viewing

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Re: Sunroof drain tube leak - PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Postby Ilya » Tue May 03, 2016 9:31 am

Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing this!

I'm going to add it to the FAQ thread for posterity. Also, I'm going to post the images in an updated version of your original post for easier viewing.

Thanks again for taking the time and effort to share.

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Re: Sunroof drain tube leak - PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Postby Larz » Tue May 03, 2016 4:43 pm

When I removed the A-pillar trim pieces to re-cover my dash, I suspected those plastic tubes were drains for the sun roof. Thank you for confirming that. One would think that based on the size of those tubes, a clog is unlikely. However, now that you discovered that silly flap at the bottom of the tube, I am not at all surprised. That flap is perfectly designed to allow and even promote build-up and once dirt adheres to the flap, the clog is inevitable.
If I were you, I would remove the flap so the water can drain freely instead of clinging to the flap and turning road dirt to a mud plug.
I reckon the dealer would also have found this, but only after a huge expense which you have now spared us all from paying. Thank you !

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Re: Sunroof drain tube leak - PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Postby bigkokoomok » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:08 pm

Hi thanks for your post. A few questions regarding this fix. Given the silling rubber flap, I'm guessing my drain tube is clogged. My dealer quoted me over $600 to fix this by replacing the entire thing, but now I'm wondering if this needs to be done.

1) If all I want to do is try and unclog or remove the rubber flap, can I get adequate access by removing the A-pillar trim. If so, I seem to find some videos online showing you just need to pull hard to remove the plastic fasteners, was that your experience as well?

2) lastly since you removed the rubber flap, have you had any ongoing issues, wondering if the flap was put there to prevent debri/dust in the engine going up into the tube, and if you had any f/u problems since removal?

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Re: Sunroof drain tube leak - PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Postby dragmyr1 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:54 pm

thank you very much . i am working on the ones that run down the pillars

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