XJ Cherokee Kick Plate Water Leak - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-24-2015, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
jordan96xj
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XJ Cherokee Kick Plate Water Leak

I've been running down my leak sources in a 1996 XJ, and I bumped into one that I haven't seen mentioned in other leak source threads.

This particular leak presents itself as wetness in the carpet near the driver or passenger side carpet, nearer to the front of the seat, and not so much near the foot well. In this case it will appear that the bottom door seal is failing, but no evidence of water is found working through the seal, and no droplets are found on the plastic trim. Which indicates that the water is getting from the outside to the inside "through" the body and not over a door sill or through a door seal.

It works like this. The door drains naturally through slots (at least on the 96 it does). One of these drainage slots on the door is located above the kick plate. So it is common to open the door and find water on the kick plate. This means that the door is doing its job, and is not blocked up. However, this water drains right on top of the kick plate screw.

So if the kick plate screws are corroded, or in my case, have been driven to deeply, or have other wise no longer sealing the kickplate screw holes, the water will drain down through them and can possibly end up under the carpet.

In my case, the factory had ran the kickplate screw too deep and the head which is meant to seal against the plastic had been run down below the lip of the kickplate hole. It was also corroded, which allowed even more gap for water to get through.

My fix was to add a small amount of sealant to the top of the screw to close the drainage gap that existed.

I hope this post is searchable and helpful for anyone tracking down leaks in the future. I tried to use title and terms that would make it more searchable via Google etc.

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post #2 of 13 Old 12-24-2015, 08:42 AM
chris87xj
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I tagged this thread.
Have you had it out in the rain since the fix?

***Chris***

"You can set my jeep on fire and roll it down a hill,
But I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille."


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post #3 of 13 Old 12-24-2015, 09:05 AM
bobthecatkiller
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If I understand correctly waters coming down the door through the drainage holes on the door, onto the screws that hold that plastic down, through the screw holes and into you jeep.

If so that's close to impossible. Although the backing plate on the rocker is not solid and does have holes these holes are at least a inch high, so unless your rockers holding a inch of water you shouldn't get water inside.

Edit: I guess it's possible if you rocker drainage is blocked, which is very possible, my rockers where packed full of mud when I took them out.

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post #4 of 13 Old 12-24-2015, 11:19 AM
CJ7-Tim
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The rockers drain to the outside of the unibody through multiple drain holes. There is no way for some tiny amount of water that might get past the door sill protector plate screws to get to the interior of the Cherokee.

The most common XJ Cherokee water leaks are: failed or improperly installed windshield seal, rust holes in body around windshield opening, failed door gaskets, improperly adjusted or saggy door hinges resulting in poor sealing of door gasket, leaks in firewall openings/gaskets, rust holes in floor or front inner fender.

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post #5 of 13 Old 12-24-2015, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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My rockers were replaced. So based on what you are saying, I think this leak might be unique to my setup. Perhaps the admins will choose to remove the post, given that it is not broadly applicable.

When I posted this, I was worried that it might only be applicable to my XJ, but was crossing my fingers that it might be universal and help others. I'm sure I'll get the opportunity to share other lessons later!

Thanks again for the fact checking. I really appreciate the collective knowledge here.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-24-2015, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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When my rockers were replaced, they added sheet metal between the rockers and the frame rail to reinforce the floor pan which was in pretty bad shape. They then sealed it all up and rhino lined it. This, I think, has left me with some unique leak points around the kick plate (i.e. the screws, and probably around the front of the plate) that are finding their way directly through under the sill. I'll probably lift the kick plate and take a closer look. The leak might be coming from underneath, but I was able to observe when the underside was dry, but the door was still draining. So I think it is primarily a "from the top down" (gravity) type of leak.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-25-2015, 02:39 AM
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My '96 was bad on the passenger side. I mean with a good enough rain you could put goldfish in there. Never did chase it down. Just lived with it. The '96 had a small section of the uni-body, among other things, rotting away and was one of the reasons I bought the '00. Held on to it for awhile and drove it from time to time. Thinking I might buy a welder, see if I could teach myself to weld, and fix all the structural stuff wrong. Threw it on Craigslist for ****s and giggles. Got $750 for her. Considering I paid $300 over 4 years ago I was OK with that. Not going to lie. Had a bit of sellers remorse. Thing ran like a champ and I really liked the '96 despite what some people say about them. Anyway, I have a similar leak just starting in my '00. Started trying to track it down but will really get on it next spring. Pretty sure it is not the cowl leaking. I will find, after a good rain, about a 1/2 cup of water in my Rugged Ridge Mat. The floor underneath it is damp. But as best as I can tell not coming from up under the dash because only closer to the door and about a foot forward from the passenger seat is wet. Still confused as to how the water is getting on the mat. So you are saying you sealed up these screws? Cause I replaced them when I first got the Jeep cause they were rusty. I tried the Hillbilly Door Seal Trick with the 1/4" rope to see if the door seal might be causing this. Didn't help. At the same time I am getting a leak in my windshield. I am finding around the passenger side visor of my headliner getting damp. Tried sealing the corner with some RTV but that did not help either. Which would bother me less if I hadn't yanked out my sagging headliner and had it professionally done already. As CJ7-Tim pointed out probably the windshield. I could see that also causing the carpet to be damp. Running down along something but still a little confused as to the water on the mat itself. Again in the spring I will chase this down more and probably redo my windshield.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-25-2015, 09:36 AM
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Water likes to follow gravity, so a leaky windshield and soggy floorboard can go hand in hand.
Depending on how bad it is, a garden hose will often tell the tale.

***Chris***

"You can set my jeep on fire and roll it down a hill,
But I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille."


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post #9 of 13 Old 12-25-2015, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan96xj View Post
When my rockers were replaced, they added sheet metal between the rockers and the frame rail to reinforce the floor pan which was in pretty bad shape. They then sealed it all up and rhino lined it. .....
It takes half a second to burn a welding hole through rusty sheet metal. Anything like undercoating or Rhino lining will just hide the holes, not seal them up. One could easily suppose that there are numerous holes in any of those welds that are letting in water.

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post #10 of 13 Old 12-25-2015, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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most definitely.
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-25-2015, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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I just pulled the kick plate, and can definitely confirm that this is unique to my Jeep. The top of the rockers had slots (not tapped holes) cut in them to accept the kick plate screws, which means they can leak like crazy if water gets passed the screw head (as it was in my case), and because of the unique way they ran sheet metal under the floor pan, it has a direct path inside. Ugh. The good news is that I think I can address it. I've gotten down to just one small (fairly easy to identify) leak point, and I think I'm good (that will probably jinx me).
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-27-2015, 09:44 AM
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You could probably just delete the sheet metal that goes to the frame, connecting stock like rockers to the frame isent needed.

Do you have any pics of the metal connecting the frame and rockers?

"****, I might **** around and bring the Jeep back No doors on it, flexin' with the seat back"
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-27-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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A picture won't do it justice. The sheet metal I am referring to was a fix for a bad floor pan from the frame rails to the outside edge of the vehicle. It was attached from underneath and then sealed. Over-all, I'm not sure I mind the idea (it wasn't my hack, I bought it this way). However, it leads to some unique body drainage issues, where things that would drain to the outside on a standard xj are draining to the inside on mine. I spent more time on it today just investigating each possible source. I've pretty much got it nailed. I think my final leak source is a line of rust that is hidden by the kick plate against the body that is allowing water to permeate. Today was cold and rainy, so while it was good for testing leaks, it was not good for applying sealants and light body work. So I applied some temporary fixes (weather stripping, etc), until it gets a bit dryer out, and I'll clean it up, address the rust line, and zip it all back up.
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