S211 Rain water leak into footwell - help finding point of ingress please

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New Member
Nov 15, 2017
S211, E Class Estate, 2006, 280 CDI V6
Hi all,

Happy New year

Looking from some tips on tracking down and fixing some leaks in my LHD 2006 S211 CDI. I use this car in Spain. I have just got back to it and found a soggy foam underlay in the passenger (left) side, & the driver seat belt has some mould, once pulled out from the pillar. I am unable to easily lift the carpet on the driver side so I don’t know how wet it is underneath.

1. Wet spunge.JPG

1.1 Mould.JPG

When I lift back the foot plate in the passenger footwell I can feel the foam underlay is wet. The underside of the side panel arrowed in photo is also damp. So logic tells me this is the downward path of the water. Probably coming from the windscreen?

2. Foot well side.JPG

The rubber edges to the plastic engine surround have perished. But can believe that these are the windscreen sealer.

3. Windscreen surround.JPG

There may be a blocked drain hole that is overflowing but still don’t see how it can get in? But having read several blogs on other models this may be the culprit. Can anyone show me were the drain holes should be so I can clear them?

6. Driver side windscreen.JPG

Also the rubber surrounds of the roof rail mounts have perished. Water I am sure is draining into the gutter below.

4. Passanger middle roof.JPG

But I'm not sure it would all drain to the foot well? is there a drain hole for this rail somewere i could check?

4.1 Passanger side roof.JPG

The headliner is falling down but its not wet and shows no signs of being wet. It is booking in for a headliner replacement (it is from the heat in Spain's summers). Is it worth having the rubber rail trims replaced. Or might I open a can or worms if the roof rails are not leaking into the car directly? Some Sicaflex is an option.

On the driver (right) side I am not able to easily lift the carpet to see how wet it is.

Has anyone posted an idiots guide or link to lifting the front carpet in a W211?

I am assuming there must be a leak both sides for there to be damp on the seat belt?
The perished rubber is a little worse if anything on the driver side.

To recap

1. Where is the most likely place that the rain water is getting in?
2. Where are the drain holes I need to make sure are clear?
3. Replace the rail rubber trims or Sicaflex?
4. Has anyone posted an idiots guide to lifting the front carpet in a W211?

Thank you any one who has experience in this.

p.s. I should also say that a bung has been left out of the foot well on the passenger (right) side as when I first got the car some 6 year ago the rear screen wash feeder pipe split under the passenger seat and nearly all the water bottle emptied into the footwell. It was repaired but as a safety precaution the mechanic left a bung out. Rainy diving in Spain is low.

So It may be a much bigger leak that it looks as water is able to drain out.

I had this exact issue last month, was found to be from the hose that goes from the middle of the scuttle panel to the N/S wing arch. The carpet is easy to get out. The door seal comes off, then the foot guard just pulls up, the side panel too just pulls off. They have these slot clamps that hold it firm to the body. After that the carpet just pulls foward and up
Hi S

Thank you for getting back to me.

The hose was cracked? or it came off? Is the hose under the dash? or inside the engine bay?

Is there a technique to getting the door seal off without damaging it?
Take a look at this recent thread too.
Hi S

Thank you for getting back to me.

The hose was cracked? or it came off? Is the hose under the dash? or inside the engine bay?

Is there a technique to getting the door seal off without damaging it?

so in my case the hose attached to the wing, wasn't connected properly. The hose goes from the middle of the scuttle where the wipe motors are. You'll see this grill there in the middle, the hose goes underneath that behind the firewall into the side towards the wing.

You can see it in this link:

Screenshot 2023-01-05 165308.jpg

The door seal, you just pull it up by hand, no tools really needed. Most come off ease and some with a bit of brute
Thanks for all the feedback, got the carpets out (I was pulling rather than lifting )

The pipes & drain holes i can see and have been pointed out in the vaiour blogs seem clear and all are draining well and fast. The air filter is secure and dry as is the inside of the fan. The ac was not running (car was parked) so can't be the condenser hose which looks fine. The foam underlay up the fire wall is dry. The top of the foam on the side panel was also dry, so water would seem to be seeping up through the foam, rather than down.

It must be a very small leak over time there was a lot of rain here in December, I estimate less 1cm of rain in the footwell.

Any way, i am completely stumped.

Any further suggestions?

Thanks Guys
Is it only the front? Have you checked the rear, into the boot and the spare wheel well? (just trying to make sure we are looking at the front of the car).

Can I see a sunroof on your car? It's not easy to tell.
They get blocked drain pipe holes also that leak into the front.
Hi All,
Just an update on my leaky footwell. (Not sure it i will be much use to people as this seems a bit of a one off but you never know.)

After days of hunting I have narrowed it down to a bad seam at the side of the footwell, in front of the door pillar

inside drip.jpeg

Im guessing the leak has been around for a while, but it just doesn't rain much in Spain. There is what looks like a previous patchup along the rout of water flow. may be it fixed it at the time previously, but now the drip is coming from further up. Without removing the dash heater there is no way to get access further up. So i tried to see if i could stop coming in from the outside.

The source is the right hand side bottom corner windscreen drain hole. Which seems to drain into the box frame member in between the front wing and the footwell wall.


I first tried to gaffer tape up the area to narrow down the options. but water still got in. So when I removed the tape i could see the drain holes on the right were wet where the tape had not sealed. and the drain holes on the left were dry. So i then realised the problem. All the drain paths were worthing correctly but there was a leaky seam. In certain parked angles after very heavy rain some of the drained water would drip through the bad seam. Having taken the wheel arch cover off to see if i could get access behind the screen wash bottle. I realised that even if I took the wing panel off (which os beyond my scope) I may still not get access to weather side of the bad seam. So I have tried to divert the water away from the problem area.

Making sure I left sufficient space for water to drain where i wanted it to drain I blocked the drain holes above the leaky seam.


after running the hose pipe for a minute or two from the corner of the windscreen as i had done previously. No new water on the foot well wall. 🤞🏼

not a perfect fix but i hope a sufficient one.

Thanks to those who got me started with the useful links and tips to eliminate the usual suspects.
Hi, I have a 2005 W203 and similar issue with water getting into the footwell. It seems to be coming in through the bonnet release handle. I've looked under the bonnet O/S up behind the main fuse box and can see water driiping on to the release cable. It seems to be getting in through the plastic water gully. The gully looks like its made of 2 pieces of plastic with a foam/sponge seal between the 2. It looks like this has perished as on the inside where it should be dry it's soaking wet!
Has anyone else experienced this? How easy is it to replace the parts?
I'll try and get a pic posted up.
I've got this issue as well, a UK RHD car so water has been dripping in right by the A-Pillar, very similar to the OP.

@gilesbracher have you had any more issues since your repair?

Yes unfortunately, my repair only slowed the ingress. It now depends on the angle i park. I have also added a strip of plastic sheeting in the bonnet gutter above where i filled the drain holes, that has also helped to redirect the water away from the bad seam. As it has not rained in spain for 6 months and won't for another 2 or 3 its not on the priority list at the moment.

To do it properly it looks like the wing thas to come off to get access to the leaky seam. :-(

Good luck with yours, send photos of where you think your leak is coming in.
Update on my leak.

Water IS dripping onto the bonnet release cable. There is a rubber grommet where the cable goes through the firewall/bulkhead, this grommet has failed and split which in turn is letting the water through. I've wrapped some water proof tape around it and so far 🤞 no more water. A local garage has ordered me a new grommet. :thumb:
So I just had my seam sealer looked at and repaired, as I was too getting water into footwell.

We took the wing off and chiselled off most of the old seam. Only the bits that turned hard similar to a bad valve cover gasket. Then applied a 2 layer sealer. One is PU Black Sealer also used for windscreens, then topped with the grey brush on seam sealer. Theres also a section below the pillar I did to cover the edges.

Seeing the rust shows the sealer wont long gone and was no good,

Once the cowl and wing are back on you can't see the grey sealer much. But after last night heavy shower the footwell is dry.

I recommend this approach as the rust can course lead to more issues down the line.



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The Driver side appears worse but is not letting it water yet. However, makes sense to do the other side too, considering there is a SAM unit down there I believe or some other electronics which can get damaged.
Heres links to finding the leak using a pressure washer

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IMG_6452 - Copy.jpgIMG_6451 - Copy.jpg

Where the arrows are, in these 2 areas there was a lot of mud/dirt built up. We cleaned it out and on the edge where the Chassis meets the firewall, we applied seam sealer here too.

There is a better picture of this in the below forum link, where I used the DTB from Merc in regards to this very issue

IMG_6447 - Copy.jpgIMG_6446 - Copy.jpg

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