I wanted to create a thread that will guide others on how to repair the leak in the roof-to-quarter-panel seam if/when it starts leaking. This is a separate leak from the "wet seat belts" issue that has been well documented on the site. I would like to publicly thank talonmike for helping me understand exactly what this problem is and give me pointers on how to perform this repair.
I noticed that with my new (to me) Citrus, rain water was leaking into the rear storage area of the car during the first heavy rain after purchasing the car. I took this photo of the leak I was seeing:
I posted in this thread suspecting this was the typical wet seatbelts leak but talonmike pointed out that on certain Insights Honda had forgotten an inch or so of the roof sealant on the roof to quarter panel seam. I thought this might be my problem so I started gathering the items needed to investigate and repair.
The one thing I needed that I did not have was the
I linked it here to Amazon but I actually got mine from my local O'Reilly's Auto parts (as a special order item). I also used a small hammer, several chisels (specifically 1/2" and 1"), 1.5" scrapers, screwdrivers, and a bench grinder. I think it could be done without the bench grinder if you do not have one.
The first step is to remove the trim piece. EDIT: I also did the "wet seat belt" clip replacement at the same time so I removed those exterior trim pieces. Removal of the exterior a-pillar trim is required to properly complete this procedure, so order the ~$40 worth of clips (per side!) ahead of time.
To remove the trim pieces, I put a couple layers of blue painters tape on the roof on both sides of the trim piece to protect the paint. I then pried the trim piece straight up (starting toward the rear and working foreword) by inserting a paint scraper under both sides of the trim piece. Usually it will rise enough that you can use a flat head screwdriver or your hand to lift it the rest of the way and snap it out of the clip/clips.
Here is what I found after removing the trim piece. (My Citrus has been repainted, and the clips have over spray on them. Normally they will not be painted):
BTW these are all cell phone pics. Please don't complain about the variation in quality, It's annoying, I know
After cleaning out all of the twigs, dirt, and grime with a tooth brush, shop vac, and finally a blow gun, I performed a close inspection. Interestingly, I could not find any missing calking, but I did find very obvious cracks in the existing seal:
EDIT: I did this later on another car and DID find the missing caulking situation, so I can confirm that Honda forgot the sealant on some of our Insights.
The next step is to remove the clips. My 2000 has the two piece clips (per side). The 2001 that I am disassembling has the one piece clips (per side). Replacement clips (of both types) are ~$20 each from Honda!! I was shocked they are so expensive. If you are going to buy new clips, but the one piece clips - but you should not have to buy new ones (more on that later).
To remove the clips, I used a hammer and a 1/4" or 1/2" wide chisel. Gently tap into the center of the clip adhesive material and they will pop off. Don't aim the chisel into the roof panel or you could damage it. Here is what my roof seam looked like after removing the clips:
Here is a good photo of the two different clip types. I did some research on HondaPartsNow.com and it appears that the change between clips was done for certian model years and not for others. Interestingly, a 2000 and 2006 model year search will get you the two piece clips, but a 2003 and 2004 will get you the one piece. The cost is identical per piece, but if you were going to buy them, you would spend twice as many for the two piece system. Seems pretty stupid to me. Again we can re-use our existing ones so I will stop mono-logging for now . . .
The scrape out is a little intimidating at first, but not that bad. I primarily used a sharp 1" chisel, as well as the 1/2" chisel and a flat head screw driver. I went slowly and frequently vacumed the old seal material away so i could see how I was doing. I quickly found the roof seam and was pretty shocked at how close to the surface it is. No wonder these seams leak so easily!
The next and most important step is to install the new sealer. I found that this stuff was MUCH easier to work with if my hands were lightly wet. I used my fingers and the tip of a paint stir stick (also wet) to pack as much of the calk as possible into that hole and down under, around, and on top of the seam as possible. I also went down the back of the joint into the rear lift gate jamb, but did not photograph that.
Here is the strip calk sealer:
I used about 2 strips per side, not counting what was required to fill the giant hole that I opened up. EDIT: Be sure not to use too much, ans if will raise the 'floor' of the seam and cause the calking to deform when you re-install the metal clips that hold the trim in place. This could case your repair to leak again (don't ask me how I know this . . . )
Hooray you are almost done! Next step is to let any water from the calking installation to dry and then paint the calking. I didn't have any Citrus touch up paint on hand so I used silver . I generously brushed it all over the calking (it's ready for paint as soon as it's installed) and waited ~30 min then did a second coat.
The last tricky part is re-using the metal clip that holds the trim piece in place. I used a bench grinder to remove the remaining adhesive material. The material that Honda used is rigid, almost like PVC with glue on both sides. I was able to scrape it off of the car side with a chisel, but the clip itself is a little hard to chisel on due to it's small size. The bench grinder (or a hand held grinder) makes quick work of removing the remaining material.
To re-attach the clips, I used 3M exterior grade double sided adhesive tape. It can be purchased in the paint department at Home Depot. This stuff is normally used for things like sticking address numbers onto the side of your house, so it's very strong.
Here is what my one piece clips looked like after prep and ready to be re installed onto the car:
Here is the clip re-installed onto the car (note the paint shadow from the two piece clips as compared to the one piece clip). There is an alignment tab on the inboard side of the clip that rests on the lip of the roof so placing it into the correct position is not hard at all:
Finally, re-install the trim piece and pat yourself on the back! You are done.
Here are the finished product pics on my car. Note that I also did the wet set belt clips at the same time. When I replace the clips, I supplement the OEM mini-gasket with Honda MTF to ensure a permanent waterproof seal:
P.S. I forgot to say it has rained a few time since and no more leaks. Mission accomplished!
Looks awesome, especially since you used the right products instead of smearing silicone everywhere. Major thumbs up for that.
Before someone argues about hardware store 3m exterior tape vs auto store 3m body tape.. In my experience, the exterior tape is a good choice for something that may need to be removed (like a clip), and I'll probably be reserving 3m body tape for more high stress / low surface area applications.
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