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Chrysler Repair/'02 Sebring LXi: water leak under the dash


I have a 2002 Chrysler Sebring LXi. Car was turned off & key was not in the ignition & the speakers started rumbling like the radio was off station & the volume & bass were turned way up & there was a strong burning smell inside. Husband pulled radio, interior lights, sunroof & all other unnecessary fuses, because car was cranking and running fine & I really needed it. Then a couple days later passenger side floor front & back was really wet. We thought that the ac drain was clogged & somehow run in the dash & shorted the radio out. Husband unclogged ac drain & carpet dried. A couple weeks later the car had a burning smell inside & the next morning there was about 2+ gallons of water in the passenger side front and back floor board when vacuumed out. Water looked kinda like ale. There was a puddle in the back. Do you have any idea what this could be or how to fix it? Please

Hi Tina,
About the only source of that much water would have to be the cooling system of the car which includes the heater core in the cabin. So if you have a leak in the heater core that will drain the coolant out of the system and onto the rug underneath it. If this is the case you would therefor find that the engine cooling system is very low on coolant such that the engine will overheat very quickly after you start it. The smell of ale may be the odor of the anti-freeze so try smelling the lid of the coolant recovery container in the engine compartment to see if it smells similarly to what you smelled in the cabin.
If that is the case then there are two possible approaches:
If the leak were small then an attempt to close it using stop leak mixed in with coolant when you refill the system might have a chance at plugging the leak. A product such a 'Bar's Leak' would be something to try.
If that doesn't seal the leak then the only solution is to remove the instrument panel and the housing for the heating/ventilating/air conditioning (HVAC) from the cabin and then replace the heater core that is located inside the HVAC housing. That is a major undertaking but I have the manual pages that list how to do that if your husband would like to try that himself.
So first verify the cabin odor is that of engine coolant, then give the Bar's Leak a try. Let me know your email address if you want the information about removing the HVAC housing, but don't use the @ symbol, instead use 'at', otherwise the address is automatically erased from your follow-up question.
Please 'rate/nominate' my answer/me (see the PS below).

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Roland Finston


Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2012 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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