Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Corsa C water leak fixes. Drivers carpet wet + passenger carpet wet and Boot.

*update... I ended up doing this fix on another Corsa and wrote a more detailed guide. Between the two blog posts you can get a good idea what's involved and how to tackle these water leaks:
http://carsandcode.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/corsa-c-water-leak-challenge.html


Comments on other threads encouraged me to finally write this work up. If your Corsa C has a water leak I probably have the fix listed in this long post.

These water leaks are a pain and happen gradually but if you catch them early then it's so much easier to dry the interior. Unfortunately my mates car was in a bad way and he lives on a hill which made the problem worse. Water ran into the back footwell, even growing a mushroom on the rear carpet mat. He was even de-icing the car on the inside and so I offered to sort it out even though it was winter and cold outside.

Drivers carpet was soaked so investigation started there, pulling the carpet right back and carefully cutting out the grey sound insulation sponge on the drivers side. The sponge was soaking wet and I cut it at the edges to ensure I could refit and glue it back into place. Research on the internet showed people who had tracked the problem to a perished rubber seal on a metal plate where the brake servo bolts too. I used a water hose on the windscreen and water started dripping from the plate on the inside and collecting in the footwell.....Bingo!



Researched this and found three ways to fix this:

1) Quick fix and cross fingers approach. The garage remove the scuttle panel, clean out the rain gutters then spray underseal all around the brake servo. The aim is to cover the rotted seal so it becomes water tight again. This seems like a bodge to me and will only work if the seal has dried out and barely damaged. People have reported this working but I'm skeptical about the long term results.

2) Remove the brake vacuum cylinder to access the full rotted seal. Dig out the seal and re-seal then overcoat with underseal for additional protection. This method does not require bleeding of the brake system as the reservoir can be drained and moved to the side. Found this out from here... Brilliant post.

http://www.corsa-c.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?354664-Wet-drivers-side-carpet


3) Similar to point 2 but seen people removing the metal plate completely but this involves more removal of parts like the pedal box and steering column. Hats off to this guy who makes this appear simple e.g http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=219554


Point 3 is the ultimate way of doing this but a garage would not be able to do that without charging more than the car was worth! I went for method 2 as your removing nearly all of that old seal by digging it out without touching the pedal box or steering column.


Cracking on with method 2...


Dismantling was pretty straight forward and the linked post covers the job very well. My additional tips would be:

- scuttle panel slides out towards the front of the car. It wraps around the windscreen edge so don't try and pull it up or you might damage the windscreen.

- Brake vacuum cylinder has some awkward bolts to undo from inside the car. Extension bar and a universal joint are your friend here and get the job done.

-Drain the brake fluid from reservoir using syringe with small tubing attached. If your going to re-use the fluid when rebuilding keep it in a clean air tight container. *Update, top tip from Lee in the comments for doing this: 'Tip for draining some brake fluid; Purchase any type of sprayable bottle, take off the cap and stick the pipe inside the reservoir and squirt it into the spray bottle. Easy and no mess.'

- When disconnecting the brake servo return hose, cover it with a rag, wear gloves and eye protection. Last thing you want is it flicking drips of fluid in your face as it disconnects.

-Buy a roll of cheap plastic sandwich bags. As you remove bolts and screws bag them up then attach the bag to the part they came from. If the part stays on the car then label a bit of paper in the bag instead. Different sizes of bolts from same part get masking taped around the thread and labeled. Also take photos on phone before you dismantle various bits. I always do this and while it takes more time, it ensures that all bolts go back in the right place and everything is like factory fit. Nothing worse than seeing someone chuck bolts in a big tub then trying to put a car back together any old how!



The seal was badly rotted probably accelerated due to leaves and muck filling the rain gutters. This raises the water line above this seal so it's constantly submerged when it rains. It's important you use a good sealant here like 'Tiger Seal' but I actually used a plumbers sealant called 'Plumbers Gold'. Plumbers gold is the business and can be applied to wet surfaces. It even resists temperature extremes '-40 to +150 degrees Celsius' making it suitable for an engine bay. This was my sealant of choice as it was December and keeping everything 100% dry while it cured overnight would be tricky. Dug out nearly all of sealant by scraping it out with a screwdriver and roughing up the surface with a scotch pad, so sealant would adhere. I dried out the seal and plate as much as possible with a hair dryer. Pic shows the finished seal before I covered it with black underseal to provide extra protection.




Re-assembly is quite straightforward with the following tips:

- The brake vacuum cylinder attaches to the bulkhead plate with a paper thin sticker gasket. This was soaking and also perished, so I used sealant instead. It's purpose is to create a water tight seal so sealant is fine but use a small amount in the shape of the gasket. *Update is clear from the comments that this part is easily missed but crucial you either replace it or use sealant instead. Item 4 (seal,ring) in the linked parts diagram is what I'm referring too. http://www.dragon2309.co.uk/corsa-parts-cat/brakes/brake_servo_unit.html

- Scuttle panel separates into two half's but refits easier as one unit.



Ended up removing the interior and taking out the carpet as the water had saturated the underlay and that would not dry in winter. Check out the pool of water I found under the carpet in the rear footwell!




Carpet can be removed in one piece but i had to make a cut on two joining strips that run under the center console. This saves having to remove the handbrake assembly and wont be seen when refitting. Rear seat belt loops unbolt then rotate them from horizontal to vertical before they unhook from the chassis. Make a note on which side some of the console trim pieces belong too as it helps when you assemble it again months later :-).




So I was left with a Corsa rally style interior:




While taking out the interior I noticed the passenger side carpet was actually slightly wet, which initially I thought had come from the drivers side leak. I felt around the center of the car and gear stick shaft which was dry, this set the alarm bells ringing. Happened to recall reading online that the relay cover is the cause of any passenger water leakage. Vauxhall call this the Body control Module (BCM) cover and it's next to the battery on the passenger side of the car. Again leaves and muck build up till water is attacking that seal and causing it to rot. Removed the battery and then cover to find that seal perished, but it was Sunday and not able to get a replacement. So aimed to temporary fix the seal until a replacement cover could be ordered. I scraped out the old seal and replaced it with draft excluder, carefully using one strip so that the joint ended up nearest the front of the car e.g.



This worked so well that it was still holding fine 6 months later when I finally put the interior back in and changed it for a brand new item. I probably could have left the draft excluder fix in place but the genuine replacement will probably outlast the car.


Nearly sorted this car threw another one at me when I retrieved some of the parts from the boot. I noticed the right edge of the boot was slightly damp. Took out the spare wheel which was covered in rust and water and the matting in the spare wheel well was soaking and moldy. I had seen this problem before on my mrs old car and quickly set about sealing the rear light fittings. They have a foam pad that seals the light to the body work. Over time these become unstuck from the bodywork and water runs under them dripping into the boot. You can buy new foam pads or seal them to the car body work after cleaning all the area under the lights. I opted to seal them to the body work as it was Sunday and this fix worked for me in the past. The pics below were taken before cleaning but you can see where the pad touches the paintwork. Just use sealant on the pad covering that area and re-install. I straightened out that scrunched up pad but yours will be in better shape.




Job done, Final checks were running the car up and down the drive and firmly hitting the brakes. Then double check all the brake cylinder lines that were carefully moved to make sure nothing is leaking. My mate also purchased some 'Small space dehumidifier bags' which were shoved at various points in the car to help dry it out fully. Worked a treat these fixes and car stopped getting moisture on the inside and didn't leak anymore.



Roll on 6 months due to winter and other work and I fitted the carpet and interior back into this car. I secured the foam insulation to the footwells with small amounts of 'gripfill'. Then used some 'Everbuild Stick2' for key areas of the carpet where it should be attached to the matting below. Used it sparingly to secure the area under the center console that I cut for removal. My mate cleaned the carpet with some 'auto gylm carpet shampoo' and it was now smell free and dry. I replaced the BCM cover with a genuine item as planned and changed the pollen filter while I was at it. Remembered to take a picture of the finished bulkhead with everything re-installed.





Job done,





41 comments:

  1. Did the BCM cover seal replacement six months ago using a building product. Non absorbent foam strip which stopped the leak into the passenger foot well. This is an relatively simple job and if it fails I will reseal it.
    The drivers foot well leak I researched on the net and was given false hope that there may be a simple fix by cleaning out drain holes etc. Chances are the drivers foot well leak is the bulkhead plate as you have show.
    I basically did a repair as you detailed using a home made hardwood chisel pointed scrapper to dig out the existing sealant as deeply as possible. As the steel surfaces were painted and rust free after chemical cleaning I applied a silicone sealant which after two weeks of wet weather seems to be doing the job.
    The car in question was a 1.0lt auto. and one point of interest is the brake light switch which is activated by the brake pedal. With the operating arm disconnected from the pedal it is very easy to upset the adjustment which causes the car to register a fault and prevent normal automatic gear changes. However it is easy to reset the switch which has an automatic adjustment ratchet. Simply pull out the plunger with the pedal depressed and it will reset it's self as the pedal is released.
    I have not fully removed the carpets to dry out the foot wells but removed the the door sill trim and raised the carpets away from the floor plate to enable moping up using towels / sponge.
    Excellent post.
    Wish I had the benefit of this work prior to solving the problems with my car..
    Mike.


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    1. Mike thanks for sharing your experience and nice tip for anyone trying this repair on an auto version. Sorry about late reply.

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    2. I had this exact problem but it was due to some numpty not putting all the screws back in, I noticed that the seal had split so I put a bead of silicon all the way round, and tightened it down. Now when you look at it from under the glove box you can see a perfect seal. Only time will tell if this is permanent.

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  2. I Have this problem, payed to get it fixed but it still leaks they used bathroom and kitchen sealant instead and only sealed the bottom half not all around. what brand sealant is best and what brand underseal spray?

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    1. Hi late reply but hopefully you already spotted the bit where I mention the sealant. If not it's called 'Plumbers Gold' which is perfect as it resists the temperatures and will set even if wet surfaces. Can't remember the brand of underseal think it was 'Comma' but that's not important any old under-seal would do. You don't have to underseal but it provides a bit more protection so wont hurt. If the car's a light colour then you could always use a clear underseal so it wont show. Sorry about late reply hope you got it sorted yourself this time and saved some cash in the process.

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  3. I got them to use tiger seal and watched them seal it all around exactly how you did it in you picture. still leaks I tried using the tiger seal to seal where it leaks from under the foot pedal but did not work. And advise on what I should do now I would be grateful thanks.

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  4. Hi that doesn't sound good. Did they move the brake servo out of the way and scrape out the old seal as much as possible? The brake servo seals against that plate with a stick on plastic seal. It cant be reused so I removed this and carefully used a small amount of sealant in the same diamond shape. If they did the job correctly then this seal is where I would look first. Tiger seal is the proper stuff to use but it won't like any moisture. That's why I used plumbers gold as it was winter and even scraping out the old sealant and drying with heat gun it was still damp. Plumbers gold will set even underwater but I think tiger seal might struggle unless its bone dry and a nice few sunny days. Out of interest was it expensive?

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    1. Hello yes they removed the brake servo exactly how you done yours so nothing was in the way, all the original old sealant was removed. I payed them £70 for the job and went back there twice to get them to do it again. I am thinking to buy the plumbers gold and do it myself I watched how they did it so I believe I can give it a try only problem is removing the brake servo, and all my brake fluid will go. I am just stuck on what to do now the rain is bad now so need problem fixed asap.

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  5. Hi, Lets assume they have fixed the bulkhead seal. What i was trying to say is that the brake servo sits against this plate. This requires a seal which needs to be replaced when the brake servo is removed. To see what I'm on about check this part's diagram I found online:

    http://www.dragon2309.co.uk/corsa-parts-cat/brakes/brake_servo_unit.html

    Item 4 (seal,ring) is what needs replacing when you do this fix. It's just a plastic sticker that forms a water tight seal between the bulkhead plate and the brake servo. However Vauxhall dealer was shut when I did this fix so instead I used some sealant instead of buying a new seal. So I removed the seal (4) in picture and applied sealant to the brake servo bolts and matting surface in the same shape as the old thin plastic seal. What I suspect is happening in your case is that water is getting between the brake servo and bulkhead plate because this seal was not replaced. Thanks for the update £70 seems cheap considering the amount of work involved although I probably work quite slow compared to a proper mechanic :-). Let us know how you get on. If you buy a new seal from vauxhall can you report back with the price and part number. If you use sealant instead can you take a picture of the brake servo cylinder with the sealant in place just before you fit it back. I mention this in the blog but a picture would be a good addition. Thanks,

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    1. I understand what you are talking about now, they did not replace the brake servo seal or put sealant around it. I do not even remember seeing the sticky paper type seal on the brake servo. I bought plumbers gold and underseal paint so when the weather is dry and sunny I will take everything apart and give it a try also applying sealant to the brake servo. How many screws do I need to take off from inside the car to get the servo off?

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  6. Hi, where are you based? Think i have this problem on the mrs's car - would pay for it to be done!

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  7. Hi Michael, I'm in york if that's any help. Even if not the above should be helpful for putting your garage of choice on the right track.

    To the person asking about how many screws hold the brake servo on. Follow the excellent link on point 2. That thread gives you all the steps and full credit to them.

    We certainly have had some frost an rain so don't leave it a long time like the car I fixed. The worst bit is getting that interior dry!

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  8. Thanks for replying, not really any help im in Leicester! :)

    I can get the car dry enough using a wet vac (very time consuming however), i just don't feel too comfortable taking all of the parts out to get at the seal. How long would you expect it to take in total?

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  9. I took the brake servo apart last Friday and saw the paper seal you was talking about and removed it then used plumbers gold as a replacement seal just as you described. I also painted the whole area with underseal, used the plumbers gold to seal where water leaks from under the foot pedals and coated with underseal. The next day I test to see if water still leaks and it does. Is there any other place water leaks from around the brake servo area?

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  10. Michael, Oh well at least you know what's involved when asking a garage how they will repair it. Watch out for the ones that just cover the servo in newspaper then fire under-seal around it in a crossed fingers approach. Time wise I'm not sure, I did the repair over a weekend taking my time and letting things dry. The interior was another days work after it had fully dried out. I don't think the wet vac will get the rubber foam under the foot pedal carpet dry though. To see what i mean remove the two round plastic screw on discs in the drivers footwell. They hold the top layer carpet and wadding down and will allow you to pull the drivers carpet right back. It tucks under the side trim in the foot wells just pull it out and feed it back in later if you don't want to remove any trim. You will see the grey rubber matting that has a foam backing that you can't remove from the car. Feel underneath this and it will be full of water. I had to cut this out and glue it back later but once the car is repaired you could try shoving towels under this and try and get air under it on nice days. Those 'Small space dehumidifier bags' were also great for getting the moisture out. If you got a garage to do the fix and then you sorted the interior I think that would save you a fortune. I would get a few quotes and just ask a few questions so you know who will do a good repair. Garages that specialize in Vauxhall will be no stranger to this fix!

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  11. Anonymous, Wow sounds like you are having some fun and games with your car. Think you will have to pinpoint the source of the leak before you do any more work. I would get a sports cap off a drink, attach it to a bigger bottle so you can now direct water. Remove wipers, scuttle, washer bottler, wiper linkages and start at the lowest points. Get a friend in the car watching for the drips after a few minutes. Block the drain channel to direct water so the lowest part of the bulkhead seal is submerged. If that's not it start testing each side, slowly working upwards after you confirm lower points are not leaking. As you get higher up test the bolt heads, and rubber grommet and boot release cable. If you still don't find it work to the right and test the top of the pollen filter plastic where it bolts to your car. If it's not that move to the windscreen and check it's not your windscreen that's leaking at the edge or bottom underneath it. If you look at that picture I have of the sealant in place I have gone a bit mad and sealed all bolt heads, the holes where the washer bottle sits, The bonnet cable grommet and all around the grey brake fluid return hose where that enters the car. However that was just precautionary as I found the bottom seal on the bulkhead plate to be the main source of my leak but did those other points to make sure. Worth mentioning I dug out that old seal, dried it as much as possible and used a scotch pad to take the lacquer of the paint in the sealant area. Cleaned it with solvent prior to sealant. Not sure if some of that would make a difference but worth mentioning. Good work on tackling this yourself, don't give up and give it another investigation.

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  12. thanks for the tips, i attempted to remove just the drivers carpet yesterday without taking all the interior out, got it so far back before realising it would be a massive pain to put it all back, so i sat with the vac on for a couple of hours instead and got about 2 litres of water out of the drivers footwell alone so im guessing that was most of it! i will keep on top of it each time it rains and have the windows open where possbile (like today is a nice day and i can see the car in the car park outside so leave the windows open slightly, seems to help).

    On a site note when attempting to take the interior carpet out, the foam/rubber bit below really was not that wet at all so its got me wondering if the leak is that bad and it has just accumulated over time (the mrs would never have noticed it being wet under her floor mat!) thanks for your help though it is appreciated.

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  13. Had a go at it myself, I know nothing about cars, nothing what so ever. My carpet had at least 2 inches of water saturated in the drivers and driver side passenger foot well, which slowly ground me down to the point where I undertaken this mammoth job myself, with no help from anyone. I'm currently waiting for the underseal to dry, so I can replace the servo and other parts that needed to be removed. Once it has dried, I'm going to take my car through a car wash to check for any leaks. My carpet and interior wont be put back until I know for certain that the leak has been resolved. Fingers crossed that I haven't f***ed anything up along the way, but I'll see one way or another.

    Tip for draining some brake fluid; Purchase any type of sprayable bottle, take off the cap and stick the pipe inside the reservoir and squirt it into the spray bottle. Easy and no mess.

    I'll repost in a month or less to let you know if my leak has gone.

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  14. Hi Lee, good work on tackling this yourself. Sounds like you will have a nice dry corsa again soon. Brilliant tip about the spray bottle, I really like that one. Will add it to article and credit you. Thanks,


    Hi Michael, sounds like your interior isn't too bad and will save you money sorting that bit yourself.

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  15. My car got soaking wet too! Fortunately it was because lots of leaves and gunk got stuck on the drivers side hole where the water from windscreen drips down.

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  16. Speedy I have 54 corsa [low mileage and had from new] and though 2 mechanics have both had it twice it still leaks. :-(
    Done drainage and tiger seal but can't do the mechanics myself.
    You don't fancy this for a w'end sometime do you as I can't find anyone here I trust??

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  17. I emailed Jennie direct but in case anyone else is interested in having this fixed I'm located in York. Would like to do another of these corsas to write a full step by step blog post this time. Would work out a price depending how bad the interior is and if you wanted the bcm cover replacing at the same time. Due to the age this fault happens you might as well sort all the water problem areas in one go.

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  18. Sorry Speedy but your email is lost somewhere along the line. Previous post also deleted an alternative address.

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  19. Apologies Jennie I actually replied to the comment notification which has your name as the sender, but it's a Google no-reply address...how embarrassing :-). I have added my email address and location to the blog profile to improve things. So drop me an email and we can discuss your Corsa fix. I'm interested to find out what work the two mechanics did and to double check you have not had the windscreen replaced at some point. Thanks

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  20. Just to complete the story I ended up fixing Jennie's Corsa and have a new blog post on this issue. It's worth looking at both if you want to tackle this issue

    Corsa C water leak challenge

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  21. ...and a huge thank you to Speedy who has given me a dry Corsa which I haven't had for a few years! :-))

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  22. I am going to attempt exactly this job this weekend, thanks for the great detailed instructions - would not have known where to start without them!

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  23. Glad you found them helpful John. Good luck with the repair and report back if anything in the guide want's adding or altering based on your experience of following it.

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  24. Speedy how much do you charge for fixing the leaks

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    1. Hi, unfortunately I have too many projects on the go to do another one of these fixes yet. The work you see in the other blog post on this issue was £140. With £40 of that in parts & materials but it depends on the car and condition. Garages might charge more or less just for the fix and no interior dryout. Too many variables I suppose but based on the comments of others the going rate seems like £70-400 with varying methods and degrees of success.

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  25. Hi speedy. wondering if you'd be able to fix my drivers side paddling pool for payment of course.
    I live in ER Yorkshire, the only garage in my town that would even attempt to fix mine, would charge me an unreal amount of money. and I aren't mechanically experienced to have a crack at this myself.

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    1. Hi, excuse late reply just got back from holiday. Unfortunately my weekends are a bit busy until October, but I might be able to do this over a few evenings. It all depends how close you live to York? Drop me an email at lmeister.uk@gmail.com and I might be able to help.

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    2. Thanks Speedy, I have emailed you.

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    3. Just for anyone reading the comments I had to re-think the idea of offering a Corsa fix service. This will remain just a hobby for the foreseeable future, with work only undertaken on friends and family cars.

      Hopefully people who wanted this service will be able to find good local mechanics to tackle this issue and even show them this blog if they haven't done it before. Cost savings can defiantly be had by drying out the interior over a long period of time. People have reported success by repeatedly lifting the drivers carpet to allow air circulation and leaving windows/doors open. Not needing to remove the interior would save loads in potential labour charges. Good luck with repairs and please drop a comment to let people know area and cost even recommend a garage that did this work for you.

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  26. Thanks for yr blog. I've just brought a y reg corsa. Driver and rear footwell soaking. Just as described in yr blog. I know it's a hindrance the water. But can it damage the car if not done ASAP . Will it affect the performance of the car. Coz after just paying out for the car. I need to build up funds before tackling the water problems. Thanks in advance ☺

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    1. Hi Lisa, no it wont affect the performance of car and thinking about it the only thing electrical where the water collects on the floor are the seat belt pretensioner connectors under the seats. Just make sure the carpets are only damp or wet and not swimming in water around that connector under the seat. Worth saying be mindful of mold and any passengers with health problems. If you feel dodgy from driving it make the connection. My mate drove his for months even with a mushroom in the back and he's still alive :-). However don't stress too much about it, all car's have common faults and this one's not bad. Good little cars so keep positive about it and just fix it when you can.

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    2. Hi I av a corsa back seats ,boot, and floor of back seat soaking. Any suggestions.help

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  27. Hi all,
    Having the same problem with the wifes car, i sealed it last year but didnt take off the servo.
    however its has been leaking slightly.
    Last week she had a problem with the steering so i changed the rack.
    What a pain that was, wierdly her steering rack was full of water so i have removed the servo etc.
    looks kinda messy i useds loads even around the bonnet/clutch cable hopefully this fixes it once and for all.
    So just be wary if you have steering problems.

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  28. I've been having the same problem as the guy above, but this is with an Astra. I will look into this, great tips!

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  29. Thank you, Speedy UK, for a fantastically detailed and precise set of instructions.
    I followed your instructions and fixed the drivers side leak on my 03 Corsa B over a couple of days.
    Had trouble with the brake pedal to servo pin's securing clip - fiddly and difficult to work out and spent a lot of time identifying the correct nuts to undo for the servo up above the pedals.
    Never mind. My time is a a lot cheaper than a garage.
    Thank you again.
    Tony B.

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