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Flooding through the AC

16820 Views 19 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  cdotcom
I have an Audi Allroad 03. During a recent rain storm I went to start the car to discover 6 inches of water in the back seat. The electrical system had been fried. When I contatced Audi they said that it was not a warranty issue that it was my fault. That a line under the battery compartment had been cloged by pine needles causing the water to flow into the car through the Airconditioning system.
It seems to me that this is a design flaw and should be covered by Audi. My Father has the same Audi in Connecticut and his dealer said absolutely they would have covered the issue how could I be expected to remove the batter and clean the tube.

Audi North American and My dealer want nothing to do with the issue.

I wanted to see if anyone else had had similar problems and if Audi had willingly covered the issue or not. As well as warn New Englanders to make sure they have the tube under the battery cleaned so they do not experience the pond in the back seat.


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I had the same thing happen with my previous car a 93 100S. The hole clogged and the car was parked at an uphill angle. The water, several inches worth, collected in the back seat floor area. Fried the door locking mechanism. Car was out of warranty, cost $400 for the part several years ago. I would reccommend trying the following approach:

If the car is under warranty and you have used the same dealer for service they should clean this area regularly as part of standard maintenance. When was the car last serviced, and if recently why did the dealer not clear this area? It is something owners will not even be aware of until it is too late. Once aware of it though it is not that difficult to remove the cover to clean yourself.
I had a '92 100CS do this, we joked at the time that it had commited suicide by drowning itself. The water came in thru the same place and did exactly the same thing, except it also fried the engine computer as well as the power lock's computer and wiring etc. My insurance company totaled the car as they decided it would never be a reliable car again even if repaired, since there could be corrosion appear later on as a result of the water, very much like a flood damaged car. They did total it as a comprehensive loss, not collision, so we weren't surcharged. As the car was 10 years old with about 90k miles, I never thought to ask Audi for compensation, but I think I would feel otherwise if this happened to our 2004 allroad.................
I'm used to cleaning leaves out of the heater/intake plenum on all my cars over the years, as leaves would get in and block the fresh air intakes, and sometimes get into the fan and make noise, but when I went to do this on the 100CS, I could not find the drain tubes, they were too well hidden.
I don't know what your next move is, but I'm pretty sure this is not supposed to be an owner maintained type thing, so I would argue the point with Audi USA, and if they aren't helpful, consider the services of an attorney. Oh, and this is not limited to just New Englanders, I live in KC. I would suggest that anyone who owns an Audi, the next time you have your car in for service, ask the dealer to check this, as it's very hard to get to and not easily cleaned. If it's their design problem they should have to deal with it. Good luck!
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Go to your Dad's or another Audi dealer. Don't tell them anything happend.. just tell them the electrics are fried. or get towed in.. PLAY DUMB...

If this doens't work It is also an COMPREHENSIVE insurance claim. Very simple. and it won't effect your rates.
1999 A4 2.8 - I had water coming into my passenger side dash area and passenger side foot well. Come to find out that when the pollen filter was replaced they forgot to reinstall a rain guide that had to be removed to replace the pollen filter. Took a while to figure out but hope this helps.
I have noticed the passenger side floorboard of my 2001 A4 wet on several occasions. I'm not sure if it's a continual or intermittent since I don't usally ride as a passenger. I first noticed a musky smell when the AC came on then went away after several minutes. I read the earlier replies and could not locate a drain hose. I did disasemble the plastic moulding around the windshield. I let the AC run for several minutes and there was only condensation on the ground and not on the passenger floorboard. Not sure if it's draining properly now or if it occurs when driving. Any help on where to best look for the draining hose or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance.
this is a common problem due to a design flaw..I had learned about this earlier in this forum and it saved me a lot of greif..Check in the battery compartment..remove the plastc cover..under the batter is a drain hole that when becomes clogged with pine needles, etc..If clogged, the compartment becomes a small pond!! I reached in and with my finger, dug out the clog...water gushed out under the car. Now i periodically check this for clogging..
amazing that a $45000 can be so damaged by pine needles and water..but in that compartment the computer, wiper moter, and interior air filter(hence the flood) can all be effected..WHY HASN"T AUDI SENT A SERVICE BULLETIN ON THIS!!??!!
Audi Assurance covered my self-flooding Audi Allroad '04

I recently had this same problem others have experienced, 6 inches of water in the passenger side rear floorboards after some severe rain storms.

I had a few months of my Audi Assurance left, and the company and dealership shop gave me an early indication that it would not be covered.

I told them the following:

> This is a design flaw in the car that dozens of people have experienced, I'd be happy to print up dozens of examples from the internet of other dissatisfied customers.
> When Audi Assurance says that "Outside forces" are not covered, ie, leaves and pine needles got stuck in the car, it's a moot point if there is an inherent design flaw. I told them that was the counsel of my lawyer.
> I told them that there is nowhere in the car's owner's manual which instructs users to remove the battery to extract leaves. This car is outwardly immaculate.
> I told them an '85 Corolla is waterproof, and my '04 Audi should be too.
> I told them I would pay the dealership, but planned to sue Audi Assurance to recoup these unacceptable losses. My lawyer said that with this evidence, it would be a simple case in small claims court (<$2500)

Thankfully, Audi Assurance paid for the repair, cleaned out the battery compartment, replaced the computer, removed the passenger seat and compartments and thoroughly dried the car out--about $2000 worth of work.

Good luck to anyone else with this annoyance,

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Audi Allroad battery compartment flood

I've had this issue too recently and Audi and the dealer both try to dodge responsibility for it. The car is a 2003 Allroad, out of warranty. I've escalated the issue to Audi Customer Care and they won't do anything. The deny it's been an issue even with all this website evidence. So I have to file a comprehensive insurance claim and sue Audi in small claims for the deductible. Thanks to all these posts I have the evidence I need. The other step I have taken is to file a complaint with the governemnt. you can do this at this site:
Office of Defects Investigation (ODI)

I suggest all who have this issue file the complaint and eventually Audi will get in trouble if enough of us do it. Or perhaps I'll file a class action lawsuit against them if I get angry enough.

You'd think their customer service people would be smarter. Rather than pay me $1000 deductible and admit their design flaw, they now have tons of bad press, a lawsuit, and I will never again under any circumstances buy and Audi. My BMWs don't have these problems and the company stands behind them much better. Screw Audi.
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I have a 2004 Allroad 4.2 with 70k miles. First time I noticed a problem was last August after a 9 hour drive. The carpet under the passenger seat was soaking wet. I dried it out and had the dealer look at it and they couldn't find a problem but did note in the repair order that all the drains (A/C, battery and sunroof) were clear.

This May I took another long drive and had the same problem with water under the passenger seat but I didn't catch it in time and it fried the Transmission Control Module (TCM). That cost a whopping $2,500 to replace!

I called Audi USA to explain the problem and request Audi to take responsibility for the problem because I, like many others here, think this is a design fault. Audi customer care politely explained that the water problem was due to "outside influences" and they would not cover it. She went on the tell me that Page 238 (it's actually P277 in my manual) of the owners manual explains the maintenance procedures to avoid this problem, and I quote:

"Battery Compartment
Remove leaves from the plenum panel in front of the windshield under the engine hood. This prevents the water drain holes from becoming blocked, and it prevents debris from entering the vehicle interior through the heating and ventilation ducts."

That's it! That's the section in the manual Audi is hanging their hat on that they have adequately notified their customers on maintaining the drains. It says nothing about how to check if the drain is blocked, nor how to actually clean them out nor what happens if they do get blocked. I just got back from the dealer where they showed me the approximate location of the drains while the car was up on a lift. As it turns out I don't have a hydraulic car lift in my garage so I would be hard pressed to actually get to the drains to clean them. Besides that, I don't think when you buy a $60k car that's something you need to do and I've never had to do it for any other cars I have owned. The service technicians said this drain blockage is a common problem and they even wonder why Audi doesn't fix the problem.

One useful thing that the service tech told me was that there is a rubber plug with a small hole at the end of the drain from the battery compartment. It's supposed to stop debris from getting up into the drain pipe (??? how is debris supposed to go up???) and as water flows down it's supposed to open up to allow the water out. Apparently this is a major cause of the blockage and my service tech said he takes the plugs out of the cars he services. This may help some of the flooding problems.

The reason for this rambling reply is to let others know in detail what happens and how Audi is dealing with this situation. It's great that Allroadster04 was able to get Audi to pay for the repair, so it shows that with some serious prodding they may step up to the plate and take responsibility for a crappy design. I'm going to follow Allroadster04 steps and see where that takes me and I'll let you all know how it goes. Cdotcom, let us know how it works out for you. Regards to all.
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Hey all. Here's a follow up to my previous posting. I owe Allroadster04 a big "thanks mate".

I followed his advice in calling Audi Customer Care again and today I received a check from Audi reimbursing me for the TCM replacement. I also spoke to my service manager and he was surprised that I was able to get Audi to take responsibility for what he thought was a terrible design. Corporate Audi also told him to call them immediately when the next car comes in with a blown TCM due to flooding. It sounds like Audi might be more proactive in handling this problem.

Basically I outlined the following points in my second call to Customer Care:

1. I had a flooding problem less than a year before and the service manager said all the drains were clear at that time so where did the water come from. If the problem happened so quickly after that, it's unacceptable. How often do these need to be maintained?
2. I had the dealer show me where the drains were and whether it was possible for me to get to them and clean them out. Since they could only show them to me on a lift, it was not acceptable for Audi to expect me to have access to a lift to check them out.
3. Even though the mechanic showed me the approximate locations where the drains came out, it wasn't even possible to get to them without removing bits under the car. Again, not a maintenance procedure an owner should have to do.
4. To clean the battery drain out on top you would need to remove the battery and you might not even see the drain because of a brace in that location. Does Audi really think all owners are going to be able to remove the battery to see if there is a clogged drain? Does Audi want owners to be attempting that?
5. The manual doesn't tell you that you have to check the drains regularly. How are we supposed to know the drain is clogged? How are we supposed to know that the backup drainage path is the passenger seat area! A better design might be to dump the water under the engine area if the drain is clogged instead of into the car...
6. The problem I had was linked to the A/C drain. The mechanic couldn't show me how to get to that one and clean it out. I asked them to explain that one to me.
7. I told Audi that I keep my cars spotless, just like my other cars and none of them have flooding problems. Even my previous american cars didn't flood!
8. I mentioned that all the mechanics I spoke to at my dealer said they see this problem all the time and are amazed that Audi hasn't come up with a fix. One mechanic said he takes out the plug at the end of one of the drains because that helps the problem. WHy is that plug there anyway and why haven't Audi put out a bulletin to fix these problems before they flood the cars.
9. Lastly I threatened to take them to small claims court to recover the costs.

Once I got all this off my chest, they said they would get back to me within two days. THey did call two days later and said they would reimburse me.

Hopefully this will help others that have this problem and you can get Audi to pay for their lousy design.
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Can someone please tell me exactly where this drain line is near the battery in a 2005 a-4 cabriolet? Thanks
Also how do you clear it out once you remove any debris
is there a way to possibly move the hole or divert the water flow anywhere else besides the inside of the car??
to be honest they would probably take more action into fixing the problem if a large class actaion suit was filed rather people one at a time. giant corps are trained to be stupid and ignorant to individuals needs and complaints and can handle it. but if we all got together with say...15 people with this problem suing them then they might take it a little more seriously and look into an alternative to fixing this problem. and judging from the number of replies, theres plenty of us to be a formidable force...and maybe line our pockets with a little extra dough too haha. just a thought.
Clogged Drains

I have this problem...check out this video...Very informative
1999 Audi A6 Water Leak - DIY Tutorial on Vimeo
Complaining for a recall

I have an Audi A6 C6 with the same problem. I got a puddle of water in the back seat floor. This is commonly cause by clogged draining pipies running down from the sunroof. This is clearly a design defect by Audi and they should pay for it. I filed a complaint with audi calling to 1-800-822-2834 and I also filed a complaint with the consumer affairs at Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), File A Safety Complaint. This is the only way Audi is going to do something about it, hope you do the same.
Same Problem

I discovered the puddle of water in my rear passenger floor today after a weekend of rain.

It seems like my transmission computer is toasted. Check engine light and other warning lights come on. I have not driven any distance, just tried shifting into drive and reverse and it's clumsy and doesn't feel right to say the least.

I have not contacted dealer yet, as I like to figure out problems myself (or with forum help), but it's looking like major problems.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Are there enough of us here to file class action lawsuit? Has anyone other than redcoat had success getting Audi to pay for damages?

Thanks, any input will help
Same Problem

Same problem with my 2002 Allroad in Oct 2009. The drain under the battery was clogged with pin neddles. Water built-up and poured through the AC pollen filter and into the passenger floor. I removed the seat and the carpet and vaccumed the water. One week later, the TCU let go. When I opened the TCU plastic cover, there was some remaining water. The repair cost me over $2,000. I removed the rubber gromit from the plug.
Two bad designs: 1. The plug rubber gromit. 2. The location/orentation of the pollen filter.
Let me know if someone has success in geting a refund.
Hey everyone, thanks for all your posts. Somewhere someone noticed, because a class action suit was filed against Audi. US District Court for NJ, Docket # 07-CV-2249-FSH-PS. You should be getting a reimbursement claim form in the mail.

Now we'll see if we get 100% reimbursed...
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