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Bull Owners (1st Post, sorry so long and involved…)

I have learned a lot from these threads and I thank you. This is my intent to either prevent a BIG mess or help you fix an issue I experienced.

I’m driving a 2011, Kona Blue, SEL with 45k. Currently a love / hate relationship…ha

I would like to go over what I did recently to fix my “Curse” (passenger side water leak).

In May 2018, Northern VA has seen a tremendous amount of torrential rain storms, including flash flooding.

On 5/22/18, I happened to be sitting stationary in my Blue Bull on a flat level surface during a severe rain storm. After about an hour I just happened to notice what appeared to be water around the edge of my Weather-Tech floor mats. Upon closer inspection it ended up being @ 2inches of standing water! WTF! I immediately started searching TCCA threads, Google, You Tube and the entire internet. I saw several posts on TCCA about the AC/Firewall drain issue and recommended fix. This was NOT my issue. Again I was sitting still and no way that much water would seep into my cabin. I then stumbled onto a similar issue in a Ford Mustang in a YouTube video posted by “Jim the car guy”. The Mustang had just as much water in the cabin and he knew exactly what to do. The issue appeared to be clogged engine drain grommets.
I was able to go to a local gas station that evening and use a strong vacuum cleaner to get up most of the water. Did that over a few days and it kept coming up…

It doesn’t help that I park street side at my house under a large oak tree (pin wheel leaves) and the car is @ 7 years old now (purchased used 2016).

The next day I got to work and I will explain the steps in as much detail as possible and add multiple pics at the end.

I have since pulled up all the carpet (as much as possible), bought a blower fan from Wal-Mart, and had it drying out for 3+ days. The batting underneath the carpet is like a super sponge. I also bought some Mold/Mildew prevention spray from Home Depot. Ill spray the underneath and let it dry again before putting everything back together.

I honestly hope this will help someone from having to go through this…. Unfortunately, we don’t generally learn of these issues and fixes until it happens.

I will also perform the AC drain/Firewall patch very soon as a preventative fix.

My Steps –
1. Put the wipers in the up position and turn the car off
- ***Important –mark the wiper position with tape or grease marker to install back in the correct position.
2. Pop off the wiper retention nut cover
3. Remove the retention nuts with socket (sorry didn’t note socket sizes…)
4. I actually had to go by a wiper arm removal tool to pop the arms loose (@ $13 at Advance Auto)
5. Raise the hood and remove the 6 plastic retention “screws” on the engine side of the top cowl piece
6. Undo the retention grommets in the windshield corners of each side. Right at the corner where the windshield and cowl meet the front pillar.
7. The cowl sets in a groove against the bottom of the windshield, pop it up loose by reaching under the cowl and close to the windshield.
8. ***Once the cowl is loose, lift up slightly and disconnect the washer hose – 3 connections


For some reason (stability?) there appears to be a 2nd Cowl piece underneath the top visible section…

This cowl piece is held in place by 2 silver “U” shaped clips on both sides and 2 white slide retention pins.

1. Take a set of needle nose pliers and simply pull the “U” shaped clips off.
2. Rotate the white retention pins and pop the 2nd cowl piece up and free.
You should now see a long “trough” that runs the length of the windshield. You will find the following –
On the driver’s side you should be able to locate the first rubber grommet drain plug.
On the passenger side you will see the rain hat cover for the fresh air cabin intake. Underneath that you will find the fresh air intake covered with a screen. And directly in front of and below that, in the bottom of the trough the 2nd rubber drain grommet.
Use the needle nose or other pliers to reach down and pull those rubber drain grommets out. I DO NOT SEE ANY NEED to keep them in place. Very poor design and those 50 cent rubber pieces caused me a lot of work.
These grommets were completely clogged. This caused the trough to easily fill up and overflow down into my fresh air intake, down through the cabin air filter and all into my passenger side (again @ 2 inches of standing water!). Luckily at my house I park on a slight downhill slope so the water would have run off the front lip before overflowing into the fresh air intake.

I also had a ton of debris all in the trough area and on top of the fresh air intake. I took my yard blower and blew out a ton of leaf debris to clear the area.

Re-assemble in reverse order. Leave those grommets out!

I have since pulled out the front passenger seat, pulled up the carpet and had a blower fan in there for several days.

If you plan to remove the seat then disconnect the battery before disconnecting the electrical connection to the seat. Everything I read and watched on that states it is a must to prevent an air bag trouble code.

I’m just glad I was able to figure this out on my own ad save big bucks….

Good luck!


2,411 Posts
I think those gourmets are there to prevent critters to get inside the car (especially when wiring insulation is now made of food).

They have slits that allow water to drain, but in some cases the get clogged. Like when parking under a tree :)

Hopefully you won't start to have electrical problems now... because:
The roots of the problem reach back to the 1980s, when European politicians began pushing manufacturers to produce cars that had less impact on the environment. By the early 1990s, Mercedes was using biodegradable harnesses. Other manufacturers followed. As the green movement took hold, manufacturers stampeded toward eco-friendly materials such as soy-based seat foams. Ford has been inviting journalists to meals made from natural materials that may make it into their supply chain. When BMW released its i3 electric car, it emphasized the fact the interior trim was made of sustainable bamboo wood.

402 Posts
I'm no engineer and not real familiar with the parts in discussion but - I would think those plugs should have been designed to go in upside down so tree debris won't settle inside the cup shape but they could act more like a breathing tower (snorkel) of sorts. Of course that means there would need to be enough headroom for the tower/cone/snorkel to stick up. I don't know if the headroom is there to try something like that?

Great write up.

152 Posts
I use to have to clean out the wiper cowl drains on my 04 Marauder every 6 months, not that it backed up and leaked onto the floor but it would submerge the wiper motor in water and short it out.

I'm in MD so I dealt with that same crazy rain with my 13 MKS. I took mine to the dealer cause I had so much water on the passenger floor area. They of course said they couldn't reproduce the same thing with their heavy rain test. I could only assume there was just so much water in the sunroof drain tray and the car was parked slightly down hill that it just spilled over and drained down.

Just replaced my cabin air filter today and I could see the staining left on it from where it had gotten wet several times.

Will definitely look into cowl when I get chance and great write up!
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