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Discussion Starter #1
I found a few discussions here but I haven't seen a fix.

Background:
At least in the Gen3 and Gen4 Taurii, there are vents on either side of the trunk bottom that allow air to flow through the cabin and out to the world in general. They are rectangular plastic assemblies with rubber flaps mounted just aft of the rear wheels. You can see them when you fold back the trunk side linings.

You can also see gravel and detritus at the bottom of the wells... after a rain, you'll see water... after a winter, you'll see salt scum.

The question:
Has anyone found a fix?

It looks to me as though the problem is this: there's an inch, inch-and-a-half gap between the side of the "bumper" and the sheetmetal running alongside the trunk. This gap is directly in the line of fire for water and road grunge being thrown up by the rear wheels.

The rubber flaps are supposed to allow only air to escape the car, slamming shut on water or crud trying to enter the trunk, but the design doesn't work. I'm betting that during driving, the flaps open in the wind and simply allow thrown water/grunt to run into the trunk.

I suppose mud flaps mounted at the back bottom of the wheel well would do a lot, but I'm not sure I would like the look.

Anyone have other suggestions?
 

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Usually, by the time you are seeing water, dirt, gravel, and salt in the trunk saddlebags, it means that the hem welds of the wheel-well arch have rotted through and the material is washing in from forward of the saddlebags. It could also be that the tolerance stack-up was poor and gaps exist between the body and the inner wheel well at the hem. As you correctly point out the trunk air vents have flappers on them intended to prevent ingress of material. I would remove the rear wheels, carefully blocking the vehicle up on safety jackstands, and thoroughly examine the interior of the wheel wells for any perforation. A garden hose can be helpful here.

Checking the saddlebags for moisture after driving in the rain while the vehicle is relatively new is one of the most important things you can do to prevent corrosion. If water is found, the wheel-well hem weld needs to be sealed pronto with weld sealer from the outside. This is also a clue that the "doglegs" are at risk for rotting through.

In the event that material is actually getting in through the trunk vents, large rear-wheel mud flaps are the best solution. They also prevent the accumulation of mud, salt, etc in the rear bumper assembly. Looks or lasts?

Good luck on fixing this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
QUOTE (drjkel @ Apr 3 2009, 07:25 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=714890
...I would remove the rear wheels, carefully blocking the vehicle up on safety jackstands, and thoroughly examine the interior of the wheel wells for any perforation. A garden hose can be helpful here.

Checking the saddlebags for moisture after driving in the rain while the vehicle is relatively new is one of the most important things you can do to prevent corrosion. If water is found, the wheel-well hem weld needs to be sealed pronto with weld sealer from the outside. This is also a clue that the "doglegs" are at risk for rotting through.
....
Good luck on fixing this problem.[/b]
Thanks, doctor -

I'll do the hose test ASAP. However, from the views below, you'll see that I have remarkably little rust for a Northeast 04... that said, your point about tolerance stack-up and possible gap is good, and I'll follow it up.

The passenger side vent and saddlebag (thanks for the term -- perfect):
[attachment=29037:TrunkVentLabeled.jpg]

The gap that... I think... is encouraging water and detritus to reach the vent, thrown up by the rear wheel. View from back of car, underside.
[attachment=29038:TheGapLabeled.jpg]
 

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That '04 is in stellar condition for a Northeast vehicle! I agree, your gap appears to be relatively large from what I remember of mine. I would still check for a tolerance stack-up problem on the rear-wheel-well hem weld just to be safe.

Good luck on fixing this problem.
 

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on my 01 i cut out piece of plastic, from random left over parts and made them fit perfectly over the vents and then just duct taped them there. didnt think duct tape was a big deal because no one will ever see it.

and i did this because they were flapping like hell with my subwoofer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
QUOTE (s2knott @ Apr 3 2009, 11:51 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=714917
on my 01 i cut out piece of plastic, from random left over parts and made them fit perfectly over the vents....[/b]
Could you tell me a little more? Did you cover the vents from inside the trunk, or did you pull the rear bumper cover and do it on the outside?

Also -- did you just seal the vents? I'm a big fan (no pun intended) of air flow, since automotive engines generate carbon monoxide...
 

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yes i just sealed mine and i did it from outside while replacing rear bumper. when i had my woofer in the back the vents flapped, so it pretty much sealed them from the outside.

i did it again on my contour but actually removed the whole vent then covered the whole.
 
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