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The Easy Fix for Water Ingress to the Engine Bay

by Chris Gaelic

One of the really interesting comments made by Dave Andrews (GM of  Auto-trail UK) at our Waipu rally, was that most trucks are on the road every day, and that any water that gets into the engine bay is quickly evaporated before it can cause any problems. However, it is a very different situation for motorhome owners as our vans are often parked outside for months at a time. Even worse, some of us live close to the coast, so rain can also carry salt spray.


Consequently, any water that gets inside the engine bay can do some really bad stuff, like corrode electrical terminals and corrode glow plugs into the engine block. This damage may take 3 or 4 years to show up as a problem. Typically you'll get an engine warning light, that ultimately results in an expensive repair job that can also take your van off the road for upwards of 3 weeks while waiting for parts to arrive from Italy.


This is only a problem because Fiat have not designed their engine bay to be waterproof. Water running down the windscreen has many ways to leak into the engine bay. Les that been going on about this at every rally, and yet most of us have been reluctant to start drilling larger drain holes, and apply sealant and/or sealing tape in all of the appropriate places.


However, there is a really easy, cheap solution that will fix this problem. It doesn't require any technical skills and has been well covered in our forum. However, you will only have seen it if you've subscribed to Fiat Issues, or have searched there on windscreen or water issues. Because this is so important, I've decided to send it out as a special newsletter. My apologies for those of you who have already seen this...


Here's what you need"


Tarp for covering the windscreen

Bungee cords

Tarp fixed in place - front Tarp fixed in place - side


I bought the tarp from Mitre 10 Mega for $12, and paid another $12 for a 12 piece bungee pack at Bunnings. It's quick and easy to set up, using the 25 cm long cords for the 4 corners of the tarp, and the 46 cm long cords for holding down the front of the tarp. Just make sure that the tarp is pulled up over the top of the windscreen so that water can't get in behind it.


You most likely, only need to use the tarp while parked up at home, but it may also be worth taking with you for rainy weather if parked anywhere for more that a day or so.


Finally, if you need any further encouragement to do this, we have a 2012 Delaware which we've owned for 4.5 years. In the last year, the following repairs are all likely to have been the result of water damage:


Replace faulty map sensor: $1,251
Replace glow plugs (corroded into the engine block): $1,438
Replace control unit for the airbags: $895
Replace engine control module: $4,435
Total: $6,684


It took over 3 years before the water ingress started creating problems for us. So, if you're thinking that this might not apply to you... 







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