How to locate/fix leak into trunk of 1997 Z3 convertible?


Asked by LLL Jun 13, 2011 at 01:18 AM about the 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 Roadster RWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I discovered the battery compartment of my Z3 full of water and the rear portion of the trunk soaked.  I took it to a body shop that charged me $100 and then told me they couldn't say where it was leaking.  They said they checked the taillight areas but could find no leaks there.  They figured it was leaking around the rear window.  I went to an auto upholstery shop and they said the zipper around the rear window was most likely leaking and that I should run a bead of sealant around that area.  I did that and now I note that water is collecting in a small receptical on the passenger side where the top meets the body and is spilling over onto the rear interior deck on the passenger side.  Is this a rain gutter collection point that is blocked?   Or ???  Any suggestions on what to try next to fix the leak?  

12 Answers


half open the roof and look at the channels behind the doors, the drains in this are can block. also look at the condition and placement of seals, comparing left to right to see if any are dislodged or warped

9 people found this helpful.

Did you ever get a solution to this? I'm having the same problem, the roof isn't leaking, but the truck is soaked, and now due to the water, the radio works intermittently.

9 people found this helpful.

Hi, the boot (Trunk) of my BMW Z3 was also soaking wet at the back. I traced the leak (s) to the plastic back window on my convertible. The rain was pooling slightly in the bottom corners and dripping in. This found its way to the back of the boot. I had had the rear window replaced recently ad all was OK until I had the car washed using a high powered spray. That’s when the leaks started. Apparently the spray can force the seal between the external black sealing strip and the window apart. THE FIX. I CAREFULLY applied a little CLEAR silicone in-between the black external seal and the window using a tooth pick to smear the silicone in place. I have only done this around the corners. I am now awaiting the next rains to see the results. You have to slacken off the tension by partly opening the roof first. Hope this helps ,and don’t wash the roof with a pressure washer as I did. Regards Colin

6 people found this helpful.

I had the same problem with my 1998 Z3 and after much research the problem was solved. The 1998 Z3 model has a "seal" that is located between the conv. roof and the car body. This year BMW used a seal made of CORK that dried out. BMW seemed to have used this type of seal for 1 or 2 years, We found this information by researching any info. we could find and found it by looking at a German version of the car details. There is a kit that is available that we used to replace this cork seal and it has not (knock on wood) leaked since. The only damage that the leak caused was the soaking of the original radio and cd changer so I replaced it and put the original in a box thinking that oneday I will see if it can be reinstalled.

14 people found this helpful.

It was a while ago that I did this. I will look back in my paper work which is probably in my attic. I do recall that when the kit to replace the cork seal was discussed at the BMW dealer that they were able to locate it on the computerized part list. This cork seal was only installed on the Z3 for a short time period so they were real careful during the search and I also think they had or had access to the German version of the parts list as well. I wil not be able to search for it until next week. Sorry. I will log on again with what I have as info.

5 people found this helpful.

It is the seal of the top it costs a lot to fix but will resolve your problems. Mine was detected after it blew out my sound system located in the trunk.

1 people found this helpful.

I just found the water from heavy rain for 5 days in the back of my 1999 Z3. The water gets through the trunk area. There is always moisture around the trunk whenever I open it. I guess moisture just collects there al the time. Sucks as I have to leave my car outside with a waterproof cover on it, but moisture in beads are still in the trunk area.

3 people found this helpful.

I had the problem, it was coming around the 3rd brake lite. There is a rubber seal 6 bucks. And put a head of silicon stopped leaks, I have a dry trunk now

5 people found this helpful.

Feb 2020--mine 2001 Z3 too--water in the battery box and mold in carpet area. I'm reading the posts...

3 people found this helpful.

I bought a 99 Z3. All great except also water in trunk at every rain. Window seal looks fine. I am trying to see where that cork seal is??? Mike


The cork seal is located between the roof and the body of the car. I had a new roof put on my Z3 and I will be looking for the seal as the new roof leaks.......I guess that it only seems to be on a limited number of Z3s.

1 people found this helpful.

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