Plagued with leaks and mildew

June 1, 2009 | By Richard Prince


I found it timely that you published an article on cleaning carpet and upholstery in the April issue. I am currently resuscitating a 1984 Mercedes 300CD that is mechanically and cosmetically quite good with only 140K miles on the clock.

However, ever since a local body shop returned it to me, I have been plagued with water leaks into the cabin to the point where I parked the car for three years in frustration. The water would gather in the rear passenger foot wells and trunk as well as drip on my left knee while driving.

The windshield and rear window weatherstripping were “sealed” with a black material that wasn’t bonded to anything and is coming out in threads.

This spring, in preparation for selling the car, I started to clean up the mildew and acorn husks, put in a new battery and took her out for a spin.

I now want to keep her, but am earnestly looking for wisdom on the possible sources of the leaks as well as a resource for new carpeting for the front and rear without the Mercedes premium.


In all likelihood, the water is coming into the car through voids in the window seals. The safest way to address this is to remove the front and rear glass, clean the channels they sit in, and reinstall them with new seals.

You can buy aftermarket carpeting that’s considerably less money than genuine Mercedes carpeting but it’s still not inexpensive. The best price I found was in the $500 range from Performance Products

I don’t think you will save anything by having a good upholstery shop make new carpets for your car so the only inexpensive solution that may be possible is to rehabilitate your old carpeting. Though quite expensive, OEM Mercedes carpeting is also extremely durable. If yours is just dirty and moldy and not torn up or worn through you can probably get it pretty clean again with plenty of elbow grease.