One of the “quaint” aspects of a Land Rover Defender is that sometimes they are not altogether water proof in heavy rain, even the newer ones. So, as shown in the first image, it was with mine – at the front bulkhead, collecting on the cab floor and at the rear corners of the tub. I’ll admit that this is not something which people with modern cars have to contend with! The main culprits appeared to be some leaky rivets, small holes in the guttering and ingress through various bolt holes. Reading the official water ingress manual [PDF] was a good place to start. Our main materials were Eastwood Flexible Strip Caulk, Sikaflex 521UV [PDF] tube sealant and Frost Brushable Seam Sealer. Some of the images will be obscure to those who don’t know this vehicle, but they are a record of our efforts over several weekends (detailed below). Of course, it looks a bit messy now internally but I will be covering it over with internal trim pieces. At this time, and after several rainy days to test it, I think that we have succeeded in proofing it.
- application of Sikaflex tube sealant to all external gutters and foam strips (between windscreen and bulkhead, tub and upper body), followed by drawing the bead with a fingertip to get a level surface.
- application of Sikaflex to various panel joins – we masked off both sides of the join to get just a millimetre or so showing either side. Then application of the sealant along the join, followed by wiping most of it away with a fingertip. That way I could get a thin line of sealant hopefully to stick between the panel joins. For internal panel joins we were less careful, as we knew that it was going to be covered up long term. Where we would aim the sealant into a small gap and get water expelled as a result we could be sure that we were dealing with a leak point.
- application of a Sikaflex bead around the side windows and along the inside of the foam strip between the rear tub and body sections.
- application of Sikaflex with a finger to the inner side of various rear body rivets.
- subsequently, we brushed internal areas which we had previously sealed with the brushable sealant (that’s the light grey stuff in the pictures).
- the flexible caulk – which feels like soft clay but which does not harden – was worked into irregular holes and spaces, plus used in strip form to cover the foam strip between upper and lower body sections.
- we had previously replaced the windscreen brackets. However, the metal pieces which the three retaining bolts passed through inside were somewhat corroded on both sides of the car. In heavy rain I had observed a line of water dripping down from the underside of this assembly. We replaced the three metal parts (spacer plate LR016689, clamping strap LR044444 and M8 washer spacer AYF500090) and at the same time treated the rust areas of the bulk head as previously described. When tightening the bolts back up we made sure that they (and the inside of the holes) were covered in a generous amount of copper grease. Doing this work seems to have stopped entirely the entry of water at this part of the car.