I just wanted to seal a leak... (front fender removal, please help)

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Jul 9, 2011
Some time ago, I noticed that my front floor boards would get soaked after a heavy rain. Unlike stories I've heard here, mine wasn't due to a leak in the windshield gasket - after investigating with a garden hose, I found that water would enter when applied near the A-pillar/hood/fender gap, above the edge of the firewall.

The water seems to run down that stripe of white sealant. From where, I don't know.

"Okay, no problem. I'll just remove the fender and dab on some silicone."

Well, some time and two dozen bolts later, I find that the outer fender is spot welded to ANOTHER piece of metal whose bolts are buried under who-knows-what. I haven't even started on the passenger side.


My questions to 'MUD: Am I going about this correctly? Is this worth fixing, or should I stop digging myself deeper into this hole?
Before u remove the fender remove the wipers and pull that panel there to investigate. The water drains and such clog up with grime and leaves and so it may make water have no where to go but into your truck. I am not sure how to go about fixing this but i would start with the simpler stuff. its definitely worth fixing otherwise you'll have bigger problems.
There are a lot of bolts that hold the fender on. All of the accessories in the engine bay that are bolted to it need to be unbolted. Headlight washer tank, AC idle up, carb fan, hood support spring, etc.

The bolt you may be missing from the looks of the photos is the the one in the door jamb. Open the door all the way, standing at the fender, look into the top of the door/fender gap. There is one bolt that holds that top corner. Look up and down the firewall to make sure you haven't missed anything also.

Before you remove it all the way... make some match marks so that you can easily re-align it when you install afterwards. Trust me on this one. You'd think it goes back only one way, but there is a lot of room for error.

Remove the cover circled in my capture of your photo. I had 1/2 of a 5 gallon pail of pine needles in the cowl area, and got them all out through these two (one on each side) access points. Worst case, you'll have to remove the entire fender to clean, inspect, recaulk, and rust-treat.

Steve, I took your advice first but all I pulled out was a half-handful of leaves and hair from the windshield wiper linkage area. (How do you get that linkage in there, anyway?) Since it was recommended and since I was already so invested, I pulled the fender off. It's too bad body panels are so buried - removing them gives you so much access to everything.

The most trouble I've had (so far) was accessing hidden and caulked-up bolts. Any recommendations as to replacing what I cracked or shaved off?

Happy, you were the closest to correct. My leak seems to come from somewhere near the seam you pointed out, so thanks. Since water runs down the inside of the kickpanel indentation (not the seam as I misremembered), I'm thinking there's a leak near the tube downspout chute (?). So, now what?

I had the same problem. I removed the spout and tube to access the inner cowl to remove more trash. I removed all brittle seam sealer and resealed all cracks and seams. I did both sides and never put back the spouts. before I did that I also primered n painted that whole area to keep rust out. It worked out great,no more puddle in floor board.
I am going to do the same project. I plan on using 3M heavy body seam sealer to seal everything back up.
Exact same symptoms. Mine was coming from the rain gutter. Might be time to re-seal the gutter seam.
Hey Rob, I have an un-opened tube of the self leveling seam sealer if you want to use it, I didn't end up using it when I did my gutters.
Thanks brother - I'm all sealed and repainted. Rimmeh might need both of ours!!

Hey Rob, I have an un-opened tube of the self leveling seam sealer if you want to use it, I didn't end up using it when I did my gutters.
Nice progress - and I agree that pulling the fender allows access to all sorts of cool stuff.

If you feel like experimenting, pull back your carpet, and start low with a garden hose and work your way up those bad seams until you see a leak.

If not, then clean out the rotted caulk, prime and paint, and heavily recaulk. Then, test it with a garden hose. I'd have someone watching inside while you train the hose on the area, to see if you have really fixed the problem. Take your time, since you don't want to pull the fender again.
I had a similar situation that I finally got fixed after 4 months of pulling my hair out. Long story short...I noticed water on the driver and passenger side floor after it rained...the truck has been in a garage for the past ten years so the PO probably never noticed. Had the windshield gasket replaced...no dice. Then I came across an article in the TLCA toyota trails publication.

Toyota Trails - January/February 2017 Issue

This is probably the culprit in the majority of the these pre 1988 trucks. The body seam sealer behind the front fenders that runs down right below the upper cowel are was put on by hand and not well back in the day...(I imagine a tired Japanese guy on a Monday morning that had too much Saki the night before)...and anything that is still there after 30 years is gone...anyways...the fenders have to come off and seams need to be resealed as laid out in the above article. I tracked the author down who lives in British Columbia and picked his brain on this subject (he does amazing restoration work btw) On his advice I found a local body shop, printed the article/pictures off for them and they fixed it perfectly! My truck is now bone dry in the hardest of downpours. I know this thread is a little old but wanted to share my success story.
Some good information, guys. Jakey77 noted that this applies to pre 88 rigs. How does the 89 FJ62 differ in water infiltration?

My 89 has had a chronic wet passenger floor. I am not certain if it occurs only when driving in the rain, or not. It has sat still for a month, with close to an inch of rain falling in the past two weeks. That floor is dry at the moment. I keep the passenger carpet and plastic threshold edge loose to monitor it. Although, the bottom of the passenger door was dripping when I opened it the other day. Meanwhile, I am seeing moisture on the driver side for the first time. Just scratching my head and getting psyched up to start trouble shooting before fall.

I am missing the top corner chrome trim piece on driver side and bottom corner on passenger side. Does that help keep things water tight?
Is there another thread relevant to the 62's?
Reading through this thread I believe it holds the solution to my passenger footwell water intrusion. I've only owned this 60 a few months now and it has stayed in my garage until recently. Last night I left it out, and Barry is dropping some serious rain. I got up early and drove it in the garage only to notice the passenger side carpets are a little wet. Time to start chasing a water leak I fear!
The 83 I recently sold had water on the passenger floor every time it rained. It had no carpet so it was easily noticed.

In my case it turned out to be the gutters. The factory sealant was so dried out and cracked it was falling out. I dug it out and resealed with new seam sealer. Problem solved.
Yeah I have a brand new tube of 3M seam sealer I purchased recently to fix a leak on my 87 4runner. Looks like I'll be using it on my daily instead (85 FJ60). I had planned on using a water hose to find the leak, but a friend in the body industry said to use an air line with a blow nozzle and a spray bottle of soapy water.

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