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Old 04-25-2010, 01:41 AM   #1
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A rusty under body, leaky floor?

Hey all, I just joined the forum and had a few questions about my Jeep.

So I bought my 2002 TJ from a friend of mine last summer, I just couldn't resist it, especially with the deal I was being offered. Recently I'd noticed a musty smell, and that the lining on the passenger side and at the back was damp. My roof doesn't leak and never has, neither do the windows, so I'm thinking it's coming up from the bottom. I took it in to Mr Lube and was able to get a good look at what's underneath (mind you guys that I'm a total mechanical-noob and don't know a lot about vehicles) and was kind of horrified with the amount of rust creeping around under there... but I'm only guessing that this is the cause.
I'm starting to realise that my friend obviously never took much care of it, and have had to get some things looked at... I really want to save the under body before it's completely eaten away. I'm starting to think that rust proofing is necessary, what would you recommend and how should I start going about it? How much rust is TOO much rust? I hate spending all the extra money by taking it in to shop to get some TLC when I know all of these things I can do at home.

Try to go easy on me here, I wanna save my jeep!

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Old 04-25-2010, 08:37 AM   #2
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Pull the carpets, they likely are wet and holding water against the floor, thus the smell. Pull the drain plugs if you have standing water, and let it dry out. Clean and dry the carpets. Clean the floor, and then you can get a good idea of the amount of damage you actually have. If its just surface rust on the underside, well, it's metal exposed to the elements. If you have rust on the floorboards you should sand it off and coat it with either paint or bedliner (bedliner being the most popular choice around here).

Welcome to the forum, I hope your friend told you to wave!

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Old 04-25-2010, 08:59 AM   #3
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If you can, post up some pictures of the rust.
Before you paint, the rust needs to be either removed or neutralized or it will come back through again.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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Pull the carpets, they likely are wet and holding water against the floor, thus the smell. Pull the drain plugs if you have standing water, and let it dry out. Clean and dry the carpets. Clean the floor, and then you can get a good idea of the amount of damage you actually have. If its just surface rust on the underside, well, it's metal exposed to the elements. If you have rust on the floorboards you should sand it off and coat it with either paint or bedliner (bedliner being the most popular choice around here).

Welcome to the forum, I hope your friend told you to wave!


Very good advice, I am a rhino liner dealer and have done many jeeps. The source of corrosion is oxidation and humidity. clean off all you can, treat the metal if needed, then seal it. Under the vehicle the same thing, Rust inhibitive paint, undercoating, any product that would seal the metal. Of course find the source of the humidity, lets face it these vehicles get wet, let it dry out.
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I did pull the carpets and it was pooling underneath, so I dried them up and left the car in the sun for a while. Well it got rid of the smell. I wasn't able to see any rusty holes underneath the carpeting and looked pretty solid so now I'm confused. There's been no more problems since I cleaned it up, but it's supposed to rain today so I guess we'll see. I know I definitely want to get rid of the rust and from what I can tell, it's just the underside. I'm pretty new to this, so what I should do is sand off all rust, and spray an undercoating? Would the undercoating seal the holes?
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:33 PM   #6
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The first thing you might want to do is figure out where the water is coming from.

Are you running a soft top or a hard top?

You said that you don't have any holes on the inside of the floor pan, so I'm a little confused about your question regarding "sealing the holes"
Which holes? Are there rust holes all the way through your floorboards or are you talking about the drain holes?

ajsyj may have the best advice for killing the rust UNDER the jeep since he is experienced in that department.

Pics would be worth a million words.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:19 PM   #7
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I am confused as well, what holes, if there are factory holes they are probably drains or possibly where some accessory may have been bolted in, if they are rust holes they should be repaired with patch panels of replacement floor panels. Something Kate said makes a lot of sense you need to figure out where the water is coming from, but remember water does not come up, unless you are in a stream. If you are getting water it is coming from above and dripping down. Do not be to anxious to seal up "good holes" you may end up making yourself a bathtub
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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I think he means the drain holes. Pull the plugs before you apply the undercoat, then replace them. Chances are your friend got caught in a downpour with the top off and didn't ever dry out the Jeep. But you may have some leaks in the top somewhere too....
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:45 PM   #9
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I believe there is something under your dash on the passanger side that can leak of some lines are clogged or something or another (sure someone else will chime in that knows that I'm talking about).

Think having a lot of crap in the cowl under the windshield can cause this as well.

Also, there is a small tube coming from the firewall in the engine compartment on the passanger side that lets condensation drain from the a/c (if you have one). There is some insulation/foam where that tube comes out that gets dry rotted and can allow water to go back in. How it happens is when the water starts to drip out of that tube it will run back underneath the drain and back into the firewell where the drain exits. Get a little piece of clear tubing from a hardware store and stick it over that little drain to extend it some, that way the water can't run back under the drain and will instead, run out and down on the ground. Maybe this is your problem, may not....either way its a good idea to do what I just said to prevent condensation from coming in in the future.

Did you say there is water in your floor board behind your front seast as well? If so, that has to be coming in from a leak some where. Make sure your top is snug and closed well at the back window where it zips down and seals.


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