Bad condensation, inside of windshield - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Bad condensation, inside of windshield

Last winter I was getting really bad condensation on the inside of my windshield. Inside the car, the windshield would be completely covered with drops of water, and it was cold enough - the inside would freeze over. A few weeks ago, I had it replaced. I had a rock chip that I got to use as an excuse and my insurance company picked up the tab. The installers told me if there's any sort of leaks, they guarantee the seal.

I got in the car last night, and again I have a windshield completely covered with moisture. This morning there was enough near the top edge, that there were two or three drops sliding down in front of me. Annoys the crap out of me that this is happening.

Is this again a shotty windshield installation job? Or is it something else, window seals? It's too cold right now to apply Fog-Ex, has to be put on to warmer glass if I'm not mistaken. If this sounds like another leak, I'll be on the phone with the installer so they can repair/replace it. Again.

Thanks, everyone.

'98 SF L, 5MT.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 02:24 PM
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If you have excessive moisture inside your Forester, it's not unusual for the temperature difference (inside to outside) to cause this kind of problem.

As to if the excessive moisture is from a leak or what's tracked in, I can't tell from here.

Bobby...

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 02:50 PM
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Usually snow or water in the car from being tracked in or bellypan plugs popped out. Check under floor mats for moisture. XS Moisture in the car will condense on the WS and sidelights. If nothing excessive on the carpeting in the car then maybe a heater core coolant leak. Do you have a funny sweet smell too?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Funny you should mention a coolant leak smell, AlleyCat. This issue has been going on for a while, but the last two days I have been smelling what may very well be coolant coming through my vents when I turn them on all the way. I noticed it pretty strongly today as I blasted the defroster. If it was a heater core leak, would it make more sense for moisture on the WS to gather near the bottom? I've got it all over. Not so much on the sides, but definitely the top and the base. As far as moisture on the floor mats, there will definitely be some. I'll take care of that, I've got rubber Husky Liners in there that I can remove and clean off.

Geez, hope it's not the heater core.

'98 SF L, 5MT.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 03:20 PM
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Do you have the HVAC set to recirc or outside air. If you don't have outside fresh air coming in your breath and whatever moisture in the car will not be removed. Running the AC will remove the condensation too but you must be on fresh air. A dead giveaway for a heater core issue is a sweet smell not unlike say maple syrup, also the moisture will not wipe away but it will be greasy and almost impossible to wipe off.

More info here:

http://www.scoobymods.com/foggy_inte...61.html?t=4361

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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I do have it on the fresh air setting, which is effective. It takes a few minutes to clear the windshield completely but it works ok. No greasiness or anything once it's cleared.

'98 SF L, 5MT.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 06:17 PM
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Do you think you have a cabin air filter? I wonder if you do and it's dirty and making the HVAC system not work as well as it could? Just a thought.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Did a quick search, seems there is a cabin filter in the SF, sort of behind the glove box actually. Certainly worth a look, I doubt it's ever been taken out.

'98 SF L, 5MT.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 10:53 PM
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If you have a cabin filter that hasn't been changed, that would explain reduced air flow! After 2 years, the cabin filter in my '07 looked like this!

Still, I'm not sure how a plugged cabin filter would cause condensation? I can see it taking longer to clear it if the air flow was reduced.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 07:34 AM
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reduced airflow would explain the reason it takes so much time to clear maybe. Simple to check and remove. Just bend down in the passengers foot well and look up. There will be a little hatch that's about 6 - 7 long and about an inch wide held in place by one screw and a tab on the other side. If that's there just remove the filter for now.

Look here for a scan of the install manual:

http://www.scoobymods.com/air_filtra...156.html?t=156

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback, guys. I'll take a look at that filter tonight after work.

'98 SF L, 5MT.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 11:28 AM
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How did you achieve success?

I know this is an old post, but I'm experiencing the same issue. It's now becoming cold and snowy out here in CO and my new-to-me 05 forester 2.5x is getting some serious condensation build up on the inside of my windshield and rear window. Incredibly frustrating to me.
Did you solve your problem? How? Any info would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
Dylan
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 12:38 PM
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Check if you have a soaking wet carpet due to a water leak. This has invariably been the cause of persistent windshield misting for me.

-- Steve

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MY2005 2.0 XT, 4EAT
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 04:04 PM
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Over the years, the cars that have done this had leaks in the heater core or the attached hoses at the connection, had water leaks into the interior, or had too much buildup of snow or water from the environment - like, I left the windows down.

Another source is the cowl plenum - too many leaves sift in and block the drain holes, which then causes water to back up into the heater plenum where it usually finds a way out, same as coolant. I think the designers deliberately leave an egress route for coolant to drip onto the floorboard so we can get a clue. Backed up water takes the same route.

Cold air from the a/c is dryer and removes the windshield condensation, but parking in broad daylight with the windows cracked dries it out. If there has been a long period of bad weather, it's a lot harder to dry out. At that point a windshield cover is a good idea to block water from getting into the plenum. It's also a lot easier to clean snow or frost.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-16-2013, 12:35 AM
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And of course if you use a sponge or rag to wipe off the condesation, take it out of the car and dry it some place else. If you leave it in the car to dry then all that water just re-attaches itself to the windshield and you are back to square 1.

Sorry if that is stating the obvious but it took me years to work that out...

-- Steve

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