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351 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a DIY in case you happen to have a leak inside your car and car carpet is wet. I hope you never have to use this DIY but if you happen to find wet carpet following this DIY will possibly eliminate odor that will develop in your car. This is for a 2007 camry hybrid but I guess it should be similar to Gen 6 non hybrid as well.

I am letting you know what worked for me - Neither me nor Toyotanation is responsible: try it on your own risk.

Tools needed:
10 mm socket
Needle plier
Boric acid (powder)
Ozone generator (Bare bone from ozoneforever works fine and costs about $50)
Hydrogen peroxide 3% solution
A/C Evaporator Foam kit (Toyota)

The most probably cause of leak is often moonroof. It has four drains in corner (check from the above when moonroof is all the way back). They get clogged as debris enter and water has to find some other way to move and it happens to land in front of the rear seat. In my case, moonroof water drain lines seemed clean as tests did not show any blockage. However, what happened was drain tube itself was completely detached and that is why only when headliner was dropped, cause was found. Carpet remained wet as it was always raining. Finally it was fixed but it was too late. I am guessing it was may be 45-60 days later when it was fixed from the first leakage (which I am guessing went undetected for a month at least as water remained below floor mats and as mats have rubber underneath top remained dry).
Then front driver side started leaking from underneath when insulating material on floor board started leaking water in. This took 4-5 dealer visits and still they could not figure out the source of the leak and in the end I had to tell them where exactly it was leaking ( . They were still confused but after sealing that spot, it hasn’t leaked. Now this took another 2-3 months to detect.
I found after all this, floor board was white with mildew. I think mold or mildew did not grow anywhere else in the car as I left the windows open for all that time. I am sure this is what saved the car. Now in this DIY I will explain how to remove carpet enough so that you can dry it out quickly. As soon as you get symptoms or realize carpet is wet – dry it ASAP.
Rear side:
First you need to remove the seat. To remove it you need to pull it straight up where it clips in. See below how the clips look like and how it holds seat in place. First slide your hand just under the seat and try to feel where the seat is clipped. Then pull it straight up hard at that point.

Seat detached

See clips

How it looks when seat removed

This is where clips go in and see why you have to pull hard straight up

Now you need to remove some plastic pieces – For this one pry it up a little bit then pull straight up

That’s how this piece looks like on the inside

Now you can pull the carpet up and see what is underneath. There will be a foam pad with (soft) plastic cover on the top. This is the one that doesn’t dry once it is wet. Pull this out and let it dry out in the air. Mine was completely messed up as it remained wet for long. As I am cheap I decided to see if this can still be used. I soaked it in H2O2 and let it dry. I then soaked it in a detergent in a bucket and let it dry. This has absolutely no smell now. However, I had to get rid of the plastic cover to clean it thoroughly.
Do the same for the other side.
For carpet cleaning, I’d say use good detergent and completely soak it for 10 minutes. Then use a wet vacuum and try to make it as dry as possible.
If you happen to notice any mildew on the floorboard I’d suggest using H2O2. Soak the floorboard in H2O2 and use a toothbrush to scrub it and then use terry cloth to wipe it. You may have to do it several times to completely clean. Do not use H2O2 or bleach directly on the carpet as it may bleach and discolor the carpet. Once you are done, I would recommend using a mixture of Boric acid (1 cup in gallon water) and then spray it on the affected (cleaned) area. Do not wipe this out. This will make a very thin layer of boric acid which will prevent growth of mildew just in case.
I use some objects that are tall to make sure carpet doesn’t collapse back onto the floor once you are done with cleaning part. This will make sure they dry out fast when you use a fan.
Here is what the floor board looks like after Boric acid coating -

Now the front driver side –
Remove plastic side panel again by pulling it straight up

This is when it is pulled

Now you need to remove the black nut (rotate it counter clockwise and it’ll come off)

Then you pull the plastic piece out

That’s how it looks on the inside

351 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Part II

Now you need to remove this bolt (10mm) to be able to remove trunk release

Once bolt is out – pull the trunk release (you will need to pull it forward)

Now you need to remove these plastic clips that are holding a bunch of wires in place

You need to press these two to pull it out

Now you need to pull the carpet as it shows below. You do not need to remove anything else. You can slide it back in the center console once you are done.

Once the carpet lifted you can see foam pad – again pull this and let it dry.

Do it for the front passenger side.

Now typically the center portion (where the front seats are) should not be wet. However, you can inspect that easily by sliding your hand in and using a flash light. Pulling carpet here requires front seat removal and may not be straightforward because of air bags.

To dry the carpet I angle the fan towards carpet in such a way that air strikes at 30-45 degrees angle. This way carpet will dry in 24h from complete wet assuming it is dry outside.

Once the carpet is completely dry install everything in reverse order.
In my case, when the carpet was completely dry smell though reduced heavily did not go completely. In fact, after a month or two I was having doubts again if water was still coming (so I checked no water) or the carpet had some smell in it. To ensure carpet itself was smell free I bought Barebone Ozone generator from Foreverozone. This was about $50. It does not come with a fan so you have to use one that you used for drying up. I put ozone generator inside the car on the floorboard (carpet is in place and not pulled or lifted when generator is on the floor) and fan on the seat facing down towards ozone generator. This way air that hits ozone generator plate pushes into the carpet. I had a 6-ft power strip in the car to power up ozone generator and fan and the cord was fed into the car through one of the windows that was open enough to pass this cord. I ran Ozone generator for 20 mins on all 4 sides. Fan should be at max and temperature should be coldest while A/C on and in recirculation mode. I did not cover leather seats but you may want to cover them with blankets. In addition, I ran generator for about 40 mins when it was sitting on the center console (storage). In this case carpet was pulled so that H2O2 could penetrate from underneath. I know ozone can make plastic brittle and so on but in my case nothing bad happened. I am sure ozone did what it was supposed to do but I am not sure if carpet really had any smell after cleaning it so thoroughly.

As the smell was still there I start to thinking maybe it is in vents somewhere. Now heat can get rid of smell quickly and also kill any mildew buildup. I used car’s heater to do this part. I ran it on high heat while I was driving with windows slightly open. I inserted a pen-type thermometer in the vent and it showed temperature actually reached 160F. I drove almost an hour. IMO this did not do anything so don’t bother.
Finally I decided to clean evaporator as all air passes through evaporator no matter whether you are using cooling or heating. To clean evaporator this the kit you buy – believe me this is the best.

Then you have to locate your evaporator drain. This is on passenger side. To be able to access this you will have to raise front of the car unless you are super skinny.

The above kit comes with a plastic tubing. Insert one side in the drain tube.

And the other side goes on the top of can

Then you remove cap’s top part where you will see a plastic piece that you can push down to start the foaming process (although foaming may start as asson as you place the cap on the can so be careful)

Empty roughly half can and then remove plastic tubing from the drain. Foam will clean the evaporator and drain out as liquid – collect it in a pan. Give it like 10 minutes. I insert sharpie in the drain tube to keep the liquid inside longer – it’s not necessary though.

Once drained, again connect the tubing back to the drain and empty the entire can. Put the pan again and collect the rest of the liquid. The car should be switched off while you are doing this. This liquid may be hazardous so collect all the liquid in a bottle and dispose of properly (I had a few drops on my driveway and it is still yellowish there).

In order to clean as much as possible I removed blower and inserted application tube through the opening there as well. For this you need to empty your glove box. Then you need to remove it

disconnect this

Now you need to remove it - to be able to remove it you need to push so that you can slide it down

You can also remove your air filter and change it or clean it -

Now we need to remove to blower. To access you need to remove this just under glove box compartment

It is held in place by these 4 push type

You push them and remove. You can see all 4 below.

Now we need to remove blower. To do this you need to remove 3 screws that are 5/16. They are at 120 degree position. In the picture below you see two of them Do not remove the ones that are next to white connector and also the one that is close to green line. If you remove 3 that are holding blower in place you can just slide it out and leave it on the floor - no need to disconnect wiring.

Blower out of the way

Now you need to insert tubing all the way in the opening (if you are using Toyota one you need to cut the tubing so that plastic thingy (that you insert in the drain tube) doesn't get stuck inside)

Then empty half of the bottle (Can 1) in there and collect liquid under the car in a pan.

Installation is in reverse. For best empty half via drain, collect it and then empty half via blower opening.

Can 2 should be empty where cowl intake is. This is just below windshield or base of wipers and looks like this

Before emptying, run fan at max speed with fresh air and close all windows. Now empty can 2. Some say remove air filter before you do this - either way doesn't make much difference.

This should take care of smell that is coming from the vent. Evaporator cleaning is required when you smell moldy type smell from A/C. Though I never had that issue before. I am assuming once the evaporator gets messy you may have to repeat the evaporator cleaning every year or 6 months but that is certainly better than selling your car. This procedure certainly fixed the odor that was there in the car for so long. It’s been 3 months and car smells just like before the incident. The issue of odor was so bad that my wife suggested me to sell the car but I kept on working on it and finally got rid of it. I did many other things trying to get rid of that smell that did not yield any results so I am not talking about them here but feel free to leave a message or PM me.

351 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Looks like I need to fix images. Hold on.

Fixed them.

I am not sure if Camry Hybrid is best place for this thread as it has nothing to do with car being hybrid. It'd be better to move this Gen5/6 camry. Mods- can that be done?

20 Posts
Great Detail! I hope I never have to do it, but if I do, I now where to come.

I had a moonroof drain clog also, but i used some compressed air and it blew water on the ground, so I know it is draining outside. I found it was clogged, because my floor got slightly damp, but all seems well now. I may lift one edge of the drivers side carpet just to make sure!
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