We’ve been hearing about the used car market being flooded (sorry, I
just couldn’t help that!) with totaled cars from the flood waters of the super
storm Sandy. It brought back some distinct memories of mine! A colleague of mine
in Pennsylvania posted this on my favorite tech forum. I’ll paste his question
1st, and then my response.
There appears to be many flood vehicles becoming available
after Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast. I have been getting
approached by customers inquiring what it would take and how
much it will cost to put a flood vehicle back on the road.
And I know that not every vehicle may have the same issues /
damage, just trying to get an idea what all maybe involved.
Most, I am told, have salvage titles and some came from
I know to look for the high water line, strip out the
interior past the high water line, and change all fluids but
after what other things should be or need to be done?
Are there issues with wiring, special cleaning / sanitizing
interiors & HVAC systems needed, and what about salt water
/ sea water problems?
Thanks for any thoughts and ideas,
Koller’s Auto Repairs
Hellertown, Pennsylvania, USA
I have had the unfortunate experience with flood cars in 3
very different instances with differing results.
(1) My ’61 Ford Anglia was driven down a boat ramp at Silver Glenn
Springs in 1980 by my bonehead of a brother. It had a voltage
regulator for the generator and some switches and a horn
relay. I named the location ’cause Ted Shore and Steve Brotherton and a
few others will laugh and realize how clean the water is
there. About 4 or 5 oil changes and I was able to drive it
home to West Palm Beach.
(2)In 1982, a girlfriend drove my ’76 Datsun
610 down another boat ramp in W.Palm Beach into fresh water
in Lake Clarke shores. High tannic acid, but fresh water
nonetheless. Pulled the plugs and poured a couple of quarts
of CRC down its Webber 32/36 throat, sprayed down the
Mallory dual point, re installed the plugs and drove it 1
mile to my shop. the next several days involved pulling
apart every relay , a hair drier and lots more CRC. All the
fluids, etc. Then it was parked in the sun for a week to
finish drying out. It had electrical gremlins from there on
(3) 1990 Acura legend flooded with muddy rainwater runoff at
the Lakewood Amphitheater. The ins. co. came a few hundred
from totaling the car (this was in 1990 at Acura Carland) so
the job fell to me. What a complete disaster! Need I say
more? Every transistorized component was either DOA or
waiting for me to put it back together to die. Or waiting a
week to come back on a tow hook dead. Never again. Notice how as
the technology improved the chance of success goes down
exponentially? And I didn’t even mention salt water, which
is more than likely your problem.
Run, Forest!, Run!
Japanese Motor Works, Inc.
Athens, Georgia, USA