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In Nashville flood up to seat bottom cushion

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by Erich49, May 12, 2010.

    Erich49 guest

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    My 2002 325i was submerged in approximately 20" of water for ~3 hours - midway up bottom seat cushion. Did not get up to dash. I got to car 3 hours after flood and engine started and runs fine. Seat adjustor on drivers side does not work, and air bag deployment red light is on. Other than that all seems well. Question - do wheel bearings need to be re-greased, or are they sealed, and what about my manual transmission and gear box fluid? Motor oil is fine. Any advice??
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    tiFreak

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    transmission should be good, there's not really any way water could get in there, I'm not sure about wheel bearings though

    hopefully everything goes well for you, flood cars can have plenty of problems
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    MGarrison

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    I have no experience with flooded cars, but - check realoem.com for your specific model etc - your transmission might have a vent; if it does, I don't know if that's a pathway for water or not (perhaps it only opens in certain conditions, for instance) or if you may have been flooded high enough to reach the vent.
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    granthr

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    Look out for weird electrical problems in the future. A lot of the wiring harness runs under the carpets. It will take a long time for it to truly dry out (if ever), causing corrosion in the wiring harness. I would say this car is no longer a keeper.

    You might want to check with your insurance company now before big problems start showing up with their policy on flooded cars and time frame to make claims.
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    Zeichen311

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    If you want to keep this car and you want to be as free from flood-related problems as you can be, you have a lot of work to do. If it's your daily driver you should give serious thought to either just living with the consequences or writing it off. Apart from tending to the two problems you already discovered (fried seat and airbag fault), proper reclamation would take weeks.

    The ideal-world service list, off the top of my head:
    • Disconnect the battery. NOW. By starting the car, you have already done much of the electrical damage you are going to do, but don't invite more trouble than you must. If you have to move the car, do it by flatbed and/or muscle power.
    • Remove all seats. Dry as much of their innards as you can reach with towels and a hair dryer (medium heat so you don't damage any wiring). Press as much moisture as possible out of the cushions. Allow to air dry for at least a week or until you can no longer feel moisture in the padding. Spray them down thoroughly with Lysol (wet all surfaces, especially underneath/inside the base cushion) or a good fungicide that's safe for the materials. Allow to dry for another day or two. Clean and condition all leather.
    • Remove the center console and carpet. Surface-dry the carpet as best you can, top and bottom, and hang it somewhere to dry. When completely dry, spray down with fungicide, top and bottom again. Allow to dry for at least a day.
    • While the carpet is out, blot up any excess water and tend to any obvious damage (peeled electrical tape, incipient rust, etc.). You'll have plenty of time for this. Disconnect all exposed electrical connectors so they can dry thoroughly. Spraying the floor pan down with fungicide isn't strictly necessary but wouldn't hurt.
    • When dry, spray all electrical connectors with contact cleaner and reassemble. You want to ward off future corrosion and electrical mysteries.
    • Remove all door trim panels, spray with fungicide and allow to air dry completely. Remove weather seals, clean and re-grease window regulators and tracks, dry any remaining water, reinstall seals. (If you remove the seals carefully and don't get any dust or dirt on the butyl adhesive, it should re-seal nicely.)
    • Drain and refill transmission and differential. You cannot assume that water did not seep past the seals, they are not meant to be submerged.
    • Re-grease all axle and driveshaft CV joints. You cannot assume that water did not seep inside the boots.
    • Drain, flush and refill the power steering system. Water may have intruded past the tie rod boots.
    • Disassemble, inspect, clean, lubricate and repair the brakes as necessary, especially the parking brake assemblies inside the rear discs. Thoroughly lubricate the parking brake cables to displace any trapped water. These components are likely beginning to rust like mad since they were fully submerged. They will likely seize someday if left unattended.
    • Flush and replace the brake fluid. It's probably OK but the stuff is incredibly hygroscopic (attracts water) and hey, you're doing brake service anyway....
    • Change engine oil and filter.
    • Reinstall carpet, seats, door trim panels.
    • Have the air conditioner professionally inspected, tested and serviced as required. The compressor is mounted low on the block so it was probably submerged.
    Basically, you have to view any fluid "seals" with some skepticism--they are often sufficient to protect from water intrusion by spray or gravity but not submergence.

    When using Lysol as a fungicide follow the label directions carefully. A simple misting won't do, the surface must be thoroughly wetted. Buy a lot.

    The short list, for the real world:
    • Air dry the car as best you can for a week or two.
    • Set aside a little extra money every month in a flood-repair fund.
    • Fix things as they fail.
    Standing water is incredibly intrusive and damaging. Gremlins will appear over time unless you are prepared to inspect and reclaim basically everything below the high-water mark. It's up to you to decide how much of the effort is worth it.

    I wish you good luck and low humidity. ;)

    Erich49 guest

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    Thanks so much for the advice. I took out the passenger seat, center counsol and have the carpet up on passenger side. The carpet has a very (very) thick foam pad that was absolutely saturated. I squeeze it out with towels and have two shop vacs pulling air under the carpets. It certainly does take time to get water out of the foam, but blotting with dry towels followed by fans & shop vacs are getting us there. All in all I'm getting the underside of the carpet dry - all electrical seems fine except for the two items noted. Not sure what to put on the connectors??
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    granthr

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    Spray them with WD-40. This is exactly what it is for, water displacement.
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    Steven Otto

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    Man....tough call.

    I'd be inclined to call the insurance company and do what I could to convince them to write me a check.
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    bcweir

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    Check your policy carefully.

    You'll find that most auto insurance policies do not cover flood damage. This is typically covered under separately purchased flood insurance, which covers one's home, automobile, and any personal belongings specifically damaged by flooding.

    Considering that I am originally from New Orleans, I know about this distinction.
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    Steven Otto

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    bcweir

    Regarding flood insurance...... Yeah, I knew that was the case on the house. Didn't realize it was the same on auto insurance. Thanks for the tip.

    Fortunately I live on high ground.
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    bcweir

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    Like I said, you have to read your policy.

    But generally speaking, unless you specifically have flood insurance, you're likely not covered.
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    GSMetal

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    You might try this as well

    One of my clients deals with flood damage restoration and they have industrial size dehumidifiers that they put into homes. These dehumidifiers will suck all the water out of a large fish tank in a 24 hour span - really, no kidding.

    I would suggest you call a place that deals in water restoration in homes and see if you can't take your seats to them to have the water pulled out. You may want to just have a dehumdifier unit delivered to your garage and lock it inside with your car to pull out as much moisture as you can.

    Just a thought....
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    bcweir

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    If the flood water has already contaminated any electronics, wiring under the carpet,

    ...the damage has already been done. Flood waters leave semi-conductive mineral deposits and corrosion here. Electronic solder joints, switches, wiring, etc. A dehumidifier will remove remaining traces of moisture, but it won't reverse corrosion and electronic damage. It would take longer to clean all those connections than it will to replace it all.

    It will set the stage for repairing the damage. It won't reverse it.
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    lkchris

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    As noted, if you have flood coverage ...

    ... I'd think your car rated something pretty close to "totaled."
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    Pyewacket1

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    I was intrigued by this question, so I called my insurance agent (I'm in SC - State Farm), and he said flood damage was indeed covered by comprehensive coverage (at least, in SC). Just to be sure, he checked with the State Farm Claims section, and they verified it would fall under that coverage.

    You can imagine his curiosity about why I was asking the question...

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