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    how to repair a flooded ZZ3

    Need a bit of help. My Z3 got flooded in the Nashville 2010 flood. I want to try to recover the car since we liked it so much. I need to start from scratch. Any suggestions and recommends are appreciated. I haven't started the car since it was flooded. Shorted out the battery. Water got up to the top of engine and up to the lower dash interior. Hope I can take apart, clean and repair. Is it a lost cause? Where should I start first? Thanks.
    Tom

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    Big expensive job ahead.

    Get lots of desiccant. Replace ALL fluids. Completely remove the interior. Replace all carpet, upholstery, and any absorbent padding. Unplug all electrical connections and clean w/ electrical contact cleaner. Replace all relays and electrical control units. The list goes on and on. If this is going to be your second car and you have lots of time you can do it but it will be a huge task.
    Fred
    96 1.9 Z3 black/tan/black
    97 M3/4 estoril/gray
    08 Kubota 3400 HST orange/charcoal
    08 GMC Sierra stealth gray/gray

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    Re: Big expensive job ahead.

    thanks FredR. Now I know where to start. A shame to just throw it away. I will post some pics of progress if it will be useful to the forum. The only thing I have checked so far is the elec connection. Wanted to see if everything was shot or not. When I plugged up a battery the alarm came on so not all is lost. I will start removing and replacing fluids tomorrow so I can do a start up to see if engine is okay. Anybody got any recommends before doing so? Will start removing seats tonight.

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    Pull spark plugs and put in a few drops of Marvel

    Mystery Oil and turn over by hand first. This will make sure no water in cylinders. For removing moisture from electrical components use desiccant in a Ziplock bag and let piece sit in there for a few days. This works sometimes. If anything can be removed, remove it. Seat covers from seats, foam pads from seats, etc.
    Fred
    96 1.9 Z3 black/tan/black
    97 M3/4 estoril/gray
    08 Kubota 3400 HST orange/charcoal
    08 GMC Sierra stealth gray/gray

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    Re: Pull spark plugs and put in a few drops of Marvel

    thanks FredR. I will get some mystery oil. Will I be able to tell if there is any water in the engine when I remove spark plugs? Or when I drain oil? Or is the only way to tell by turning by hand? Sounds complicated. Got the seats out and started removing center console. Looks like I will have to replace carpet. Doesn't look like it can be saved because of the foam glued to the underside. The foam inside the seats is wet so I will take those apart to see if I can rescue that foam. Also water still standing under carpet, I wonder if there are plugs in the floor pan to drain it?
    Tom

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    You can turn the engine with the starter if the

    spark plugs have been removed. What you don't want to do is turn the engine over if water is in the combustion chambers. Water won't compress and you will get hydrostatic lockup which is very bad for the engine, fatal actually. The water in the floor can be soaked up. Most cars have a drain plug somewhere on the floor though.
    Fred
    96 1.9 Z3 black/tan/black
    97 M3/4 estoril/gray
    08 Kubota 3400 HST orange/charcoal
    08 GMC Sierra stealth gray/gray

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    Robert Platt Bell
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    Connectors


    I sank a Jeep Waggoneer into a lake when I was 16. Two hours later, we had it running again. Cars were a lot simpler back then. Revitalizing the engine, etc. is not hard to do, and others have documented the techniques in their replies.

    And the key was, when we yanked that Jeep out of the lake, we started working on it right away. You can't let a flooded car sit for hours, days, weeks, or months.

    The big thing is to get oil into the cylinders before rust sets in. If it has been sitting a while without preventative measures taken. Well, ouch.

    The old saying in the boating world was, if you sank a boat, or an outboard motor, you were better off leaving it underwater until you were ready to revive the engine with lots of oil, WD-40, etc. If you pull the boat or motor out of the water and let it dry out without oiling it, well, it's pretty much toast, as everything oxidizes.

    The bigger problem might be electronics. Make sure everything is dried out before applying power. Unplug EVERY connector you find, check for corrosion, clean it off, and slather dielectric grease on the connectors.

    Water can ruin electronics, even if a car is not flooded. I just lost the radio tuner in my X5 when the dog spilled her dog water in the wayback. Seems BMW puts the tuner in the battery compartment, under the spare tire. Spilled water accumulates there and then floods the compartment. No drain. Goodbye $250 radio tuner. And this is not the original tuner in the car. Yes, the P.O. had a dog, too.

    Early E36's were famous for blowing out engine management computers when driven through car washes, if the owner did not clean leaves and debris from the cowl. The leaves would clog the drain tubes and flood the computer.

    Fortunately, I believe the Z3 has the computer moved to a different location. But I would dry that out before applying power and make sure the connector is not corroded.

    I suspect you'll have more electrical than mechanical problems. And you are lucky in that I presume this was fresh, not salt water. If the latter, well, forgetaboutit.

    I would remove the seats and carpeting and dry those out as well. Not hard to do.

    Good Luck. There is a reason a lot of flood cars are totalled out.

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    another opinion

    Hi Tom,

    You didn't mention how long the car was flooded for, so I'm basing my opinion on a "good" soaking (at least several hours submerged).

    If you have the insurance coverage, I would let the insurance company total it and go find another Z3. Even if you manage to get it running again, chances are excellent that you will have electrical gremlins from now on due to contact corrosion.

    Also, if you start replacing all kinds of stuff, you might wind up spending a lot of money and may or may not be able to cure everything that may ail the car.

    There's plenty of Z3's out there that haven't been flooded. You want to be able to enjoy your Z3, not spend all your time wondering what may crap out because it was totally flooded once.

    My two cents. Good luck.

    mechanicsc
    2002 Z3 3.0i

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    $0.02!(but worth $10k )Give this man a cigar! dk


  10. #10
    Robert Platt Bell
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    He's probably right....


    It is not so much how long it was underwater, though (and I'm presuming fresh, not salt) but how long it has been since it was yanked out.

    You need to work on a car like this the MINUTE it is pulled from the water.

    If it sits for a day or two, well, all hope is lost, particularly with aluminum block engines.

    And yea, there are a lot of used Z3s out there for sale cheap. They are a fungible commodity.

    Like I said, there is a reason they total out flooded cars - and give them flood titles.



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    good comments here..but best is: "Don't"...

    ...if this was typical flood, then the water was muddy, loaded with mineral particles, sand, etc(most,if not all electrical components will be unreliable at best)...ALL of the internal nooks and crannies will be loaded with silt,mud,etc, which will eventually add its own special brand of misery..unless you plan to rebuild the car from the ground up with mostly new or rebuilt components, it will likely never be what it was before..Part it out..start over with another Z3..be happier sooner...This is Truly not a project for the faint of heart or typical under-tooled BMW type, but We all choose our own path, so Good luck in any case...Z3 Cheers! dk '97 2.8 bg R("Silt Sucks!")

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    Since you asked about WHAT to do...

    ..and not IF you should do it. Here's WHAT I would do:

    #1: before doing anything (particularly trying to start the car), drain the engine oil and refill. In case you got water in the crankcase this takes care of the bulk of it.

    #2: also before trying to crank the car, open up the air filter and see if there's water in there, also inspect the air filter and replace if it shows obvious signs of water damages. Chances are any water drained out the holes at the bottom of the air filter housing.

    #3: after #1 and #2 but before trying to crank the car, pull all 4 spark plugs, remove the fuel pump relay and crank the engine a few times. In case you got water in whatever cylinder had the valves open, you won't hydrolock (chances are the water drained in the crankcase through the rings by now). Also if the engine cranks you are on a good way...

    #4: put back the spark plugs and crank the car. If it starts, take it for a nice ride to get it hot and dry out any water there might be around. Not just wait for the water to get hot: you also want the oil to get hot (consider at least 30 mins of driving under load after the water is hot).

    #5: if the CEL comes on at any point, diagnose...

    You might also want to consider taking the interior apart to dry it as much as you can. You might not have any problems with rust because of the zinc bath the chassis went through, but mold could form in the wet spot.

    Don't pay attention to what everyone says: it's your car...
    ---------------------------------



    1998 Z3 1.9 - few modifications here and there
    1999 Z3 2.8 - individual edition (British Traditional)
    2003 Z4 2.5i


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    Actually, he asked both questions...

    mechanicsc
    2002 Z3 3.0i

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    Re: Actually, he asked both questions...

    Thanks for the tips. Is there a starter relay that may have shorted to keep the car from starting? When I tried to turn the key nothing happens so I wondered about that first since lights work.

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    Re: Since you asked about WHAT to do...

    Thanks man. So far I followed steps 1 and 2. Water went thru intake for sure. Have to replace all filters, etc. Pulled plugs, but haven't been able to get the car to turn over, so I thought maybe there was a relay to the starter that may have blown. DOn't know where that is on this car, if it even has such. SO I will keep checking. Interior is ugly. But replacing seat foam and carpet seems like the easiest and cheapest potential problem. We will see.

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    Re: how to repair a flooded ZZ3

    I have a ton of interior switches and an AC unit that we took off new cars to make racers out of them. Let me know if I can help

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    Re: how to repair a flooded ZZ3

    Hey folks, I think maybe the starter or starter relay may have shorted out. Not sure because I haven't traced it with this car. Is there a relay or a breaker for the starter on the z3? I turned over the key but nothing happened. The isntrument cluster is working fine. The radio display came on with the word "code" and some blank spaces in the display. I thought maybe something wrong with the connection to the starter and so should start there. But do I need to do anything with that radio display first?

    Got all the water out of the oil pan (about a gallon came out with the oil.) Took out the spark plugs and could see where water has entered by way of intake.

    Going to tackle the fuel tank next. Is there a way to shut off supply so I don't pump any water into the engine? Is there a preferred way to empty that tank?
    Thanks

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    The radio code is no big deal yet

    Just a security code that you need to enter. If you don't have it, you should be able to get that from the dealer.

    Keep us updated on your progress. Maybe we'll all learn a lot.

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    Re: how to repair a flooded ZZ3

    I shudder more and more as I hear your reports, but since you're going forward with it, I'll help out the best I can...

    Radio: Don't worry about that just yet. Just means it lost power and you need to re-enter the security code. Has no bearing on the car not starting.

    Starter: Possible blown fuse or bad relay, but I'm betting that the car's computer is shot (might still have water in it? did you remove it and dry it out first?). That would prevent starting (Z3 keys have a transponder that sends a signal to the car's computer as an anti-theft device).

    Fuel: Shut off the supply to the engine by pulling the fuel pump fuse (F18). You would need to drop the tank to get everything cleaned out proper, but the TIS indicates that is a PITA on the Z3 (requires dropping the rear axle), so you might just want to clean it out in-place.

    However, since you have the interior out you should be able to get to the fuel gauge sender unit easy (its behind a removable oval panel behind passenger seat back) and siphon/pump out tank from there. You should also be able to siphon it out through the filler neck, but you have to be careful because there's a baffle in the filler neck that a hose can "catch" on when you try to remove it. Given what you have done so far, I would go for the fuel sender plate to get the gas out.

    Good luck.
    mechanicsc
    2002 Z3 3.0i

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    Re: how to repair a flooded ZZ3

    THanks for that mechanicsc. I hope you are not right, I will let you know about the computer. Had not made it that far yet. Don't even know where the computer board is. IF it is bad though, it will probably be too expensive to repair. I will only attempt to rescue this car if I can do it with minimum expense. If too expensive, then I will take the advice to just sell the car in parts on ebay. Figure I can recover at least a thousand.


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