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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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    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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    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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    Also you will have to drain the fluids a second

    time. Usually 300 miles or so. After the fluids heat up several times most of the water will they can be absorbed into the oil. If the horns are turned the wrong way they can hold water too. How muddy was the water it was in? If real muddy then you might have to clean the HVAC inside the car as it will hold the dirt.
    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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    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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    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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    $0.02!(but worth $10k )Give this man a cigar! dk


  12. #12
    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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    a lot of pessimism

    thanks for all the warnings, etc. Some really helpful info too. Here is the history. Car was flooded when drain in mall parking lot clogged. Sat for about four hours in the high water before it drained down. No tow trucks avaiable to drag it out. Round two next day same drain same clog. Sat for another 3-4 hours before i could wade in and push it out myself. So water was muddy. Lots of silt residue as some of you noted. But I think the water only made it to top of engine for a very short time. So I am keeping fingers crossed.

    Beemer is a 1996 z3. I have 5 vehicles and it is the only one without comp coverage. What are statistical odds that it would be the only one in the flood? (Answer: 100%) Anyway being a 96, the insur company would have given me very little for it. I figured it would take 3-4K more to replace it with a newer upgrade. I think I can rescue it for much less, if the computer and engine are not shot. We will see as I get into the job. I've got the time and already have dirt under my fingernails.

    As soon as I can download I will poast some pics of the progress.

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    the pessimism is well warranted...

    Based on your description, your engine probably has water in it. If it has water on the inside, it has the silt too.

    The silt residue you are seeing everywhere else is very likely to be in your engine (carried through the exhaust pipe -- the air filter might filter the silt on the intake side if it remained intact), and getting all that grit out of your engine is going to be darn near impossible without stripping it down and rebuilding it. Not to mention all the damage that grit will cause while it is in your engine if you get it running.

    I admire your optimism, but having a car be in a flood is about the worst thing that can happen to a car. I'd rather have one catch on fire.

    Having said all that, if you do manage to get it running again, my advice is still the same -- get rid of it as fast as you can and get another one that hasn't been flooded. The long-term prognosis for a flooded car is not good.

    Good luck.mechanicsc
    2002 Z3 3.0i

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    Re: the pessimism is well warranted...

    Just my $.02 worth, if the major issue is that you don't have comprehensive coverage on the car and you are looking for the least expensive option, you'd be money ahead to buy a replacement car.

    Not to mention, that for most of us, this would become one of those projects that just collects dust.

    If you are handy enough to attempt rebuilding this car and you have the work shop space, you are handy enough to dismantle the car and sell the high value parts. That will offset a big chunk of the cost of replacement.

    Then just pay to have what is left of the car towed to salvage.

    I don't know if it would meet with any result, but it might be good to file a claim with the garage operator. They will tell you the first time you ask that you park at your own risk, but, with the clogged drain, there is a negligence issue here that might be overriding. Maybe, maybe not, but worth exploring.

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    Agreed. If he parked it in a mall parking lot,

    they should keep some liability insurance for their own negligence or the negligence of the garage operator.




    Boston Green M Roadster

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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


  18. #18
    Mracer1
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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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    Actually, he asked both questions...

    mechanicsc
    2002 Z3 3.0i

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    I agree with Steve, it appears that the....

    garage owner AND the company that operates it may be liable.

    Check it out.

    Scott Pettit

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