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Thread: Flood/water damaged cars

  1. #1

    Default Flood/water damaged cars

    Since thousands of vehicles got totaled due to water damage from hurricane Sandy, I have been thinking of getting one of them in order to get a cheap, "new" race car.
    Anybody have experience with owning a former flood car?
    Obviously, the interior can get tossed, so no worry about mold. Safety equipment goes too, so no issues there. The only problem I see is engine electronics or engine damage.
    What about the wiring? Does it rust and fall apart that one reads about? I'm thinking about 2010-2012 vehicles, so the wiring is still practically new.
    Thinking T-3, T-4, or ST.
    ITB Golf GT

  2. Default


    As a technician of twenty years, and a college instructor (automotive)for another twelve years, I've seen many flood-damaged vehicles. In my experience, I wouldn't use one of these to build a racecar, unless you're planning on replacing the wiring harnesses and all associated electronics. The problem is that it's not just water that gets into these components; it's also silt/sediment/salt. These will either cause corrosion or act as a conductor, between wires. If you can buy a flood car cheap enough, then it might be worth pulling the harness and other components from a wrecked car; the new harness and electronics would be too pricey!

  3. #3


    So since the engine compartment connectors are sealed on the newer cars, have you found those to also still corrode?
    How would one be able to tell if the new harness you are getting from wreckers/ebay aren't from flood vehicles?
    ITB Golf GT

  4. #4


    There is a difference between fresh water flood and salt water flood- I worked for a marina in Wisconsin years ago and we would bring up a couple small boats a year that sink for various reasons- 16-21 foot with outboards or I/Os (car engines). Most would be fine if started very quickly after being brought up from the bottom. This was in the days before Fuel Injection so not a huge deal when a starter or alternator died in a shorter time than normal.

    If the car runs and drives, may be worth it but if it has not been started after being drained, I would be leery unless you are looking for just a shell or are prepared to replace lots of stuff when it fails.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Rockaway, NJ


    Good to know-here in NJ I've seen some cool flood cars come up for sale but I think these are salt and would corrode up.
    #33 ITR Porsche 968
    BigSpeed Racing
    2013 ITR Pro IT Champion

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Sayre PA USA 45 Miles from Watkins Glen


    Stateline Auto Auction is currently selling salvage cars from Sandy. Cars are from a "specialty" insurance carrier. Approximately 100+ current offerings at location Waverly New York about 40 miles east of Watkins Glen
    Tom Weaver: Logistics & Technical Support Manager IE truck driver for 1986 RX-7 ITS #63. "Diesel Haulin' Rotary" 2005 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab The Hemi has retired "Long Live the Hemi" Bill Weaver Driver- 2004 NYSRRC John Chave Award. 2006 & 2013 ITS NYSRRC Champion!. Truck Driver Named Glen Region Worker of the Year 2008.Located 45 miles southeast of Watkins Glen in Sayre PA.

  7. #7


    I too have been an automotive tech for over 18 years, DO NOT get a flood victim car, unless the shell is the only thing you need. The wiring will be useless, btw there is no such thing as a "sealed" sensor. Nothing on a car is impervious to anything at all, even weatherproof connectors, boxes etc. nothing is waterproof in a modern car. In fact the complete opposite is true.
    #72 ITE Scirocco
    NARRC ITE champion 2011

  8. Default

    I completely agree with the previous post. You will have nothing but electrical "gremlins", for the life of that vehicle. The other issue, is that a newer vehicle will have a CAN system, whereby all of the computers communicate on a data bus network (only two wires). This wiring runs throughout the whole vehicle, so nothing is safe from the water intrusion. I don't even care if it is only fresh water, because, as I mentioned earlier, there is silt or sediment in that water, and these include minerals that conduct electricity. There is a reason that these vehicles are totaled, by the insurance companies.

  9. #9


    Where can you go online to get these cars at auction??? It is so hard to pass up some "good" deals like a 2006 Ferrari F430 for $32,000 on crankyape but (while it is fun to look around) I can resist! It is interesting though and hey, maybe I would find something worth bringing home that I could afford

    RST Performance Racing

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Sunnyside, NY


    water logged Porsche? NOT. I would rather take that Ford Crown Vic PI for under $1K thank you very much. Better yet - a 2010 370z under $17K!
    Demetrius Mossaidis aka 'Mickey' #12 ITA NESCCA
    '92 Honda Civic Si
    STFU and "Then write a letter."
    2013 ITA NARRC Champion and I have not raced since.

  11. #11


    ITB Golf GT

  12. Default

    For those looking a for a flood car, call me at 5702621013.

    Ive been in the salvage business for eight years, and there are good cars to be had. My daily driver was a flood, my new SM5 was a flood, and we've built countless spec miatas from flood cars.

    Remember, not all flood cars are the same and yes it is still like gambling.

    There are so many factors in determining what's a good buy. Water level, salt water, fresh water, where critical sensors and ecus are located, etc,etc.

    I have access to thousands of flooded cars and receive shipments almost daily and can also handle delivery to your door.

    Marc Cefalo
    2002 SM Miata

  13. Default

    I have experience with owining salvage cars (hail and accident damage, got them here) but i wouldnt risk to buy flooded car. Fresh water flooding is not too bad but salt water flood is worse, I would consider this a parts car at best.
    Last edited by Fothian; 05-28-2013 at 09:04 AM.



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