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Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

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Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

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Old 01-21-2018, 08:10 PM
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Default Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

It has been a bad year for my highrise rental apartment building this year in terms of flooding. I park at the lowest level sub-basement, and last night, the flooding reached about an inch or two above the floor of my car. So the carpet is soaked, though thankfully, not the seats.

Googling indicates that drying out the carpets requires removal of the seats. Flooding seems to be a big deal, requiring prompt attention. There is a risk of water or gunk being logged in all sorts of places, causing mold, rust, or obstructing drainage.

My insurance has set up an appointment for an inspection. However, I was wondering if anyone familiar with the physcial design of the car can provide a heads-up (reasoned speculation or otherwise) about the ills that one can expect?

Before I found from google that flooding could be so potentially serious, I was thinking of simply bringing it to a "detailing" shop. I thought that they shampoo the carpet anyway, so they would have powerful vacuums to suck water from carpet. Not sure if that's advisable, even if the car gets a clean bill of health.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

I wouldn't want a car where the interior floor was covered in water. The plethora of unsealed wiring connections would be huge risks in the future. Not to mention submerging portions of the sheetmetal that wasn't sealed perfectly from water penetration could promote early rust issues. I would suspect that the car would be totaled out, just due to the potential nightmare you could be facing.
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:08 AM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Thanks for your thoughts on that, toyomatt84.

Regarding water logging and rust, my possibly wishful hope is that, at least for the carpets and mold, the situation doesn't differ too much from carpet cleaning at a detaling shop by the time they use the vacuum on it (since detailng often leaves the carpet quite wet as well). But I get that submersion sends water into all sorts of nooks and crannies that carpet cleaning does not.

As for the electrical, I'm hoping that not too much wiring is routed at floor level, though honestly, I don't know what kind of design tenets are followed.

Unfortunately, unless I want to sell the car, I'm at the mercy of the appraiser from my insurance company. Selling would mean full disclosure, and I eat the price loss up front. The car was bought in December 2013 and it has less than 30,000km -- if it wasn't for the flooding, selling would incur loss from the steepest depreciation at the front end of the car's life, though the low mileage mitigates this somewhat. Not that it means much when there such a loss in value from the perceived risks due to flooding.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Originally Posted by newFitOwner View Post
As for the electrical, I'm hoping that not too much wiring is routed at floor level, though honestly, I don't know what kind of design tenets are followed.
Sadly, the majority of the wiring in the vehicle runs along the floor. The only things overhead, would be rear hatch brake light, interior dome lights, and if you have an sunroof. As for water seals, those connectors on the interior do not have a water tight seal.

As for trying to get rid of water, carpet cleaning won't do anything for moisture that has penetrated exterior structural components (suspension, body, or otherwise). So, you're a bit out of luck there. A carpet cleaning will really only make the car less susceptible to moldy carpets.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

It's shocking to me that electrical mostly runs along the floor.

You said that water penetrates exterior components (suspension, body). I looked up wikipedia, and "suspension is the system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels". I was wondering if you can briefly describe which subsystems are vulnerable, and how?

As well, you said that the body could be penetrated by the water. Can you be more explicit? Do you mean in the door panels, and that there is no drainage? What other areas?

Thanks!

P.S. I'm beginning to wonder if I might have gotten a franker assessment of the long term issues with rust and electrical if I had brought it to the service department of a Honda dealer. I just went with the Insurance company's approved repair shop.

Last edited by newFitOwner; 01-22-2018 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Originally Posted by newFitOwner View Post
It's shocking to me that electrical mostly runs along the floor.

You said that water penetrates exterior components (suspension, body). I looked up wikipedia, and "suspension is the system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels". I was wondering if you can briefly describe which subsystems are vulnerable, and how?

As well, you said that the body could be penetrated by the water. Can you be more explicit? Do you mean in the door panels, and that there is no drainage? What other areas?

Thanks!

P.S. I'm beginning to wonder if I might have gotten a franker assessment of the long term issues with rust and electrical if I had brought it to the service department of a Honda dealer. I just went with the Insurance company's approved repair shop.
Typically, Honda uses stamped pieces of steel that are welded together, to fabricate lower control arms for their vehicles. (Example of a Honda Fit control arm: http://assets.suredone.com/2488/medi...1350slna02.jpg ) A control arm is part of the suspension components. As is any bushing, nut, bolt, and joint connecting the rotational components of the car (wheel/tire/brakes/axles) to the chassis.

When referring to the body, I'm referring to components underneath the passenger area that considered structural. Rocker panels, reinforcement beams, etc... all aren't given a great deal of paint/sealing, because they're not designed to be submerged.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Here's the situation to date.

The repair shop favoured by the insurance company dismissed the possibility of electrical problems, but without explanation. This gets me extremely concerned, because if there was a good reason for dismissing the concern, at the very least, it should be explained. Especially considering the consensus of the online information about the long term risk of electrical problems from flooding.

Of further concern is the fact that the repair shop is sending the car to a detailing shop to rip up the carpets and remediate as necessary. I don't have confidence that a detailing ship will have the expertise to know where to look for waterlogged electrical or electronic components. Even if the repair shop had such experts, the car will be off-site at the detailing shop when all the guts are exposed.

I talked to someone in a Honda service centre, and they shared a similar lack of confidence that a detailing shop would have the expertise to remediate against latent problems with the electrical systems. The ideal solution (at least for the electrical) was to have an auto electrician at Honda examine the state of those systems and components. Apparently, they would have the design expertise on my car (or access to it) to optimally focus their remediation efforts, They would of course have to rip up the carpets, same as the detailing place would be doing. I was not able to reach someone live to determine if they actually did cleaning.

The insurance adjustor suggested running electrical tests after the detailing work was done, but I expressed my doubt that this would provide indications of the physical conditions that lead to electrical problems months or upward of a year down the road. We agreed to wait until the appraisal come back to see whether the recommended work addresses my concern of having an experienced auto technician being able to remediate the electrical systems while everything was exposed.

What a complicated world this is.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Out of curiosity, do you have full coverage insurance? I am surprised the adjuster would feel so confident that no electrical components would be impacted. I'd get the opinion of an independent mechanic, maybe even have them run through an entire diagnostic process and submit the quote to your insurance company. It is sometimes an uphill battle with these companies...
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Here's the thing... running an electrical diagnostics could show no faults in the immediate timeframe. However, there is no guarantee that there won't be accelerated deterioration due to the water contamination. As for a detailing shop removing carpet... I would have HUGE reservations with a company that's not a professional carpet installer, a Honda professional or similar, removing the factory carpet. Also, when taking the carpet out, you'll easily see the wiring along the floor pan.

This isn't a Fit, but you can easily see what I'm referring to in this Odyssey here: http://www.odyclub.com/forums/attach...-side-view.jpg

As for "repairing" water damage in an electrical connection? You've got remove the entire interior harness and replace everything that was submerged. That's both costly, and time-consuming.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

@ShinsenTuner: The inexplicable dismissal of electrical concerns does not exactly give me a warm trusting feeling about the Insurance company's favoured repair shop. The fact that the car will be elsewhere, at a detailer's, when all the electrical systems are exposed, is another reason I am baffled by their approach. Unless the detailers have some skilled electricians on location, there is no way for the repair shop to bring any of their expertise to bear on examining the eletrical systems.

I sort of like your idea of getting an independent (Honda) mechanic to examine the car and provide a quote. Aren't the electrical systems hard to examine, though, without first ripping up the carpet and foam underlayer (which is how it was described to me)? They would have to do a lot of this work before generating a quote for the approval of the insurance company.

@toyomatt84: Thanks for the pictures and clarification on what you mean by water penetration of structural components.

About having a professional carpet installer take out the carpet, I feel that I need to pick my issues. I will focus on the electrical. Plus, it was the guy at the repair shop who described his out-sourcee as a detailing shop, but for all I know, they might have much more expertise than detailing. I don't know what the shop's name is.

Last edited by newFitOwner; 01-24-2018 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 01-24-2018, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

@ShinsenTuner: I followed up on your advice to seek an independent estimate from a Honda service centre. The moment that they heard it was a flooding issue, they advised talking to my insurance. They weren't willing to proceed. Methinks that they got mired into complications in the past too often, likely in flooding cases.
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Old 01-28-2018, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

After talking with technicians at Honda's service centre, I was able to articulate to my insurance company the compelling reasons for seeking the expertise of Honda in the remediation. The insurance company has agreed to send their appraisers to Honda. I thank all the respondents here for sharing their techincal expertise on the risks that result from flooding.

I'm still marvelling at how the staff member at insurance company's favoured repair shop could immediately dismiss the prospects of electrical problems up front, knowing that the hardware was submerged in at least two inches of water. I'm also marvelling at how he proposed a mechanical inspection at the detailing shop to which he would outsource the cleaning. A Honda technician confirmed that the SRS module sits on the floor (which controls the airbag, according to Google), so this is a safety issue; an inspector would not know unless they had access to the design expertise on the Honda Fit's electrical/electronic systems.

The Honda technician only informed me of the SRS module's location yesterday, so I haven't brought up the safety aspect with the insurance adjustor. When her appraisor speaks with the Honda technicians, however, I'm sure that the necessity of having Honda expertise will become apparent.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Good! It sounds as if you may have found the right people to get the car replaced. I wouldn't trust a flooded car at all, if it were my money.
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:03 AM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

May I ask why not, if the electrical and the mat is being remediated by Honda? I also asked them to look at the slightly sticky sliding of the front seat, the sticky rear brake, the throaty rumble of the exhaust, (which seems to have abated), and "anything else that [Honda together with the appraiser from the insurance company] think that Honda might remediate, including latent issues that may take some time to arise, but which are know to be cause by flooding". Despite the quotes, I'm paraphrasing what I wrote.
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Old 01-29-2018, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Originally Posted by newFitOwner View Post
May I ask why not, if the electrical and the mat is being remediated by Honda? I also asked them to look at the slightly sticky sliding of the front seat, the sticky rear brake, the throaty rumble of the exhaust, (which seems to have abated), and "anything else that [Honda together with the appraiser from the insurance company] think that Honda might remediate, including latent issues that may take some time to arise, but which are know to be cause by flooding". Despite the quotes, I'm paraphrasing what I wrote.
They'd have to replace so much of the car to be considered "safe" that it would be far more costly then replacing the car.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

What else is at risk besides the carpets and electrical?

If Honda is doing the assessment, wouldn't the debilitating cost come to light, and cause the insurance company to replace the car? (The insurance company will probably want use the age of 4.2 years to depreciate the car instead of the mileage of 31000km).
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

There are several sites out there with information regarding flood vehicles. I suggest doing some research on the subject.

Here's a decent place to start: https://www.consumerreports.org/buyi...of-flood-cars/
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Old 01-30-2018, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Well, there's much said about ripping people off by hiding flooding, but that's not really my situation. I'm more concerned with being assured that the flooding is remediated so that I'm close to being "whole" (being restored to a level of risk that is comparable to pre-flood levels, in terms of electrical, mechanical, and mold -- if not the same level of risk). If Honda is doing the inspection, would that put the situation into the category that you described, i.e., the car being a write-off? And more specific to my situation, wouldn't the insurance company be compelled to replace the vehicle? This is not the same as a generic question about the general risks and consequences of flooding. If you don't have an answer, that's fine, but I hope you understand why I ask, considering your 2nd last message.

Granted, having them replace the vehicle isn't necessarily the best option, considering how little mileage I put on it, my habit of prematurely changing the oil, the undercoating to prolong the life of the body, and my preoccupation in driving in a manner that minimizes wear on the clutch and breaks, etc.

I asked the Honda technician if I would be made aware of any issues that he considered needing attention, if my insurance refuses to fund it. So at least I'll be aware of any decisions that puts my car at higher risk. Depending on what it is, i may decide to fund it myself.
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Originally Posted by newFitOwner View Post
Well, there's much said about ripping people off by hiding flooding, but that's not really my situation. I'm more concerned with being assured that the flooding is remediated so that I'm close to being "whole" (being restored to a level of risk that is comparable to pre-flood levels, in terms of electrical, mechanical, and mold -- if not the same level of risk). If Honda is doing the inspection, would that put the situation into the category that you described, i.e., the car being a write-off? And more specific to my situation, wouldn't the insurance company be compelled to replace the vehicle? This is not the same as a generic question about the general risks and consequences of flooding. If you don't have an answer, that's fine, but I hope you understand why I ask, considering your 2nd last message.

Granted, having them replace the vehicle isn't necessarily the best option, considering how little mileage I put on it, my habit of prematurely changing the oil, the undercoating to prolong the life of the body, and my preoccupation in driving in a manner that minimizes wear on the clutch and breaks, etc.

I asked the Honda technician if I would be made aware of any issues that he considered needing attention, if my insurance refuses to fund it. So at least I'll be aware of any decisions that puts my car at higher risk. Depending on what it is, i may decide to fund it myself.
Every insurance agency tends to have certain rules they like to adhere to when dealing with claims, and you can get a ton of diversity down to the various agents you deal with. I stated in my previous post that there are several sites out there regarding the risks of flood-damaged vehicles. I wasn't stating that the one I linked was the last word on the subject. Flood damage is a problem for all manufacturers, as well... not just Honda. When an extremely high percentage of flood-damaged vehicles end up in scrap yards to be used as parts, its not just because the owner's don't like the smell. I've seen low-mileage Lamborghini's scrapped due to flooding. I can understand you may have some sort of attachment to the car, but flood damage isn't really something you can just "wash off". There are so many nooks and crannies in a car, that is not designed to be submerged, that I think you're missing the details. You're looking only at what's on the surface.

Once you pull the interior out, you may see something like this: https://article.images.consumerrepor...Interior-09-17
Sadly, almost everything in that picture is compromised. Rust is beginning to form along seams, all the electrical connections are compromised, even structural components (like the one holding the e-brake) would need replacement... as they don't even paint on them from factory. Also, nearest the left of the picture, is the top of the fuel tank. Compromising the fuel pump or wiring to it, could potentially cause a fire. Your transmission could have been submerged to the point that the breather was submerged and water got in, causing contamination and potential rust on gearing... or even in the bellhousing where the clutch is, where nothing is really shielded well from moisture penetration.

I reiterate, you need to do some research on potential calamities and take this more seriously. Or don't, if you so choose, but I'm done trying to argue facts to you.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Car flooding: Speculative diagnosis & remedial measures?

Well I appreciate the advice you've given thus far. The unpleasant reality, however, is that I have a day job, with long days. I will not become a mechanical expert. While i have spent quite a number of hours reading up on this and communicating with the insurance, Honda, and the repair shop, most of the info on line doesn't speak to gauging degrees of success in remediation, which is the situation I expect to be in. Most deal with being ripped off, and how to avoid it.

How my situation will pan out is determined by discussions between Honda and the insurance company, as it is the Honda techs that have the expertise and credibility to assert their position on their assessment. It doesn't mean that they and the insurance company will agree on everything -- maybe not even most things. But just compared to the area that I do have expertise in (nothing mechanical or physical), credibility and credible assertiveness rests in technical depth and experience, in part due to the fact that one can articulate the basis of one's position with cogent, indisputable arguments. That's not going to happen by surfing the internet. But I have tried to compensate for my lack of expertise by posing questions here, and talking to Honda (but limiting myself so as not to wear out my welcome).
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