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  #1  
Old 06-30-2002, 03:48 PM
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Help!! Mercedes caught in flood!!

Hello Fellow Benzers,

My 190E was caught in a flash flood a few days ago. In order to avoid door dings I usually park my car as far away from the other cars as I could. This time I parked near an empty drainage ditch and unfortunately while I was away began to pour outside. When I walked back to my car a few hours later I was horrified to see my car sitting in water. The height of the water reached the center caps of the wheels and there was about 2 inches of water inside the vehicle. I had to wade to it and what I now know is a no-no, started (the tailpipes were submerged, I think) it and drove it home. It ran fine. The rest of the night I worked feverishly to disassemble the interior and save what I could. It was hopeless. I called the dealer next morning it inquire about the cost of new carpet and was told that the cost of new carpet alone would exceed $850. They also informed me that my seat computers under the seats were most likely ruined (as the seats were doing strange things on the way home) and he would not give me a price stating that they were “really expensive.” He advised me to ask the insurance company to total the car, stating that electrical problems would plague the vehicle. The service manager at the dealer said, on the other hand, that most likely if it could be driven home all the electrical systems for the engine might be okay...this of course means the engine only not the rest of the vehicle. I called a body shop that specializes in European car repair and they believe it can be fixed and knowing the insurance company, they will want to fix it rather than total it. But what about in the long run? Could I get it into the same shape it was in before the flood? I really do not want to part with the car but on the same token, I do not want more trouble than it's worth. In the past 11 months I've had that car I have loved driving it ... and now this... Any opinions or advice?

Thanks, David
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2002, 07:10 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
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Location: So Kalifornia
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Well, David, that is a tough one! If it is just carpeting, you might try World Upholstery at http://www.worlduph.com/mb19.htm . But I suspect there are other issues.

The rubber undermats under the carpets conceal all kinds of ductwork, wiring, electronic modules, relays, etc. These can be a potential problem. Are all the electric goodies OK, or do they just look OK and work now, but have potential for future corrosion inside. The cost of electricals can mount up fast. (The dealer is going to be real expensive on stuff. Fastlane or PartsShop is going to give you lots better prices).

The second issue is mold: If the seats are leather and got wet, mold will be an issue in the seats as well (and in the under-carpet AC heater ducts, jute backing material, seat padding/horsehair, Door panels, kick panels, etc.) The mold never goes away.

An insurance settlement is now - any electrical problems from corrosion that shows up next year, or problems with mold or odor in 6 months, these are going to be tough to get reimbursed, especially if you already took the check. Maybe ask a few car restoration facilities and good body shops for their input. The body shop I have been using for 20 years just totalled out the owners classic 67 El Camino when it got caught in traffic and the underpass flooded. Broke his heart - he had owned it since new - but he said he was a realist and had chased restoration on too many flood victims to have false optimism.

I would look this over real hard before keeping the car. I notice someone is selling a 2.6 190E Special Edition Sportline with 73k miles for a little over $10,000 on this forum. 190e Factory Sportline . This might be an easier solution than chasing a flooding problem.

Hope it works out for you.
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  #3  
Old 06-30-2002, 10:11 PM
CJ CJ is offline
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Try pgauto.com
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  #4  
Old 06-30-2002, 11:15 PM
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Water + Electronics = Future Nightmares

I would call on the insured cover coz you'd never know what would happen a few months (or even weeks) down this time. Its an issue of future reliability.
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  #5  
Old 07-01-2002, 05:22 AM
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As the tailpipes were submerged, you will also have catalytic converter problems very soon (and that is also very expensive to fix!)

A. Rosich
S320, 1998
E320T, 1995
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  #6  
Old 07-01-2002, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for all the replies, they've been most helpful. The seats weren't touched as far as I know but the electronics under the seats were. It's been a sitting a few days outside with the windows and the sunroof open and with the carpets scattered across the back yard to dry. I was hoping to get all the water evoporated. But somehow I think now it's a lost cause. We had 8 inches of rain in 4 hours and of course to add to that, I was parked near a ditch...how much more unlucky can I get?! One last question, I checked the transmission fluid and it was extremely high. I presume water entered through the vents in the transmission. Could there possibly be transmission damage? I took my car and had it serviced on regular intervals so I doubt that the mechanic overfilled it.

Thanks, David
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  #7  
Old 07-01-2002, 02:58 PM
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Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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blaubenz_mb,

Did you check the tranmission fluid with the car warmed up and the engine running? If not, it will appear to be overfilled. Check the owner's manual for the procedure. I am not aware of vents in the transmission that could let water in unless the fill tube got covered but I am ignorant of the details of an automatic transmission design. Good luck, Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #8  
Old 07-02-2002, 01:37 PM
blaubenz_mb's Avatar
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Posts: 52
Jim--

No the engine wasn't warmed up or the running during the time I checked it. Regarding the vents, the service manager at the dealership told me this so what the dealer says is the absolute truth, right? I met with the adjuster yesterday and they are going to total the car. The lemon law in my state states that if water comes over the floorboards the vehicle must be marked as a flood vehicle and totaled. Further, I asked about buyback and they said that they couldn't allow me to do that because it is a flood vehicle. So all that money that I spent on parts I'll never see again. But I guess live and learn and next time I just fix only what is broken...not everything in the entire car... Thanks everyone for your help! David
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2002, 01:58 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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Seems to me you should remove anything you put on that is not original, and any new parts that were, before it gets sent to the recyclers. Sorry to hear about the turn of events, but in the end you will probably be happier. All the auxiliary equipment running off the serpentine belt, as well as the electrical stuff buried in the floorboards was bound to fail much earlier. Bearings, usually simple sleeve bearings, but ball bearings as well, will be ok for a while but will quickly degrade after being soaked. Good luck and hope you find another of equal caliber. Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2002, 01:18 AM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,472
Since your insurance company pretty much has to declare the vehicle as salvage, this post is probably moot, but both of our 300E's were flooded about six or seven years ago. The '91 went first, after trying to ford water that was too deep, then the '87 after sitting all day in a parking lot that flooded (much like your 190). The '87 started right up, but the whole way home, the driver's seat was constantly moving (to the full stops!) - on reflection, not something I'd do again.

At the time, both vehicles apparently had enough value that our insurance company was unwilling to write them off. Since that was the case, we went ahead and had the cars refurbished, which basically involved stripping the interior, cleaning it out, and letting it air dry for a couple of weeks. I don't remember what shop did the work, but they did an excellent job - both vehicles came back immaculately clean. They are still daily drivers in our household today, and with maybe a couple of exceptions, have exhibted none of the problems one would expect from having a car soaked in water.

-anthony

FWIW - If you were to try to repair the damage, it would require much more than opening the windows and sitting in the sun for a couple days. The car needs to be stripped, steam cleaned, and all the electricals need to be checked and/or replaced...
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