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Flood Damage: Worth Repairing?

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by Peter M, Jan 16, 2023.

  1. Peter M

    Peter M New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    my 2012 plug in prius (~40,000 miles) was recently flooded in the garage of my apartment building while I was on vacation. It was originally flooded on January 1st. I just got to take a look at it (pics included), but insurance said they will not cover any flood damage, so anything I do with the car will be fully out of pocket.

    I was able to start the car with my key, then I was able to turn the car on. When it turned on, a sizable amount of water came out of the exhaust, as well as some smog (could have been water vapor, not exactly sure). The car was able to connect to my phone through bluetooth automatically, and I read it with an OBD2 reader.

    The mold is considerable, like the seats are all spotted and the steering wheel has big tufts of white mold.
    There is still water on the floor of the car, maybe a centimeter high in some spots.
    It's sitting in the parking garage still since I'm not sure what to do with it.

    The reader said U0292 Lost Communication with Hybrid Powertrain Control Module. upload_2023-1-16_13-16-51.jpeg

    The dash said "Check hybrid system, stop the vehicle in a safe place) upload_2023-1-16_13-16-40.jpeg

    The water got up pretty high, 3 inches over the axle of the tires. I estimate it sat in the water like that for at most 24 hours. upload_2023-1-16_13-16-59.jpeg upload_2023-1-16_13-17-8.jpeg
    upload_2023-1-16_13-17-22.jpeg
    I'm looking to figure out what to do with it. Is there any point in trying to save it out of pocket?
    If I don't want to save it, where should I sell it, or dispose of it?

    I spoke to my toyota dealership and asked and he said it would be $250 to get it checked out, but he would likely look at his scanner and the mold and recommend we tear out the carpets. He seemed to think the only issues would be whatever the scanner reports, but I've read there can be lasting issues with electrical components and rusted components that might not come up on the reader, so I'm hesitant to take it into Toyota. He said it would be at least $2000 to rip out the interior and do a cleaning, but I'm guessing taking everything into account the car is not worth repairing.



    Thanks for the help,
    Peter
     

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  2. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Awww crap, sorry about that. Yeah if it got that high it got into battery compartment and its ECU. The water got into battery compartment through the air vent in the back seat because the battery is air cooled (or backed up into the exhaust air vent which is even lower). Now it's water cooled unfortunately. Even if the water didn't get to the top of the battery, I'm sure the bus bars on top of the battery cells will start to corrode because of the high humidity. The ECU faulting like that is indicative that not all of the water is out. Sounds like you need to let a specialist look at it and there might be still some value. Then see if you can trade it in. Most of the time they'll just send it to auction anyways.
     
    N.J.PRIUS likes this.
  3. prius16

    prius16 Active Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that your car got flooded, that sucks.
    Can you push it to Boston, MA? ;-)

    Summary:
    If the car is rust free
    , someone may be extremely lucky, to get a great deal on a "project car".


    More Details:
    Realistically, it's ~$8K to $13K++, to have it repair by professionals.

    An important thing is that the main high voltage cable (?~$1,500++? new) must be replaced, for the car to be at all reliable. That's a lot of time.
    The battery is also likely bad.
    For a half-decent DYI-er, they can get the high voltage cable, and carpet at a local salvage yard.

    For the hybrid battery, figure ~$500 to $1,500 used. And, ~$3K to ~4K, for new. And, ~~10 hours of added work.

    Also, imho, to be proactive on any possible rust, the car would also need a deep coating of Surface Shield, and close attention for the next ~3-5 years (along with yearly reapplications).

    Imho, for a DYI-er, I figure ~~$5-6K near the high-end?
    Figure 30-60++ hours or work total.

    Good Luck!
     
    #3 prius16, Jan 16, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2023
    N.J.PRIUS likes this.
  4. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I'd suggest, without delay, reading through T-SB-0229-12.

    It has a section 1 just about getting the vehicle safe. First, decide whether any water got over the rocker panels into the car. If not, great, go to section 2. In your case, that's clearly yes, so: Otherwise, even if you see no water but carpet's damp, open all doors/hatch/trunk, pop the rubber plugs at floor pan corners and spare tire well, disconnect 12V battery ground (be sure to fold cable well away from the terminal so it won't sproing back and make contact), pull traction battery service plug (but only after disconnecting 12V, and only after letting water drain from the area). Then use wheel dollies to get the car to a safe place away from other valuable stuff.

    Most of the rest of the TSB is section 2, with different lists of things to inspect depending on how high the water got (level 1, lower edge of rim; level 2, axle centerline; level 3, top of rocker panel/lower door edge; level 4, lower edge of dash panel; level 5, top edge of dash panel) and whether the car was driven in the water.

    From the pic, I'm guessing yours at above level 3 but not quite level 4.

    Section 3 is then about repairs.
     
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  5. prius16

    prius16 Active Member

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    To be clear, and to get through the semi-bs of the following:
    =======
    NOTE:
    For Fresh Water Flooding:
    o The dynamic inspection tables serve as a general inspection guide.
    o Residual corrosion and conductivity, once vehicle is dried, is not as great a concern as with salt water.
    ALL flooding situations should be inspected and judged individually.

    =======

    Imho, the above is like saying, having a dozen calm full-grown Brown Recluse spiders crawling on you, "is not as great a concern" as having one very PO'd Black Widow crawling on you.

    The term "is not as great a concern" is massively different than "is of no concern at all, we 100% guarantee it".

    Imho, for a reliable vehicle, the whole high-voltage cable must be replaced. The cable is older, and it's not designed to be 100% water-proof, while submerged for a period of time.


    Fwiw...., my guess is that the car will be sold as scrap. Some dealer will buy it, they will do the cheapest fix, it will get sold/moved to a State where the Salvage title is not required (??will the car even have a Salvage Title??), and some unsuspecting person will pay top dollar for a salvage car.

    The above is very common, and is done with flood cars all the time.
    Since the above car will not have an insurance claim, there won't be any "flood" indication in any check.
    So, the selling parties are pretty safe from any law suit. Besides, lawsuits are $3K-$10K++++ (and are paid by the person filing the lawsuit). And, it's not illegal to take a flooded car from Florida, re-title the car in a different State, and sell the car. Go through one more transaction, and the selling party is safe from a lawsuit. To sue the intermediary, it gets into a "he said, they said" situation (about flooding).

    Btw, the car could even end up back in CA.
    So, realize, if you ever see a used car going through dealers, then be wary, if any of the owners were in a State where the "Salvage title" could have changed, because of the difference in State Laws.


    For any DYI-er, fyi, State requirements to register a vehicle that has a "new" Salvage title, differ massively.
    Conn is brutal in trying to register a first time "Salvage title" vehicle. But, for the car above, imho, it would just be a lot of pictures, and documentation. No big deal. Any accident related repairs, massively suck to properly document (all spot welds, all welds, all sealants, all supports, bla, bla, bla).
     
    #5 prius16, Jan 16, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2023
  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The TSB, of course, isn't intended to reassure anybody or guarantee anything. It's addressed to technicians who understand the risks, so they can have a reasonably structured way of triaging different cars that come in with flood damage.

    To be most clear, the first section of the TSB is just about making the vehicle safe right now, and that's the first part a person should read ASAP, especially what's in the big red box.

    The rule "If ANY water is found in the vehicle or if the carpet is found wet, DO NOT attempt to start the vehicle until AFTER the inspection and potentially needed repairs can be completed" is already moot in this case, but somebody from the future reading this thread might be able to avoid that risk.

    The last step in safing is to get the car on wheel dollies or the like and move it where it can be away from other things of value, while the next steps are considered.
     
  7. prius16

    prius16 Active Member

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    I agree!
    I just want to make it clear to people that might be considering buying that car, that it's more than "just drain it, and fix what isn't working".
    Imho, at 40K miles, in otherwise good overall shape, and being a likely rust-free car, I could see a lot of non-experienced people thinking "Hey, I'd gladly put in 40 hours of work, to save $15K on a car like that".

    Imho, as I said, for the right person. I think it's a great project car.
    I don't see "anything" super hard to replace. Watch many youtube videos, take the proper precautions, do not cheap out on the required safety stuff, and, in a few months, possibly great car for a great price.

    Imho, if it was a high mileage car, or from snow/rust State, I'd say it was likely totaled.

    If the OP could find a decently priced independent mechanic, it's possible that the car may be worth having it repaired. Does the car have any under-body rust?

    From Wikipedia:
    Climate Redwood City, along with most of the Bay Area, enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate , with warm, dry summers and cool, relatively wet winters.
     
    #7 prius16, Jan 16, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2023
  8. prius16

    prius16 Active Member

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    Fwiw, I updated my replies, since the car is not in the Southern Calf desert-climate area.
     
  9. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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  10. Peter M

    Peter M New Member

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    Thanks for all the help everyone!

    I took another look at it today to empty the car of belongings and take the license plates and everything.

    Last time, I cleared the OBD2 code to see if it would pop up. I started the car up and checked the OBD2 reader and saw no code, and the dash had no warning light, and even indicated 4.2 miles on the battery.

    Some more water came out of the tailpipe when I started it again.

    I plan to likely sell the car off to the companies that buy flood cars. I'm guessing I can get at least 2k for it, hopefully a little more.

    I took some pictures of the underside but they didn't turn out very well: 13e0c41e-4fbe-4b2f-ae6a-a59c03e69a5c.jpg 64881e5d-7dee-43e5-b6dd-d9a2ded1930d.jpg d23cd411-39fc-494c-89a9-7a5297a68ec2.jpg
    If any of this info brings anything to light and you'd like to let me know, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Best,
    Peter
     
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    If you had taken the safing instructions in T-SB-0229-12 to heart, you would have stopped doing that, disconnected both batteries, and moved the car away from other valuables while waiting to sell it.