Start: Black '02 Car

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Hurricane Sandy hit the New England area in the Fall of 2012 wreaking tremendous damage to property and taking lives. It also generated thousands of "flood" cars including a 2002 Esprit with ~5K miles.

I bid on the car a few times but the bid was not accepted - the insurance company wanted more money. The last time I bid I won the car for even less money than previously and they accepted the price.

Looks Good

Looks Real Good

But what looks good has been underwater. The question is fresh water or salt water. On the auction sites, flood damage means "fresh" water and "salt" water means... well salt water - don't buy this car. I bought an Aston Martin Vanquish from the same site listed as flood damaged only to find it was salt water damaged - clearly spelled out on the appraiser certificate. So.. there is a lot of risk buying a flood car without inspection.

Upon receiving the car I was startled by its good condition. Typically flood cars can have a lot of mud in them. This car had none. In fact, it was only after close inspection was it clear it was a flood car. The water was rain water and the weather was cold so no mold or mildew.

I put the dehumidifier inside the car for the better part of a week - getting a lot of water out. The main place water hides in these cars (besides under the gas tanks) is in the padding under the floor carpet forward of the seats. After I removed that padding, the rancid smell hit me. Soon after the floor carpet and pads were out the car started smelling like leather. Amazing. All the interior leather was in good shape with the exception of the seats, which are blistered and need to be re upholstered.

The main problem with a car dunked in freshwater is all moving electrical parts. This includes all relays and electric motors and actuators. The ECM is conformal coded (I think). It survived. I replaced all the relays and fuses.

Opening the oil drain plug revealed a lot of water followed by a lot of oil - sigh.

Draining the gas tanks yielded a little gas and a little water. I changed the oil filter, oil, fuel filter, fuel pump assembly and basically all the sensors. I found the started to be inoperative, so I took of the plenum to have a look at it.

Looks Seized

Since it was stuck, I rebuilt the starter for a few hours.

Looks Better

Whenever I take out a starter, I replace the left side bolt with a flanged one so that I can get a socket on it.

Socket will fit now

The engine was a bit messy so I cleaned it up.

A Mess


I replaced the EGR and IAC vaves with those from the burned '98 yellow car.

Plenum is now in good shape

I had poured some oil in each cylinder for a few days and I replaced  the fluids and put new gas in the tanks.

I then tried to start the car, which did not go so well. I had cleaned the plugs but I could only get a pop. At least the starter worked now. I assumed there was water in the turbos so I vacuumed them out. I kept trying to start the car but heard water dripping in the plenum - but I smelled gas. With vacuum going I was finally able to get the engine started with the throttle mostly open. What came out of the exhaust pipe can only be described as brown/rust oil water ooze. It made a puddle. The engine worked itself out but would not idle. It's then that i realized that the secondary injectors were stuck on so I unplugged them. I started the car and it idled. After a while I started getting some codes in the ECM. After working on these for a while I decided to swap out the ECM and sure enough things got better. The secondary injectors were no longer on etc. One code persisted relating to an oxygen sensor. This cause things to go to hell when the ECM went closed loop. Prior to that things were just fine. I bought a replacement sensor and installed it but have not run the engine to check things out.

A problem I do have is that the turbos are seized. I was able to get the impact gun on them (left hand threads) but they will not budge. I have two turbos from the yellow '98 car. I will either use them or have the current ones rebuilt.

I decided to put the project aside until I had completed a few other cars that were closer to being on the road.

I did replace the headlamp motors, which were seized, and then the headlights raised and lowered. The window motors also need replacing.


 That's the end of this update as of July 1, 2013

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