Latest Reader Question (Nov. 3, 2017)

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Here is the latest reader Question, along with my reply:

John asks: I have an old 1995 jeep cherokee 4cyl efi. It got flooded – up to the hood in Harvey. I want to drive it back and forth to work for the next year or so. Any chance it can be “un-flooded” enough to last another year or so? My tractor also flooded but got no water in the fuel or crankcase. It started and seemed to be working fine for a couple months, until the brushes wore down inside the starter. Rust inside the starter had locked up the brushes tight so they wouldn’t move as they wear down. Bottom line: If I can expect problems like this from the jeep I’m guessing I should just bury it and make a bomb shelter out of it?

My reply: First, condolences. Losing a good vehicle this way is terrible. You can probably already tell where I am headed with my answer.

Water up to the hood means – I’m guessing – water inside the passenger compartment and up to a similar level. So, the interior would need to be gutted of all carpet, the seats, headliner, insulation and trim. It will still rust – including your instrument cluster and gauges and the wiring harness, which will almost certainly cause endless (and expensive) problems for you.

The AC/heat ductwork will have to be pulled out and cleaned out. You will probably still have mold.

The rear axle, transmission (manual or auto) power steering system and of course the engine should be drained and refilled with fresh oil/hydraulic fluid. Regardless, components never meant to be submerged in water have been – and that is almost certainly going to give you expensive headaches.

The brake system must be flushed out – but the brake drums/internals are still going to rust out badly and soon.

The ECU (engine computer) is probably shot and you’ll need to replace it along with the entire wiring harness. Connectors/connections will rust.

Expect problems with the alternator and starter.

All the above is an incomplete list.

If this were a ’70s Jeep – without all the electronics – it might be economically salvageable, if you were willing to do a lot of grunt work. But a modern vehicle, with electronics… the usual answer is: beer cans.

That’s my 50, what I’d likely decide to do. Your mileage may vary.

Again, sorry for your loss, amigo.

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