Need advice on cleaning a flooded car

Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
8,046
Location
South Carolina
I agree the car is most likely toast, so in that case I would get out the garden hose and flood the entire car with fresh water, all electrical connections and wires, ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING that got salt water on on in the car and in places you might not have considered, soak the engine, EVERYTHING.
Let dry for a week, start car and go. Hope this helps, you have NOTHING to lose by soaking it down in fresh water. I think if done properly and throughly you might have a chance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GON

GON

$100 Site Donor 2023
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
3,295
Location
Steilacoom, WA
Loneryder,

Good morning. Very sorry about the Hurricane and the impact on you.

3 to four inches of salt water in a Mercedes is likely not a death sentence to the vehicle. You don't list the year of your CLK. That is important to know if the wiring is analog or digital (fiber optic), but either way, I think there is a likeliness you will be ok. Based on the very limited information you posted (I know that is all you have), I speculate your CLK will be an easier fix than one may think.

For the record, I have rebuilt no less than four flooded Mercedes S classes, all are still on the road today to the best of my knowledge. My daily driver is a 2005 S500. This 2005 was a Hurricane Harvey victim. I have driven the S500 for four years, over 60k miles. The S500 has done no less than three cross country trips, and many 1000 miles round trips to visit my Grandsons, at 80 mph on I80 through Wyoming. The S500 is beautiful inside, one would not know it had 230k miles on it.

First things first.

Pull the battery (and keep it out)
Pull the seats
Pull the carpet
Look of the CLK has body drain plugs, if so pull them
Buy six or more cans of Deoxit (see picture). Any connection you separate, contact cleaner, then deoxit

You will want to air out the CLK. That is your biggest challenge. You don't post if you have an enclosed space to air the CLK out. You won't be able to get the windows down with no power, and likely same issue with the ragtop.

I wish I was still living in Columbia, SC. If feasible I would be heading your way to do a visual assessment and get the first four steps done with you, and then go over the electrical situation.

Based on the limited information you posted, I think you are in much better shape than one would guess. You have a huge advantage over 99% of flooded vehicles. Just days after the water entered the CLK, you will have started the reversal of the water damage. Many flood vehicles have water sitting in them at a garage, and then at an auction yard, sealed up for months, before the repair process is started.

Please let me know if you need anything- very happy to help.

On for the record, most of the flood damaged Mercedes I rebuilt, I have done a blog on the repairs, from start to finish. To the best of my knowledge the blogs are still on line.
DeOxit.jpg.6c408e7b741ec6994bb8e77b5f0f4fda.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
18,630
Location
N.H, U.S.A.
Why didn't you move it to higher ground? Were you unaware of the pending hurricane and the associated flood risk?
I don't think most anyone thought it was going to be this bad, plus TWC and other meteorologists were saying Tampa/St .Pete with some modest disclaimer that it could go anywhere.
Living out of state, I suppose you could hire a driver to move the car to a grocery store parking lot 5 miles inland - if you could get the keys to him. My mother had a condo in the Fort Myers area, but it was well inland near RSW. It's a calculated risk and many folks - understandably so - didn't factor in a "500 year" event.
 

GON

$100 Site Donor 2023
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
3,295
Location
Steilacoom, WA
@GON - are those blogs on BenzWorld? Would like the OP to be able to easily find them.

I also think it is important to point out to the OP that your success required in depth knowledge of MB, access to a garage and space in which to dry the car, good tools, and lots of time and patience.
Astro,

I will post links to the blogs shortly. As a supplemental comment on your post, I fully concur that space to dry the car is really key to minimize damage. Fans are a critical tool and numerous fans. Fans will be in short supply, expensive, and likely not as powerful as you may want.

Just for reference, below are three pictures of my Hurricane Harvey S500. These pictures were taken less than 45 days ago, hastily- no staging, no cleanup, etc. I purchased this Hurricane Harvey S500 with either 149k miles or 159k miles. You can see the dash showing 230k. I am working in Honolulu this week, it is 445am and I just now brewed up some coffee- so this slow old man is even slower at 4am pre-coffee.

I arrive back in Seattle at 1245am Saturday morning. I have only my Wife in Seattle, not a single other family member or friend in the entire state. I live 40 miles from the airport. No way am I arriving at 1245am to a vehicle I am not 100 percent confident in. I am fully confident in this salvage Hurricane Harvey S500. The seats and carpet had moisture exposure for months before I picked up the car in Houston. The carpet and seats are not some moldy mess- far from it. And this is at 230k miles.
PXL_20220828_155501588.jpg
PXL_20220828_160941808.jpg
PXL_20220828_160941808.jpg
PXL_20220828_160950912.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
5,448
Location
Lima, Ohio, USA
Loneryder,

Good morning. Very sorry about the Hurricane and the impact on you.

3 to four inches of salt water in a Mercedes is likely not a death sentence to the vehicle. You don't list the year of your CLK. That is important to know if the wiring is analog or digital (fiber optic), but either way, I think there is a likeliness you will be ok. Based on the very limited information you posted (I know that is all you have), I speculate your CLK will be an easier fix than one may think.

For the record, I have rebuilt no less than four flooded Mercedes S classes, all are still on the road today to the best of my knowledge. My daily driver is a 2005 S500. This 2005 was a Hurricane Harvey victim. I have driven the S500 for four years, over 60k miles. The S500 has done no less than three cross country trips, and many 1000 miles round trips to visit my Grandsons, at 80 mph on I80 through Wyoming. The S500 is beautiful inside, one would not know it had 230k miles on it.

First things first.

Pull the battery (and keep it out)
Pull the seats
Pull the carpet
Look of the CLK has body drain plugs, if so pull them
Buy six or more cans of Deoxit (see picture). Any connection you separate, contact cleaner, then deoxit

You will want to air out the CLK. That is your biggest challenge. You don't post if you have an enclosed space to air the CLK out. You won't be able to get the windows down with no power, and likely same issue with the ragtop.

I wish I was still living in Columbia, SC. If feasible I would be heading your way to do a visual assessment and get the first four steps done with you, and then go over the electrical situation.

Based on the limited information you posted, I think you are in much better shape than one would guess. You have a huge advantage over 99% of flooded vehicles. Just days after the water entered the CLK, you will have started the reversal of the water damage. Many flood vehicles have water sitting in them at a garage, and then at an auction yard, sealed up for months, before the repair process is started.

Please let me know if you need anything- very happy to help.

On for the record, most of the flood damaged Mercedes I rebuilt, I have done a blog on the repairs, from start to finish. To the best of my knowledge the blogs are still on line.
View attachment 119062
the only comment i have to your obvious expertise @GON... He said it was 3-4 FEET of water, not 3-4 Inches....
that is all.
 

Astro14

$100 Site Donor
Staff member
Joined
Oct 10, 2010
Messages
16,233
Location
Virginia Beach
Astro,

I will post links to the blogs shortly. As a supplemental comment on your post, I fully concur that space to dry the car is really key to minimize damage. Fans are a critical tool and numerous fans. Fans will be in short supply, expensive, and likely not as powerful as you may want.

Just for reference, below are three pictures of my Hurricane Harvey S500. These pictures were taken less than 45 days ago, hastily- no staging, no cleanup, etc. I purchased this Hurricane Harvey S500 with either 149k miles or 159k miles. You can see the dash showing 230k. I am working in Honolulu this week, it is 445am and I just now brewed up some coffee- so this slow old man is even slower at 4am pre-coffee.

I arrive back in Seattle at 1245am Saturday morning. I have only my Wife in Seattle, not a single other family member or friend in the entire state. I live 40 miles from the airport. No way am I arriving at 1245am to a vehicle I am not 100 percent confident in. I am fully confident in this salvage Hurricane Harvey S500. The seats and carpet had moisture exposure for months before I picked up the car in Houston. The carpet and seats are not some moldy mess- far from it. And this is at 230k miles.
View attachment 119064 View attachment 119065 View attachment 119065 View attachment 119066
For my own clarification, was this fresh or salt water?

Because Harvey caused more than coastal flooding - which would be salt like the OP - it caused torrential rain and a great deal of flooding in Houston that was all fresh water.
 

GON

$100 Site Donor 2023
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
3,295
Location
Steilacoom, WA
the only comment i have to your obvious expertise @GON... He said it was 3-4 FEET of water, not 3-4 Inches....
that is all.
Earl,

Thanks for catching my error. I read the OP's information before I had my coffee. It is now 515am where I am at, and still dark. I just took a picture from my lodging balcony. I do now have coffee- but hotel coffee is cheap coffee-- but better than no coffee.

Even with 3-4 feet water, might very well be a game changer.... might not be. I know I would be of the mindset, that things will be better than not better- primarily as the water was caught early, the car is not still sitting in water, etc. Lots of unknowns--- to include is their power for fans, are fans available, and most importantly a dry place for the car to be during this process.

PXL_20220930_151416851.jpg
 
Last edited:

GON

$100 Site Donor 2023
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
3,295
Location
Steilacoom, WA
For my own clarification, was this fresh or salt water?

Because Harvey caused more than coastal flooding - which would be salt like the OP - it caused torrential rain and a great deal of flooding in Houston that was all fresh water.
Astro,

I am glad you are a Naval Aviator. So, you will not "freak out" when I tell you I typically will taste the water in the flood vehicles, looking for presence of salt. Nasty, very nasty thing to do- but such as life.

I believe the Hurrican Harvey flood vehicle was, as you mentioned- primarily fresh water. When I sampled the water squeezed from the carpet, I didn't taste brine. So more likely than not (statistics class term), the water from the Hurrican Harvey flood was primarily freshwater.
 

4WD

$50 site donor 2023
Joined
Sep 21, 2010
Messages
20,149
Location
Texas via IAH
Astro,

I am glad you are a Naval Aviator. So, you will not "freak out" when I tell you I typically will taste the water in the flood vehicles, looking for presence of salt. Nasty, very nasty thing to do- but such as life.

I believe the Hurrican Harvey flood vehicle was, as you mentioned- primarily fresh water. When I sampled the water squeezed from the carpet, I didn't taste brine. So more likely than not (statistics class term), the water from the Hurrican Harvey flood was primarily freshwater.
Yup - rain water - we were lucky to be outside of that heavier rain band when the storm’s eye did a “button hook” keeping heavy rains over Houston for a long time … Our creek filled near the top - did not leave the banks.
River 12 miles to the East of me (towards Houston) left it’s banks …
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
402
Location
Lake County, Ohio
Loneryder,

Good morning. Very sorry about the Hurricane and the impact on you.

3 to four inches of salt water in a Mercedes is likely not a death sentence to the vehicle. You don't list the year of your CLK. That is important to know if the wiring is analog or digital (fiber optic), but either way, I think there is a likeliness you will be ok. Based on the very limited information you posted (I know that is all you have), I speculate your CLK will be an easier fix than one may think.
Problem is he said 3-4 FEET not inches in his original post

I‘m not there right now but the water was up 3-4’

Our good friends have (HAD) a nice mobile home in a park 5 miles inland from Ft Myers Beach. The mobile home park was wiped out with 7 feet of water flooding!
 

GON

$100 Site Donor 2023
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
3,295
Location
Steilacoom, WA
Below please find two of my S500/S550 salvage flood blog threads. They are not quality, just something I posted without a lot of knowledge on how to do a blog:

 

TCL

Joined
Nov 13, 2020
Messages
277
^^^^^^^^^^^

loneryder -

Don’t even waste your time with this.

Unless you have absolutely nothing in life but an enormous amount of time and money and the ability to handle the constant frustrations and problems during the time period you’ll own it.

Insurance claim? They’ll insist it be totaled.
Plus, if you mess with it the insurance company may deny the claim.
Leave it be. If it's junk it's junk. You'll never get the water out of the hundreds of connectors and modules,
 

GON

$100 Site Donor 2023
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
3,295
Location
Steilacoom, WA
One supplemental comment on this thread for the OP.

Decisions are often based on life experiences. My experiences, from a very poor kid, was people often sell/ trade in their cars because the car has an issue, maybe major. So, the buyer of used cars assumes risk. With that said, I purchased my Wife's 2014 Acura RDX four years ago, and the only think I needed to do is replace the windshield wipers- but I did huge homework before the purchase- yet the risk was still there.

On a flood vehicle, it is not a "trade in" because of issues. sometimes, salvage vehicles were dealer maintained and have zero issues prior to the salvage incident. I sometimes wonder if a salvage vehicle is less risk than a used car purchase.

Here is an example of a salvage vehicle that likely was in better shape than most used cars "on the lot", before the fire. One owner, dealer maintained with detailed records- to include a $2,000 brake job at the dealer one month before the fire. Your car may be toast- but if you know the CLS and it was in solid condition before the flood......... math might *and a big might, be better in looking into getting your CLS back to pre-flood condition over a used car with a lot of unknowns.

 
Top