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AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
1/25/18 10:33 p.m.

I originally started posting on another forum and was invited to put my project here at Grassroots. My first few posts are mostly copy and paste catching up to where I actually am now...

The Buy

It was a slow day at work so I started browsing salvage car auctions for anything interesting. A few Porsche Boxsters were coming to auction soon, and a 2004 S caught my eye. It was silver with darker 'Carerra light' wheels, a brown top, and cocoa brown leather sport seats. This wasn't just an S, it was a 50th Anniversary of the 550 Spyder, Special Edition. The auction was going to be held in a few days. I put in a low bid with no expectation of winning, just for fun. As the auction day came closer, other pre-bids approached mine. I was going to be working during the auction and was now seriously interested in the car. Concerned that I might miss the auction, I increased my bid.

Monday, before the auction started, pre-bidding pushed the car over $3,000. Still the high bidder, I raised my bid to the most I was willing to pay. At noon, the online auction started. I found that 'my car' was near the end of the list and wouldn't come up until about 3 pm. I am a bit obsessive and checked the auction status every few minutes, making those three hours seem like three days.

 

I have 'lost' plenty of theses auctions in the past. The bidding can easily go higher than I am willing to risk on a salvage car. This car was flooded in Hurricane Harvey, over four months ago, and may not be repairable. For my bid, I considered what the total parts value of the car was likely to be. I'm not trying to make a profit. I just don't like to be upside-down in value when I purchase cars.

Finally the car was on the block. The current bid was $3,350, safely below my top bid. Seconds ticked by. There were no new bids. SOLD (on approval) to me at $3,350. “On Approval” – there is a reserve price on most of these auctions and I was expecting this one to be set somewhere between $3,500 and $5,000. I closed out the auction and checked my bid status to see the reserve price, $10,900. That's Ten Thousand, Nine Hundred Dollars for a salvage car that has been sitting for over four months, stewing. No way. With little hope, I typed in a counter-bid, well below half of the reserve.

 

I was disappointed that I didn't get the car, but also relieved. This car will probably need a lot of work to make it run again. After days of waiting, the thrill of winning the auction, then seeing it slip away, I needed to tell someone about it. I messaged a forum friend who parts cars for a business, 'Woody'. I figured that he, if anyone, would understand. Then, I got a call and had to leave my office and the internet for a couple hours (flying).

 

I returned to the office that evening. There was an email... The seller had accepted my counter-offer. There was also a message from Woody: That car has been completely submerged “...You don't want that one.” Oh crap.

AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
1/25/18 10:43 p.m.

Anticipation

Tuesday, the day after the auction, was my last day of work before a week off. On Wednesday I was going to travel across the country visit family in New Hampshire. It quickly sank in how crazy it was to try to buy this car now. First off, I have too many cars already, four of which are 986 Boxsters. My 1.5 car garage already has over 1.75 cars in it. Money is not really tight, but cash on hand for a wire transfer payment is not convenient. The time-window for delivery of the car is during the time I will be away. ...and the road to my home is under heavy construction. There's no way that a car hauler will be able to deliver there. Overwhelmed, I was about to give up and back out of the deal. Instead, I called my wife for support, then turned it over to God. Within an hour, the car and fees were paid for, arrangements had been made to have the car shipped to a friend's place with a gated parking lot, and I felt freed of all the worry.

 

Worry and stress... I have worked in life and death situations through my career; from the USCG in the 1980s, Army Blackhawk pilot in the '90s, and Emergency Medical Service pilot now. I buy cars and work on them as a way to relax and de-stress. Funny how easily I put myself in a situation to make it do the opposite.

 

Now I am waiting for the car to arrive. The original hauler assigned to the job, showed up too late in the day to pick up the car and drove off without it. Another will be assigned soon. Until the car arrives, I won't know the condition. Will it be repairable? The best case I can imagine would be that the key is under the seat (the car is listed as having no key), the electronics have dried, and with a fresh battery it will start right up. The worst would be that the engine, the electronics, and the interior are all trash. That still leaves a lot of the car in salvageable shape, for parting it out.

Pictures of the car before it was prepped for the auction. I found these in an internet search after I had 'won' the car:

What I expect is that the interior will smell bad and need to be completely pulled out, disassembled, cleaned and treated, but will recover. The electronics will likely have some galvanic corrosion which can ruin the connectors as well as the modules. Even some small items such as window switches may need to be replaced. Engine and transmission? I expect that with minor disassembly (removal of components) for cleaning and a thorough flush they will still be okay. If that is the case, I'll be happy. I have repaired a flood damaged Boxster before and already have many of the parts that may be needed.

 

I hate to say it, but there is no logical reason for me buying this car. It is more of an emotional thing. Let me be clear; the price does not matter. I spent more than I originally planned to, but at this point I have no regrets. It's also a great bonus that my wife is as psyched about this as I am. (I just need to make sure that I get the kitchen remodeled before the end of the year and all will be good.) Some people told me that I could have had a nice, clear title car for what I paid for this. If I wanted to buy a clear title car, then I would have. If I wanted a clean 2004 Boxster S SE, I would have bought one. What do I want? I want to get a look at this car and see if I can make it right. It's that simple.

 

This car is really a roll of the dice, a gamble. I will not be heart broken if it is beyond my ability to repair, but I will be disappointed. My goal and hope is to restore it to impeccable condition. These 2004 Special Edition cars are limited in number (1953 made) and a beautiful piece of machinery. Until it arrives all I can do is wait and wonder.

AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
1/25/18 10:52 p.m.

My Car Fell Off the Truck

Well, it's here. I still don't understand the chain of events this morning. I had a plan. A little bit complicated, but it was a good plan. Things did not go according to the plan.
Yesterday afternoon, the hauler called to confirm the delivery instructions. I confirmed the address and explained that it was a gated parking lot rather than my residence. The road to my house is currently torn up to replace the storm drain. It's a one lane mess and no way a big car hauler should try to get through. I was going to bring the car to my house later using my own trailer. It seemed that everything was clear and understood, the driver would call me in the morning when he was 30 minutes away.

I am working nights this week, 7 pm to 7 am. It was a quiet night and I came home to a beautiful sunrise. I was excited about the car arriving, but managed to get some sleep. I awoke when the driver called at 9:30. He would arrive at 10:00 am. I went to the parking lot to meet him. 10:10, I got a call from my wife. “Your Porsche is here.”
Me: “At the house?”
“Yes.”
“No way, I didn't even give him that address.”
“It's here. I'm going out to talk to him.”
“Okay, On my way.”

My friend and I pulled into my driveway as the driver was unstrapping the Boxster from his trailer. We got out and walked towards the car, still on the trailer. I was ten feet away and saw the car start to roll. The ramps on the trailer were not placed and the unattended car was about to roll off the back. My mind knew it was too late and stopped my body. Slow motion. Too far. Bam – front wheels roll off the end. Scrape – belly slides across the end of the trailer. Thump – front wheels hit the ground. Bam – the back wheels come off the trailer and the tailpipe catches as the rest of the car falls to the road. Not a long drop, but not a good drop. I made it to the car as it continued to roll down hill, reached in and set the brake.

My wife and friend Scott later commented on how well I kept my composure. I don't remember that. In my mind I was beating the truck driver to a bloody pulp. Luckily, in this world, I was taking pictures of the damage and appearing to take it all in stride.



Why was he at my house? Why did he unload on the hill rather than the more level ground. He could have easily backed to the end of my driveway and put the car off the road. I'll never know. I signed the form acknowledging the damage he caused and he drove away before I regained my senses. Tomorrow I'll start to figure out the claims process.

Nobody was hurt. The car was damaged, but it's relatively minor: The exhaust tip is ruined and the paint is cracked around it on the rear bumper. There is some damage to the undercarriage, but it would not have been caused by this. More likely by the forklift driver at Copart. From the pictures, it happened before the auction. I'll explain all that later in another post. I'm still happy with the car and I still plan to revive it.

tedroach
tedroach New Reader
1/26/18 7:49 a.m.

Congrats on your new project. Regardless of its condition, I would have been really upset to have my car treated that way. Glad you didn't go crazy at the time and end up in jail. The car will definitely be a lot of work, but nothing beats fixing something yourself. I will be following along to see your progress.

grover
grover Reader
1/26/18 7:50 a.m.

Looking forward to watching your clean and prep progress.  Flood cars certainly make me nervous.  

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
1/26/18 8:12 a.m.

Buying a flood car sight unseen? You’re my kind of crazy!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/26/18 8:18 a.m.

Thank you for posting this here. The story has emotional tension, irrationational optimism, a supportive spouse, an irresponsible hauler, and damage on top of damage. All the makings of a great tale. If this isn't the right place for you, nowhere is. Glad to have you around. 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
1/26/18 9:19 a.m.

Wholeheartedly agree with the above. You're mad crazy, but our kind of crazy.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
1/26/18 9:35 a.m.

In reply to AAZCD :

Welcome to GRM!  I won't lie, i threw up in my mouth a little when I saw the interior pix.  Neat car, I didn't know they existed.

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
1/26/18 9:37 a.m.

Wow, this poor Boxster has had a rough life.  It reminds me of those emotional homeless dog videos on Facebook. I'm in to watch the transformation.  Good luck!

759NRNG
759NRNG Dork
1/26/18 10:29 a.m.

AAZCD, welcome!!.....A friend of mine 'lost' his 2017 BMW X1 Msport(1700mi)  to flood waters/Harvey....in his garage. Water filled the cup holders in the center console......woulda loved to have gotten my hands on that. I'm particularly  interested in the electrical journey on this.  Sucks on the delivery....unbelievable.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) Reader
1/26/18 12:42 p.m.

Welcome!  Your relentless optimism is forcing me to once again overlook my own lack of time and garage space to start trolling Copart and craigslist for another "nobody could be that stupid" project.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
1/26/18 1:16 p.m.

I'm really interested to see you get this thing back on the road. Good luck!

AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
1/26/18 1:48 p.m.

Thanks for all the comments and words of encouragement. Where would project cars be without enablers and spectators watching for the sparks and clouds of smoke? Here's a few more posts to catch you almost up to where I am now.

First Assessment

Finally, the car is here and parked in my driveway. My garage has a 2000 Boxster S partially disassembled for an Audi V8 engine swap (a more absurd project), so this one will sit outside for a few days. I'm okay with that. The January weather in Oklahoma is forecast to be in the 50s with only a slight chance of rain over the next week...

The car is filthy, but still has a lusty beauty beneath the grimy film. I did a walk around video and posted it on YouTube unedited.

 

 

Summary:

Body - Good condition with a few minor flaws as expected in an '04.

Interior - Most of mold has been cleaned, but the leather is dirty and stained. The dashboard leather has hardened and pulled back across the front. Seats, door panels, and the rest of the leather looks like it can be cleaned and treated. I have about 6 bottles of 'Mother's VLR' and doused the whole interior with it. The carpet and floor are still wet.

Electronics - Some still good, or repairable, some are trash.

The oil dipstick shows water, not oil.

The coolant tank is empty. Most likely due to a damaged coolant line during rough handling.

Undercarriage – Some obvious damage from being hauled around by a forklift at the storage lot. These flood salvage cars didn't see a lot of love. Plastic belly panels are cracked. Both rear drop links are bent and the left rear toe arm is cracked. Sad, but not a big concern. I have replacements on the shelf already. Wheels look good, but one tire has a chunk gouged out of the inner sidewall.

 

 

Overall, not pretty, but for a car that was submerged, then discarded for over four months, not as bad as it could be.

AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
1/26/18 1:53 p.m.

Getting Started, Far From Starting

I took the seats and door panels out of the car. Initially cleaned and treated, they are starting to look good, especially the seats. I gave them a good cleaning with the Mothers VLR, then sprayed them with Lysol to kill off residual mildew. Now they are in a room with a wood stove, so that warm, dry air will blow across them.
Doors, frunk and trunk look good. The trunk looks like it didn't even get wet, which is good since the ECU (called a DME in these Porsches) and some important relays are in the trunk. The Bose amp and CD changer in the frunk are probably trash. Have not looked at the ABS module yet, but those are usually pretty weatherproof.
Water and oil have been drained from the engine and I refilled it with oil. I have not done anything to disturb the internals of the engine yet. After I pull the spark plugs, I plan to turn it by hand and see how it feels. Now that it has fresh oil in it, giving it some turns will probably be good for it. I have not looked at the fuel system, but I don't expect much water in the tank.

 

 

 

 


Fuses and relays will all have to be pulled and cleaned before I apply power. I have sprayed the fuse and relay panels with a first coat of electronics cleaner.
I will remove the carpet, but for now, it is propped up to ventilate.
The lower half of the dashboard looks like it will be good, but the top part at the windshield is bad. I will either get a piece of matching leather to re-glue to the top part, or replace the whole dash with a lighter colored leather one, and dye the leather to match.

AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
1/26/18 1:54 p.m.

Turning the Engine

After draining all the water form the engine, I became more concerned about internal corrosion. It had sat since the end of August with water and oil inside. Now I had disturbed the internal environment, introducing air into places that had been submerged. I felt some urgency to get it flushed with some good oil circulating through all the passages.

I pulled out the spark plugs and primary O2 sensors. Oil and a little bit of water flowed from cylinder 1 and 3, but the others were mostly dry. Lots of water and oil came out of the exhaust when I removed the O2 sensors. Up top, I removed the throttle body and intake tube, which gave me easy access to the starter. After spraying plenty of fogging oil into the spark plug holes and some 2-stroke oil into the intake manifolds, I gave the crankshaft a gentle turn by hand. It broke free with almost no extra force, and turned smoothly. Next I used a battery, screwdriver and jumper cables to jump the starter. It turned so easily and smooth that I thought the solenoid wasn't engaged. I was about to pull out the starter and replace it, when I noticed that the belt and pulleys were all turning, everything was fine.

 

 

I cranked the starter on and off for about 20 minutes, giving it some time to cool down. The next day, I cranked it again, put the plugs back in and changed the oil. Now it has a 50-50 mix of Rotella 5W-40 T6 and Quicksilver 25W-40 marine 4-stroke oil. The marine oil has good anti-corrosion additive package. A few cranks with the spark plugs in and new oil. Now it sits waiting for me to get the rest of the car ready for a start.

FIYAPOWA
FIYAPOWA New Reader
1/26/18 2:03 p.m.
AAZCD said:

My Car Fell Off the Truck


My friend and I pulled into my driveway as the driver was unstrapping the Boxster from his trailer. We got out and walked towards the car, still on the trailer. I was ten feet away and saw the car start to roll. The ramps on the trailer were not placed and the unattended car was about to roll off the back. My mind knew it was too late and stopped my body. Slow motion. Too far. Bam – front wheels roll off the end. Scrape – belly slides across the end of the trailer. Thump – front wheels hit the ground. Bam – the back wheels come off the trailer and the tailpipe catches as the rest of the car falls to the road. Not a long drop, but not a good drop. I made it to the car as it continued to roll down hill, reached in and set the brake.

My wife and friend Scott later commented on how well I kept my composure. I don't remember that. In my mind I was beating the truck driver to a bloody pulp. Luckily, in this world, I was taking pictures of the damage and appearing to take it all in stride.


Why was he at my house? Why did he unload on the hill rather than the more level ground. He could have easily backed to the end of my driveway and put the car off the road. I'll never know. I signed the form acknowledging the damage he caused and he drove away before I regained my senses. Tomorrow I'll start to figure out the claims process.

Nobody was hurt. The car was damaged, but it's relatively minor: The exhaust tip is ruined and the paint is cracked around it on the rear bumper. There is some damage to the undercarriage, but it would not have been caused by this. More likely by the forklift driver at Copart. From the pictures, it happened before the auction. I'll explain all that later in another post. I'm still happy with the car and I still plan to revive it.

 

I had a similar experience when my project Granada was dropped off - at least the guy had the ramps on for mine.  He unstrapped it, put it in neutral, and then released the brake on the winch, and down it came.  Luckily, it was on flat ground, and it literally rolled into its parking spot.  Still, makes me greatly question the carrier's professionalism.  Especially after he hit the gate to the storage unit with his trailer on the way in...

I'd say there's more damage from the forklift, but it sucks that there's more now that the carrier didn't do his job correctly.  Looks like a good project for you!

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
1/26/18 2:18 p.m.

In reply to AAZCD :

my popcorn bucket is refilled and i'm waiting for updates.   where's the smoke and sparks?!?!

So many flood cars down there, this is for sure my most favorite thread right now.

Good luck!!!

RogerB
RogerB HalfDork
1/26/18 2:27 p.m.
AAZCD said:

The January weather in Oklahoma is forecast to be in the 50s with only a slight chance of rain over the next week...

Just curious... what part of Oklahoma?

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/26/18 2:46 p.m.

You are crazy.

 

Also we need a build thread on the V8 Boxster!

Agent98
Agent98 Reader
1/26/18 2:53 p.m.

Great post, great detail, you are living the fantasy where most of us CoPart lurkers fear to tread...

I for one wonder about the "100% ruination" of a freshwater flood car, now we get to see the test of the conventional "wisdom".

One question: how easy is it to reregister a car formerly stamped "salvage" or "flood" in your state?

Can't wait for the updates....

onemanarmy
onemanarmy New Reader
1/26/18 3:13 p.m.

how did the driver know your home address?

why would he just let it roll, especially with witnesses?

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 MegaDork
1/26/18 3:25 p.m.

Flood cars pique my interest.  Watching to see what all it takes.

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
1/26/18 3:35 p.m.

Enjoying the ride so far. . .

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Reader
1/26/18 3:53 p.m.

Good luck with this project.  Just be careful with that mold, it can be pretty nasty stuff. 

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