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Old 10-11-2006, 06:13 PM
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Salvaging question

The pictures below are of my 64 t-bird that was caught in hurricane Katrina.
We just got it about a month before the storm. My question;
Would it be worth the effort to try and salvage the car or any parts, since it was under about 12 feet of saltwater? Any input would be helpful. The last photo is the after shot where the house moved over about 15 feet.
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Old 10-11-2006, 06:28 PM
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shure it is. you probably got a good body/ frame, you may need interior peices and wiring, but the 60's T birds, there's lots of parts cheap on Ebay. take the car apart and have it dipped, then wash it out good, that will give you a good start, and a salt free car
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Old 10-11-2006, 07:16 PM
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From what I understand, that type of flood damage is pretty much unrepairable......................but, what do I know.
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Old 10-12-2006, 05:33 AM
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I used to have a '64 T-bird years ago. You can buy a nice one for way less that that's going to cost to fix.
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:12 AM
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A tough restoration before the flooding, parts only now. You will spend 5X the car's value just to totally strip, clean, and restore it. You can buy a decent one, ready to go for under $10K, a super nice one for $15K. Parts for the 58-60, 61-63 and 64-67 are pretty expensive. Perhaps your best bet would be to buy a '64 that is at least driveable, and use this one as a parts car. Strip out the interior and power wash everything, snag the FE out of it and drain, wash, and either disassemble or oil flood it. Hopefully it may not be junk yet. Here flood cars get branded "salvage only" there is a reason for it. eventually corrosion will eat up the wiring, connectors, etc. It will develop problems that will run you nuts in the future.
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:48 AM
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Salvaging question

I feel anything can be fixed. I read a paper years ago about a guy who drove his car into the ocean, had it pulled out sent to a shop everything was redone and he drove that car for another 15 years. You would be amazed at how many old antique cars were found under water or covered with dirt that have been saved. I would ask around with some big shop names and get there thoughts on this matter.
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:14 AM
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a buddie bought a flooded late model like a 8 mons old 3/4 ton 4x4 suburban, this was yrs ago (it was a mid 90s but not a salt water flood, water was over the roof) he drained and refilled all the fluids (I think he tore the rearends apart and put new bearings & seals in) & tore the interior out, dried what he could and replaced some, he put dielectric grease in every electrical connection. from every door window button to everything under the dash and under the engine compartment, you know tail lights connections to dome lite. he dried the computer I think. cause it was the debate to replace it. but he went through everything. maybe replaced a few items like the alt & a/c pump shocks. I can't remember for sure. he had very little $ in it. but a lot of time, he skipped nothing. and had a yrs + time involved. hes wife drove it till 00 or so hauling kids ect. but hes still driving it. its not rusted out even today, nor can you tell it was flooded.





Everyone thought he was krazy




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Old 10-12-2006, 11:19 AM
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Thanks guys. I had pretty much given up on the idea, but just couldn't stand to part with it. Really, I was just trying to justify buying a new set of tools since all of mine went in the storm. Plus, not real sure about how many shops are back in business, as far as dipping, blasting, etc.

Last edited by pumpkin35; 10-12-2006 at 11:22 AM. Reason: add'l info
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:54 AM
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No matter what you do the salt water has gotten into every nook and crannie of that car. You will be fighting rust from the inside out for as long as you own the car, not even considering the electrical problems, wiring, connections, grounds, etc.... Man I really feel for you. I am right here on the coast in Florida and have evacuated so many times I've lost count, and have had to leave my ride of 30+ years behind each time. Isn't there something else you've always wanted to rod out? It may just be time to move on man. Condolences.
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Old 10-12-2006, 02:25 PM
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I would not fool with it, even after it's restored they arn worth that much money. They just are just not in high demand. When I was working as a Ford mechanic I hated seeing those year T-Birds come into the shop. They were a bear to work on and the electrical systems are a nightmare.

Vince
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Old 10-12-2006, 03:15 PM
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there were several vehicles from Katrina on Ebay I would have liked to have, couple nice model T's that had great bodies and they were restored cars b4, and were $1,500 and $2,000 I belive. if acid dipped, that should get rid of all contaminants, couldn't pay shipping from where they were located ( texas )
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:49 AM
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A single exposure to salt water sholdn't be that bad. Wash it out really good and it shold be fine, though there is the possibility of rust coming through from the inside years down the road. It's not like a northern car that is constantly exposed to road salt for years, or a beach driven car. The salt from the brackish water (sea mixed with fresh, should have been anyway) shouldn't do that much damage. It would be hard to justify putting a lot of money in the car, but if you're building a driver, not a full resto, I'd go ahead with it. You should be able to drive the thing for a good 5-10 years before rust starts becoming an issue.

Wash it out inside and out to get most of the salt out, then use a rust proofing kit from somewhere like JC Whitney if you're worried about the hard to reach places. That will stave off any serious rust for quite a while. I wouldn't put $20K+ in the car, but $5-10K over a 4-5 year period, especially if you're driving/enjoying the car for part of that time, would be worth it. You can make it a good looking/running car without a full resto, just keep it "period looking" with aftermarket parts and such for a reasonable amount, and won't be out much if it does end up having internal rust issues years down the road. How else can you get a unique ride for $1K a year? Plus any wheels/engine/trans work you do can be sold/transferred to another car later. You won't be out everything if those parts are still good in 10 years.
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:42 PM
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The difference between normal coastal flood damaged vehicles and many of those that were damaged and deemed unrepairable is the amount of "other" contamination in the salt water. (Human bodily waste, industrial waste, decomp. waste) I don't know where you lived and couldn't guess what your car was exposed to, but some of the things I saw cumming out of there looked more like they were used for septic tanks in a prior life.

You know better than anyone else about what you have to work with. I am sure you are smelling it at this very moment.

If it was me, I would remove all of the major mechanical parts that you feel you can salvage, strip them down completely, and take them somewhere inland to get the cleaning work done.

I have seen a lot of military equipment survive that kind of salt and waste exposure. The difference between your T-Bird and that equipment is that Military equipment is somewhat prepped for that kind of exposure and recovery, even if by the lowest bidder. The military employs thousands of young men and women who are trained to do the impossible for the unwilling and ungrateful. Ford didn't consider that kind of issue when your T-Bird was built, and you are likely to be on your own cleaning out your super stale- swamped and left to rot for a year-T Bird.

I have started a project like that once before, I didn't finish it the way I planned to.
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:08 PM
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I'm USAF, and have been on decontamination crews. It's not nearly as involved or complicated as you'd expect. We use a strong detergent or bleach water solution for NBC (nuclear/biological contamination) clean-up. A pressure washer attachement that shoots a 5% chlorine bleach solution will suffice (5% after mixed with the wash water -- so the mixed solution would have to be about 25% bleach). The big trick in NBC cleanup is containing the run-off water. That situation will likely have a lot higher concentration of contaminants than the flood car.

I'd can any fabric and fiber panels (interior, insulation) if it has any "smelly" contamination then pressure wash the rest w/bleach water. Strip the body down and put it on a rotisserie or frame to allow it to be tilted at least 45 degrees so it can be cleaned underneath too.

The big thing is that car probably wouldn't have needed stripping down as much if it hadn't been in the flood. You can't just wash the inside out and go, it has to come out.

You should be able to go just a little inland and get salvage yard parts. I lived in Gulfport until just three months before the storm (worked at the Sea Bee base, USAF does some joint training there and I was an instructor). I lived just north of I-10 off state highway 49, about five miles from the beach. No flooding (except a few low lieing areas) that far in. I know around New Orleans it's a lot lower, and some of the flooding was caused by the levee breach which was a bit further inland. I know any local salvage yards (if any that close to the coast -- usually not!) would have contaminated cars if they flooded too.
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:59 PM
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Another thing to take into consideration: The bird has had a year to start corroding, anything that held moisture for a while is likely a giant petri dish.... cut your losses. You have to start the cleanup as soon as possible! after a year you are likely out of luck.
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