Flood damage Detection


Old 08-31-03, 09:59 AM
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Flood damage Detection

Good morning all,

We bought a beautiful 2000 Winsdtar SEL w/27k miles yesterday for $2,100 below KBB value. My wife LOVES the van. I noticed something strange this morning, though. All of the metal under the seats from front to back show signs of rust; some heavy, some light. Bolts, frames, tracks, etc. Now I'm concerned and my wife's broken hearted because I told her the car may have flood or significant water damage and we might have to return it. We bought it from Carmax, so we have 5 days. My question is: How can I know if I'm right? I got a clean Carfax report and the rest of the car is absolutely spotless. There's still an awful lot of rust, though. What else would explain it?

Thanks in advance,
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Old 08-31-03, 10:59 AM
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Hi again,

I think we can call off the dogs. We just talked to our salesman at Carmax. He told us it's a common Windstar issue. For some reason Ford doesn't put any coating on the metal and rust will develop from condensation if the rear A/C is used extensively. Carfax indicates one owner from New York who subsequently moved to Atlanta. I'll bet they did use the A/C. Makes sense to me. The wife's elated!

Old 08-31-03, 03:45 PM
mike from nj
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i guess i'll just have to ask used car salesmen all my car questions from now on, especially when the commission check is in their pocket. they will tell you absolutely anything to make a sale, and look you in the eye when they tell you.

i've don't work on many fords, but it sounds like something is wrong. why not take it an experienced eye somewhere, like a good bodyshop or a competent garage/dealer

you can pull up a carpet somewhere and look at the floor for rust, look for mold or mildew in the carpet padding, look at the wiring connectors inside the car for corrosion. if it's not there now, it will eventually happen if indeed it is a flood victim.

do this before the 5 days are up--i personally saw this happen to my neighbors car, the computer under the seat shorted out within a month and the wiring inside the car was all corroded too after a very small flood in our street.
Old 08-31-03, 03:56 PM
darrell McCoy
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Mike gave you some good information and I will agree.
Seems if the A/C caused those problems, alldata or ford dealer or both would know about it. I am not disputing the "honest" car salesman, but I would do some more checking on the issue. I have seen some real shady deals when it comes to selling.
Old 08-31-03, 04:04 PM
mike from nj
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a side note: a/c condensation drips outside the car, onto the ground. not inside the car, the a/c removes moisture from the air
Old 08-31-03, 04:34 PM
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Original poster:

The dogs may have bitten your wallet ..

I can tell you I own cars 20+ years old and the seat tracks aren't rusty like you describe. Besides, Ford and others coat them with grease which would retard some of the rust.

Let me tell you a somewhat short story. LOL. Back when I bought my '79 Trans Am in 1999, I decided I would track down and contact all the former owners it had since '79. No easy feat considering the car had 4 or more owners.

The mileage was proported to be original, and I only believed it after talking to EACH owner independently AND getting all the paperwork this car has had since '79. I knew that the dealer, the third owner had nothing to hide when he sent me the paperwork he had on the car some ten years after he owned it. He also wrote me back a week after I contacted him, providing his phone # for me to ask questions. He had no interest in the car, but wanted to hear from me.

When I pieced it all together, I realized what I was told was the truth as it was all confirmed by everyone I spoke to, including the original owner who knew things about the vehicle only HE would know.

Unless you speak to the owners yourself, you could have been sold anything by a dealer. A clean CarFax report is a START, it is hardly a be-all, end all.

Cars sold through various states could easily have title "washing". A salvage NY vehicle may turn up as a clean GA vehicle depending on rebuild regs.

I'm with Mike--needs more investigation.

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