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 Hello...and goodbye?

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Dragonwagon



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Join date : 2017-09-13

PostSubject: Hello...and goodbye?   Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:36 pm

Back in March, I purchased a 1994 Roadmaster Wagon in very good, but not perfect, shape.  Light driftwood, with woodgrain, wearing Impala SS wheels and staggered tires.  I added a Bluetooth/DVD/USB/SD stereo with touchscreen and rear camera.  I've lost track of the number of unsolicited offers to buy the car.

My house flooded during Hurricane Harvey.  The wagon got water up to the headlights; about midway up the waterpump under the hood.  Inside the car, the front seat cushions (not seatbacks) got wet.  Back seat did not get wet, but floorboards held standing water for 2 or 3 days (the floodwater itself subsided after about 12 hours).  Third row stayed dry.  I don't think water got up to the bottom of the dash, but it did get into the pockets on the front doors.

The insurance company wants to total it, brand the car as non-repairable, and crush it or sell it back to me in a way that it can never be registered or insured again.  They've offered me less than I have in it, and way less than it would cost to get another one in similar condition.

Alternatively, I can withdraw my claim, which will keep the title clean, I think, but I'm not clear yet on whether they would continue to insure it or whether Carfax and similar databases would show it as a totaled car.  They just made the offer this evening, so I have not had a chance to talk to my agent yet.

I have not yet tried to start the car.  I wanted to change the fluids first, and now the battery is dead from leaving the doors open to let it air out.  The Optispark is certainly toast by now.  Oil and transmission dipsticks don't seem high, so I don't suspect contamination, but I guess it's possible.  Interior has a slight odor, but it has been getting better.

What else could I be rolling the dice on if I opt to spare the old girl from a fate as a future refrigerator?
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:54 am

I wouldn't assume the opti is toast,.they are a sealed unit in their original state,.
I would pull the seats and carpet,.
Would u say the ecm was under water?
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:16 am

You are not obligated to accept the insurance company's first offer. Push back. Read some of the earlier posts on insurance battles on this forum for advice.

In the future, if you purchase another whale, consider insuring it with Hagerty as a classic car. It does not cost significantly more than most liability/collision policies, and if the car is crunched, you get the full value, no arguments. It works a bit like life insurance for the car. It dies, you collect.

Hagerty intitially balked at insuring my Caprice for a $12,000 replacement value, but I sent them a few recent completed sales from eBay and they accepted them as current market value. Seth Halbert is the rep at Hagerty with whom I dealt. He's knowledgeable about these cars. He's an advocate for the company's bottom line, but he's fair.
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:07 am

There are several videos floating around (pun intended) on how to save flooded cars. If your handy or just motivated,check them out. Sounds like you are off to a decent start already. Good luck,either way.
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81X11

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:51 am

Hello from Austin, and I feel for my fellow Texans to the south that went through/are going through this nightmare.

My thoughts are IF the water was not salt water, and the dashboard did not go under, then you should keep/fix the car. I would change the engine oil, trans fluid and filter and rear axle grease, and just to be safe, and would also remove the seats and carpeting, to get the car REALLY dried out and to steam-clean the carpet.

The seat mounts are bare metal and will rust quickly if not cleaned and dried. Honestly the best bet might be hitting the salvage yard for two new/used seat mounts..because I bet the power seat motors are shot or will be shortly.

You MAY have to change out the ECM too, as stated, because it mounts on the passenger/front floor behind the carpet kick-panel there. You can buy an ECM cheaply enough, just need to cross-check the service numbers.

I really think, if the car is in decent shape, you should save it. NOW IF it was salt water, I would most-likely let it go. That stuff is evil.

Good luck and all the best.

-Mike
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Dandy



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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:39 pm

I am sorry to read about your situation. I am sure this is just one of many battles and challenges you are currently faced with.

Recently a friend of the family was landing his boat. He thought his truck (2004 Chev 1500) was in park - it was not - and he didn't put on the parking brake. He got out of the truck and it rolled back. Only part of the hood was sticking out.

Insurance gave him $4K for the truck, sold it back to him for $300. His son is a mechanic. They towed it home, drained and replaced all of the fluids. Removed the seats and carpet. Disconnected and labeled every electrical connection - dried them out with hair driers. They may have even pulled the door panels to get to the electrical connectors in the doors. I believe they applied a dielectric grease to the electrical connections, connected everything back up and he is driving the truck again. I think he put 250-500 miles on and then they did a full fluid change out again. I believe the only thing that he has found that does not work at this time is one of the power windows, or maybe a lock.

Time will tell if it will hold up, but mechanically it seems to be sound. Whether or not the electrical will hold up long term will be determined.

I agree with above, get it dried out, fluids changed and you may still have a very nice vehicle.

Good Luck
-Dan
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Dragonwagon



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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:49 pm

phantom 309 wrote:
I wouldn't assume the opti is toast,.they are a sealed unit in their original state,.
I would pull the seats and carpet,.
Would u say the ecm was under water?

Close call.  It looks like the waterline is somewhere close to that level.  I think there was contact with water, but maybe not fully submerged.  I'm going to assume the worst, though.

Before the flood, the car would stall going through puddles. Opti might have been sealed in the 90's, but I don't think it remains sealed.
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:16 pm

The coil wire is the biggest culprit for wet stalls,.
If an opti gets water inside the motor will not start.it will kick pop and fart as the sparks are all distributed wherever they please.
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Dragonwagon



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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:04 pm

dmg4 wrote:
You are not obligated to accept the insurance company's first offer.  Push back.  Read some of the earlier posts on insurance battles on this forum for advice.


I tried a forum search for "insurance" but that only picked up a half-dozen or so threads. None of them seemed exactly what I wanted. I also searched completed Ebay auctions, and frankly, the ones where a transaction actually took place aren't really helping my case, except for one with a lot fewer miles.

Any suggestions of how to find those insurance battle war stories or a site with some good data on comps?
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:53 am

Quote :
Any suggestions of how to find those insurance battle war stories or a site with some good data on comps?

Some of the listings on eBay are asking unrealistic prices at the moment.  You might have to track and document sales over a period of a month or more to build a case.  This takes time, and the insurance company will not  invest the time to produce counter examples.   They want fast settlement, so time is your friend if you can wait them out.  Keep the dialog polite and civil, but remain firm on the real replacement value of the car.  Also understand that if you accept the offer for the car being totaled, you no longer own it or have any say in what the insurer does with the car afterwards.

You can find realistic retail prices from dealers on Cars.com or some of the other online sources.  Select from dealers like Gesswein in Milbank, SD, or similar dealers that understand what these cars are worth and specialize in older and classic cars.  Insurance companies know that most dealer selling prices are very close to 90% of the asking price.

Collector value and retail prices of cars reaches a tipping point at about 20-25 years of age, and prices begin to climb steeply.  I think recent sale prices suggest that we've passed that point with these cars.

See:  https://www.gmpartscenter.net/blog/chevrolet-caprice-wagon-future-collectible

Also, see current values on Classic Cars.com: https://classiccars.com/listings/find/1994-1996/buick/roadmaster
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Dragonwagon



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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:31 pm

Insurance company keeps changing members on the adjustment team.  I had a guy on the phone who semed to know what he was doing, but the next person who called me back clearly DIDN'T, and she said the other guy had moved to a different team.

I sent in a bunch of links to similar cars for sale.  They said they would not look at any Caprice wagons or Impala SS sedans, because those were not Buicks.  They also wouldn't look at any out-of-state cars.

They said the next option was that they would call a couple of dealers, and ask them, hypothetically, they would sell a 1994 Roadmaster Estate for, if one showed up on their lot.  One dealer said $1200 and the other said $1000.  I looked at those dealer's websites, and they were full of 2 or 3 year old off-lease and ex-rental fleet cars.  Certainly not the right niche.

Next step is to hire an appraiser (at my own expense).  They will hire an appraiser.  The two appraisers will either reach a consensus or bring in a third appraiser to umpire.
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:07 pm

Dragonwagon wrote:
 They also wouldn't look at any out-of-state cars.

They said.

I would not accept that, people buy cars from all over north america and the world and have them shipped.

These wagons are for the most part becoming quite rare and the market is dictating higher prices accordingly .

Inmho you are accepting a passive stance on this matter, and simply accepting what the front line monkeys tell you. Trained monkeys that have no idea about any vehicles that are considered special interest vehicles
You need to talk to the ape in charge and explain about these cars, and their value.
I would also mention about your willingness to retain a lawyer to get satisfaction.
Paying for an appraisal is a smart move,. Especially if you retain the services of an appraiser familiar with special interest and ccollectible cars.
Print off a bunch of ebay completed sales,. And go from there as ebay is now considered the measure for anything special interest.

Jmho
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Dragonwagon



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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:37 pm

The good news is that the appraiser turned out to be worth his fee.  The insurance company's appraiser came in a little lower, of course, but they finalized on a reasonable number I can accept.  I'm negotiating to keep the car, to prevent it from becoming scrap metal.


The bad news is that State Farm is requiring all their flood payouts to be re-titled as nonrepairable, parts only, even though the car is very solid.  From what I've seen online, several states will still allow it to be registered again, ultimately, but its days with Texas license plates is coming to an end.

That leaves me with a couple options:

1. Part it out.  That would be a real shame, because it is quite intact.
2. Make it into a track car.  Somewhat appealing, but I don't know when I'm going to have time.
3. Sell it to someone who lives where it can be titled (or who can turn it into a track car).

I haven't fully decided, but that third one is most preferable to me under the circumstances.  I'll probably end up posting something in the classifieds.

http://tinypic.com/r/xdvvgm/9
http://tinypic.com/r/2vk16k6/9
http://tinypic.com/r/2h7qtc9/9

Pictures are from last month (post-flood).  Looking for other ideas.
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:18 am

Junkyard vin time?
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brokecello
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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:18 pm


If you decide to sell, post it up here for sure. Do you know what you will ask for it if you sold it yet?
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Dragonwagon



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PostSubject: Re: Hello...and goodbye?   Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:03 am

brokecello wrote:

 If you decide to sell, post it up here for sure.  Do you know what you will ask for it if you sold it yet?  

The original Buick alloy rims are on a shelf in the garage right now, fitted with tires the previous owner bought in 2005 (and should be replaced).  I put new BFG g-force Comp2 front tires on the Impala SS rims (one in April and one in July) at a cost of nearly $400.  The rear tires are Hankook with plenty of tread left.

In May, I added a rear view camera.  Nothing was wrong with the original stereo, but I replaced it with a newer one for the camera display (single DIN with flip-up screen).  It also plays DVDs, SD, USB, Bluetooth, etc.  The Fry's bill came to $397, installed.

I bought a remanufactured and tested Optispark w/Mitsubishi sensor from Optispark Solutions.  It arrived two days before the flood.  It has not been installed and was kept dry.  The version I got goes for $345+ shipping.  http://stores.ebay.com/OptiDoctor?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

For the wagon, minus the 17" wheels and tires but with the factory 15 inch alloys, and minus the aftermarket stereo (but you can have the stock one if you want), I would like to get $750.  I'm planning to return the unused Optispark to the vendor, but instead of having to pay for return shipping, I would be willing to let it go with the car for an additional $330.

The Impala SS wheels and tires aren't for sale separately, but I'll include them, together with the aftermarket stereo, for an extra $1000.
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