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One of my Dad's patients today told him they have a Tracker like ours that they were going to junk, but instead offered to give us because they are good friends and my Dad knows I like to tinker with them.

The idea of a free car is cool, but the ability to learn and work on it is what I really want. On the drive over, I was wondering what could be so bad as to want to give away a car, that's a 2001 with 56k miles. I get there and it looked clean, not rusty, and the 2 tires needed a little air. I look inside and see a muddy interior to about the seats.

The owner comes out and said it sat in flood waters for just a few hours (3-4 hours from last years flood). They pulled the computer and it works in another vehicle. The wiring harness is shot as probably a lot of the other electrical components.

My main question is how do engines and trannys handle submersion in water? It didn't run a minute while under the water, and after pulling the dipstick I found no water inside. (The water wasn't even high enough to touch the engine, but you never know). The transmission is what I'm worried about, they have 3 other vehicles from the flood and 1 needed a tranny rebuild, is it possible for water to ruin a tranny? I figure if the engine and tranny are good I'll just have to worry about electrical problems.

I couldn't tell if it was a 4wd or 2wd but he insisted it was 4wd, and looked like the gutless I4 from our '96. It's a 4 door too.

CLIFFNOTES: I have a chance to get a free '01 tracker that needs some work, it's a flood vehicle but never reported so clean title. I have a deadline of this summer if I can do it so should I put it in my garage and dive in (no pun intended) or let it got to the scrap?

I know it needs a computer and wiring harness, found the throttle cable snapped so one of them too. I figure if I throw a couple junk yard/craigslist parts on it I'd have a cheap a$$ beater. I have a variety of neighborhood mechanics to help me for free so it's basically the idea of parts cost = if it goes on the road or not. My friend drives a flood vehicle and had electrical problems, but ran and passed inspection.
 

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I say skip it. It will be a can of worms and you ARE going to lose money on it as you can't possibly inspect everything unless you tear it down to the frame.

Every flood victim I've worked on in my automotive career never was a solid and reliable rebuild. There was ALWAYS something crapping out later.

When you start using junkyard/CL parts you inherit those parts' problems as you cannot know what problems they have as they are in non-functioning cars already.

Even draining/flushing the trans/engine does not guarantee proper operation. Once a part is pitted/corroded it's a goner....
 

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In my experiences there are ALWAYS "mystery" electrical problems to be dealt with in the future (not to mention all the problems with rusty drivetrain internals). Windows work one day and not the next, radio, heater blower, AC, lighting and other components that are controled by a circuit board will have GREMLINS after contact with water. If you don't care about this stuff working when it wants to then get the car. Just don't complain about it when it leaves you on the side of the road one day when you don't expect it.
 
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