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Old 07-27-2013, 07:11 AM   #1
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SMB caught in mud slide

I am sad to say that my amazing 2003, 7.3 E350 SMB was driving down the highway in the middle of the night and minutes after a flash flood/mudslide came through covering the road the van drove through it (about 10 cars in total ran through it on both sides of the road because it was impossible to see until it was too late).

the mud and river that the van was driven through was about 3 feet give or take and now my undercarriage, under the hood ect is inundated with mud and rocks. The body and 2008 interior conversion, PH ect are perfectly fine and in really great condition. No damage done.

The van was able to drive out and made it to the mechanic where it was deemed totaled. My van is now being towed by the insurance company to a larger city where they will assess and appraise it to either agree with the mechanic or ask for a second opinion.

My questions is. If the van is totaled but the interior conversion is completely intact and in great shape is it worth it to buy it back, fix it as much as possible and try to sell it? Does anyone have experience with this?

How does totaling a vehicle like this work when the interior conversion, in almost perfect shape is arguably worth more then the van itself?

I can only guess that the damage done is similar to a flood vehicle despite the fact that it did not sit in the water. I know these vehicles can have problems for a long time down the road. Is it likely I would be able to sell it and re-coup some of the loss that I know I will take with my insurance reimbursement or would I be throwing my money in a sink hole?

Does anyone have anyone have any advice/other ideas? I will def keep the van if I can, it just wouldn't be appropriate if it needed frequent mechanical work.

Still just trying to wrap my head around/ cope with the loss of my home.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:32 AM   #2
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

Ouch, Sorry to hear this! I can't help you with firm answers, but I'm sure you will know more soon starting with what you can buy it back for. If your SMB is a 'dream' vehicle for you, it might be worth it to buy another van and have your conversion swapped over, or to simply replace everything that might be a problem (drivetrain, wiring harness). Do you have any pics of how bad the damage is?
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:02 AM   #3
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

So, you were able to drive out, and make it to a mechanic, where the only damage is mud and rocks in the undercarriage. No body, engine, interior damage. I don't know where you live, but here, unless it was salt water, or filled the interior for a day or so, you will not get "totaled", regardless of what the mechanic said. So far, you haven't described any real damage. Just mud and rocks in the undercarriage would be a mess, not damage.

If your insurance co. will pay you "total" loss, you are the winner. Dry it out and drive it... heck, I'll give you $2500 for it sight-unseen.

Keep us posted!
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:57 AM   #4
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

This "deemed totaled" seems kind of strange to me. Can you get more specific info from the mechanic on the items destroyed that make it "totaled"? Trucks do river crossings all the time and aren't totaled. A mudslide down a hill side is a different animal but if everything is just caked in mud you should be able to clean it up and repair things as needed.

Pictures would help us understand the extent of the damage.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:12 AM   #5
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

I am in California and unfortunately the only option with my insurance company is to get the "total" that they deem the van is worth. I hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

There is mud and rocks everywhere under the hood. After 5 hrs of powerwashing I got a lot out but there is still tons. When I drove out the three things I noticed was the van was overheating if I went over 40 (everything was cemented together with mud, so obviously poor cooling) the brakes were not working well and my ABS light was on.

The mechanic said that the van was dripping all kinds of fluids, there were lines and wires broken everywhere, mud and water in the brakes, radiator, every nook and cranny. He said that the electrical system was affected as well. He told me that it would never be the same, would always cause me a lot of problems and it was the worst he had ever seen (for whatever that's worth)

2500? I'll sooner buy a piece of land and make it my vacation home for those times I want to come off the road

I haven't looked into having the interior transferred into another van....thought about it but figured that that would be about as costly as having a new conversion done since there isn't any particularly expensive material used in the interior construction....just appliances. Have you heard of this being done before?

I'll put some photos up for sure....once I figure out how....
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

Cooling affected? Mud is likely packed and dried on the front of the radiator.

Hoses and wires torn loose? Then how did it drive?

Brakes and wheels affected? Yeah, that sounds likely and shouldn't be too difficult to fix.

Get a second opinion.

BTW, is the Check Engine Light (CEL) on?


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Old 07-27-2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

You might be better off to swap the body onto a donor chassis.

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Old 07-27-2013, 10:22 AM   #8
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

Where in California, there are a lot of people here that could help you, but need a lot more information.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

was it on highway 395 by chance? i'm in mammoth now nad have heard reports of flash floods south on 395. sorry to hear that and hope you get it resolved soon!
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:54 AM   #10
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Re: SMB caught in mud slide

Yep, second opinion... mechanic could be lookin' to score a cheap deal on a muddy van... just sayin'.
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