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2001 Viper GTS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like so many others, I've been wanting one of these for a long time. Prices are rising faster than I can sock away savings so this was a viable option. I'm documenting the process for anyone interested. Right year, right color, no body damage but it got wet during the NJ floods in September. I despise body work. Engine, transmission, suspension I can work on all day.

I know there are those that say "I'd NEVER buy a flood car!!". Congratulations on having a lot of money. Now shush and let the poor folks talk.


Pic from the auction site:
Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle


Delivered Nov 30.
Tire Cloud Car Automotive parking light Wheel


Wheel Tire Cloud Car Vehicle


Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Hood



Of course battery was dead and doors wouldn't open. I had already gone to the Dodge dealer and had a key made so I got in through the hatch and was able to open the door. They loaded it at CoPart with a forklift.
 

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2001 Viper GTS
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Step 1 - Drain all fluids:


Engine had about 1 gallon of clean water come out first, then 2 more gallons of "chocolate milk".
Transmission had maybe 1 cup of water, then oil.
Diff was all creamy syrup. I installed the drain plug in the bottom so I could get everything.
Brakes & Clutch were flushed with a Motive power brake bleeder. Extremely easy to flush an entire system in a shot time.

Fuel tank was pretty easy to drain from the back after removing the pump.
Car Vehicle Hood Motor vehicle Trunk


Engine Inspection:
I pulled the pan and was pleased to see everything looked perfect. Bottom of the pan was nasty, but things on the engine side all looked good.
Product Automotive tire Automotive lighting Gas Rim


Valve covers off (drivers side) and everything up there looked perfect as well.

I pulled the plugs and things definitely could have been better there. Most were good but 4 cylinders had water sitting on top of the piston. I used the shop vac to suck out the liquid and basically filled them all with engine oil.

Atmosphere Sky Asphalt Astronomical object Road surface

Automotive tire Automotive lighting Grey Rim Cookware and bakeware
 

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2001 Viper GTS
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The interior was all in good shape except for being wet. Everything got stripped out, scrubbed and put into the basement to dry for a few weeks. The jute padding on the back of the carpet all went in the trash. Seats have gotten several coats of leather conditioner rubbed into them.
Gas Flooring Tints and shades Wood Chair


Water level got above the console, but still below the dash. Water was in the ashtray, but gauges were all clean & dry.
Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Trunk Bumper



Electrical stuff under the dash that got fried was:
brake light switch
EEM module
Paint Wood Circuit component Gas Hardware programmer


Wiper module

flasher relay
Thermal Time Delay Relay
Both horns (by left from tire)
 

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2001 Viper GTS
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had no idea how long the car had been sitting prior to being flooded so I wanted to pre-oil the engine. I bought a 2 gallon pump sprayer, an 1/8 NPT barbed fitting for the oil pressure sensor hole and hooked the sprayer hose to it. Pumped it up and in about 10 minutes oil started coming out the pushrods onto the rockers. After 20 minutes, all of them had oil.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Tread Motor vehicle


The starter needed a through cleaning. Brushes didn't move and the plunger for the solenoid was stuck. Not sure if that was from the flood or just for sitting for a long time.
I added the last gallon of oil from the pressure tank while cranking the engine over occasionally. It shot the oil out of the spark plug holes.

Install spark plugs, turn the key.....and no fuel pump sound. I learn there are relays at the back and they are all crunchy. I have a stash of them so easy to replace and the fuel pump runs now when I turn the key.

It fires up immediately and fill the garage with smoke from the oil in the cylinders. Still a lot of water vapor from the exhaust after about 3 minutes and I realize that the exhaust / muffler probably has water in it. I few short bursts of the throttle and that brown water is now on the back wall of the garage.

 
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2001 Viper GTS
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have it running on 4 jack stands and realize that I can't put it into gear with the clutch depressed. I start it in gear next time and wheels spin with clutch down so it is frozen to the flywheel. I do some Google searching and end up running it up to around 60 and hit the brakes as hard as I can. Killed the engine the first 2 times, but broke the clutch disc loose on the third try.

Mid January
I finally got the title and got it transferred over to my name. It required a 100 mile round trip drive to the Highway Patrol for an inspection. It was a balmy 15 degrees (F) and was an uneventful trip even with the 14 year old tires on cold pavement. I admit that I got lucky on the engine condition and it still needs tires, but I'm finally into a GTS!!!

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Hood

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Hood
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Luck they never tried to crank it. As least it looks like they don't.
I'm confident these morons would have "if" they would have been able to get inside. Battery dead & keys zip tied to steering wheel. Go to 22:39 time stamp.

The oil filter had clean oil in it so it hadn't been cranked with the water/oil mix. I didn't see this video until I already had the car at home, otherwise I might have passed on it.
 

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Congrats on the car and good job getting it back up and running. Flood cars can be a pain as things tend to linger over time. I'd strongly suggest that you at min disconnect every electrical connector in the car, inspect and possibly grease up a bit. That will help with the possibility of issues popping up down the road. Also, if you haven't already I would strongly suggest removing the rocker panels and cleaning them up real good. You don't want corrosion to start in them and they are stupid easy to remove. If the heat shields are trashed from the flood then it's better to know now vs later.

Super happy that you found a solution to your problem and weren't afraid to get your hands dirty and in the end saved another car from becoming a parts car. The early Gen Vipers are probably some of the best flood cars to save as they are so basic without a lot of electronics to worry about. Sounds like a fun project!
 
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2001 Viper GTS
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Congrats on the car and good job getting it back up and running. Flood cars can be a pain as things tend to linger over time. I'd strongly suggest that you at min disconnect every electrical connector in the car, inspect and possibly grease up a bit. That will help with the possibility of issues popping up down the road. Also, if you haven't already I would strongly suggest removing the rocker panels and cleaning them up real good. You don't want corrosion to start in them and they are stupid easy to remove. If the heat shields are trashed from the flood then it's better to know now vs later.

Super happy that you found a solution to your problem and weren't afraid to get your hands dirty and in the end saved another car from becoming a parts car. The early Gen Vipers are probably some of the best flood cars to save as they are so basic without a lot of electronics to worry about. Sounds like a fun project!
Thanks. I never thought about removing the rockers to see what kind of crud was hiding under there. I may just do that this afternoon.
I did pull all of the electrical connections that were below the water line (pretty obvious) and physically cleaned all of the connectors. I Bought a NOS under dash wiring harness off of eBay that I will swap out if electrical gremlins start showing up. Replacing that is gonna suck.
 

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Congrats on your new Viper and thanks for the photos and informational narrative! I would suggest that you pull the seats, console top and the footwell carpets from each side. Be sure everything is clean and dry underneath them. My guess is there will still be moisture in the seat foam and it will be pretty rank when things heat up in the spring with the windows are closed. Maybe set them in a room with a dehumidifier for several days this winter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I just pulled the side sills and there is what looks like a heavy foil backed padding that is completely water saturated. I poked a few holes in the end and am currently letting it drain into a bucket.
Tire Wheel Land vehicle Vehicle Car


The interior had been stripped cleaned. I added sound deadener to the tub while everything was out.
Hood Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design

Hood Electric blue Gas Automotive tire Flooring




I scrubbed the carpets and replaced all of the jute backing before reinstalling. There is still a slight musty smell that I think is coming from the carpet at the bottom of the doors. Anybody know what material is behind that carpet? If it is plastic, I'll probably scrub that once it warms up. I'm used to dealing with old GM cardboard backing that doesn't handle water very well.

Wood Flooring Floor Gas Automotive tire

Wood Flooring Beige Bag Hardwood
 

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I'm confident these morons would have "if" they would have been able to get inside. Battery dead & keys zip tied to steering wheel. Go to 22:39 time stamp.

The oil filter had clean oil in it so it hadn't been cranked with the water/oil mix. I didn't see this video until I already had the car at home, otherwise I might have passed on it.
Luckily, Screetch with the lemonade stand didn't get to ruin that one.
 

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Just curious on salt or freshwater victim you're bringing back to life?

How critical is this in someone making a decision on a flood vehicle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just curious on salt or freshwater victim you're bringing back to life?

How critical is this in someone making a decision on a flood vehicle?
Fresh (muddy) water from the Manville NJ flood in Sept 2021.

Salt water would likely ruin things a lot faster, but I'm not positive on that. Dude (previous owner) said car was in his garage and hadn't moved in several years. Insurance made him a good settlement and he didn't want to mess with fixing up the car.
 
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