Ressurecting a flooded bike (Thanks hurricane Sandy)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by HaChayalBoded, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    Ok, so aside from me scrambling helping out friends in need of more important things like say fuel, water, generators and shuttling people around because it's just quicker moving around the city on 2 wheels right now I got a few phone calls from people asking me how to unfuck a bike that's been submerged in sea water.

    MODS, IF WE CAN STICKY THIS I'M SURE THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THIS INFO.

    Ok, so my advice was the same as for any bike that had been run through a river.

    Pull the plugs and burp it, then an oil change and coolant change should do it.

    Can a bearing sustain a temporary drowning or should wheel and head bearing be swapped?

    I told them all they should also be thoroughly cleaned of all salt water.

    If water has gone higher than the battery and the battery has been submerged it may have been compromised. I have heard of (but might be rumor) that a battery submerged and allowing in salt water to mix with the acid can be a time bomb waiting to happen if you try and start the bike. Something about salt and electrolytes mixing. I slept through chemistry class.

    Anything above incorrect or is there anything you guys can ad?

    Thanks in advance.
    #1
  2. infoatnmmoto

    infoatnmmoto with the band

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    No idea bump.
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  3. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Drowning a bike in seawater is not like drowning it in fresh.

    Seawater is terribly corrosive, and even if you get the water component out of the system, you're almost certain to have salt remaining. Anytime the system gets wet, the salt goes back into solution and continues its work. Galvanic reactions are greatly accelerated in salt water, too. Our bikes are full of dissimilar metal connections, normally they're not a problem. Add seawater and your engine becomes a sacrificial anode...

    Unfortunately, any bike that spent time underwater is likely a write off.
    #3
  4. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    TE has it right. The only way to thoroughly clean up a seawater-dunked bike would be to fully disassemble it to parts and wash each part thoroughly, then repaint and relubricate before reassembly. Even then there could be salt trapped in areas such as frame tubes.

    If you just need it for short-term transportation because you have nothing else, a freshwater rinse of anything that had salt in it (I'd include the engine/transmission in this if the oil showed evidence of water contamination) followed up with some WD40 &/or acetone, then fresh lubrication, should get you back on the road for a bit. I wouldn't expect it to last long, though.
    #4
  5. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

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    Yeah, TE has it bang on. If it was saltwater, it's gonna die an early death. A complete (and I mean every last nut and bolt, unwrap the harness, EVERYTHING) teardown, rinse, dry, and lube will go a long ways towards prolonging things. I'd get it running and sell it.

    So, from now on, the rest of us should be careful of the provenance of any vehicle we buy.
    #5
  6. #328

    #328 Been here awhile

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    You aren't the only one. This was taken in my brothers neighborhood.

    http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/seaport2.jpg

    He was telling me they had 7 feet of water in their building and management will not let them back in for until further notice.

    An alternative is clean it up and motorcycle in the living room.
    #6
  7. #328

    #328 Been here awhile

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    I remember this happening after Katrina.
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  8. hogasm

    hogasm Adventurer

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    Change the oils first
    Remove motor and all electric from frame...dry out wiring harnesses and clean with a good electronic cleaner all connections
    Submerge frame in a Salt-X solution mixed with fresh water...this will dilute any and all salt in frame. You can use this mixed solution on all parts to dissolve the salt. Wash all parts with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.
    Reassemble

    have don this with many submerged outboard boat motors with good success.
    #8
  9. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Call the insurance company. Oh, you didn't have insurance ? OOPS !
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  10. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Chassis bearings likely will be serviceable for at least a little while with no attention, but will likely die an early death. If transport is needed now, just flush out the motor, change oil, and ride. If time allows pull all wire harness connectors apart, clean, pack with dielectric grease, and put back together. Frames don't rust out very easily on modern stuff, so not a huge worry. It's mostly motor internals, chassis bearings, and electrics that'll be unhappy.

    Most all moto batteries are sealed AGM units and probably won't have got much if any salt water in them. I think chances of explosions, etc., are very unlikely. I suppose it's possible that if the water were salty enough to be quite conductive that it could have drained the battery by shorting it out if the terminals were submerged.
    #10
  11. el queso

    el queso toda su base

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    This should help. It's trail oriented, but covers the basics.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1EtHUzfdYqE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  12. Snarky

    Snarky Vodka Infused.

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    That was great... haha
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