OK so we live in Pasadena Texas where it rains 10 inches in 2 hours and I
woke up one hour too late. Our driveway is pretty steep from house level
down to street level and the highlander was second in the driveway which
leaves it closest to the street. When I woke up the water was already high
but with the angle of the driveway the front end of the Highlander was high
and dry. The back end was what was in trouble. I opened the front door which
was still above water level only to find the rear floor boards were wet to
the touch. I started it up and drove it into the neighbors yard where it was
level and well above the flood waters.
Once the rain stopped I started working on it. It seems that all the little
rubber plugs they put in the bottom of cars are not water tight and as the
water came up they allowed water to enter the floor of the car. The spare
tire wheel well had the most as it was lowest due to angle of the driveway.
Then the rear seat floor boards had about a 1/2 inch of water above the
carpet which quickly dispersed throughout the car once I got it up on level
Bottom line is the carpet was wet. Seats were dry, no water on doors, no
water on the dash, no water anywhere but on the floor. I worked my way
through college in a body shop and know all to well how to remove seats and
carpets so just as soon as the rain stopped the entire interior came out so
we could get the carpet out and allow the carpet to dry.
I was very surprised to find so many cables under the carpet some of which
wired up to a silver box located a couple of inches above the deck just
behind the rear seat. It says JBL on it and some inquiries tell me it is the
amplifier for the fancy radio that comes in the Highlander.
Here is the part where I get to my questions now that I have explained the
circumstances and extent of the water level. Everything works just like
before the rain with the exception of the stereo. left and right front
speakers just pop and buzz and the rear ones play music but not very strong
and with poor quality.
I'm like 99.99999% sure the amplifier never got wet. The carpet got wet but
amplifier sits well above carpet level. But for sure the cables between the
head unit in the dash and the amplifier which run under the carpet were well
soaked and when I started up the Highlander to move it to higher ground the
stereo was on. Do you think that is when the damage was done? Do you think
it is just the amp or could the head unit be bad as well?
The dealer can't explain it but there is a different amp if you have leather
seat as compared to cloth seats. One part number for cloth. One part number
for leather. Does anyone know the difference? the dealer doesn't.
They want $1100.00 for a new amp which is an expensive parts swapping
expense especially if it isn't really bad. Remember I'm darn sure it never
got wet. Is there any place that will check these amplifiers out and verify
it is bad before replacing it?
Has anyone got any ideas?
I've called a couple of dealers and got some pretty silly information. For
example one told me it is their policy to replace all seatbelts and seatbelt
tensioners. I ask why as they never got wet? Their response was there was
moisture in the car and you don't want to take a chance on seat belts. They
also said the replace the amplifier without question. I ask do they check it
before changing it and the answer was no. They told me they always replace
all the speakers. I said but they never got wet. Their answer was it is just
their policy. This entire exchange and I heard similar from several dealers
makes me think flood damage repair is a racket. Most people have insurance
and if insurance will pay for it the dealers are going to run up the bill.
So I'm thinking since I've done most of the work already I'm on the right
track. I just need to find some help on the radio. Any and all input is
greatly appreciated and I'd like to extend my thanks in advance to anyone
who takes the time to reply to this post.
I've got all the carpet clean and dry and ready to go back in the car. If it
wasn't for the radio problem this would only be a bad experience. But the
radio is trying to make it a darned expensive bad experience.