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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

Seeking your advice. I have a 2013 JK with ~15k miles on it that I ran into some high water a few weeks back. It still ran afterwards, but very poorly and was dying frequently. I took it to the dealer and they say that the engine is hydrolocked and that it needs to be replaced. Furthermore, since there was water in the engine, the warranty does not cover the cost of replacement.

My question to you is, how should I go about this? I didn't deny that it had been underwater - it was obvious. Should I have the dealership replace the engine? Should I take it to a private mechanic and have it done there in an attempt to save money? I already owe them for labor hours spent diagnosing the problem and every day that passes is a day that I pay for the rental car I'm using.

Any other advice for how to handle this situation, other than don't do it again? :)
 

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contact your auto insurance agent... good luck.

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Dealer might be the best option, if a bit more expensive. You'll end up with a reliable warrantee on the entire job. Or, if you feel up to it, buy a factory rebuilt engine and slip it in yourself. Probably not that hard. If you do that, buy a complete engine and don't try to re-use the heads, etc. If you ran it into fresh water the electronics are all probably fine.

If it was me, I'd do it myself and tear the old one down to see what happened.

BTW, how deep was the water? Over the hood? How long were you deep before it died?
 

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I would avoid putting a rebuilt or reman motor in a 2 yr old 15k mile Jeep. You will kill the value of your $30,000 vehicle. Let your insurance pay for a crate motor through the dealer and have documentation it was repaired properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dealer might be the best option, if a bit more expensive. You'll end up with a reliable warrantee on the entire job. Or, if you feel up to it, buy a factory rebuilt engine and slip it in yourself. Probably not that hard. If you do that, buy a complete engine and don't try to re-use the heads, etc. If you ran it into fresh water the electronics are all probably fine.

If it was me, I'd do it myself and tear the old one down to see what happened.

BTW, how deep was the water? Over the hood? How long were you deep before it died?
Thanks for the advice.

The water was up to the running boards when it was stuck for about an hour. Not ridiculously deep, but there was one point earlier in the day where the driver's side was up and the passenger side was down and the water was hood level on the passenger side. I suspect that this may be when water entered the intake.

It ran for the next few days but it was very rough and obviously misfiring.

I don't feel that I have the skills to install an engine myself, unfortunately. I supposed I'll call the car insurance company. I just read the policy documents and its unclear as to weather it would be covered for off road use. I suspect they will deem it "neglect."

Thanks all for the good wishes.
 

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I did this to a truck in the early 90's. If I had had collision insurance, I would have been covered. Kids... ;)

Good luck!
 

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Let the dealer do it. Part of their "high water" service will be to change all the fluids including both difs and trans and TC. There are a lot of hidden gotchas when you soak things for too long.
 

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Is it still running? If so I wouldn't think it was truly hydro locked. If it runs I would see about taking it to a private mechanic and changing all fluids, removing plugs, letting it dry out good then see where you're at. My understanding is hydro lock is total seize up with no fire in cylinders due to water. Hope I never have to find out if I know what I'm talking about! Good luck!!
 

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Before I opted for a new motor, I'd pull the plugs and do a compression check to see if any of the cylinders got washed down..
 

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Hydro lock is a reference to water in the combustion chamber. Usually will cause a bent rod. The dealer will never take a chance on replacing internal engine parts when its customer pay. So you will probably get a huge quote. There is a chance that there is only damage to a single component where a private shop may be more willing to service something like a bent rod and then replace all the fluids. I would definitely call insurance first. I would personally bend the truth a bit. Not because I'm a liar but because you pay insurance your whole life. And the adjusters job is to find a way to deny every claim. Not sure how much you told the dealer already but I'm sure that's the first person your insurance is gonna want to talk to.
 

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True hydrolock is water intake while the engine is running. This usually damages rods, pistons, etc. If you take on water while not running, you don't want to try to start it. Get it on a flatbed and get it to a mechanic. It sounds like you ran after water, but didn't take in water while running? It's a long shot, but you can try to save it... It needs a 100% fluid flush and there is still the matter of wet electronics.

Something like this might be an option:

http://www.rubitrux.com/jeep-wrangler-3-6l-pentastar-engine-used.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I appreciate all the replies.

It did still run, but very roughly. The dealer opened up the engine and said exactly what you mentioned - bent rods, etc. He hasn't given me a quote yet.

What exactly would you recommend that I say to the insurance company?
 

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Me personally I live in Florida. I was at one time a master tech for ford. We use to get a lot of hydro locked vehicles. We get a lot of rain year round. So big puddle story we got a lot. We knew it was BS but as a tech we got paid better when insurance company's paid the bill so we would actually get on the side of the vehicle owner.
 

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I appreciate all the replies. It did still run, but very roughly. The dealer opened up the engine and said exactly what you mentioned - bent rods, etc. He hasn't given me a quote yet. What exactly would you recommend that I say to the insurance company?
You rain through a deep puddle on the interstates

And a flooded back road
 

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Ask the dealer for the results of the cylinder compression/power balance test verifying hydrolock/engine replacement need, so you can submit it to your insurance company for reimbursement (not that you're actually going to).

I bet you won't get it..
 

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I appreciate all the replies.

It did still run, but very roughly. The dealer opened up the engine and said exactly what you mentioned - bent rods, etc. He hasn't given me a quote yet.

What exactly would you recommend that I say to the insurance company?
Whatever you say make sure you can back it up with some factual info...

Have any storms or downpours lately?

What you don't need is an insurance fraud investigator making your life rough.

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Before I opted for a new motor, I'd pull the plugs and do a compression check to see if any of the cylinders got washed down..
A hydro-lock has nothing to do with "washing the cylinders down" It's about non compressible water in a cylinder that damages the engine on the compression stroke. Bent rods, broken pistons, damaged bearings, etc.

In this case all we know is the engine runs poorly. It might be as simple as a bad coil or wet MAF sensor, who knows?

It doesn't necessarily hurt an engine to submerge it. If it didn't injest water while running, it just needs to be drained, dried off, get new oil and run. Then another oil change and your good to go. If it was salt water, it gets more complicated for the electrical stuff as the need to be washed soon with fresh water.
 

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Yes Raspy, I believe everyone knows what hydrolock is. I've probably have rebuilt close to 40 motors over the last 35 years and have seen my share of bent rod, holes in pistons, broke ring lands and cracked cylinder walls(when nitrous came out years ago, the kits weren't as refined as todays technology). Usually when there is internal damage, there is a noise associated with it(most not always). A compression check is cheap and easy but then again, it could be wet components. Some times it's hard to couch diagnose things without being there.
 
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