Automotive Subaru XV Flooded But Fixed

Published on April 17th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Flooded Subaru XV Owner Restores His Car In 4 Months

This is the restoration journey of a Subaru XV owner who almost lost hope.

In December last year we highlighted the plight of a Subaru XV owner who had his beloved XV completely submerged in the devastating flash floods that hit most of Klang Valley.

He shared on Facebook pictures of his car and a request of some assistance on what can be done to get his car back in running condition without paying a hefty dealer price.

He had no special perils insurance and needed the Subaru FB community to offer advice. Well, the response was very good and many XV and other Subaru owners offered a lot of useful and low cost advice and today his car is back on the road and it did not cost him the ‘value of the car’ (the dealer quoted price was almost equal to the used value of his XV).

He contacted us recently and wanted to share his road to recovery experience in order to give other flooded car owners (not just Subaru owners) some ideas and also advice. Here below is his story.

Car flooded on 18 Dec 2021 at Taman Sri Muda.  Fully submerged.

·  Went to two different SC’s and was quoted +/- RM45K for repairs with a 2-3 months turnaround time.  Take it or leave type of deal.

·  Decided to take on the project on my own.  Started researching about Subaru XV on the internet.

·  I joined local Subaru XV Facebook clubs and a number of individuals came forward with good information on what to do.

·  Towed the car to a car detailer in PJ Old Town called Steady Cushion Trading.  The older couple who run the shop were helpful and took the car in.  This shop is not actively marketed on social media – I got the contact from my Father in-law who knew they had been operating this business for many years.  The car interior was stripped, cleaned and the seats and other parts temporarily stored at the detailer’s premises. The cost was in the range of RM1,000.  The quality of work was professional grade and the shop was run by two senior citizens!

·  Car then towed to a workshop in PJ Seksyen 8 – Hankook.  The owner Mr Tow and the assigned mechanic Mr.Sang were patient and understanding of my situation.  The fee charged was in the range of RM2,000 for labour costs alone.  They allowed me to keep the car there for almost 6 weeks and until it is done and running.  They were not pushy and were very helpful as it took a lot of man hours and over a period of time.

·  At Hankook the dashboard was took apart and all wires/harnesses cleaned.  I supplied them with 5-6 cans of contact cleaners as well.  Water was removed from the engine air intake, fuel intake and all fluids such as water in the radiator, brake fluid, differential/axle fluid, CVT fluid, power steering fluid all drained and emptied.  Spark plugs taken out and changed.

·  I sourced parts and fluids from a nearby part shops and bought cheaper fluids first to then change to better ones once the engine started.

·  After all the fluids changed and electronics cleaned, we installed a new battery and tried to crank the car.  The car was dead.  We realised it is a much larger repair.  An individual named Hisyam (engineer by profession) from a Subaru Facebook Group in Malaysia came forward with knowledge and help.  The ECU, Body Control Unit and Combination Meter needs to be replaced first if the car were to be cranked.  The immobiliser ring had to be changed too.  I sourced the ECU and Body Control Unit from a Subaru Centre in Selangor who gave me the 15% flood discount and supplied the parts even though my car wasn’t in their service centre – this was a big help and boost as another one in Petaling Jaya refused to help with parts.  Once the ECU, Body Control and an OEM combination meter was programmed and installed the car could crank and ultimately start.  However, a variety of codes popped up on the OBD reader.  At this point the radiator wasn’t working, the windows, air conditioner, some lights and DVD player had all given way.

·  Driven by the joy of the engine roar I decided to continue the project.

·  We changed 80% of all relays in the car – sourced from local spare part shops.  Most Japanese cars use rather standard relays.

·  Air cond gas was removed and replaced.  The air cond controller had given way so sourced one from a fellow owner in the Subaru Club who had upgraded to a digital controller.  Along the way I also received a couple of speakers from this person for free. 

·  Most of the lights were changed with OEM ones.

·  Power window was a combination of sourcing from service centres, kereta potong shops in KL and Ebay & Amazon.

·  Transmission Control Unit was located in Australia through online searches and a friend helped to courier it to me in Malaysia.

·  Important thing to do is research and figure out the part number (unique identifier) of the parts you need.  Once you have the part number you can search for it globally on the internet and the parts are 99% of the time identical.  Schematics of cars are also available online for free.  Some websites to consider are Amazon, Ebay and JJAutoParts in Australia.  Another one is Amayama in Japan who ships globally.  Kereta Potong shops in KL are not internet driven so best to go in and make some friends and then keep them on WhatsApp.

·  After the above the car was operational.  Got another round of fluids changed this time with good quality stuff.

·  Started clearing other codes.  ABS brake pump for example was going for RM7K at SC but managed to find one on Amazon for under RM700.  Some electronic parts like steering angle sensor found on AliExpress (RM1.7K at SC vs RM500 on AliExpress).

·  Wiper controllers, power window switches and other minor electronics sourced from kereta potong shops.

·  DVD infotainment system – secured a second hand one from an owner who had upgraded to Android.

·  I managed to clear all my codes except the airbag module which is currently being repaired in Singapore.  Interesting story – after my Facebook post a fellow Malaysian working in Singapore dealing with electronics came forward and is currently helping me to repair it for free!

·  The car is currently roadworthy.  My point is just this – it is possible to recover the car with a bit of knowledge, support, and time.  There is also a lot of “kita tolong kita” here where if we share among one another anything can be achieved!  We shouldn’t need to be told to just give up simply because we don’t understand cars as a machine – they are not as complicated as we make them to be.

So, it was a some what happy ending for this flooded car owner, however, it is best that when it is time to renew your car insurance, please make sure you get special perils coverage for your car as you never know when you might need it. Hopefully never.

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