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Salt Water V8 Rebuild

13722 Views 280 Replies 46 Participants Last post by  Jeremy B
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Sky

Hello, fellow Audi R8 owners and enthusiasts! My name is Jeremy and I live in central Illinois. I just (Thanksgiving 2022) purchased a salt-water flooded Audi R8, from Copart, after Hurricane Ian. My goal is to restore it slowly and keep it for many years. I am starting this post to network with you “regular” R8 owners, and perhaps a few other ambitious folks who bought one of these, for there were/are several available.
I hope to log here with words and pictures as much as I am able, so bear with me.

Specs: 2008, V8, gated manual with less than 30,000 miles (maybe less than 25k).

Major Damage:
  • Salt! (Yes, into the manifold intake boots of the engine, at least!)
  • Flooded to the roof
  • Interior components, electrical
  • Windshield cracked
  • Minor cosmetic external and undercarriage damage (see video)
  • Broken off water pump
  • Hole in sump cover (the “oil pan”)
Minor Damage:
  • Too much blinker fluid;)
  • Smell (mostly under control)
  • External bodywork, rear right taillight cover broken
Accomplished so far:
  • Seats out with no battery power (that was tedious, to say the least… I might detail in a later post)
  • Some interior pulled
Future Concerns:
  • Electrical components (I already purchased a nice used wiring harness, but…I’m color-blind!)
  • Engine (long list of things, more on that as we dig in)
  • “Burn-out” by an overwhelming list of tasks
  • Frame, drive train, wheels, etc. are straight
  • Brakes work (after a little pumping)
  • Doors, engine bay, and frunk open and close VERY cleanly! Well… the frunk release… well, anyway, as good as can be expected.
  • Ahhh, did I mention… it is a manual! (I don’t know how guys get flood-cars off trailers when they are automatics locked in park, but would love to hear if/how you can.)
  • Ebay, R8talk for parts
  • A great network of folks on R8talk!
My qualifications:
  • Mechanically inclined (sometimes reclined :))
  • General working knowledge of basic components
  • Not afraid to work, or get my hands dirty
  • Not in a hurry!
  • Rebuilt a few motorcycles (race and street)
  • Have some tools, small heated garage
  • I have an excited wife concerning the project (she likes seeing the R8 in our garage :))
My crazy goals:
  • Making the R8 as analog as possible (I hope to remove many “bells and whistles”, if possible.)
  • Starting a video series to tie in vehicle restoration with the Gospel of Jesus’ redemption of mankind.
Advice given me thus far:
  • “I would advise against it.” (direct words of the Copart broker!)
  • “Don’t do it, it will grenade in six months.” (friend who knows the business of cars)
  • “I have Audi-tech friends that have the garage, tools and experience, and even THEY wouldn’t attempt such a feat!” (motorcycle racer friend)
  • “Wow, that’s a big project, if anyone can do it, you can…”
  • “The two best days of your life, the day you bought the boat, and the day you sold the boat.”
  • “If you have the time, you’ll get it done…”
  • “If you can dream it, you can build it.” Requote I heard from Burt Rutan.

Christian, husband, father, Gospel preacher, machinist, author… and now Audi R8 owner… and restorer
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I'm late to this and didn't read every word, so hopefully I'm not repeating the obvious. I would liberally rinse with fresh water any and everything you can. Figure it's already been soaked, so that is done. Your challenge will be to get all the salt residue etc. out of the hidden spots. So, rinse and repeat, and then rinse some more.

It will be interesting to see how this goes. I hope you have success. It's nice seeing something like this get saved.
I was thinking this too about cleaning the body. I also think you need to figure out if water got into the frame and how to wash it out. I'd think that water would have found its way into everything, so somehow need to get all of this cleaned out. It's like you need to rinse the car in a freshwater tank.
I think the first thing you should play on it is "Octopus's Garden". :)
I hate aging plastics and how brittle the stuff becomes.
Yes. The bad thing is we find out too late, and even replacing things might give the same problem. The answer is... Woodgrain sides, and interior trim, like grandmas old station wagon! HA.

I long for the days when panels were screwed on.
LOL - and just when you think @JuddS is housebroken... :)
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I think you should get the cookie either way, and you're definitely not a moron.

Good work. Rest well!
I'm just amazed at all the debris in all the nooks and crannies of everything.
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Happy Birthday Rosie!

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Smiles are nice. Thank you.

Figure taking the engine etc. out and tearing them down is less headache and better outcomes than thinking you don't have to and finding you really did, which we all know is the reality on something like this. Figure you're in so deep at this point, what's another few weeks of labor? ;)

I think I've seen the exhaust described as stainless. I'd wager a variant with more carbon and a lower chromium content, which would probably give it better strength/less brittle, but not as corrosion resistant. In my experience with rigging on sailboats, if going from an older rig done in 304 to 316 stainless, you go up a size to account for the strength differences in the material.
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Here is the new home for the rear bumper (diffiuser), and all of the delicate heat shields for the exhaust.

It is like playing 4d Tetris!

sorry it is so fuzzy

So, perhaps it's because the picture is fuzzy, or maybe I'm fuzzy, but the first thing that came to mind, as I looked at it, was the profile of the sides of this makes me think of angel wings.

I still can't get over how much debris in all the nooks and crannies.
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How are you organizing all the fasteners as you strip it? Should I buy stock in Ziploc?
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The next time someone tells you to bag it, you can smile and exclaim, "already did!" Keep at it. Like they say, eat the elephant one bite at a time.
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Agree - want to see this project complete and successful. It will be very cool, even if totally freakin' nuts! :cool:
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