Honestly, my first reaction is always to tell people to stay away. But, to be fair, I’ll tell you why you should consider buying a water-damaged bike. I will also tell you why not to buy one.
Five Reasons To Get A Flood Damaged Salvage Motorcycle:
- If you absolutely know what you are doing with a wrench on a bike. You’ve rebuilt motorcycles, done complete teardowns, and, above all, have infinite patience;
- People Do It Already. People fix flood-damaged bikes all the time. For example, motorcycle enthusiasts in the Philippines – a region known for tropical monsoons and flooding – have documented the process for cleaning Honda motorcycles;
- A motorcycle is not a car. Repairing a flood damaged car is a nightmare. A good part of a car wasn’t designed to be out in the open. Motorcycles are designed to deal with the elements. Therefore, motorcycle parts can be pretty resilient;
- Moving parts can be inspected, dried and repaired: engines, forks, and bearings can be taken apart fairly easily and set out to dry in a normal garage;
- You can do it on a budget. You can buy a flood salvage bike cheap. If you do the work yourself and find good cheap sources for parts, you can save a lot of money.
Five Reasons NOT To Get A Flood Damaged Salvage Motorcycle
- Water gets into everything. Water goes into any small or hollow opening. It floods the fuel tank and works its way into the fuel system. Liquid seeps into cables, gauges, pistons, bearings, cylinders, crankcase, plugs, etc.;
- Water damage can appear months after the flooding. Water gets in everywhere (see #1), and quietly corrodes from the inside. Motorcycles have metal, composite, plastics, rubber, glass, and leather. Water basically destroys just about every one of those things over time;
- Flood water is not just “water”. Flood water can come with salt water, fuels, oils, chemicals, sludge, sewage, etc. These chemicals can be really toxic to a bike;
- You don’t know how long it was underwater. Most articles about repairing “flooded bikes” are for people who just pulled their bikes out of the water. They are able to do emergency work, like hosing down the bike with clean water and emptying out gas tanks. Now, about these motorcycles being auctioned today, how long were they underwater? Who knows?
- Forget resale value, collision insurance, trade-ins or getting financing. Once that bike gets “flood” on the title, it will mark the motorcycle for life. As a result, insurers won’t want to touch it, dealers won’t accept it for trade-ins. Too much risk to insure or put on your showroom.
There you have it, both sides to the argument. Most importantly, I’d say stay away, if I didn’t have any knowledge. On the other hand, if you are a master mechanic with a lot of time, go for it. Otherwise, do not touch it!