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Old 08-14-2018   #1 (permalink)
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1 in a million... struck by lightning

Hello all, its been a while since I have posted.

My impala was struck by lightning earlier today. The car was off, parked, and suddenly bang! then came the smoke, the lights were on full (high, low, hazards), the horn blaring, the windshield wipers going full speed and the washer fluid spraying everywhere. Everything electrical was on and the remotes didn't work. The force of the strike blasted my trunk open and lowered the driver side window an inch as well as popping my tire. Tried to start and it won't crank, nothing happens other than a few lights and the electronics go haywire.

No idea what the insurance company will do. If it were totaled, should I consider buying it back and changing out the PCM/BCM or whatever? Opinions? Suggestions? Thanks.

I bet this is the way it would have wanted to go, however.

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Old 08-15-2018   #2 (permalink)
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Wow - that is crazy!! Did you actually *see* it get struck? Too bad you didn't get that one on video!

Personally, I wouldn't buy that thing back if they total it. Electric-related issues are some of the toughest issues to find and correct and that lightning strike could have damaged every electronic device in the entire car. You may get lucky and only need to replace the main computer - or you may get unlucky and have to keep replacing electronic part after electronic part (or keep having new electronic parts being blown after you replace them).

Just my opinion, of course....

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Old 08-15-2018   #3 (permalink)
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07 Impala is basically worth nothing and the labor to track down and replace a huge amount of the electronics in the car is going to be substantial.

It is going to be a lot more than PCM/BCM, would expect months of weekends to try and DIY repair. Just let her go.
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Old 08-15-2018   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, actually I did see it. I caught it out of the corner of my eye, sounded like an airstrike and the blue flash was something out of this world.

Not sure if the car was directly struck or not, there is a sizable chunk of earth missing right next to it, though.

So both of you suggest that it could be more trouble than its worth?

Can a dealer or someone use a scan tool to tell me whats wrong exactly or will it be impossible for them to tell?

Thanks again guys

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Old 08-15-2018   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like a potential nightmare in the making of electrical issues. When you get to thinking about all the potential electrical issues you may face, it probably just isn't worth it. Unless I had some kind of sure way of knowing it would not be a nightmare, I would let them total it and would not buy it back.

Good thing you were not in the car when it hit.

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Old 08-15-2018   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A1_Imp View Post
Can a dealer or someone use a scan tool to tell me whats wrong exactly or will it be impossible for them to tell?
I would expect it to identify _some_ of what has failed. And miss a lot of other stuff. So you would replace a few parts only to then find a few more that have failed. Then repeat that cycle.

And you could find yourself digging into giant wiring harnesses looking for issues there as well. And those wiring harnesses could require disassembling half the car.

If they give you a decent offer to total it, I encourage you to take it.
...
My house got hit by lightning a few years ago. Fortunately, the damage was not too extensive, but there was surely some excitement to go with.

The lightning hit near the chimney at one end of the house, traveled along the black gas pipe and to the flex pipe feeding the water heater at the other end of the house in the garage. It then arced across the gap between the flex line and the heater case causing the gas line to blow open and starting a fire being fed by the now-escaping gas.

The arcing also somehow blew a hole in the water line coming out of the heater creating a spray of water above the fire. That was a blessing as it kept the fire under control long enough for us to detect it before it had spread outside the heater closet in the garage. (If the kitchen lights hadn't tripped a breaker in the garage forcing me out there to reset it, I might not have found the fire in time. PTL.)

Anyway, it was quite an adrenalin rush that night. And I don't think Rube Goldberg could have invented a better fubar

Doug

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Old 08-15-2018   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by plano-doug View Post
I would expect it to identify _some_ of what has failed. And miss a lot of other stuff. So you would replace a few parts only to then find a few more that have failed. Then repeat that cycle.

And you could find yourself digging into giant wiring harnesses looking for issues there as well. And those wiring harnesses could require disassembling half the car.

If they give you a decent offer to total it, I encourage you to take it.
...
My house got hit by lightning a few years ago. Fortunately, the damage was not too extensive, but there was surely some excitement to go with.

The lightning hit near the chimney at one end of the house, traveled along the black gas pipe and to the flex pipe feeding the water heater at the other end of the house in the garage. It then arced across the gap between the flex line and the heater case causing the gas line to blow open and starting a fire being fed by the now-escaping gas.

The arcing also somehow blew a hole in the water line coming out of the heater creating a spray of water above the fire. That was a blessing as it kept the fire under control long enough for us to detect it before it had spread outside the heater closet in the garage. (If the kitchen lights hadn't tripped a breaker in the garage forcing me out there to reset it, I might not have found the fire in time. PTL.)

Anyway, it was quite an adrenalin rush that night. And I don't think Rube Goldberg could have invented a better fubar

Doug

.
WOW glad you and your family is alright! The best I can figure happened was the lightning struck a tree about 10 feet away, blew up its roots and arc-ed aross to a steel plow blade right behind the impala, arc-ed into the impala by the right rear tire (rupturing that tire and blackening the strut) which of course fried the car, then the lightning continued through the root system of the tree over to a trailer parked next to the steel-sided garage about 40 feet away. the force popped the hub cap off the trailer, made a crack in the concrete foundation of the garage, exploded the exterior lights and threw the main breaker. It then travelled into the house, through the wiring underground, tripped the main house breaker and ruined at least 2 GFCIs in the house. It knocked out the cable and phone, as well as fried 2 TVs. probably one of the most wild things I have witnessed
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Old 08-15-2018   #8 (permalink)
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honestly the 2012 or newer with limited body style is the way to go (3.6 and six speed trans) if you like the looks of your car still. or if you wanted more rear leg room go with the 2014 and newer body style. i would expect the car to be totaled and would probably fight to have it totaled since the electrical gremlins are going to be substantial as everyone else indicated.

i'm guessing bcm at the very least judging by what you described, but that's just my 02 cents.

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Old 08-15-2018   #9 (permalink)
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Wow, that's messed-up!
Check fuses and a visual inspection of wire bundles. If the wiring harness got melted, everything is shorted to everything.

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Old 08-16-2018   #10 (permalink)
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Let them total it. If you have farmers, you might end up as a commercial one day haha
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Old 08-16-2018   #11 (permalink)
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Neighboor's house suffered a minor hit, only electrical damage TVs and such no structure, the hot-tub repair shop was out literally 10 times, that is a relatively simple thing compared to a car.

The wife had a Mercury Topaz that had an alternator go bad and start cranking out over 15volts at idle and began eating lightbulbs till I figured out what was wrong. Electrical gremlins forever after that and that was a1993 few less electronics.

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Old 08-16-2018   #12 (permalink)
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Old 08-16-2018   #13 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about your troubles, but save yourself the aggravation unless you are a masochist. Do your own due diligence checking the obvious things within your skill level (fuse blocks, exposed wiring harnesses, etc.), but don't expect miracles. Highly doubtful this is an easy fix. Way too many places wires could have been shorted together, insulation burnt, modules fried, and the list goes on. Dealership diagnostics are fairly dependent upon a relatively intact wiring harness, which you have no guarantee of knowing you still have.

On the plus side, the lightning didn't hit you.
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Old 08-20-2018   #14 (permalink)
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Guys, the insurance company offered $250 to buy it back. So for now, Ill attempt to change the PCM/BCM and see if it will make it run, and if I can't get it to work right, I can always sell it and/or scrap it. Just hate to let it go for $250, and I could part it out

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Old 08-20-2018   #15 (permalink)
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If they gave you enough for totaling it, then $250 to buy it back sounds great. However it ends up working out, good luck.

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