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My wife and I drove down to Las Vegas this past weekend to see Cirque du Soleil's "Ka". Great show, highly recommended!

On the way home, we ran into a sand storm. Since there was no place to get shelter (for us or the car), and no way to predict an end to the storm, we kept driving. Often we were moving at a mere 10 or 20 mph, because visibility would momentarily be limited to the front bumper. I knew that this was not going to be a good thing for the paint, or anything else on the front of the car.

A half hour of sand blasting later... and we finally get beyond the sand. Into rain, more rain, hail, and more rain. (sidebar: Why is it that when driving on a hail covered highway people don't think to slow down? We managed to avoid the two pileups, and continued on our way.) A few minutes later the car put up a "Coolant temperature" warning. The oil temp guage is fast approaching max, and the coolant gauge is in the red. Mind you, it is about 45F outside. The only other time I've seen this car have temperature troubles was 95 degree day on ThunderHill raceway!

I realize what happened, and pull over at the next gas station. When I lift the hood, there is grit everywhere. I look at the radiator, and it is jammed full of grit and sand and dust. No wonder we were about to overheat! I got a hose and flushed as much of the grit out of the radiator as I could with low pressure water. (photo below is after washing it out)

Driving home (7 more hours from that point) was "harrowing". The windshield was fine if dry, but when wet it was seriously impaired. And it rained on and off all the way home. The wipers usually did more harm than good. But we managed to keep it safe, and on the road.

Time to take it in for an insurance estimate. I'm going to need a new windshield, two new foglights (both broken), new headlight covers (translucent), kidney chrome rings, and paint for the entire front bumper, hood, front quarter panels, and rear view mirrors. Maybe some on the leading edge of the roof too.

A few pictures below. More here

(...and yes, my car is supposed to be Carbon Black! not matte gray! )





 

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holy smokes...that's some serious sandblasting! An excuse for a new paint job potentially :)
 

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Would insurance cover such things? I mean that's some serious damage right there.
 

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Some info........

I've been through this more than once. 'Suggest you read post #7 in this thread: (http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=104414&highlight=comprehensive+insurance ). You'll have a "comprehensive" coverage claim on your insurance (different and seperate from "collision"); so you'll only be out your "comp" deductible $$$ (and won't suffer an increase in premiums). Take your car to a 'high end" auto body/paint shop of your choice ((call the Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin service dept mgrs of dealerships in your area (who don't have their own inhouse body/paint shops) for their recommendations)). Insist on all OEM replacement parts. Let the shop handle dealing with insurance claims adjustor; they know how to get $$$ approved for "perfect" repair/repaint; especially the "high end" shops.

FWIW, after my last "sand blast" experience, total cost of front end repaint and replacement of all OEM damaged parts (in other words, entire front end of car) was $8k+.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies guys.

Yes, insurance has already said they will cover it under Comprehensive.

As much as I hate that this happened, I'm glad we chose not to drive my wife's 2-week-old car!!!
 

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Now, that's Sand Blasting!

Sorry about the mishap and I guess there's really no way preventing it from happening when it just suddenly happens while your driving.
 

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just glad you got it covered by insurance!
 

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wow!
So what is the wife driving now? (2 week old car)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
wow!
So what is the wife driving now? (2 week old car)
She went over to the dark side! MB C350 Sport, in a beautiful dark red.

Anyone wanna buy an '04 X5? I guess I should go put up an ad... in the right section!
 

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amazing you had any cooling whatsoever
 

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Sorry to see that! But maybe a good excuse to upgrade to angel eyes?
 

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:eek:oohhh:

Wow! Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing.

Glad all will turn out. +1 on Dan's comments... get that beast looking spanking new!

Dave
 

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WOW!!

Never see anything like that here in Ireland!!

Your rad looks toast too!

You must have been exhausted after that drive, with the bad visibility you probably didn't blink for about 5 hours!!

Best of luck with the repairs!!

Richie.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
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You must have been exhausted after that drive, with the bad visibility you probably didn't blink for about 5 hours!!
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Richie.
Yes, it was exhausting. Everything had to be done with an extra level of care. Slower speed, extra following distance, etc. The first thing my wife did when we got home was offer to open a bottle of wine. She was a little stressed too!

cherrsagai
 

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I hope your motor did not injest any sand. Have you checked your air filters and inlet manifold yet?

Might be worth doing a leak down test on the motor. If its knackered, better to lodge as part of this claim, than possibly having it refuted later on .
 
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