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Water Crossing.

[picture of Toyota Landcruiser in water crossing, jpg]

The first two 4x4 pictures were taken on a closed course and it was known that vehicles could get through the water crossing without special preparation.

Enter the water crossing at a moderate speed. This Toyota LandCruiser (right) is going far too fast. It risks drowning the electrical system, drawing water into the air-intake, and making a general mess of the car. (As it happens, the LandCruiser kept going.)

bent conrod
- Tony Corke
The results can be very expensive if water is drawn into the engine air-intake. Water is incompressible so a cylinder full of water will stop the engine dead and probably bend, or break, a connecting rod (left) or worse. 4wd.sofcom.com/4WD.html
[picture of Nissan Patrol in water, jpg]
This Nissan Patrol (above) is travelling at an appropriate speed. It has entered the water at a moderate speed, will accelerate gently building a bow-wave and get through without any drama.

Always check the depth of water at an unknown crossing. Clear water can be very deceptive - it is often deeper than it appears. Muddy water can hide rocks and other obstacles as well as being just plain deep.

[water crossing]

If the depth of water is more than bumper height, it may be necessary to make special preparations:
Slacken or remove the fan-belt to prevent the fan (a) throwing water around the engine compartment or (b) "propellering" itself through the radiator.
Fit wading plugs to the housings for clutch, cam-shaft toothed belts, etc. as appropriate to your vehicle.
Fit snorkels to the air-intake and/or exhaust pipe if necessary.
Drape a tarpaulin over the radiator grille and tie it securely in place to reduce the amount of water entering the engine compartment.
Prepare recovery gear so that is easy to access - e.g. ready the winch of an accompanying vehicle, place a hand-winch and rope ready for use, identify strong trees or other potential winching points nearby, at least unlock all the doors!
Move bedding and other gear to as high a position as possible.

On a lake shore: This hole was not there before! We tried to pull it out with a 1 ton dual wheel 4x4. After several broken chains, 2 backhoes, 2 "removed" bumbers, and a few hundred dollars had a beach in my driveway. I guess it's time for a winch - rev knairb sage net --> Brian Kelley, Texas, [11/'00]

Be very cautious of fast-flowing water which can push the vehicle down stream, possibly into deeper water, or can erode sand and gravel from around its wheels if the vehicle halts.

Enter the water steadily and accelerate. Do not change gear or momentum will be lost and any water that has entered the clutch housing will cause clutch-slip. Keep engine revs up as back-pressure from a submerged exhaust pipe can stall an idling engine.

After a water crossing, be aware that brakes, particularly drum brakes, will be ineffective until they are dried out. This is very important where a steep climb follows immediately after a water crossing - will the brakes hold the vehicle if it is forced to stop? As soon as possible, check oil (axles, swivels, gearbox, transfer-case, engine, etc) for contamination by water and change if necessary.

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