Do you want the Road Tax system to change? Do you have thoughts on the potential changes to the Road Tax system? | No thanks
Floods. - David W
Two things recently have made me think about flood driving recently. The Land Rover I'm working on has been driven in water for far too long and the effects on the drivetrain are clear to see. Also was chatting to a chap who needed to have "flood capability" and we were wondering what was the best option.

Went round the yard with a tape and confirmed what is obvious I suppose, conventional vehicles and floods shouldn't mix. People do confuse the issues with driving through floods. There is a huge difference between what any vehicle might do in a dire emergency and what will be good for it long term. I have two land Rovers at present, one is ex-farm and 40yrs old the other 20yrs old and ex-off road enthusiast owned.

Just doing the wheel bearings and brakes on both. The off-road trialling one is absolutely wrecked in every respect when you look at the drivetrain and brakes, far too much time spent in deep muddy water. The farm track one thought is excellent because they were relying on it so they never went looking for trouble.

With a normal hatchback car in 11" of water the wheel bearings, lower suspension balljoints and brakes (ABS bits as well!) are going under. Just a few inches more and you are risking water ingress to the engine, gearbox and many more expensive bits. Even my Xantia on high will start to drag the bottom of the running gear under 18" of water.

The Land Rover will go in 14" of water before the hubs/brakes are wet, 20" sees the crank pulley dipping in water and spraying it around the engine compartment, 22" sees the first danger of water getting in the engine via the main seals and the starter is going under from 24". A diesel will continue running into very deep water with correct driving methods. The air intake on the old series models is very sensibly placed at 44" so close to that might be a lucky maximum in an emergency. The water would then be to your shirt inside and after leaving the floods you should stop the thing and drain/re-fill the engine/gearbox/transfer box/axles x2/steering swivels to remove the danger of water in those various oils. The latter part is something people rarely do but it is in the Land Rover books.

With my tractor (ignoring the front hubs because they are cheap, run at low speed and there are no front brakes to seize) you can go into 26" of water before it comes to the bottom of the engine, 33" sees it with the fan pulley throwing water about and the starter also getting wet. Again in a dire emergency this will go in 50" before the engine air intake is near water...very impressive. Put a simple three ton trailer on the back and you have a better emergency rescue vehicle than most purpose built machines.

Oddly because the Fens are flat they don't suffer the same flash flooding as river valley situations but when the water does cover a road it does so for a long way. There is a location near here on a rural commuter route where a long run in flood water is needed several times a year to avoid an annoying long detour. It is amazing the risks you see taken with normal cars just to "get through". With a medium TD hatchback there is a real chance of sucking up enough water to trash the engine, never mind the long term effects on all the running gear.

David
Re: Floods. - Honest John
To David W: This is a story. You should submit it to the editor at motoring.desk@telegraph.co.uk and see if you can earn some money out of it.

HJ
Re: Floods. - David W
HJ,

I *give* away all my writing to the Citroen Car Club at present, as well as the little bits you read here now and again.

Appreciate the comment but it wasn't double edged in that you thought it too long for a post?

If so I can take it!

David
Re: Floods. - Cliff Pope
I used to be quite keen on Land-Rovers, and owned a Series II and then a V8 series III. I always loved the advice in the handbook on 'deep wading', where recommended service intervals were measured in hours. My favourite was the advice to grease the propshaft joints every half hour in wet sandy conditions.

There was also a screwed plug which normally lived in a bracket by the flywheel housing. Before entering deep water this was removed and screwed into the clutch housing drain hole. It was important not to forget about it in normal use, or the bell-housing would slowly fill with oil seeping past the rear crankcase seal.

I have read somewhere that what has put paid to all this fun on modern cars is the vulnerability of the catalytic converter. If a hot cat is suddenly cooled by immersion in water it can crack the ceramic. Otherwise I suppose one could let it cool down first,
and maybe fit a temporary bit of plastic duct on the air intake to stop it sucking up water.
Re: Floods. - john woollard
In his younger days David W. did a fair bit of testing to destruction - mostly to my possessions!
David's Dad
Re: Floods. - ladas are cool
i was wondering for a while if you were related to david, and now i know :-)
 

Ask Honest John Right column

Value my car