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Hyaenidae

Wading depth?

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Watching videos of the cars wading through flooded roads on SLTV (Sri Lanka Traffic Violations) page had me thinking: is there a way to determine the wading depth of the car by yourself if the manufacturer hasn't mentioned it anywhere?

A google search told me that the cars which have an air intake through the wheel well are most vulnerable - do you guys know any cars popular in SL that have the air intake positioned like so?

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6 hours ago, Hyaenidae said:

A google search told me that the cars which have an air intake through the wheel well are most vulnerable - do you guys know any cars popular in SL that have the air intake positioned like so?

Pretty sure the Civic EG8 has the air intake behind the front bumper on the right hand side. Maybe EG8 owners can confirm. The Subaru Impreza also has the airbox just behind the right hand side headlight and the snorkel might be routed in front of the wheel well, but I'm not sure. 

I guess it's not just the air intake nowadays. Hybrids and electric cars usually have the battery at the lowest point of the car. While batteries are supposed to be waterproof, there's a higher chance of messing it up if you wade through even the shallowest water. 

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Well...in most sedans/coupes/hatches the air intake is at a low position either on the side of the fender or behind the grill or the bumper...so the intake vent itself is quite low. Then you also have to consider the electronics and the sensors that are in place. There was a time were Toyota stuck its ECUs in the engine compartment mounted on the side of the wheel well (was not the most sensible or convenient..). True the Hybrid batteries are there but they are nicely snugged inside the cabin...however there could be other components, connectors, etc...that go through the floor board of the vehicle in isolated ducts.

During a safe driver training course at work we were told that a quick and general measure on wading depth is that the water should not be deeper than the side steps/"the lower lip of the door" of the car. This also roughly translates to about 1/3rd of the wheel (but that changes from vehicle to vehicle). At the time, this made sense to me. Haven't given much thought about it now. If you think about it there are vehicles where the alternator and other components are also around this height or above (so with this measure you make sure those components do not get drowned out in case the vehicle does not create a bow in front to keep the water out of the engine bay). Also, if the door seals, etc are worn out anything deeper than the above would mean the water start seeping in to the cabin. Also, if the vehicle has to drive in water deeper than than  a large part of its bumper, the front of the vehicle acts as a wall and creates a lot of resistance through the water making it difficult to cut through it (so we are talking about high rev in low gear for max torque to bare get through it). Also, because new cars are some what sealed, when the body of water passing under the vehicle gets greater the car does tend to get bouyant making the vehicle lose contact with the ground surface. The latter two I see in Hanoi every time it rains....there are all these Camrys and Kia i10 taxis that try to get through flooded roads and some of them just simply slowly drift off to the center lane separator and smashes on it.  

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Cars even most of the current SUVs are not designed to wade. They have complex electronics/ sensors that could damage. I have a Euro SUV and was strongly advised by the agent not to get into water as it could damage sensors and will not be covered by the warranty. Up to about the body height should be ok i guess which gives me about 6 inches on the highest suspension setting.

Any car I will not take a chance over 4 inches as once water hit your floor pan there is risk of floating especially on flowing water / waves created by other vehicles.

This is irrespective of where the intake is (now mostly at the bonnet level). You will have to check on your vehicle where it is, Nissan FB 14 had it way down at bumper level and many owners got in to trouble trying to wade.

If you want to wade get a Land Rover (any model), Land Cruiser, or a pickup all of them are designed to go in water 60-90 cm depending on the vehicle. Some of them even have precautionary measures to safeguard the engine from getting water through the intake.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Davy said:

Pretty sure the Civic EG8 has the air intake behind the front bumper on the right hand side.

1

 

3 hours ago, iRage said:

Well...in most sedans/coupes/hatches the air intake is at a low position either on the side of the fender or behind the grill or the bumper...

 

 

 

1 hour ago, kush said:

Cars even most of the current SUVs are not designed to wade.

 

Thanks everyone.

So it seems the safest thing to do is to avoid wading through water whenever possible :D

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As I know outlander PHEV has it's hybrid battery pack pretty low to the ground and outside of the body. Not advisable for any kind of wading I guess.

mitsubishi-outlander-phev-battery-locati

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3 hours ago, kush said:

Cars even most of the current SUVs are not designed to wade. They have complex electronics/ sensors that could damage. I have a Euro SUV and was strongly advised by the agent not to get into water as it could damage sensors and will not be covered by the warranty. Up to about the body height should be ok i guess which gives me about 6 inches on the highest suspension setting.

Any car I will not take a chance over 4 inches as once water hit your floor pan there is risk of floating especially on flowing water / waves created by other vehicles.

This is irrespective of where the intake is (now mostly at the bonnet level). You will have to check on your vehicle where it is, Nissan FB 14 had it way down at bumper level and many owners got in to trouble trying to wade.

If you want to wade get a Land Rover (any model), Land Cruiser, or a pickup all of them are designed to go in water 60-90 cm depending on the vehicle. Some of them even have precautionary measures to safeguard the engine from getting water through the intake.

 

 

Both our suvs Mitsubishi can wade up to the intake level, which I have tried,  placed in near the slam panel in the bonnet, both have factory gearbox and diff breathers near the tail lights and the ECUs placed behind the battery above the intake level, even the airbox has a thick seal one way valve to let any water out incase of a splash

All this factory, local Unit#d Mot#rs spec , not touched by me, 

I'm not sure of the factory wading depth though but the supervisors at the unimo agent said headlight level wading  is safe enough,  

Edited by tiv

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1 hour ago, hrm said:

As I know outlander PHEV has it's hybrid battery pack pretty low to the ground and outside of the body. Not advisable for any kind of wading I guess.

It's exactly like this on Teslas. Apparently they do it this way so that it's easy to service or replace the battery if the need arises without having to strip out the entire interior of the car. 

The downside is that they are susceptible to water damage although they are in a sealed and water tight chamber. From what I have seen so far on YouTube, most water damage happens at the back of the car where the circuitry is. 

Edited by Davy
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This is what the owners manual says although the wading depth is given at 300mm there are so many caveats 

Better to avoid

Driving through water

  • Pay attention to the ground clearance of the vehicle.

danger.pngFast-flowing Deep Water

  • Before driving through water, check the water depth, water speed and the condition of the surface beneath it.
    The water must not be more than 12 in. (300 mm) deep.
  • Make sure that the door sills and rubber seals are clean before starting to drive.
  • Do not drive through deep or rapidly flowing water.
    Deep or rapidly flowing water, such as mountain streams or flooded roads, can cause the vehicle to deviate from the desired path and roll over.
  • Avoid producing bow waves by driving at an appropriate speed.
  • Never open the doors when driving through water.

warning.pngImpaired Braking / Soiling
Soiling can impair the braking action.

  • Check and clean the brakes if they are soiled.

warning.pngImpaired Steering - Driving in Water
Danger of steering assistance failing during a long trip in water if the drive belt slips.

  • If steering assistance fails, more effort will be required to steer.

notice.png
Risk of damage to the engine and accessories if water gets into the vehicle.

  • Before driving through water, check the water depth, water speed and the condition of the surface beneath it.
    The water must not be more than 12 in. (300 mm) deep.
  • Make sure that the door sills and rubber seals are clean before starting to drive.
  • Do not drive through deep or rapidly flowing water.
    Deep or rapidly flowing water, such as mountain streams or flooded roads, can cause the vehicle to deviate from the desired path and roll over.
  • Avoid producing bow waves by driving at an appropriate speed.

notice.png
Danger of damage to electrical systems.

  • Avoid driving through salt water.

 

 

  • Switch off-road mode on.
  • Switch off the air conditioning compressor.
  • Switch off the headlights.
  • Do not over-rev the engine.
  • Do not perform manual gear changes when driving, and try to avoid stopping.
    Moving off in water can be difficult due to the high resistance and the loose surface involved.
  • Start driving through water at a shallow place at walking speed.
  • After checking the body of water, take the shortest route through it.
  • Never drive into water with momentum. The resulting bow wave could damage the engine and accessories.
  • Adapt your driving style to unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Drive through the water slowly and at a constant speed.
  • Never turn around when crossing a body of water.
  • If it is not possible to cross a body of water, the vehicle must be backed out in reverse gear.

info_icon.pngInformation
The alternator can fail if the vehicle is driven through water for an extended period.

 

Edited by kush
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In the Hiace 200 series the air filter intake is placed behind the driver side head lamp, while the air filter unit is placed behind the driver side fog lamp, one of my friend told the air filter is sealed with a gasket. However, I wouldnt take any risks

 

 

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3 hours ago, Magnum said:

In the Hiace 200 series the air filter intake is placed behind the driver side head lamp, while the air filter unit is placed behind the driver side fog lamp, one of my friend told the air filter is sealed with a gasket. However, I wouldnt take any risks

 

 

Uhh...what does the gasket seal got to do with anything ? Water can get in through the air vent and still sog up the air filter which will eventually start dripping water in to the intake

 

8 hours ago, tiv said:

 

I'm not sure of the factory wading depth though but the supervisors at the unimo agent said headlight level wading  is safe enough,  

Well...the Pajero Sport I believe is rated at around 700mm. Considering the total hieght of Pajero Sport is about 1800mm I suppose 700mm comes in at about the upper edge of the number plate bracket. The thing is...although the vehicle is rated at that, it does not mean that the vehicle can actually go through it. For starters manufacturers over sell some of these specs...for example the weight of a car makes a difference as well...so how come a heavier diesel power Fortuner is rated the same as a much lighter Petrol powered one ? Same for the Prado, Pajero and PSport ...so please do not just put your car in to headlight deep water just because the book or the tech told you it can. Going through water safely does not just mean making sure your electronics and engine stays free of sucking in water. In 2011 in East Timor, we had a fully loaded L200 just drift away down a flooded road....the vehicle stopped because it went and got stuck on some rocks.

Like Kush also had mentioned...as the water level rises; the upward pressure on the underneath of the body can make the vehicle float or loose footing on the ground. Also...once the water hits the front face of the car it acts as a restrictive wall...so now your engine needs a lot of torque to push through it and you need to move with sufficient momentum that the front acts like a bow of a boat and creates a a decent wake in order to stop the water flooding out the engine compartment.  At such depths if the engine stops because it simply doesn't have the torque to push through...then the water is going to flood out the exhaust system as well. Most of the Petrol Pajero Sports and Fortuners do not have enough torque to push through (the V6s yes...but 95% of the Petrols are the puny I4s).  Which is why it is safer to just not cross anything more than the ground clearance (door bottom ledge)...in a SUV this would pretty much be at about half the wheel height...which is quite a lot. If you are going to cross anything deeper than that...well..you need to be prepared for it....

 

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1 hour ago, iRage said:

Uhh...what does the gasket seal got to do with anything ? Water can get in through the air vent and still sog up the air filter which will eventually start dripping water in to the intake

 

Well...the Pajero Sport I believe is rated at around 700mm. Considering the total hieght of Pajero Sport is about 1800mm I suppose 700mm comes in at about the upper edge of the number plate bracket. The thing is...although the vehicle is rated at that, it does not mean that the vehicle can actually go through it. For starters manufacturers over sell some of these specs...for example the weight of a car makes a difference as well...so how come a heavier diesel power Fortuner is rated the same as a much lighter Petrol powered one ? Same for the Prado, Pajero and PSport ...so please do not just put your car in to headlight deep water just because the book or the tech told you it can. Going through water safely does not just mean making sure your electronics and engine stays free of sucking in water. In 2011 in East Timor, we had a fully loaded L200 just drift away down a flooded road....the vehicle stopped because it went and got stuck on some rocks.

Like Kush also had mentioned...as the water level rises; the upward pressure on the underneath of the body can make the vehicle float or loose footing on the ground. Also...once the water hits the front face of the car it acts as a restrictive wall...so now your engine needs a lot of torque to push through it and you need to move with sufficient momentum that the front acts like a bow of a boat and creates a a decent wake in order to stop the water flooding out the engine compartment.  At such depths if the engine stops because it simply doesn't have the torque to push through...then the water is going to flood out the exhaust system as well. Most of the Petrol Pajero Sports and Fortuners do not have enough torque to push through (the V6s yes...but 95% of the Petrols are the puny I4s).  Which is why it is safer to just not cross anything more than the ground clearance (door bottom ledge)...in a SUV this would pretty much be at about half the wheel height...which is quite a lot. If you are going to cross anything deeper than that...well..you need to be prepared for it....

 

I've not ventured in the floods, actually I dont even live in that territory, more or less I've waded both cars in safaris, block 2 crossing etc, had no issues, 

Just the ritualistic post wading wash, undercarriage wash and checking diffs and gearbox for water ingress, 

Never had issues with torque either, maybe as they are diesel, never died out either, 

Besides my primal use for SUVs are not to go to the supermarket thereby i believe in using them for what they were built for, I'm not interested in making them into fully off road junkies but within stock parameters I enjoy them, 

Besides if anything does go wrong, I'd be happy to fix it after enjoying the whole thing, 

Back in the day i was a teenager when my uncles used to submerge defenders to steering wheel level, jump on the bonnet, pull off the fan belt and drive through rivers, 

Wading Not something for noobs to attempt though, at any cost 

 

Edited by tiv
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7 hours ago, iRage said:

Uhh...what does the gasket seal got to do with anything ? Water can get in through the air vent and still sog up the air filter which will eventually start dripping water in to the intake

 

What he meant was that the water wouldn't go directly through the air filter(which sits at the bottom level of bumper) without reaching the air vent(which is higher up behind the headlamp)

Edited by Magnum

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6 hours ago, tiv said:

I've not ventured in the floods, actually I dont even live in that territory, more or less I've waded both cars in safaris, block 2 crossing etc, had no issues, 

Just the ritualistic post wading wash, undercarriage wash and checking diffs and gearbox for water ingress, 

Never had issues with torque either, maybe as they are diesel, never died out either, 

Besides my primal use for SUVs are not to go to the supermarket thereby i believe in using them for what they were built for, I'm not interested in making them into fully off road junkies but within stock parameters I enjoy them, 

Besides if anything does go wrong, I'd be happy to fix it after enjoying the whole thing, 

Back in the day i was a teenager when my uncles used to submerge defenders to steering wheel level, jump on the bonnet, pull off the fan belt and drive through rivers, 

Wading Not something for noobs to attempt though, at any cost 

 

Agreed, I have seen videos of people wading through deep water without giving any thought. I dont have much knowledge on off-roading, but from what I have seen I can tell that people who do this check the depth of the water before going through as it may be too late once you are in the water. 

Another thing is if you have a manual transmission you need to make sure what gear you want to be in before going into the water. This is because when you engage the clutch the water can seep into a manual transmission.  Auto boxes wont have this problem as they are better sealed.

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8 hours ago, tiv said:

I've not ventured in the floods, actually I dont even live in that territory, more or less I've waded both cars in safaris, block 2 crossing etc, had no issues, 

Just the ritualistic post wading wash, undercarriage wash and checking diffs and gearbox for water ingress, 

Never had issues with torque either, maybe as they are diesel, never died out either, 

Besides my primal use for SUVs are not to go to the supermarket thereby i believe in using them for what they were built for, I'm not interested in making them into fully off road junkies but within stock parameters I enjoy them, 

Besides if anything does go wrong, I'd be happy to fix it after enjoying the whole thing, 

Back in the day i was a teenager when my uncles used to submerge defenders to steering wheel level, jump on the bonnet, pull off the fan belt and drive through rivers, 

Wading Not something for noobs to attempt though, at any cost 

 

Totally agree those Monteros are meant for that, not for the school run. As long as you know what you're doing and the risks involved.

However must say that these capabilities do come in handy these days.

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