Deep water crossings with a V8 90 - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old May 17th, 2016, 06:51 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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Deep water crossings with a V8 90

Let me start by acknowledging that it's a bad idea and I'm aware it's not a diesel. This question is mainly about what I should do if I get stuck and is basically a worst case scenario

With that said, a few friends and family are planning to run the Fordyce trail in Cali next month. The water crossings on that trail can be excessive depending on the dam release. I will be checking the flow rates and won't go if its too high but the point of this question is to help me gauge what's too high to take the Defender through and I was hoping for feedback and past experiences from other members. I do not have a snorkel on the truck (kinda pointless with gas) and I've generally never done any deep crossings, except for one time in Colorado, that made me worry. That one time in question, I had a bow wave against the bottom of the windshield for probably 5 seconds before the truck crawled out of the water. The usual wet distributor issues and stumbling immediately followed but the air filter was dry.

Anyhow, this time I plan on removing the fan, raising the breather lines, putting the ECU in a ziplock, rubber glove on the ignition amp, etc. but I'm worried about sucking water into the motor if I were to get stuck in the middle. Is the idea to shut the engine off as fast as possible if you loose forward momentum? Does the motor just stop or should I expect a bent valve or something. Anyone had this happen in the past? How deep were you when it sucked in water?

With 2 inches of lift and 33s I think it's inevitable water is coming over the hood so I'm trying to best prepare.
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  #2  
Old May 17th, 2016, 07:19 PM
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Raised intake system is cheap insurance. Get a tube on silicone grease, wipe some on each spark plug (on the porcelain bit) some on the dizzy cap. It all helps.

An electric cooling fan would be good also, have a switch to turn it off.

Have fun, stay calm and rover on.
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  #3  
Old May 17th, 2016, 07:25 PM
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Here is a cheap home made snorkel
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  #4  
Old May 17th, 2016, 08:01 PM
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Stephan Laputka
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I've read that a snorkel is hard to find and rovers north is your best bet if they even have them. Aren't they like 500 bucks too?
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Old May 17th, 2016, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
Here is a cheap home made snorkel
Then there is this...... Home Depot plumbing section snorkel.

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  #6  
Old May 17th, 2016, 08:22 PM
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I've read that a snorkel is hard to find and rovers north is your best bet if they even have them. Aren't they like 500 bucks too?
SP Landrovers LTD- Land rover Body Panel and Door Specialists
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  #7  
Old May 17th, 2016, 08:51 PM
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A raised intake is not for water crossing. It is to reduce intake of dust from vehicles in front of you.
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  #8  
Old May 17th, 2016, 09:29 PM
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A raised intake is not for water crossing. It is to reduce intake of dust from vehicles in front of you.
^^^This!^^^
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  #9  
Old May 17th, 2016, 09:42 PM
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It can also be for water crossings when done correctly.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sflash868 View Post
Does the motor just stop or should I expect a bent valve or something. Anyone had this happen in the past? How deep were you when it sucked in water?
My understanding is that water in engine = bent rod.

I've seen jefhuf, cgalpin, and nathwind (probably others like uncle doug, rdavis, etc.) take Lake Christy. Their trucks seem to be fine, hopefully they have more insight. From what I've read on the internet, the distributor is the major ingress point?

That said, Fordyce Trail water crossings on Youtube look pretty insane. It's not just water depth. Bow wave seems secondary to water piling way up on fast flows. It seems like rocks in the water cause trucks to tip like crazy. Nothing like that on the East Coast that I've seen...

The Alaska guys seem to just winch/snatch trucks through crazy water. Seems safer to me.
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  #11  
Old May 17th, 2016, 10:27 PM
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my ignition coil always stalls me out, ive always admired the coil boot on the 95 RRC's
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  #12  
Old May 17th, 2016, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rover4x4 View Post
my ignition coil always stalls me out, ive always admired the coil boot on the 95 RRC's
I bought that wire and have had it on my defenders. I wonder if it is still available from Land Rover.
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  #13  
Old May 18th, 2016, 12:55 AM
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Stephan Laputka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
My understanding is that water in engine = bent rod.

I've seen jefhuf, cgalpin, and nathwind (probably others like uncle doug, rdavis, etc.) take Lake Christy. Their trucks seem to be fine, hopefully they have more insight. From what I've read on the internet, the distributor is the major ingress point?

That said, Fordyce Trail water crossings on Youtube look pretty insane. It's not just water depth. Bow wave seems secondary to water piling way up on fast flows. It seems like rocks in the water cause trucks to tip like crazy. Nothing like that on the East Coast that I've seen...

The Alaska guys seem to just winch/snatch trucks through crazy water. Seems safer to me.


So what you're saying here is that you want to drive xcountry and join the trail run?
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  #14  
Old May 18th, 2016, 06:28 AM
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If you are gonna be traveling with somebody and gonna be crossing deep fast moving water hook a tether line to the truck in front or behind you. That way in the event you stall you can recover the truck.
Point the truck up stream to compensate for drift of the truck that is caused by the river.
Try and plan a route that will allow you to avoid the larger rocks in the stream as they can cause you problems.

When all else fails watch some Camel Trophy and Russian big trucks crossing rivers.
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  #15  
Old May 18th, 2016, 08:28 AM
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These options don't cover NAS D90s. For the NAS trucks, we're pretty well limited to the driver side wingtop Mantec design and its knockoff(s).
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  #16  
Old May 18th, 2016, 08:39 AM
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I used a rubber boot for the distributer..... I think it was from a ford bronco site,,, worked well
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  #17  
Old May 18th, 2016, 09:39 AM
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I forget if you have V-belts or serpentine belts...either way, usually when water hits the fan, that is when everything goes to crap. Either way, loosening a V-belt seems to help a lot and keep water from going all over the place. And by "all over the place", I mean on your distributor and coil.

I've gone to town with dielectric grease...seems to not really matter. I'd say, get some gasket material and try to make some simple barriers. I did that with my coil, just like a "tube" around the coil with the wires coming out of the end. Helped some and was cheap. Prevents water from hitting everything.

I've heard of guys using rubber gloves, etc on distributors, but I've never done it. The Dielectric grease between the rotor cap and distributor seems to sometimes work...I guess...sure.

I think covering the radiator will help, or I've heard of it helping. Either way from videos, it seems like a cover over an ARB bull bar seems to help keep water out of the engine compartment, assuming you are moving along nicely.

Raise air intakes aren't typically water proof. I guess you could water proof one. Really, unless you are getting water over the hood, I wouldn't worry about it. Go look on the Lucky8 youtube channel. They flooded out a white D2 a couple years ago. It was not pretty.

If you get water over the hood, and she stalls out, DO NOT RESTART. However if you are only up to like, the bottom of the doors or something and she stalls out, then re-crank and see what happens. Seems like half the time, it'll light right back up. If you think you've flooded the engine, then pull the plugs and shoot all the crap out of it. Done that many times with ATVs. Oh and have the correct spark plug socket. That makes life a lot easier.

Compressed air brings lots of win if you get the ignition system wet. Better than spraying with WD40...I mean, you CAN just hose everything down with WD40. I've done it. But it always makes a giant mess. Compressed air will help keep extra mess to a minimum. From my experience, oil-soaked mud/crap on the side of an engine block is no fun to scrape off. Also if your intake hits the water, compressed air is great for blowing out the intake. However DO NOT blow out the MAF sensor. If possible, put it on a rock in sunlight and let drip dry. Also you can get MAF sensor cleaner. I think NAPA has their in-house brand on sale right now. I just bought a can a few weeks ago.

Oh and on that note, bring an extra set of ignition wires. If you start yanking crap off, you might be like me, and kill a wire in the process. I just did that the other week. So I pulled a random wire I had out of the back of the truck, installed it, good to go. Of course now I'm pissed because my 1 year old cheapo wires are broke. I mean, lets be honest, it is my fault, but I am still pissy about it.

USGS Water Data for the Nation

Your new website to obsess over. I'll use an example: There is a local place I want to go wheeling that has some pretty nasty river crossings. Yes. River crossings. Not creek or puddle. Samuel L. Jackson M-Fer style river crossings. So I looked up the river and I've been looking at depth data. Also I've found a few youtube videos and looked at the date, and backlogged the relative depth. Now I've got a good understanding of what to expect. I know, hella nerd but I understand that I need to hit the trail in July/August as that is when the water is at its seasonal lowest.

So if you have photos/videos of the trail you've found, you can look at the water info, and then compare to recent data to give you a general understanding of what you are about to go into. Obviously if you've seen a video of a truck getting nearly washed away, and then your data for the day of your trip is 2x what they had, then you know you about to get an ass whoopin.

Afterwards, check fluids. If you've got contaminated fluids, consider having a shop do the initial oil change, as contaminated gear oil is super hella nasty. BTW, nitrile gloves are your friend. After the change, drive like, 500 miles or something, then change again. Should be good to go after that.

This is all I know.
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  #18  
Old May 18th, 2016, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sflash868 View Post
So what you're saying here is that you want to drive xcountry and join the trail run?
Hahah! My truck wouldn't make it a few feet let alone 3000 miles. I've temporarily been relegated to keyboard commando status, but I would love to witness the whole thing and take photos
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  #19  
Old May 18th, 2016, 09:49 AM
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I killed a d1 gems truck in that water hole @ Rausch Creek. Of course it was right @ dusk. The truck climbed up out of the basin and died on top. Charles Galpin and Jeff Huff said open the hood and proceeded to pull the ecu all apart.
I had on board air and Charles blew it all dry and the truck ran great. The muddy water line on that truck was right @ window level.
My favorite Lucky 8 episode was when Justin flopped the white 90 in that red pit of dispair @ Uwharrie.
I was there for that. I think Wolf took some good pictures and posted them here.
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  #20  
Old May 18th, 2016, 09:59 AM
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My understanding is there are four main 'electrical' failures with Water crossings..
  • Water ingress into the Distributor itself, causing misfire or stall..
  • Moisture condensing inside the Distributor when it is rapidly cooled by water around it (I've heard that using Liberal amounts of WD-40 inside the Distributor cap can help prevent moisture condensing on the components)
  • Coil Shorts
  • Relay and ECU failures from Water ingress

Preventing as much water ingress into the engine compartment as possible is a good first step (You've already mentioned removing the Engine fan, or you could change out to an Electric you can shut off, as another poster suggested)..

Adding a barrier is another good step to limit water ingress under the hood, whether it be a Radiator Muff, or a plastic tarp..

And of course the old bow wave, a benefit that is lost if you loss forward momentum, so pick your lines carefully (again, I believe this has already been mentioned)

I agree with other posters that first line of defense should be lots of Dielectric Grease, used liberally...

This is a little over the top, but I've also heard of people 'pressurizing' the distributor with a small positive pressure (2-3 psi), to prevent water ingress, but I don't have any links on that one, sorry..

Of course extending all breathers, and paying attention to waterproofing relays, Electrical connectors and the ECU are also of great importance. Land Rover Moved the ECU around on each Model year of the NAS Defenders. From the Passenger Footwell on the '94, to the Passenger seat box on the '95, to under the hood on the '97..

Fuel pump connectors should probably be liberally coated in Dielectric grease as well?

You mentioned you have a '95, I think it has the best ECU location, but sill susceptible to water ingress, particularly if you come to a stop in deep enough water. Many people put the ECU in a Tupperware style container as an added line of defense. I suppose you could 'pressurize' that in the same manner as the Distributor if you wanted..

I've always wondered about water proofing the under seat box with those spray on rubber coatings like flex seal or the like. If you want to get extreme, you could raise everything up in the compartment, and put a small auto bilge pump in the bottom..

Another note I don't think anyone has mentioned, be very careful if using any silicon, or silicon rtv type sealants, as most give of fumes when curing that will degrade wiring very quickly..

Some interesting options:

Range Rover Discovery V8 Waterproofing Kit Silicone Distributor & Coil Boots- BA2840_1


Waterproof Coil Cover (8G0727)

Some more Reading:

Waterproofing Your Vehicle

Waterproofing your vehicle

WATERPROOF YOUR 4X4 RIG
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