Series Land Rover (Australia & NZ)
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April 2011 Homepage
(Australia & NZ)

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Series Land Rover Prepared for Wading

The golden rule about wading is to be sure that the water is only as deep as you think it is. You also need to know the whereabouts of any submerged potholes. So, much as you may not wish to, you have to avoid playing Russian Roulette and get your feet wet by wading across yourself first. Good idea to use a long stick for probing the bottom surface, especially in muddy water. Make a note of the exact route you walked and stick to that when driving across in your Series Land Rover. Check the maximum depth of water on your stick and relate this to the vehicle when you return to it.

Water-depths upto mid-wheel need little vehicle preparation, other than checking that the axle breather valves are not stuck open. This ensures water isn't sucked into the axles as the axle casing suddenly cools. The clutch housing drain hole should have the drain plug fitted to prevent water and sludge entering the clutch mechanism. Driving slowly and steadily in low second gear should get you through without any problem.

For water depth upto the top of the wheel rim you need to take more care. Series Land Rover petrol engines are particularly prone to stalling when the electrics get wet. You can reduce this potential pitfall by spraying the electrics with WD40 just prior to entering the water, or applying grease along the HT leads. A rubber glove with 4 finger ends cut out can cover the distributor quite well.
If the water may contact the bottom of the mechanical cooling fan blades then you could loosen the fan belt temporarily for the wading so the fan is not going to throw water over the electrics. Alternatively, blanking off the front of the radiator with cloth or plastic will encourage a deeper bow wave and leave the fan dry.

With the vehicle immersed upto the top of the wheel rims you can still keep
water from swamping the engine by driving slowly and steadily to create a bow wave just infront of bumper. Watch the wave carefully and adjust your speed to keep the wave consistent. The amount of water present in the wave is the same amount that is absent from around the engine.

After emerging from the water, the clutch drain plug will need removing. The brake linings will need drying out by applying light pressure on the brake pedal with your left foot. If you are lucky, then water will not have entered past the swivel housing oil seals and turned the oil into a mayonaise mixture.

Diesel engined Series Land Rovers can wade deeper than their petrol counterparts but the same precautions apply and all seals and joints from the fuel tank through to the engine must be good. If there is no snorkel fitted then the height of the air intake is critical in your decision making. If a snorkel is fitted then it MUST be airtight.

Finally, if the water is flowing across your path, bare in mind that as depth approaches the top of the wheel rims, sideways force on the vehcile significantly increases and iy may push you off your planed course.





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