Fording Australian River With A 4×4? You Better See This To Believe It
Australians are known for taking their vehicles to the very limits of what’s capable – and this is just another great example of it. A Toyota 4×4 rigged with a fording kit allows it to almost completely submerge into the water and still keep kicking. Now, granted, steering is a bit of an issue as you’ll likely see, but it’s still incredible that this thing can go up to its cabin in deep water and keep churning.
The reason this works is because the engine is able to basically use a snorkel to feed it air. It’s not really practical in terms of day-to-day purposes but similar technology has been employed to allow military vehicles like the HMMWV to cross deep, treacherous waters and stay afloat. The idea is pretty simple but its application can be a bit rough if you find out you have an unexpected breach somewhere along the line. Flooding the engine compartment is truly only recommended if you’ve done a bit of testing beforehand and are pretty certain you can get that vehicle back out again. From the looks of this, there were more than a few vehicles on standby if this Toyota 4×4 dropped into the drink and stayed there.
Selecting The Right Fording Equipment
When you’re getting ready to take your 4×4 out into the water, there’s a couple key components you’ll need in order to ensure your rig survives the experience. Let’s start at the top. (more…)
Water and oil don’t mix. Where you have transmission fluid, differentials, or even just regular motor oil in your engine, make sure to inspect your fluids after getting out of t
Water and oil don’t mix. Where you have transmission fluid, differentials, or even just regular motor oil in your engine, make sure to inspect your fluids after getting out of the deep water. There is a maximum recommended fording depth usually with most fording kits but let’s be honest – no one follows those guidelines. It’s up to you to ensure that your SUV or truck doesn’t have river or pond water contaminating your fluids.
• ECU Insulation
You’re going to want to insulate your electrical control unit (ECU) from any exposure to water or moisture. If your ECU goes down, you’re literally dead in the water. So, get a good ECU protection box or sealant to ensure not the slightest drop of water gets in. After you cross, inspect the ECU to ensure that there isn’t any moisture or residual water trying to get in.
• Sealed Axles And Differentials
The next big step is going to be your axles. For 4x4s, there are differentials that could potentially be exposed to water, mud, and grit. You’re going to want to get good sealed axles made for the climate you’re heading into. Something that doesn’t get tore up when you decide to jam on the gas is also a good idea. Bits of sand, clay, mud, and rock can all get stuck in the axles and grind them up real good.
• Necessary Cleaning Equipment
Essential equipment you should always have on hand (in addition to the equipment you installed for fording water) is WD-40 and dry rags and towels. This will help you degrease and dry as appropriate once your 4×4 makes it to the other side of the drink.
• Breather Tubes
You need to raise the air intake point for your differentials (front and rear as applicable), transfer case, and transmission. You want these guys high up in the sky and out of harms way. The top and rear of the engine compartment wall is good and protected behind the firewall of the engine compartment is even better. Because your front end is going to be heavier than your back, plan on how that will work with your vehicle before heading into the drink. Make sure those tubes are above that water line at all costs.
• Wading Plug
Your drivetrain is your vehicle’s life. That’s why it’s important to install a wading plug into the drive bell housing and clutch bell housing as appropriate. During normal vehicle operation, you won’t need either of these plugs but certainly don’t forget them before you plan on fording a river or stream.
• Air Intake Snorkel
Your engine needs air in order to ignite fuel. An air intake snorkel that is properly sealed will ensure your engine continues to receive the air it needs and doesn’t take in any water. If water DOES get into the engine compartment, it can cause severe damage to the engine – often requiring a complete overhaul. It’s far cheaper and more convenient to install an intake snorkel that is well above the water line.
NOTE: If you get to the other side and find your truck or SUV stalls, do NOT immediately try to restart it. Get the engine compartment out of the water line (at a bare minimum) and proceed to inspect for any water within the engine itself. If there is any water, you may have caught the big problem before it can really put a hurting on your engine. Stop and let it dry out completely before proceeding.
And lastly, always check to make sure your electrically operating fans have an external control to turn them off. In the event you’re in deep water, you do not want those fans blowing water right into the engine compartment. Turning them off may cause heat build-up, but the alternative is having them break apart in the radiator.
With all things, consult a mechanic that has actual experience installing a complete fording equipment setup from start to finish. He’ll likely know a bit more based upon your model of truck or SUV and be able to recommend additions to keep your vehicle fording strong through the depths.