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WALK ACROSS ALL WATER CROSSINGS.
Use a ‘wading stick’ to check depth.

BASED ON STANDARD LAND ROVER HEIGHT

440mm (18 inches) Beginning of door sill.
600mm (24 inches) Fit radiator blind from this point on. Remove fan belt.
700mm (28 inches) Top of your tyres.
1000mm (40 inches) Top of bonnet/hood.

• If a river is flowing strongly enough to make you lose your footing, it will be dangerous for your vehicle. Do not drive across anything that cannot be walked easily!
If necessary, remove underwater boulders that are in your path. Use markers if need be. If sticks cannot be driven into the river bottom, anchor some drink cans, plastic bottles or blown up plastic bags with rocks. Use string to mark out the line.
• Check entry and exit points. Is it too steep, will the bank support the weight of the vehicle?
• Do not cross at stream deltas (where they empty into a lake) as they are often clogged deep with mud, and it’s a wider area to cross. In cases other than deltas, wider is often better because it indicates a shallower section, but deltas are to be avoided!
• Let the vehicle cool down if possible before crossing water. Cold water can warp hot disc brake rotors or destroy the catalytic converter if it gets sucked into the exhaust pipe.
• Attach winch cable and chain to recovery points.
• Select low range, 2nd gear, diff lock and locker engaged.
• Do not change gears once in the water.
• Maintain a steady forward pace, enough to create a nice bow wave. If it appears that a bow wave cannot be maintained due to lost forward motion, immediately switch off the engine if possible before the engine stops.
• If the vehicle stalls, remove the coil lead from the distributor. Crank with the ignition key if you can be sure that no water has ingressed into a cylinder. This is usually safe to try if the water you are crossing is not deep.

IF THE WATER IS VERY DEEP:-
• Roll down the windows.
• Tape up all doors, holes in floor, air vents, holes in firewall etc.
• Prepare recovery gear before crossing.
• Spray spark plug leads, distributor leads, coil etc, with WD40. Plastic gloves inverted over the distributor will help keep it dry.
• Water proof the air filter by covering it with pantyhose.
• Remove the fan belt. The alternator and starter motor are generally not affected by water.
• Fit exhaust pipe extension. A length of well fitting hose will do.
• Fit a tarpaulin blind and attach with bungee straps or string etc.
* Check the angle of the bank on the opposite side.
• Check the angle into the water; if too steep, the engine could flood.
• Do not change gears once in the water.
• Maintain a steady forward pace, enough to create a nice bow wave. If it appears that a bow wave cannot be maintained due to lost forward motion, immediately switch off the engine if possible before the engine stops.
• Do not attempt to re-start the motor until it has been positively confirmed without doubt that water has not entered the cylinders. If the air filter is damp, or the water level has been higher than the exhaust and inlet valves, it must be assumed that there is water in the combustion chamber. Also look for any sand, silt or other debris, which can cause more damage than the water.
• If you are on your own and the current is really strong, and the vehicle is in danger of being swept away, set up a wire cable/rope across the river attached to trees or other anchors at each end (Doesn’t work if your rope/cable is too short).
Attach the front and rear of the vehicle to the cable by means of 2 short
cables with eyes at both ends and ‘D’ shackles. With the vehicle on the
down stream side of the main cable…drive across.


If there is another vehicle in your party, set up a cable through a snatch block attached to a tree on the far bank and another vehicle which can back up and tow you across the river. The second vehicle can then be just pulled across.

• If the riverbed is deep and rocky, select low range 1st, diff locks and lockers (if fitted) engaged.
• A ‘BLIND’ is of no use as you cannot get a bow wave up, as your forward travel will be too slow.

• Do not change gears once in the water (Manual transmissions). Water will get into the clutch and although still in gear, the vehicle will not move. If the selected gear is too high and stalling is inevitable, then a gear change must be attempted.

• Be aware that in deep water the vehicle will partially float. This greatly decreases the traction and may make it difficult or impossible to climb up a muddy or rocky bank on the far side. You may need to open the door and let water into the vehicle to decrease the buoyancy.

• If you have to get across deep water in an emergency, you may increase your chances if you drive across backwards (fit an extension hose over the exhaust pipe). The wake created tends to keep water out of the engine compartment. Drive as fast as possible and do not lift your foot off the gas, or water could flood the exhaust pipe and stall the engine. Make sure that the departure angle will let you get up the bank.

SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:-

• Moving water (slow) with an unbroken surface may be deep and more likely to have a silt bottom. Lower tyre pressures if need be.

• Moving water (fast) with a rippling or broken surface usually denotes a stony bottom. Usually shallower, clear of silt and easier to cross.

• Rivers fed by melting snow will be at their lowest and slowest level at daybreak.

• In general it is best to cross where the river is wide and has adequate current. Adequate current means that the bottom is not as deep as where there is less current, and it also means that the bottom is more solid. (If the river is a consistent 4 meters across, and one area has a faster current than another area, then that area with the faster current is shallower).
The current carries with it mud and sand that it puts down where the current drops and that makes the bottom soft and dangerous.
Never cross in a place that you cannot wade.
If the place is unknown, wade into the water. If the flow is fast, tie a rope around yourself and have someone hold the other end or to a tree or vehicle if alone.
Once in the water drive diagonally across if possible, that way the current will help push the vehicle and no bow wave will be generated.
If driving straight across the rear end will be pushed faster. Be prepared to turn the front wheels in the direction of the “slide”. If this does not solve the problem, accelerate slightly. If the vehicle continues to turn, facing upstream, put it into reverse and try to reverse up to either bank. Going forward is not an option in such circumstances.

If stalled in the water, do not try to restart as there could be water in the engine.
Do not get out on the current side. The current could drag you under the vehicle.
Once on dry land, open the air cleaner. If there is water in it chances are that water is in the engine. Remove the air filter and all the spark plugs and start the engine. If it doesn’t turn or has an awful sound an expensive repair bill is in the offing.
 

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Disco said:
• Attach winch cable and chain to recovery points.

,,,,,,,
• Prepare recovery gear before crossing.
Great post! These points critical---also for mud---always make sure your strap, D-ring, etc are attached to your recovery points on one end, & to a high spot on your vehicle (like the roof, rack, etc) before hand or you may find yourself doing a little diving to get 'em attached. Nothing like seeing a guy rolling around in the mud trying to hook up a D-ring to his recovery point after getting stuck to make you appreciate the importance of pre-planning!
 

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SCSL said:
Great post! These points critical---also for mud---always make sure your strap, D-ring, etc are attached to your recovery points on one end, & to a high spot on your vehicle (like the roof, rack, etc) before hand or you may find yourself doing a little diving to get 'em attached. Nothing like seeing a guy rolling around in the mud trying to hook up a D-ring to his recovery point after getting stuck to make you appreciate the importance of pre-planning!
Don't want to look like this guy!
 
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