Hey guys, a quick question. Every time I read about someone taking their jeep "water fording" there typically follows a post with all kinds of issues. pink/red fluid in the driveway, possible water intake through the "breather" lines etc... then follows the harsh rhetoric from a few people. "Why'd you take your jeep through the water" and that type of thing. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Jeep advertise 30 inches for the wrangler. So, to my question, at what depth do "breather" lines have issues and is there any other things that need to be taken into consideration prior to water fording activities? Thanks for the help guys!
I can answer a little bit of this, but I'm no expert and like you, I've been wondering about a "complete" list without the harsh responses. Of course everything about water fording is at your own risk but it would be nice to know that you're fully prepared for it.
The breather lines are little hoses coming out of each axle, transfer case and transmission. They are there to allow for the change in pressure inside each unit when they heat up during use. There is a really good thread on how to modify these to your needs. I'll look for it in a bit.
Another consideration is that if you get any water splashed up in your air intake as you are driving you can get water into your engine and cause serious problems. I've read that the pentastar is more well designed in this regard than the 3.8 was but I have no supporting knowledge of this. Your owners manual, I believe, says you can ford water at low speeds up to 30". But I believe on the Jeep website it clarifies that a little better to say that you can cross 30 inches at speeds up to 5 mph and "up to" 10 inches of water at speeds higer than 5 mph. I might have gotten those sources mixed up. I believe this is their way of addressing the possibility of water splashing into the intake at higher speeds, but again I am no expert and have not tried it. I have read people that have claimed to get water logged in only six inches of water. A snorkel should help address that.
My fear beyond those two points is the electronics... under the power seats, door connections, etc. But I have not found any real good answer on those besides "don't go in water". I've wondered about liquid tape around all of the connections n junk but I'm not sure how well that would go over.
Hopefully some experts can help out with the rest.
Regarding the snorkel issue, AEV has this to say in their FAQs.
What water depth can I safely cross using the AEV Snorkel?
Jeep's official testing and marketing materials state that the JK can slowly traverse water up to 30-inches deep... While the snorkel will provide plenty of dry fresh air for the engine, there are other things (electronics, axles, transmission, etc.) that will need to be protected from water if you intend to use the Jeep for deeper-than-recommended water crossings.
Combining that with what I posted earlier about the water depth recommendations on Jeep's website, I take that to mean that even though they'd never recommend going deeper that the manufacturer recommendations because of all the other issues, with a snorkel you could feel safer about going up to 30" at speeds slightly greater than the recommended 5 mph without having to worry about the splashing. I think. But that's my interpretation, not necessarily theirs.
Oh and one more thing to remember. If you have a manual transmission, never push in the clutch when you are submerged. If you do, you will open up the flywheel and allow water, and whatever is in the water, to get up in your clutch and destroy it with a quickness.
If you happen to have a Rubicon you're a little bit protected thanks to the low crawl ratio in that if you are underwater and absolutely have to shift, into reverse for example, if you are in 4L you can kill the engine to shift and the start again without having to depress the clutch.
Again, this is only what I have read. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
Thanks for the very helpful reply's LameStory! So if you stay under 5 mph and under the 30in or so then there should be no issue theoretically, correct? I wonder what depth that the breather lines become an issue. surely, it's higher then 30in or else Jeep would run into issues. One more question, I've been reading posts where some people are saying that when you go "fording" that you should change all fluids, is that if water submerges "key" pieces or only if you go above the "30" in. I'll probably not take my Rubi in depths of "30" while in stock form and not until it's paid down a bit. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can. Thanks everyone!
No problem. Unfortunately I can't really answer your other questions other than to say yes it *should* mean that, since that is what Jeep claims. But all of the anecdotal claims to the contrary have me a bit paranoid. As far as the breather line height and changing the fluids, I was hoping some other experts would chime in with real knowledge about that since I'm really only guessing here. But the way I take it is that they should keep you safe up to that 30" inches, but any higher than that, or if you have reason to believe water might have gotten near the ends of the hoses then you would want to change the fluids. Better to spend ~$100 on some fluids vs. $1000s on new parts. I also think with the breather extenders, you wouldn't need to worry about that. And since I'm not sure about the exact length of the stock breathers I think it's probably just best to do the patch job before you chance it. I myself plan on doing the accordion style ones mentioned in that other thread, but I don't know how soon I'll get to it.
If you do get any more solid info, be sure to drop it in this thread as well since I too am looking for any info I can absorb.
Good point on taking the better safe than sorry route. I'll keep looking into it as well man and together hopefully we'll come up with solid answers. I'm really surprised that nobody else has chimed in at all as well. Thanks for the help though.
I have not had to drive through deep water in my JK or even my tj a few years ago. What I can tell you about the diff and gear box breathers is this. They are designed to release pressure as the oil heats up, as previously stated. When you go through water the oil temp changes causing a vacuum and closing the breather cap. This is suppose to stop water getting in. Some times it works other times it doesn't. Once the oil has cooled water can enter as the breather cap is loose fitting. That's why you use breather extensions.
I am planing a big trip next year up to the tip of OZ. I will be doing some deep water fording. Up to 3 feet and over in places. I am in the near future fitting a snorkel for the trip. But I still need to worry about electrical components. Because the remoteness I really need to be sure of what depth is safe to ford
Went wheeling with our brother-in-law back in January at JW Corbett. Day went great! As we were driving out, there was a puddle and everyone was splashing through it. We went through it with no issue. BIL waited till we were clear so Mike could take a picture of him going through (his first time offroad), and lo and behold as soon as he hit that puddle, he hydro locked.
Wasn't going overly fast, just a bad splash that went down the wrong way. Towed him to the dealership where $1000 deductible later they replaced the entire engine.
Moral of the story: if you're going to ford water go slower than slow if you're not properly equipped or be prepared to pay for the pleasure.