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June 17, 2021
If you think you can completely submerge your vehicle underwater without any protection, think again. Building a rig that can run while being completely submerged underwater can be challenging, but not impossible. Crossing water while off-roading can be fun and exhilarating, but it can also be dangerous and costly to your vehicle. If you plan on off-roading frequently and want to be prepared, take note of a few suggested waterproofing modifications:
·Venting (Diff breathers, Air intake, Snorkel)
· Sealing Electrical, Engine Controls, Lights, Battery
· Winch ready
If you completely submerged your engine underwater, without the proper modifications your vehicle will stop running almost immediately. The reason any vehicle (off-road or not) stalls in water, is because the water was too deep too cross. Our factory vehicles are not amphibious vehicles. When too much water is introduced into your motor's cylinders it results in hydrostatic lock, or “hydrolock,” an engine state in which the pistons freeze and the engine stalls.
Move the diff breathers higher up the chassis.
Aftermarket breather kit’s main job is to raise your breather above the factory levels (usually up much higher somewhere on your firewall) Installing an extended breather kit can prevent (but does not guarantee) water from being sucked into the housing. While it is difficult for water to enter your vehicles differential, it is possible! Especially in off-road vehicles that may travel through water crossings that are at differential level. (About one foot from the ground) If the differential is submerged in water, the rapid temperature change may cause the breather tube to let water into the differential. This will corrupt the oil, and if left unchecked will cause increased friction and will leave your gears damaged. If you’re looking to travel into deeper waters, we highly recommend a snorkel. Snorkels are installed onto the air intake, creating a seal to keep water out of the engine while allowing the air intake to keep taking in air. Not sucking down a gutful of water into the engine of your crowned jewel is the main reason many of us run snorkels. (it’s not just for the street cred.)
Be aware of any electronic components
These consist of engine control computers and motors, lights, fuse-boxes, batteries and many other components. These items MUST be sealed!! These components are placed in locations that are opened to damage. Some of them may already be coated or sealed from engulfing water. But you should do your research on the best method for protecting your specific vehicle.
Have your winch
Ready to use if your engine dies mid-crossing. Winch remotes will not work if a vehicle is submerged underwater. If you do not have a winch, hopefully you have a recovery or tow strap and have it accessible above the water line. To learn more about winches, click here.
Don’t just take a peek at the creek, use these essential components that are overlooked frequently in the off-road community. Allow your rig to take a breath of fresh air, and drive in!
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