Help with a drowned landcruiser

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 21:33
ThreadID: 135509 Views:8638 Replies:17 FollowUps:25
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Gday all.

Today my vdj76 has encountered some rather extreme issues and as a consequence i am seeking to draw on EO's wealth of knowledge:)

It started when trying a deep puddle at a place called telephone lane ( some perth members may know)
But i ended up getting stuck with water about halfway up the doors (not much made it inside )
After being pulled out by a passing by legend i left it on and let it drain before taking to the road to make sure all was well.
After returning to tbe track however about 200mtrs in the battery light came on (before hitting any real puddles)
After coming on i noticed the voltage drop very slowly and stay abit above 9v probably 10 or 11v
About 700 mtrs down the track (its very difficult so this took about an hour after getting stuck a bit and taking panel damage :)....)
However it stalled and then woulnt start at this point so i called a mate to give us a jump
After starting i had no instruments except coolant temp and the other warning lights,
We drove home with temperamental indicators and my phone as the speedo at this point the engine lacked power severely untill the turbo kicked in then it felt just like normal however lower in the rpm range it was a terrible slug
We cleaned it then made our way to get a late lunch and whilst waiting in the carpark the engine died we got a tow and tried to start it that way however i refuses to start and no forms of electronics respond except the trusty warning lights and the windows give winding a shot aswell. Long story short the cruza is dead and im on dire need of any assistance in diagnosing and ultimately fixing the problem.

I do however have some thoughts of my own

First thing is i am wondering if maybe the fuel pump couldnt run as the batterys were so low?

Or maybe it had someting to do with the injectors ?

Also is this all caused by the alternator or could other water also be causing these issues ?.

Sorry if this is long winded but im just wanting to explain as best i can

Cheers jet

Ps. Thanks heaps in advance all help is appreciated

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Reply By: Gary T7 - Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 22:08

Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 22:08
At a guess, sounds like low voltage to computer systems.Computer won't run on low voltages they will shut down..Water in connectors or relays some where shorting voltages .Check battery voltages then starter motor voltage when cranking to start . Then check for battery voltages at the fuse and relay panel under the bonnet.
Its just a process of elimination .but start at the battery end first and work your way through circuits

AnswerID: 613473

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 23:07

Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 23:07
Thanks heaps gary ill start the long task tomorrow ;)
Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883958

Reply By: cookie1 - Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 22:11

Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 22:11
I'm reasonably sure that the alternators sit low on these so you may have dirty water / mud in there affecting the charge, try spraying it out with clean water then WD40 and let dry for a while, if not you may be up for a new alternator
AnswerID: 613474

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 23:09

Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 23:09
Yeah they sure do sit low which does ingest mud maybe ill get some alternator brushes
Thanks jet
FollowupID: 883959

Follow Up By: RMD - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:57

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:57
You will not need a new alternator, nothng inside is damaged, onlythe brushes stuck in their holgers. at worst a disassembly of the alt and a clean should make it good again.
In the event water has ingressed into the bearings they may need replacement but no new alt is required.
FollowupID: 883963

Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 22:11

Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 22:11
Charge the battery fully and see if most of the issues disappear. May just have a dead alternator
AnswerID: 613475

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 23:10

Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 at 23:10
Thanks ivan ill give it a charge overnight
Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883960

Reply By: qldcamper - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 06:35

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 06:35
Alternators don't like being full of mud, jams the brushes in their holder.
AnswerID: 613476

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:22

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:22
Seems i found out the hard way

Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883961

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:32

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:32
Some good advice above re alternator and possible cause of issues you're having.
It takes time to track things down after such a day out.Just a a lot of investigative trial and error 76.

Ok, my little input, how much electronics are on this rig ?
It seems to me like there could be some sort of limp mode happening.

With the dash functions going out, it sounds to me like an issue I had once coming home from a desert trip, down one of our SA highway-like tracks, plenty of fine sticky mud.
Long (long) story short, I touched my brake approaching a big wet patch on one road, an immediately lost a lot of functions / power, dash elecs, 4WD status indicators and ability to select, speedo haywire, fuel gauges, OBD2 port gauge functions, very weird.
A wire weighted down had come off the trailer plug, the stop wire, and it shorted on the metal of most likely the mounting point for the plug.

I was very much in limp mode.
So in its wisdom, Ford decided to hook the TCM (transmission control module) up into the Horn / Brake light fuse, and not label it, I might add !!
That gone, it was really upsetting the vehicle functions for the near 1000km or so drive home :/

If only I had cause to use the horn and not find it working, or if I had someone behind me call up and say the brake lights are out, I could have found the 10c fuse blown and got all this back to normal in about 30 seconds.
Instead of no options but for an 880km epic drive home in limp mode !!

Without trying to preach you about the past, maybe educate you a little for the future . . .

Many in the 4WD fraternity just love a bit of mud play, don't they ?

Got to admit the pulse starts going when you see it ahead, the anticipation of what's under the surface (to be checked), and that usually it requires a bit of momentum, fast pedal and steering wheel skill.

But mud (especially fine silty mud, and it's always present) is the enemy of ALL electrical and moving mechanical parts.
It gets in and is very abrasive, wearing down anything that moves in the driveline, suspension etc.

Backs of wheels get coated, balances thrown out until cleaned, brake lines etc can get caked, and if mud dries on them suspension movement has actually broken these on 4WDs in the past.

Radiators, intercoolers, oil coolers etc are affected too, it gets into cooling fins and is very good at blocking airflow, and you know what that can lead to on a drive home.
They really need total removing to clean properly if mud dries in there.

I've always done everything I can to avoid / drive around mud, obviously there are exceptions like not degrading tracks, or testing rig / new tyres, or a driver learning how to drive mud for an inevitable encounter.
But if possible avoid it like the plaque in future, unless you like a lot of hard work and / or $.

All the best with your issues, go check fuses if applicable (do it anyway), and let us all know the issue(s) you discover in the end.
AnswerID: 613477

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 08:29

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 08:29
Yeah mud sure does wreck havoc with all car components even the paint
Thanks for your help les
Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883964

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:46

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:46
How much of the electrics in the engine compartment went under? If there were any then the cost of repairs could write the vehicle off. Is your insurance cover? Instead of stuffing around getting advice from a forum I'd be taking it to a Toyota agent.
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AnswerID: 613479

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 08:35

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 08:35
The water was halfway up the doors so im guessing it wasnt quite to the bottom of the air box ill try post a pic
Thanks for your help peter
Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883965

Follow Up By: gbc - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:17

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:17
Water ingress over the door sills is a statutory write-off in QLD - call your insurer.
FollowupID: 883973

Follow Up By: William P - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:38

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:38
Only if you claim - that vehicle just needs an alternator rebuild and it will be fine.
FollowupID: 883974

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 13:48

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 13:48
Claiming is a possibility however i dont believe its neccesary due to the short period of time underwater and the fact it seems to be rather easily curable.
Also im not sure if i want to re-do the whole purchase and modify thing

Cheers Jet
FollowupID: 883975

Follow Up By: gbc - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 14:01

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 14:01
I'd suggest then dropping all your fluids, pulling apart your drum brakes and servicing pronto. 'Little' boggings have a tendency to blow out over time and diffs/gearboxes/transfer cases have a wonderful ability to suck water.
FollowupID: 883977

Follow Up By: William P - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 14:10

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 14:10
Jet - if you claim on insurance, as mentioned it will most likely be an automatic write-off so I would carefully consider that option. I guess it depends on what state you are in.

Sort the alternator, check wheel bearings and diff fluid and you will be back on the road.

Edit - I see you are near Perth so check the write-off rules in WA.
FollowupID: 883978

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 15:31

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 15:31
Thanks william i dont think i will claim on insurance but all the fluids will be drained by tomorrow
Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883980

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 20:13

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 20:13
The Statutory Write Off rules apply pretty evenly across the whole of Australia.

Salt water ingress above door sill level, for any length of time, is adequate reason to declare the vehicle a Statutory Write Off.

Fresh water ingress to dashboard level for 48 hrs is defined as a Statutory Write Off.

If you sell the drowned vehicle later, and someone then finds out that the vehicle has been drowned, you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands, for failing to reveal it has been under water - particularly if you trade it in to a car yard.

Car yards will make you sign a declaration that your trade-in hasn't been under water.
If you sign that declaration and the car yard has the new buyer come back with a complaint about the vehicle having been under water, they will refund the purchase money to the new buyer, and sue you for their loss.

You could make an insurance claim for the repairs - but the insurance company will weigh up whether the vehicle is worth repairing, and will want to know the full details associated with the claim.
If the area you drove into, is not classed as a public road, they may deny your claim.

The RACQ has an article in the blue links (PDF files), on the page link below, that give general advice about what you should look at, to repair a flood-damaged vehicle, if it is repairable.

Flood damaged vehicles

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 883986

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 14:43

Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 14:43
Lucky it wasnt under the fresh water for more than a min or 2

Cheers jet
FollowupID: 884110

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 19:22

Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 19:22
Jet - Remember, even so-called "fresh" water in puddles and potholes is full of minerals and these can cause rust. Gravel contains ferrous iron which is quite reactive and causes corrosion.

All vehicles today use high-tensile steel in their panels, and high-tensile steels are much more prone to corrosion than the low-tensile steels used in older vehicle bodies.

Add in the fact that most vehicles today use a lot of fancy sound-deadening materials, and a lot of this is in firewalls and under the floor mats.
These sound-deadening materials are generally highly absorbent and they can hold litres of water.

If any water got into the footwells of the 'Cruiser at all, I would advise that you take a look under the floor mats to see if there's any moisture there or corrosion starting.
Toyota floorpans are as thin as they come, 1.00mm and even less - and what is worse, they often put one thin sheet on top of another in the floorplans.
If water gets in, it gets between the metal sheets and corrosion then starts.

In the February floods this year, I got caught with the Missus' Camry at a floodway in the wheatbelt.
It was a floodway I knew well, and it was running 20cms deep, according to the roadside depth gauge.
I drove the Camry through it - then found the gauge was 40cm out!! They'd positioned the bottom of the gauge 40cm from the ground! The water was 60cm deep!!

Luckily, the Camry plowed through it with only a slight hesitation, and I kicked myself for not physically checking the depth. I had about 150kgs of freight in the boot, so that held the Camry down!

I thought I'd escaped the floodway episode without any problems - but when we got home, I found some water in a rear footwell!

Investigation showed all the footwells had water in them - and so I had to pull the front seats out, pull up all the carpet and underlay, and drain all the collected water, and dry all the carpet and underlay out!

I got about 40-50 litres of water out of the Camry, and it was made worse by large hollows in each footwell, that had huge sound-deadening pads fitted into them.

These pads are made of some weird material with a lot of internal gaps, that holds water better than any sponge I've ever seen!
I must have spent a couple of hours getting all the water out of these pads!

It took me two days, a hair dryer and reversed vacuum cleaner, to get the entire interior of the car dry to my satisfaction. Luckily, it was around 40 degrees when I was doing it, so it all dried out very satisfactorily.
Lesson learnt, though - always walk the depth, even when you know the road!

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 884120

Reply By: RMD - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:51

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:51
It is obvious the alernator has been underwater.
The brushes will have stuff, glued in with grit and mud.
The cleaning of the vehicle may be nice but a hose into the alternator may clean the brushes and allow contact on the slip rings once more. Unless the alt works, all the symptoms you have, will be experienced.
AnswerID: 613480

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 08:38

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 08:38
Im not sure how orthodox my methods are however i did get under the car with the carwash blaster ( hope it can take that on the alternator) and did manage to get some dash instruments for a very short period of time (as in it was only spotted by a mate in the car).
Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883966

Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 09:48

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 09:48
Unless you have charged the battetty aswell, simply washing out the alternator won't change much....and I doubt you have cleaned out the alternator real well yet by doing that either.
FollowupID: 883969

Reply By: Zippo - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 11:10

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 11:10
What the others said - alternator disabled by mud/grit/sh!t in/under the brushes.

My youngest son had that exact issue after dunking his Sierra in some mudhole along the Mundaring powerlines. Tried flushing it and cleaning with all sorts of sprays, nothing worked.Was about to buy a replacement alternator. On my direction (remote control!) he stripped it down and cleaned the brush assembly thoroughly. Problem solved.

Low-mounted alternators are a definite weakness in vehicles otherwise capable of a decent swim.
AnswerID: 613486

Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:59

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:59
all you need to do is log into LCOOL
there is a sticky under the on how to clean out the alternator bushes
was put up by a mate of mine years ago after he played in the mud.
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AnswerID: 613488

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 13:50

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 13:50
Ok ill take a looks thanks howard

Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883976

Reply By: COLIN D4 - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 16:34

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 16:34
I saw this happen at mt Dare 78 series into deep muddy water over the bonnet , same thing happened ,electrical problems all over the place , hosed it out completely stayed for a day to let it dry , sprayed it with WD40 ,all good again .

saw them 3 days later , still going well .
AnswerID: 613491

Reply By: Gronk - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 17:32

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 17:32
It might be just me, but I wouldn't be happy with just a hose out and wd40 of the alt, I'd be spending the time to pull it apart and clean it properly.
This is why I avoid mud and deep water like the plague ....only to be tackled if I have to, as opposed to just having a play !!
AnswerID: 613493

Reply By: Gramps - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 21:25

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 21:25
If you're going to regularly play in the mud, bite the bullet and install a fully sealed water cooled unit and be done with it.

AnswerID: 613501

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 21:28

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 21:28
Would love to however the cost is a very hard pill to swallow :)
I know it will be better in the long run but its almost two lockers worth :)

Cheers jet
FollowupID: 883988

Follow Up By: Malcom M - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 07:19

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 07:19
cheap considering the reduction in hassle that the mounting position is going to give you over the coming years.
If I bought that model or a 200, it would be my first mod.
FollowupID: 883995

Reply By: Lowan - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 17:18

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 17:18
The alternator is in the middle of the V of the V8 engine and when submerged the engine holds muddy water and silt for the alternator to try and work in. After submerging it needed to be dryed out to stop the alternator from ingesting mud. The advice is correct you need to get the alternator out and clean it. A big job on the Toyota V8 diesel. Hopefully, lesson learned to keep away rom deep crossings.


AnswerID: 613521

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 19:06

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 19:06
You're mixing the alternator up with the starter motor, Lowan. The starter is in the valley, but the alternator is set so low on the driver's side that it could knock the top off a deep corrugation. Hence the need to keep out of mud.........if possible.


Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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FollowupID: 884009

Reply By: Old 55 - Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 at 13:30

Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 at 13:30
Another trick is to hose out and if the alternator if still not working just give the side/rear a few gentle taps with a hammer to loosen the brushes. Sometimes a bit of grit gets stuck between the brush and holder holding the brush out. Worked on my mates 76 series. Battery voltage would appear to be your trouble and if the alternator is not working recharge the battery, fix the alternator and all should be good. Good luck with it.
AnswerID: 613540

Reply By: 76lifted - Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 at 18:29

Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 at 18:29
Thanks to all who offered their advice it turned out to be the alternator that was causing tje headaches found roughly the entire of telephone lane in there :) plus about 3 tonne of grass and weeds ;) charged the battery and started right up with no loss of power anymore

Thanks again

Cheers jet
AnswerID: 613594

Follow Up By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 at 19:12

Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 at 19:12
I'm glad you have it sorted out.
Thanks for posting the solution.
I had thought it was the alternator but others posted their thoughts before I had a chance.
Always planning the next trip. VKS-737 mobile 1619

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FollowupID: 884090

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 at 19:16

Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 at 19:16
Yeah thanks william
Always hate it when people ask advice then never let the people who helped know what became of their advice

Cheers jet
FollowupID: 884091

Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 12:51

Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 12:51
76lifted - Don't forget, that after having been through deep water, there are other areas of the vehicle that can be affected, depending on the depth and temperatures.

Drivetrain components that are at high working temperatures, when plunged into cold water, cool rapidly and develop a vacuum, and can possibly suck water in past seals.
It would be nice to think that all seals are 100% effective - but they aren't.

The gearbox and diff can ingest muddy water this way, particularly if the breathers are blocked, or if the depth of water is higher than the breathers.
Most 4WD's have breather extensions, but even these can go under, develop holes in the hoses, or get pinched.

It's a good idea to check transmission and diff for water ingestion after deep water excursions, and this can be found by oil that appears milky, or severe condensation inside the gearbox or diff housings.
You can buy cheap "borescope inspection" cameras off eBay that are useful for checking inside housings for ingested water.

Front wheel bearings are notorious for developing rust on races or taper rollers after having been in deep water - particularly if the vehicle isn't driven at high speed for a reasonable period afterwards, to warm up the bearings again.

Brake discs also get a bad rap, for getting warped when plunged in deep, cold water, when they are hot.
You only find this out after you have been in deep water, and you go to use the brakes, and get a "pumping" effect back through the brake pedal. The only cure for that is new disc rotors.

To avoid brake disc warping, you need to ensure your brakes are cool before entering deep, cold water.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 613615

Follow Up By: 76lifted - Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 14:37

Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 14:37
Thanks ron
Somehow it seems to drown 500kms before its due for a service so its currently getting all oils changed and other components inspected by S-techninc which are very good guys as far a garages go and haven't excommunicated me for the plethora of mud under the car. they did it last time and no complaints i have diff breathers but i like to get the oils changed because no car runs aswell as one with fresh oil and i love a maintained clean car
However the mud has ruined the t-case rear seal and resulted in very little oil in there so it turns out that that was one very expensive saturdays fun

Cheers jet
FollowupID: 884109

Reply By: rumpig - Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 20:46

Friday, Sep 08, 2017 at 20:46
Maybe consider hiring a dehumidifier to put in the vehicle, to help dry it out more if water got in the cabin
AnswerID: 613624

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