Prepping an AWD "Softroader" For Water Crossing

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 21:09
ThreadID: 91602 Views:4797 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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We are taking a Mitsubishi ASX diesel from Sydney to Kununurra via Kalgoorlie, then back down via the coast & back's similar to an Outlander, but diesel + 6speed box. No low ratio, but 1st gear is pretty low.

My 4WD experience has been in 4WD Izuzu fire tankers.

We're looking at the Pentecost River crossings in/out of El Questro.

Now obviously there will need to be some mods to prevent water getting in the various mechanical bits (not to mention the passenger compartment) but I was wanting to stop short of a Snorkel! The handbook says wading depth to height of wheel hubs, but with which mods can we extend that to say 60cm?

Air intake starts behind the grill at 75cm and goes up to filter on top of motor.
Will have to put longer breathing tubes on diffs, and have a tarp for the grille.
Silicone grease on the door seals for extra waterproofing.

Any suggestions would be most welcome; after all, snorkels haven't always been around, and most 4WDs were once petrol powered!
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Reply By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 21:13

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 21:13
Are you going there in the wet season?
AnswerID: 476616

Reply By: Firechief - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 22:17

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 22:17
We're leaving Sydney last week of April, so the rivers should be starting to go down. Booked at El Questro 12/5.

We've previously done a similar trip in a Subaru Forester, but no water crossings were involved Syd-Bourke-Mt Isa-Tennant Creek-Kakadu-Darwin-Kununurra-Uluru- Adelaide-Broken Hill-Sydney 13000km in 33 days many other stops in between.

AnswerID: 476624

Reply By: Ross M - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 22:19

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 22:19
If you are extending the diff breathers then also do the gearbox as well and run all of them to the same high place using a couple of plastic T fittings with a small motor fuel filter on the end to stop any stuff blocking it.

If crossing water make sure you stop, cool down the turbo and only go across when the turbo is cool. Hot turbos can crack if suddenly cooled with water.

The air intake is something to watch and have planned because any bow wave produced will mound up to bonnet height and above unless you use a wave preventer eg tarp over and under all the front, to stop water going into the air intake.

When making water crossings if water finds its way to the fan blades they can act like a flexible propellor and bend forward while rotating and gouge the radiator core to pieces. Best to loosen the belt so no drive to fan is present while going through water to avoid this happening.
After crossings if it is gritty water, drive in reverse a few wheel turns to take as much grit away from the leading adges of the disc brake pads. Just helps shed some of the crap so it doesn't shorten the life of your brakes and discs.

If you really want to help your bearings if you have drive shaft at both ends use some Inox Lanolin spray onto where the outer cv joints meet the drive hub. This can help repel and slow down the ingress on water and fine waterborn grit to the seal areas of these parts.

Looks like you have been thinking about this issue anyway.

Others will have more things I am sure.
All the best for the trip.

Ross M
AnswerID: 476625

Reply By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 23:08

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 23:08
Kalgoorlie to Kununurra? Which way are you going?
AnswerID: 476633

Follow Up By: Firechief - Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 12:18

Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 12:18
We are heading north via the inland route to Port Hedland, Broome and then the hwy to Kununurra.
FollowupID: 751784

Reply By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 23:46

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 23:46
Re: Access to El Questro

I feel that you think that you have to cross the Pentecost River to get to El Questro. The crossing is on the Gibb River Road and to the west of the El Questro turn off. If coming from Kununurra or Wyndham you do not have to cross the river to get "in/out of El Questro". There are one or two minor creeks to cross on the entrance road to El Questro. I would drive the Kingswood through them if they are like they were a couple of years back. Only a foot or two deep.

Have you got any money back arrangement with El Questro if their creeks are closed? Worth thinking about.

AnswerID: 476638

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 10:41

Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 10:41
"Have you got any money back arrangement with El Questro "

Would be very surprised if el-chequebooko agreed to that...
FollowupID: 751773

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 10:50

Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 10:50
Me too. But just in case I thought that I would mention it.

We had a money back thing with Home Valley but we also took out travel insurance as well. The insurance was mainly to cover the quite expensive cruise. Check out the 8 day one at: Lower Kimberley Adventure 7 nights - Broome/Sale River/Broome

"Ya gotta do it"

FollowupID: 751775

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 22:02

Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 22:02
In the old days, I travelled through flooded rivers in a Corolla with water up to the door handles. Had the fan belt off and a good blind over the front, but water still got into the alternator and made the light come on for a while.
Have thought about the same thing with the Xtrails we owned.

We also did El Questro in April 1993 and there was a bit of depth to the river crossings but the troopie we had then was fine. Theres been a lot of rain again this year, so you're wise to ask the question.

You've had a good think about it which is a great start. With regard to the air intake, you need to protect it at all costs. You need to design a blind before you go - one that will extend under the chassis a little way as well as over the bonnet. Need something a fair bit stronger than a blue tarp.
Door seals are pretty good on Mitsubishis - but the water might get in thru drain holes on the bottom of doors - check them out and tape over if needed.

With regard to diffs and gearbox breathers, check yours out and extend them if its straightforward. But on a near new Jap vehicle, the chances of sucking water past the seals is pretty low.

I'd still be worried about clearance and getting hung up on a rock with a softroader, so there's a lot of value in walking the crossings first. From memory the crossing coming into El Questro was a bit rocky back then, but the Pentecost Crossing on GRR may have a few crocs around :-))

Enjoy your trip
AnswerID: 476706

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 22:27

Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 22:27
Also, I'm guessing your vehicle has electric fans. If the water temp goes up because of the blind over the radiator, then the fans might turn on. If in doubt, unplug the fans for the crossing.
FollowupID: 751858

Follow Up By: Firechief - Friday, Feb 03, 2012 at 06:21

Friday, Feb 03, 2012 at 06:21
Yes electric fans due to east-west engine, Good thought on door drain holes, and as for crocs, don't mind freshies but salties would be a different matter! Which one(s) are found there? Your Tiguan would be a similar vehicle to the ASX.
FollowupID: 751877

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