Water crossings

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 21:01
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I've done my share of sand and rocks and some water too , but is there a rule of thumb about crossing fast flowing creeks ? If I can walk it can I cross it with a well set up 'cruiser - I know - opinions only !!
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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 21:43

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 21:43
Hi George, Simple answer is if you cant walk it you cant drive it, but saying that it's the speed of the water not the depth of water that counts. I've just had to do a creek crossing just a couple of weeks ago and it was 40 meters across with the main body ( fast flowing) of water only 4 meters wide and was 800mm deep. I waited for 5 hours to see if the creek was dropping, and it was, so when it got to 700mm deep I went for it, I did not doodle in the main section and once through the fast flowing section I slowed down with no problems. However I know this creek and have crossed it many times before, but not with the water runnig so fast. They say if it's flooded dont cross, even water 300mm deep can sweep you away.
Andy
AnswerID: 479015

Reply By: Rockape - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 23:19

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 23:19
George,
There is no hard and fast rule for water crossings that are flowing. Still yes, but flowing is a scary game to play with mother nature.

As all vehicles are different in weights and heights no one can give an answer on depth.

The bottom of the crossing can also give you grief, rock with holes . Sand if you stop the sand is eaten away from under your wheels and the vehicle sinks down and you bog or go over your vehicle operating depth.

Speed of the water x depth is also a great concern in the crossing.

Local knowledge is another factor in the equation.

Vehicle component damage is another thing to think about.

I have come close to the edge on 3 occasions and I now don't play with bad crossings but I will calculate the risk if need be.

I have nearly been swept away on a Cloncurry River and Florance Creek crossings + once on crossing of the Archer River.

Twice I have followed B doubles across Yellow Gin Greek NQ with the nose of my little 2 door sportz very fast Hyundai excel right on the their cow catchers much to the distain of the local boy's in blue who didn't know I was there until it was too late to stop me. Depth 400mm, behind the trailer about 200mm. I had heard the depth well before the crossing, I know the crossing and I spoke to both trucks before I followed them.

Now days I don't go unless I have to and as I get older I realise I don't have to.

Have a good one and may you never find yourself out of your depth.

RA.
AnswerID: 479030

Reply By: Fab72 - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 05:59

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 05:59
George,
If travelling alone, it pays to wait for someone else to come along.
Tethering the two vehicles together via a snatch strap or similar is also a good practice. One stays land bound while the other goes across, then swap positions.

Also, it pays to start off as far up stream as possible without dropping off the edge of the crossing even if it means being on the wrong side of the road.

If you have an unloaded ute, open the tailgate to prevent your car becoming a boat.

Other than that, yep...walk it thoroughly.

Fab
AnswerID: 479036

Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 07:15

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 07:15
My rule of thumb is, ask the question "do I have to go there" if the answer is yes, get out and walk it on both wheel tracks. The speed of the flow will dictate whether its safe to cross or not.

I reckon one of the biggest problems is with large rear fuel tanks acting like a buoyancy tank and the back end starts to float.
AnswerID: 479038

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 09:08

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 09:08
Good point Tony about the buoyancy of large rear fuel tanks. Something I had not considered when I upgraded.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 12:21

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 12:21
Also the spare tyre if underbody is a flotation tank as well.

If you must cross and you are pushing the limits....think about removing / relocating that as well
Life is a journey, it is not how we fall down, it is how we get up.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 13:36

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 13:36
Does a tyre and rim actually float Bungarra? I would imagine a steel rim setup to be negative buoyant however have never tried it.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 14:14

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 14:14
Good question Andrew

someone once told me what I posted to you but I have never tried to see if it would float !..

my 'cruiser rims are alloy so I may just go and chuck one in the cattle water trough later today and find out and post answer..
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 10:46

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 10:46
Like you george I am quite happy with sand and rocks and on the odd occasion mud but I try to stay away from mud as much as possible. My rule of thumb for depth is about the top of my tyres, about 800mm for water that is not flowing too fast. How fast?? If I feel uncomfortable about it I don't go. Maybe wait for someone else with a similar vehicle and not so chicken as me..lol. The part about water crossings where large lizzards live is what bothers me. I do like to walk the crossing to check for rocks, washed away sections and holes but who wants to paddle around in a creek that the local croc community use as a hunting ground.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 13:24

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 13:24
Pop, I agree about crocs in creeks. The mantra about walking creeks before crossing is all very well until you see the warning signs about crocs! I know some will tell us that there is no real problem, however a ranger who has spent most of his life on Cape York told me that there is no way he would enter any creek up there. He is now about seventy and still alive.

Being a pitiable coward, my strategy is to have a nice pause waiting for someone else to cross first. Besides, it lets the viscous fan coupling cool so it will not screw itself into the radiator should water get to it. Plus gearbox, diffs etc.

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Allan

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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 16:32

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 16:32
Yeah good point about the fan coupling Allan, most people, me included, have snorkels and extended g/box and diff breathers and so plough straight in.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 17:06

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 17:06
Well, last time I was up the Cape, we had met a 3-vehicle family group who were then one vehicle down at Seisa. Seems the fan went through the radiator at a creek crossing. What is worse was that the driver was unaware and cooked the motor. What's more he was up for freight costs back to Cooktown. Very expensive mistake.

There was also a bus on its maiden trip needed a new radiator at Bamaga for the same reason. Apparently the Bamaga workshop has a pile of fan-damaged radiators.

It seems easier to let the fan coupling cool down for a few minutes than it does to muck about removing the belts etc.

And for those who may proclaim that driven properly there will be no water in the engine bay........... yep, fine until a small problem causes a loss of forward motion.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: workhorse - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 19:01

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 19:01
Does anyone tie their fan before crossing? It seems an easier alternative than removing belts and also ensures the fan wont propel through the radiator.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 19:36

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 19:36
Seems to me that if you tie the fan whilst it is hot then you will be putting strain on the viscous coupling. You may finish up with no fan at all.

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Allan

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Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 20:42

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 20:42
Good to see that people still revert back to the "do I need to go there?" reasoning.

But if you have to go there, walk the crossing checking each track, this also allows the diffs, CV's, bearings and transmission to cool down. Tarp the front, I do it, it helps protect the fan (even a viscos one) from doing damage, if the water is muddy, it protects my alternator, I have a serpentine belt you cannot loosen easily.

Remember tyres and wheels do create buoyancy, so 4 tyres and the spare, plus the buoyant fuel tank, with a wagon body like a boat. will float, initially in deep water. That is until the inside floods.



Most vehicles have a wading depth written in the vehicle manual. I was amazed to find out that the new Nissan Pathfinder is only 400mm

Rule of thumb is top of the wheel. which tend to be below the manufactures air intake. For still or slow flowing water.

Fast flowing as stated before, if you can't walk it don't drive it, because the water pressure on the side of your vehicle (especially wagons) is enormous. Just watch the troopy trayback move.



As far as weight goes, how heavy is one those cruise liners?

Yes people would have got away with this in the past, is it sensible? Is it always safe?


AnswerID: 479115

Reply By: george50 - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 21:09

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 21:09
Thanks for the advice guys , I,m off to the Tip in May again and if it's a late wet I'll have my ass puckered . I don't mind water over the bonnet but floating down stream would ruin my day . Better to crack a tinny and wait .
By4now.
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