With the worst of the winter’s weather hanging on for dear life, it seems appropriate to discuss the wading prowess of the Land Rover, and the importance of kitting your Land Rover out properly.
How To Wade
You’ve got two feet of ground clearance, and chunky tyres, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you are invincible. On the road, you’ll need to use your noggin as well as your knobblies.
The best advice for car owners is to move to the middle of the road, go slow whilst keeping the engine revs high and don’t stop but try not to go too fast.
Be aware that the bow wave you generate may affect other road users, but may also affect local homeowners, as the ripple tops doorsteps or walls of sandbags. It’s always nice to push the rugged boundaries, but it’s always a good idea to gather as much good-will as you can.
With the added ruggedness mixed into the LR DNA, you don’t have to worry about the roads too much until you get to serious flowing water. Be advised that even a 4X4 can be affected by flowing water only 2 feet deep.
As the maximum wading depth of most Land Rovers is 500mm, or 20 inches, you can see that knee-high water is more dangerous than you may think;
Land Rover Series 1 500mm (20″)
Series 2 500mm (20″)
Series 3 500mm (20″)
Defender 500mm (20″)
Discovery 1 500mm
Discovery 2 500mm
Discovery 3 420 – 540mm (Using air suspension to increase ride height)
Discovery 4 420 – 540mm (Using air suspension to increase ride height)
Freelander 1 400mm
Freelander 2 500mm
Range Rover Classic 500mm (20″)
Range Rover P38 500mm
Range Rover L322 500mm
Range Rover L405 500mm
Dangers of Wading
To the ordinary car driver, the major problem is the air intake. If this is low enough, or the water high enough, then the puddle may make it into the air box and from there to the combustion chamber. In that case, there’s a good chance you’ll stall and won’t be able to restart because your con-rods have been bent. The piston is supposed to compress fuel and air, not water which will not compress at all. You’ll need to be recovered and will have quite a large bill generated at the garage of your choice…
At best, you’ll have covered the electrics with water and shorted something cheap and easy to replace. You’ll still be puddle-jumping to get to dry land, but it won’t mean you remortgaging the house.
To the 4X4 driver, the greater danger lies with all the breathing the vehicle does; you probably don’t even know the half of it.
The air filter is a problem, but the air intake on a 4X4 is obviously higher as the engine itself is higher. There are plenty of snorkel kits available to solve the issue, and they’re not hard to fit.
The axles, gearbox and transfer box all have breather points fitted, as the cavities inside heat and cool and so need to inhale and exhale air.
If you plough head-first into a puddle, there’s a good chance that the axle/gearbox/transfer box cools rapidly and the air inside cools and contracts. The breather then sucks in not air but water, and the lubricant becomes a soupy mess poorly-capable of doing its job.
Consider however the electrickery which goes into modern cars though; do you know where the lowest electrical connector is on your car?
The manufacturers make these vehicles so that they can take on the world, but in a world of school runs and shopping trips, wading kits to take care of any deluge dampness are optional extras.
Gearbox and axle breathers and pipes, flywheel plugs and snorkels helping to raise the wading depth are available for all models, and are certainly necessary if you’re staring the Limpopo in the face or “Doing Dartmoor”. If you’re just headed for Marks and Spencers, though, it’s best to be circumspect about the heroic driving and go slow through the puddles.
For snorkels and wading kits, or if you’re past that point and need piston/con rod assemblies and a a shoulder to cry on, check out our website www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk
This article was written by Rupert Astbury