Ed Evans speaks out

Land Rover Monthly - - Contents - TECH­NI­CAL ED­I­TOR ED EVANS lrmtech­ni­cal@gmail.com

Only a Land Rover can be de­pended on for get­ting through a flood, but there are some rules to fol­low

“De­spite the max­i­mum wad­ing depths, a safe guide is just above the wheel hub. If the top of the rim is reached, it’s time to think about re­vers­ing out”

DUR­ING DE­CEM­BER’S road flood­ing in Cum­bria I got around safely in my Td5 110 and early Range Rover Sport, even tack­ling a few roads that were oth­er­wise closed due to the depth of wa­ter. The cur­rent Dis­cov­ery Sport boasts a wad­ing depth of 600 mm, but th­ese ear­lier Land Rovers com­fort­ably han­dle 500 mm depth on the road where we can ex­pect the ground be­neath the wa­ter to be level (though tar­mac can be washed away in ru­ral hilly ar­eas). Ex­tra cau­tion is needed when wad­ing off-road, where the ground be­low wa­ter level may be un­du­lat­ing. De­spite the max­i­mum wad­ing depths, a safe depth guide is just above the wheel hub. If the top of the wheel rim is reached, it’s time to think about re­vers­ing out.

The abil­ity to wade also de­pends on the con­di­tion of the elec­tri­cal con­nec­tors that might be­come sub­merged, even though Land Rovers are fit­ted with water­proof con­nec­tors. Speed can also be crit­i­cal. Drive too fast and wa­ter will swirl un­der the bon­net and be sprayed around by the fan to in­ter­fere with elec­tri­cal sys­tems. Ide­ally, just enough speed to cre­ate a gen­tle bow wave (as­sum­ing there’s enough depth) will cause the wa­ter level to fall just be­hind the wave, mean­ing there’s less depth un­der the en­gine bay. Us­ing a lower gear to keep the revs up while pro­ceed­ing at an ap­pro­pri­ate speed helps keep wa­ter out of the tailpipe. And don’t al­low other ve­hi­cles to fol­low too close be­cause, if you need to stop or slow, their bow wave will swamp your tailpipe. Of course, it’s al­ways a bad idea to stop in a flood, which is why it’s im­por­tant to es­tab­lish a clear route through, avoid­ing dead cars, and rocks that may have washed out of stone walls.

Non-land Rover folk buy other 4x4s as­sum­ing that four-wheel drive helps you get through a flood. It doesn’t. Re­gard­less of trac­tion, a ve­hi­cle that is not de­signed and built for wad­ing is go­ing to run into trou­ble, which is why we see soft 4x4s get­ting stuck. If the own­ers had checked the wad­ing depth be­fore buy­ing, they’d have seen the man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t quote one.

Only the real thing can be de­pended upon to get us through floods – and most other ob­sta­cles.

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