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RolyPoly
26-10-2005, 09:01 PM
I was caught in a flood during the heavy downpour this afternoon at Jalan Kebun, Bkt Rimau. For fear of having my car break down while going through the flood water - about 2 feet deep, I step on my accelerator as I went through the puddle of water!

I waited at my client's place until the water receded before I left Bkt Rimau. By then, my car engine was "coughing" and couldn't start. I have to turn the ignition on several times before the engine starts running again. But my exhaust was spurting dark smoke that smell badly.

I managed to drive back to USJ eventually. But everytime I slow down or stop at a junction, my engine went "dead". This happened many times.

Managed to reach my mechanic's place in time. He told me: when driving through a flood, one should only drive at 1st gear and slowly to prevent water from going into the engine. I want to share this info with all.

It is rainy season now and we can expect to have flash flood very frequent.

GreenBug
26-10-2005, 09:19 PM
Managed to reach my mechanic's place in time. He told me: when driving through a flood, one should only drive at 1st gear and slowly to prevent water from going into the engine. I want to share this info with all. You should also ensure you know where the roads are and where the monsoon drains are before you drive thru the flooded area (especially if you're driving a Kanchil) :D

Secondly, ensure the road ahead is clear. Try not to follow too close to the front vehicle because if he stalls, then you stall too...

Thirdly, observe when a bus or a lorry goes through the flooded road as they ususally sweep the road clear of the flood water to allow you to quickly see how deep is the water and where the roads are, where the longkang besar are too. Get a quick mental map of the route you want to take your car through.

Your mechanic is right, drive in 1st Gear (if manual). The reason is because if you do actually change gears, you need to release your accelerator pedal, and the exhaust pipe will then suck in water.... and your whole engine goes kaput. Once you step on the accelerator at a certain level, make sure you stay there until your car is clear of the flood water. You can reduce or increase your speed while going thru the flood water by adjusting your accelerator pedal but NEVER release the accelerator pedal FULLY, water get sucked into the engine through the exhaust pipe.... :eek:

orchipalar
27-10-2005, 12:55 AM
Err...IF ya have to take the risks...do approach the situation with EXTRA care...n normally it is NOT advisable to drive over flood water...

When the flood water level is difficult to be estimated...or it is higher than HALF of the wheel height...
When the flood water current(flow) is strong...
When the flood water is 'flowing' n muddy...
When the flood water n vision ahead is dark or impaired(heavy downpour)...
When there is no certainty or indication of the drive path/direction...
When the opposite vehicle flow of traffic going thru the flood water is too close...
Etc Etc...

kwchang
27-10-2005, 01:02 AM
...drive in 1st Gear (if manual)....
Auto transmission can also be driven at 1st gear - just engage the lowest selection. I wonder if everyone drives an auto at "D" only, not knowling that it can be maintained at lower gears?

As for driving over puddles, do not rush through because the water may be splashed at the distributer and short circuit the electrical supply to the spark plugs - hence stalls the car.

orchipalar
27-10-2005, 01:20 AM
Err...IF ya have to take the risks...do approach the situation with EXTRA care...n normally it is NOT advisable to drive over flood water...

When the flood water level is difficult to be estimated...or it is higher than HALF of the wheel height...
When the flood water current(flow) is strong...
When the flood water is 'flowing' n muddy...
When the flood water n vision ahead is dark or impaired(heavy downpour)...
When there is no certainty or indication of the drive path/direction...
When the opposite vehicle flow of traffic going thru the flood water is too close...
Etc Etc...

Ahem...in addition to the other tips mentioned before by others here...to lower the chances of engine stalling...whilst the vehicle is being driven over flood water...

1. Switch off the airconditioner...(less activity of the electric driven fans)
2. Switch off any unnecessary electrical devices...(less usage of the battery reserved power...should the alternator is rendered weak due to its belting looses grips)
3. Switch off the headlights(IF possible) n switch on the hazard lights...(as above)

Note: Some modern engines would stall...when the battery/DC supply is weak(electric driven fuel pumps won't function efficiently)

4. Engage the lowest gear selection(1 in manual...n L in Auto-transmission)...(To maintain Higher engine revolutions BUT maintain lower vehicle travelling speed)

Note: Once the vehicle clears the flood water...whilst maintaining slower travelling speed...do apply the brakes(at frequent/short interval like pumping the foot brake pedal) or engage the handbrake(medium pressure)...in order to heat up n dry up the rear DRUM brakes especially...until the braking resistance is felt like operating normally...

Err...quite often...accidents happened soon after the flooded area...in congested traffic flow...where the vehicles loose its braking efficiency...due to "wet" brake drum...disc...n pads...

Safe n Happy motoring...:)

patrick
27-10-2005, 01:39 AM
More tips. If you drive a manual, best is to use the "heel and toe" technique when driving through flood. Keep your rev up even when you have to use the brake.

The other cheap and effective method. Go buy a length of about 3 feet hose that can fit into your exhaust. Have it handy in your trunk. If and when you must drive through a flood, connect this hose to your exhaust and tie the other end up in the air with a string to your boot lid. What in effect you would be doing is raising the level of your exhaust. And so long as water doesnt get into your exhaust, your engine should "die" unless you drive so fast and wet your distirbutors or spark plugs in the engine compartment. Nowadays some washing machine outlet hose are sold cheaply in hardware shops and some of these may fit your exhaust very nicely.

I always have one in my boot though I have never found a need to use it yet. Hopefully, I wont have to.

kwchang
27-10-2005, 01:44 AM
Just don't connect the hose to the interior of the car :rolleyes: :eek:
Sorry for going off track myself!

mon
27-10-2005, 01:49 AM
:p a good laugh before i call it a night..but am just wondering..how would you put in the hose if the exhaust is hot?
sorry huh..i know nuts one. :) Goodnight!

orchipalar
27-10-2005, 01:52 AM
I was caught in a flood during the heavy downpour this afternoon at Jalan Kebun, Bkt Rimau. For fear of having my car break down while going through the flood water - about 2 feet deep, I step on my accelerator as I went through the puddle of water!

Err...dear RolyPoly:)...Orchi believes...ya got a lucky break...err...considering what happened...:)

1. Ya escaped the risk of engine stalling completely...due to short circuit in the ignition system...(distributor n plugs)

2. Ya escaped the risk of costly engine damage...due to water sipping thru the air intake system...n being "sucked" into the combustion chambers of the engine...
:)

orchipalar
27-10-2005, 02:01 AM
Err...the only reason...the engine revs needs to be HIGH...is because of having to maintain a much higher exhaust pressure...forcing thru the tailpipe...so it won't be blocked by water...ahem...that's all...:o

Err...should it be blocked...quite quickly...the engine would stall...:o

Ahem...misconception may arise...that it stalls from water "reaching" the engine thru the tailpipe...but in most cases...it wouldn't happen that way...unless the water level is higher than the engine... :o

Err...perhaps a simple example would be...like an aquarium...ya have an air hose submerged into the water...n as long as the air pressure is constantly being pump thru the hose n out from it...the water would NEVER have any chance to even sip thru it...back up to the pump?

Ahem...but what happens once ya stop the pump....? :)

Knight1993
27-10-2005, 12:05 PM
another way to prevent ur engine stalling is to get a 4X4(Land Rover....)

isarahim
27-10-2005, 12:19 PM
Auto transmission can also be driven at 1st gear - just engage the lowest selection. I wonder if everyone drives an auto at "D" only, not knowling that it can be maintained at lower gears?

Anyone who has driven to Genting in an underpowered car should be awfully aware of this.

PJS
27-10-2005, 12:40 PM
Rolypoly

The sputtering and black smoke from the exhaust means the engine has misfired. That means water has got into the distributor or spark plug wire connectors. I hope your mechanic has done the necessary to rectify it. At the very least, spark plugs shd be changed if it has turned black n sooty. Sometimes the plugs will be fried to a crisp when there is a short circuit at the plug connectors.

It is not advisible to drive thru flooded roads. If it is anything more than 6 inches u will be taking a very very high risk. Once, I wade thru like 2-3 inches of water on Fed Hwy but there was a small dip in the road surface and my car was submerged into the water up to the headlights for a few seconds over a distance of about half a meter. :eek: Luckily nothing went wrong except that my car number plate was broken and washed away by the water!

So, avoid flooded roads at all cost. You'll nvr know if there is a sinkhole or large pothole or a missing drain/manhole cover washed away by strong currents under all that water and risk driving into it! :eek:

If you r caught in flood water with no way out, then there is a long list of precautions to be taken... ermm... it's too long for me to type out.. will try to post later.

But the last word is, passenger cars should NOT drive through water, period.

peterkkchong
27-10-2005, 01:42 PM
Further to PJS points, the brake system might not be able to function properly. (Probably the new generation cars with ABS and etc might be able to help)

I have this experince previously and i have to continuosly pump the brake to regain control. Thankfully the car in front are quite a distance away otherwise i would have crash!! Whenever i have to drive through flood nowdays, i will judge the level of the water with cars which has gone through and measure estimately with mine & make sure i keep my distance from the next front car.

adriene
30-10-2005, 02:57 PM
this is a good read. very useful! thank you everyone!

patrick
01-11-2005, 12:26 AM
Further to PJS points, the brake system might not be able to function properly. (Probably the new generation cars with ABS and etc might be able to help)

I have this experince previously and i have to continuosly pump the brake to regain control. Thankfully the car in front are quite a distance away otherwise i would have crash!! Whenever i have to drive through flood nowdays, i will judge the level of the water with cars which has gone through and measure estimately with mine & make sure i keep my distance from the next front car.

Very important you pump your brakes to dry them. Not necessary after driving through a flood. Even after heavy rain, it's wise to to pump the brakes to dry them up.

Absolutely agree with PJS. As far as possible, avoid going through floods. Personally, I have been cornered by floods a few times but I had managed to get out of the quadmire via heel and toe driving whilst many others were not so fortunate. My very recent escapade was at Jln Tun Razak in front of Titiwangsa LRT station during a heavy downpour. I faced the flood after turning in from Ipoh Road and cars were horning me to move on. Sure, I moved on and away safely but most of the other cars behind me were bogged down in the flood. Serve them right for hooting me to move on. I had kept my rev very, very high on 1st gear. Not sure what they did. But they kaput! ;-)

Take PJS's advice. Dont drive through floods. One other thing he didnt mention. Sometimes the current can be strong enough to sweep your car into monsoon drains/rivers. One can literally drown!

CCY
01-11-2005, 11:22 AM
Very important you pump your brakes to dry them. Not necessary after driving through a flood. Even after heavy rain, it's wise to to pump the brakes to dry them up.

Absolutely agree with PJS. As far as possible, avoid going through floods....

... One other thing he didnt mention. Sometimes the current can be strong enough to sweep your car into monsoon drains/rivers. One can literally drown!

Another delay effect that can happen to your driving is the flood waters that will seep into all those moving parts that have worn out. This will hasten the wear n tear many folds to bearings ,drive shaft, steering n all undercarriage joints. The first sign that such problem is the squeaking n squaking days or weeks later.

PJS
01-11-2005, 05:03 PM
Yes, Patrick is right. There could be strong current that can wash a car away if the flooded road is near a river or stream. In the city the chances of a strong current is not that great as flooded roads are mostly standing water from overflowed drains. Do be very careful though no matter where.

Now let's talk about the after effects of driving thru flood.

- brakes, as a few others have pointed out, brakes soaked in water will not work effectively at all and u need dry it up by apply continuous braking, and keep extra distance from anything in front of u! After going thru the water n mud n sludge, u better hope that your brake system, especially the brake pistons, doesn't get clogged up by mud and jam up or corrode in the long run. Though most car brake systems are quite hardy, u'll nvr know if your brake system could be affected. But don't be too worried if the brakes work fine after the flood, just get your mechanics to service n inspect at the your next service.

- drive belts and pulleys. Yep, CCY said it. Flood water is very dirty and gritty, with all the sand n gravel from the road slushing around in your engine compartment, belts are the first to go, and the bearing for your alternator, aircond compressor clutch & pulley, etc takes a beating. Be sure to rinse them clean after the flood, inspect and replace them earlier than recommended interval if necessary.

- ball joints - especially the CV joint if the protective rubber boot is already cracked (or, very frequently, not installed properly!) and u didn't notice it before the flood, water n sand will get in and the CV joint will self destruct in a few days due to loss of grease and the addition of sand n dirt in the joint.

- exhaust - though it is not likely for water to enter the engine directly from the exhaust pipe if the exhaust system is intact and perfectly sealed. The opposite can be true IF there is already a crack/leak at the exhaust manifold, this will be a shortcut for water to get into your pistons and walla! Instantly mangled pistons, connecting rods, valves and camshaft.

Some cars may get stalled in flood while others drive thru with no problems. The electrical systems(incl. alternator), exhaust system, and other mechanical parts if not in good condition will definitely break down in the presence of water in a flood. Another reason is the location of the air intake, some cars' air intake is higher up, above the cylinder head. Some are at bumper level or lower, so if the water is higher than bumper, that car is guaranteed to have a flooded engine.

Even if the water is not that high, the presence of other vehicles wading thru water can affect your car :( Heavy vehicles going fast near you can create waves which may hit your cars critical parts even if the water level is not as high. So the first car in the flood always has the advantage of having still water but risk unknown depths! :D

Oh, I better stop b4 everybody gets unduly worried, heheheh. :p I can imagine that next time if any roads in SJ/USJ is flooded, everyone who read my scary paragraphs will stop in their tracks and create the mother of all traffic jams :p

penangkia
01-11-2005, 05:30 PM
Good Stuff PJS.

You are obviously one who knows about cars and engines. Off track a bit, could you tell me what actually is the performance and durability factors of fully synthetic and semi synthetic lub. oils.
I use full syn. and need lub.oil change at 100000km. What if I use semi. ..any difference in engine performance and oil change interval ??

Is 10000km for syn. and 5000km for non syn, a good yardstick. I heard some ppl say that syn. is good for well over 100000km. Is that reliable ?

TQ

PJS
02-11-2005, 02:24 AM
ok, penangkia sidetrack a bit if that is allowed by kwchang :p

For the decades old debate on mineral vs synthetic oil or semi-synth oil, u can find as much info on Google as anyone.

But speaking from personal experience, it does not really make that much of a difference in normal day-to-day use. :) Mobil claimed that synthetic oil can last for 100,000 miles(not km) when it introduced Mobil 1 synthetic back in the early 80's. Those r marketing hypes, maybe the oil will last 100k miles, but it would've collected so much combustion blow-by and combustion by-products that the oil may be contaminated.

Most important point is to use the CORRECT viscosity for your car, i.e. the grade recommended by car manufacturers. Don't change the oil viscosity simply becoz your mechanic says so without solid reasons.

Oil change interval depends more on your driving style, distance, frequency of stop-go traffic, and length of time. Generally in our weather it shd be safe to change oil at 10k km or 6 months whichever is earlier. There r some cars that won't require oil changes for up to 24-28k km(they use synthetic) according to their OBD(on board diagnostic) computer but that maybe too long, in my opinion. unless it is driven 70-80% on the highways.

If u use correct, good grade oil from a reputable brand(beware of fakes!), and change it at correct intervals, u shd not see any oil-related engine wear for the duration u own the car(unless u drive alot-alot or one of those rare few who own a car for more than 10 yrs)

Bottomline is, stick to your car's recommended viscosity and oil change interval if it is under warranty, normally 10k km. Even mineral oil & semi-synthetic won't degrade in 5k km. By seat of the pants, I find most of them good up to 8-10k km. If u feel better and can afford to change it every 5k km, go ahead.

Just to share with u this story told from one taxi driver. He changes oil every 5k km, with branded mineral oil (but cheap @RM20+). His Proton taxi engine will last many many times longer than other passenger cars with 10k km oil changes+synthetic oil. Taxis run anywhere from 150k - 250k km per year, and his engine with 600k km, never overhauled, still runs smoother than any comparable private car engine 1/3 the mileage. So go figure. :D

expat1609
02-11-2005, 03:21 AM
eehhmm...still off track, sorry, but are you - PJS and penangkia - really talking about 100,000 km (or miles @ mobil) ??? :eek:
that should be 10,000 km, rite ??? typing error ???

PJS
02-11-2005, 03:48 PM
I mentioned the oil shd be changed at 10,000km. I think there is a typo in penangkia's post (100,000km shd read 10,000km)

But Mobil did claim their oil was good for one hundred thousand miles in their advertising campaign, long, long time ago. No more such claims now.

penangkia
02-11-2005, 04:45 PM
I mentioned the oil shd be changed at 10,000km. I think there is a typo in penangkia's post (100,000km shd read 10,000km)

But Mobil did claim their oil was good for one hundred thousand miles in their advertising campaign, long, long time ago. No more such claims now.


Thanks PJS.

And yes, it was a typo...but how I wish it was indeed 100k miles. :D

I am driving a 3litre V6 and using castrol syn. oil changing at 10k intervals. Car is 3 years old....I think I might extend it to 15k intervals. Tell me if I am crazy. :p