Flood damage to car engines

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Due to the recent downpours we have had there has been lots of flooding country wide. Unfortunately I drove my 6 month old BMW 335d Coupe into such a flood. Other cars were passing through it and once my turn came I
atempted to go through the flood about 1foot high. My car stopped dead about 5m into the flood and I phoned BMW emergency who took my car to a dealer. I have since found out that the engine as been wrote off along with turbo's and intercooler and the bill is above 15k to repair the car. At the BMW garage they have had above 10 cars this week with the same problem and my friend who is the head mechanic at the local Mercedes garage has had over 40 with the same problem. Apparently the water goes through the air intake into the engine prevents the piston compressing and then the con rods go through the engine sides. What I cannot understand is why do they not tell you this? If you new the damage that could be done no one would attempt to go through floods. The other thing is this is a modern car problem as older cars air intake was on top off the engine and no such damage ever ocurred. I am covered by my insurance but have obviously got to pay my excess. I feel this is a scam by the car manufacturers and dealers because there must be a way of preventing this from happening but its obviously not in there interest to prevent it as the income that it generates for the garages is an income paid by the insurance. I.e free turnover! I would just like someone who as expierenced this or nows more about it to enlighten me as to why this is happening???
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bradthomas wrote:

It's happening because drivers who don't THINK are driving into water too deep for the car. What made you think the car works like a boat?
Manufacturers cannot protect vehicles against all stupid moves by their drivers - and this qualifies.
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No offense, OP, but if you cannot breathe water, what makes you think your car can? Brings to mind the movie line, "So, who's the U-boat commander?". Me thinks someone has seen too many wilderness treks where the "specially-outfitted" trucks go through water up to the windshield and keep on moving. STOOPID.
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
And yeah, I said that!
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Come on guys - Really how many of you realised that all the NEW BMW and Mercedes had the air intake below the Axle centre? If you are really honest none of you did. The air filter is still on the top and there is no mention in the hand book regarding rivers, streams and fords. There are many such things in the UK and other places in the world. the Handbook mentions other things to be wary of like snow chains and when to use DTC etc. So why not mention something that is blatently different from what is/was considerd the NORM for best part of 100 years. We all know that the coolest air is near the ground but at what cost - good god we might just suck up a Kamakazi Water Ouzel and block the air filter!
I feel sympathy for the guy --------------- Good job you didn't buy an X5 and expect it to go anywhere
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snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk wrote in

so if you hit a big mud puddle you might blow your car up? Sheesh.. and the intake is down there I guess you don't want to drive on dusty roads very often or you'd be changing the air filter every couple of weeks.
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It's been common practice for years to position it in the coolest airsteam - which means as low as possible and clear of the rad, etc. My 20 year old car has it at bumper level.
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wrote:

I have to remind myself to not practice my highspeed puddle clearing maneuvers when in my car. My wife's SUV still soothes my inner beast.
a.
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It would appear that only lemmings and Mercedes drivers are unable to restrain their instinct to dive into any available body of water.
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On Thu, 21 Jun 2007 17:40:32 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk wrote:
<about hydrolocked engines>

I'll own up to not knowing that.
--
Dan.

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On Thu, 21 Jun 2007 17:40:32 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk waffled on about something:

What a terrible bit of design... I have a ford near me, and drive through it in my E36 when it's a foot deep. It's not like it's over the headlights at that height.
I remember hearing similar horror stories about one of the VW Golfs, I think it might have been the mark 2... Find small puddle, drive in, stop, call recovery.
As for the description of what happens, the fluid lock is the least of your problems, that can be drained out, the big problem is cold water hitting red hot valves, they tend to go "ping" and the heads drop of. If this happens to enough of them that the engine keeps turning, the pistons mash the now very mobile bit of valve up and down, sometimes through the piston crown, sometimes through the head.
Very very messy.
Dodgy.
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MUSHROOMS ARE THE OPIATE OF THE MOOSES

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B - boat M - motor car W - Water
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Well said, Blame the manufacturer instead of your own stupidity. People should start taking responsibilty for their own action. Drink a hot cup of coffes and sue some one because it is too hot. Bloody IDIOTS.

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On 2007-06-21 07:49:59 -0700, "bradthomas"

Huh? You've got to be kidding. You're driving a BMW 335, not an X5, X3 or some other SUV.
--

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Tell you what? That you're driving a car and not a boat?

It's simply not true that all older cars had the air inlet on the top - those with side draught carbs like SUs often had them on the side. But they would and did sustain the same damage if the water got into the inlet.
Fuel injection cars have a very much better designed inlet tract - and this often means siting the intake fairly low and to the front to get the coldest possible air into the engine. You reap the benefit of this with better performance and fuel economy.

I doubt a warning in the handbook about the maximum depth of water would have much effect. How are you going to measure it? Of course some cars might get through a foot of water while others don't. A Land Rover might be able to cope with several feet.
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wrote:

A few feet, like maybe two - and it is going to get in the cabin.
You probably want to PX the vehicle ASAP afterwards...
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On Thu, 21 Jun 2007 19:25:14 +0100, "R. Mark Clayton"

LOL! You're not kidding.
My brother's Landy has a snorkel. I've been with him when he's gone through over 4 feet of water.... It pours round the doors... Luckily I wasn't daft, I was sitting on the roof rack at the time!
Luckily as they're rather agricultural, cleaning them out is as simple as pulling the mats and seats out, and turning the hose on.
Dodgy.
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I am sure that the user manual for my BMW gives advice about not driving through water, and how to minimise the risk of damage if you have to (e.g. to escape rising flood water), so if all else fails read the instructions or RTFM.
Basically if the water is deeper than the ground clearance you are taking a huge risk, even if the engine escapes damage, water is likely to get into the cabin and ruin carpets etc. Most flood water is dirty and often filthy, so don't go there!
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The short answer is "stupidity!"
On Thu, 21 Jun 2007 10:49:59 -0400, "bradthomas"

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suggest that the intake is lower -- than shall we say a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry. But, with water a foot high there also was probably a wake. 15k to repair seems high, though.
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You are supposed to know that driving in deep water is bad.
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