Wading depth


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Wading depth

Postby Brit » Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:35 am


Does anyone have any experience of taking their Pathfinder wading ?
If so, I was just wondering what sort of depth of water you'd crossed.
The sales brochure quotes 400mm (15 3/4") as the maximum depth, the trouble being I've been used to around about 20" in my Defender which I've had occassion to use more than once through a few local 'fords' when they've been in spate. I don't want to go down the snorkel route, so wondered what you guys have safely achieved in yours. Obviously mine'll be diesel engined which, I presume may alter things slightly from a petrol.
Getting any technical information out of dealers over here is near impossible, don't know wether that's because they don't know or don't want to let on.
I just hope their after-sales care proves to be better..... :?
Thanks in advance.

10 more days until delivery :D can't wait !!

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Postby Gray » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:23 am

This is an interesting thread as I get to cross streams once in a while. The air intake is probably the least of the worries if you are just crossing to top of the wheels depth but there can be some problems with the EVAP canister (page EC32 in the NA PF service manual) on North American models which sits next to the spare tire on the drivers side. If that gets under water you might have to buy a new one. Somewhere I've read about sealing the canister in a box and extending the canister vent control valve line. I'm not sure if the Euro models come with an EVAP canister system though.

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Postby Brit » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:24 am

Thanks for that, will have to investigate. Off for a week away in about an hour so I'll check it when I get back. May hopefully get some off roading in while I'm away :D ( no water involved though) ! Subject to weather conditions and SWMBO of course. :wink:

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Postby Suliman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:25 am

Looking to bring back a dead thread here.

I'm also trying to determine the wading height on my US 2006 SE. The trail I want to take has some river/creek crossings and I want to make sure that I don't go to deep. I've seen some vids of the local cars doing it, Toy Prados, Fortrunners, CJs, etc just no pathfinders yet.

River Crossing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN2ftfcO ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2DjgzC_ ... re=related

More trail fun there
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3CvtMr5 ... re=related

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Is he swimming :-)

Postby yarilo » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:20 am

Brit, don't worry, I have seen a Pathfinder without Snorkel immersed in a water up to cowling and no problems. All the vent valves leveled up to the space near air filter inside of engine compartment.


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Postby G35TR » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:27 am

I've had mine into water, probably around 23", which is about 4/5 to the top of the wheels (16" SE). No problems at all, although I was a little nervous, and opted to avoid that trail on the way back. I wasn't so much nervous about ingestion, but more about electronics. If water gets into the cabin, its not going to be pretty. Just take a look under your driver's seat sometime.

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Postby valenburg » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:50 pm

I 'flew' threw a water hole that must have been about 15-20" a few times. I would sink pretty hard and water would pretty much cover the entire truck. I did get some water come in from somewhere just behind the glove compartment so I don't know If I would do it like that again. If your just crossing or what not I don't see it being a problem maybe up to 20".

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Postby disallow » Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:53 pm

I'd be most concerned for the transmission and transfer case. Not sure where the breathers are situated or if they are remote breathers.

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Postby yarilo » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:36 am

disallow wrote:I'd be most concerned for the transmission and transfer case. Not sure where the breathers are situated or if they are remote breathers.
Not sure about American version but in Europe ones all the breathers leveled pretty high by the tubes and I can say that it's really hard to immerse them. BTW, you can check this by yourself - it's easy to find.


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Postby odermann » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:51 pm

I have since sold my pathy but I took my 07 SE 4X4 through a stream crossing once where the water level actually just came over the hood... I held my breath for a minute, but no problems at all... Unfortunatly the trail I was on dead-ended and I had to turn around and cross again. I definetly would not recomend trying any depth like that again! (Neither would my wife, as she was with me and I will never here the end of it)

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Postby VenezuelanPath » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:29 pm

I got water once pouring from somewhere in the pedals passing really fast a little lake.

Other time water came in through the back doors only a little.

Over the hood several times, but as long you dont go fast the water everything is fine

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Postby labsy » Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:22 am

I investigated the real problems and here are my findings (might not be accurate, nor valid for all market models, US/EU/Taiwan):

This is the least of a problem, since even without snorkel, machine gets air from the shallow space behind left front wheel plastic well, so until you are submerged below front fender top well, you are on safe side. Even if you would go deeper, there is quite a lot of chance for the engine to stop due to suffocating way before water locking and breaking a lot of things. Water locking engine would occur probably just in case you would be side-mirror deep with full throttle, so cylinders would fill with water before machine would stop.

Three breather tubes are located just above transmission box, and those are transmission breather, front diff breather and center diff breather. Hoses are not so easily visible from top (on some models they might be on the back of air filter box, which is the best option, but rare), so I just guess safe depth is somewhere below wheel top.

One breather left is rear diff breather, which does not have separate line, but is instead located on the top of rear diff, so this is the lowest critical part when acting as a submarine.
As this last one is also the farthest on the back of the vehicle, it is least critical when driving forward through water, because water wave with a little help of whole vehicle body helps keeping flood from submerging this last breather, at least while moving (forwards).

Talking to Nissan mechanic few days ago they told (and showed) me that DIFF BREATHERS are closed-tubes, so they cannot soak water in. Looks kinda weird to me (i.e., whay would you put closed-tube breather on top of diff, if there's already approx. 1/2 of air inside, which can expand and contract with temperature change?), but that's what mech said.

By design transaxle bearing seals are designed to keep lubricants inside, so they are more resilient against forces from inside-out, than vice versa. For example, same pressure applied to those seals inside-out will not let seal pass, but in the opposite direction, from outside-in it might.
There's also a vacuum effect, especially during hot days, when material is hot and water is colder, so air inside transaxle (and diffs, of course) contracts, creating vacuum effect, which tries to soak air (and water) from outside in.

- Absolutely SAFE water depth is - by MY research! - just below axle center bearings
- Quite safe depth is still below wheel height, but if you do that often, you must maintain your driving axles more often
- You can go even deeper, just below the highest point of front wheels fender well and you will not soak water into engine, but in this case I suggest you change all transmission fluids (transmission, differentials) quite often. Your gears will not crack at once if you wade so deep once or twice, because despite of some water in your diff, there's still the whole amount of oil in there, so what you did was just add water to the oil in, for example, your differential.
- When in doubt you will submerge even deeper, go SLOW and stop at the first sign of engine coughing! Stop the engine before it soaks water! Machine is engineered to breathe fuel-air mixture, which is compressible to approx. 14:1 ratio, while water is NOT compressible and it WILL destroy your engine.

Hope this helps understanding principles.
NOTE: Please, don't take my findings for granted! Check my facts BEFORE you put them on real-world test!
Last edited by labsy on Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby disallow » Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:34 am

makes sense! good work.

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Postby labsy » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:03 pm

Past week we've had some heavy rain so many pathways got flooded. And of course, sweet playground for me and my Pathy, especially after a month without rain layered mud with each adventure all over my vehicle. High time for "deep water washing" :)

Among all puddles and freshly formed water fountains a small pathway brought a significant change to my wading depth opinion. Pathway is some 20m (65 feet) long and at the deepest point water was almost 1m (3 feet) deep. Quite fresh and clear water, since it's just about 1 mile from river source.
Went in slowly, in 4LO being prepared to quickly reverse if anything goes wrong. At first attempt with my camera outside I drove into some obviously deep hole, which tilted my vehicle to the right, so with adrenaline rush I quickly reversed and I swear I almost touched the ground with front right bumper. I'm sure it was the big water shaft cover blown away underneath the water, which left a big shaft opening.

Ok, 2nd attempt.

As it was still raining my android was totally wet and I switched to film from inside, so video is not so impressive.
Took a round way away from the hole under water and got into flood deeper and deeper. I saw front lights disappear under water, and I could not see tires anymore, so my guess is water was just at the line with door hooks. Scary deep!
Surrounded with hiss and flow of the river flow and deep rumble of flooded exhaust, I accelerated slowly to form a wave in front of vehicle, which flooded the whole hood!

Of course, I've got water into air conditioning system, carpets were covered with an inch or two of water and all possible squeaking sounds were heard from under the hood.

Air intake was not flooded, which is the best news. So tranny breathers were also above water level, which is second best news.
..BUT carpets....oh, don't even ask! I am still half a way to having them dry. Pumped out almost 10 litres (2 gallons) of water, vacuumed a ton of sand and gravel, and it's still soaked with liters of water. Drying every day for few hours with 2 hot-air blasters, but with barely noticeable effect.

Most probably will go removing front seats, belt anchors, center console and pull the whole floor mat out to clean and dry it properly.

Afterall, I guess this vehicle is NOT meant to be submarine :)
VIDEO here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H15YySUUBBw
...and few days later when water almost got away: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hR7584I78o

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Postby labsy » Thu May 26, 2016 2:26 pm

Update from first-hand experience:

REAR DIFF has breather tube exhaust mounted lowest of all diffs. It goes towards left side of rear wheel well and is most prone to clog with mud and debris. When diff cools down under water it will first soak quite some water in and if you do not change rear diff oil, it will ruin gears and seals for sure.

INTERIOR bottom has 3-4 holes left open (probably leftover from assembly process) which will let water in as it hits bottom. You must pull out whole bottom upholstery (including front seats and middle console) to take out insulation and close those holes.
Beside that, water will get in also through handbrake rubber square opening, where handbrake wire is lead through. I simply re-sealed it with quite some silicone, being alert not to seal the handbrake wire itself.

WHEEL BEARINGS / HUBS will go! Some 6 months after few deep water crossings all 4 wheel bearings are gone on my vehicle. It would cost me over $ 2000 if I went to stealership, but still it soaked $800 as I did it myself with replacement wheel hubs.

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