WR400 Submarine



21 replies to this topic
  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted July 17, 2001 - 06:33 PM

#1

Riding in the Ocala National Forest is awesome! We've been getting a lot of rain here lately (thank God!), and this Sunday's ride was full of standing water. Most of it was less than a foot deep. Some of it was a lot deeper. I haven't been real keen in the past on riding through water, because when I've done so, my bike has either stalled or tried to. I knew I'd encounter deep water again, so I rerouted my carb vent hoses so that each hose "circuit" has one hose in the air box. I also moved my crankcase vent tube higher up and to the right side of the bike so that it terminates just below the steering head. I was ready for deep water.

Like I said, there was a lot of water this weekend and the bike performed just like I had hoped. No bogging in deep water, some almost as deep as the air box, and no stalling. The air temp was in the upper 80s but the water was cold and it felt good as it evaporated as we rode. There was one exceptional trail, about 2 miles long, that was like a "bobsled run", kind of cut into the forest floor with banked sides the whole way. I've ridden it dry before and you can really fly through it, even though the curves are tight. The sides of the trail act like berms so it's a lot of fun. When we passed the trail head, I knew we were in for a treat. The entire trail was under about a foot of clear water. I recorded the entire day's ride on my GPS so we could come back to the places we liked.

On the way back, I was following the trail plot on my GPS and it worked great. It's funny how the same trail can look completely different coming from the opposite direction. As we approached a large "puddle", the GPS indicated that we had been through it before, straight ahead. It looked deep, but since we'd been through the puddle before, I didn't hestiate entering it. (I had learned how to attack water that day: be deliberate, keep the revs up, 2nd or 3rd gear, be prepared in case of underwater obstacles, and DON'T STOP.) Entering the water was normal, but it got deep pretty quick, soon it was halfway up the engine, but no sweat--push on. Then the bottom dropped out. A second later, it was up to handlebars. The bike was still running, and I grabbed the brakes before I went any deeper. The tailpipe was still mostly out of the water. The last thing I wanted to do was stall the bike and try to start it in the water. We've all read horror stories of sucking water into the crankcase. That's what was going through my mind. Grabbing the clutch to keep it running, I jumped off and tried to push the bike backwards before it stalled, but the mud was too deep and it died before I could get it out. I did not try to start it again until it was out of the water. As I got the bike out, my GPS finally figured out where we were. We had been through here before, alright, on a parallel trail about 20 yards to our left! We went around this thing the first time.

The first thing I did after it was on dry land was to see if it would run. Nope. I took off the air filter and rung it out. Lot of water. I set it on some dry grass in the sun to dry it out. There was sediment in the airbox. Not good. With the filter off, it tried to start, but wouldn't. I pulled in the decomp lever, opened the hot start switch, and kicked it through about 25 times. With the choke on, it would run but would die if given any throttle. I decided the best thing was to let it warm up on choke for a few minutes to dry out the cylinder. Finally, I put it all back together after about a half hour. Once it warmed up fully, it ran fine, but it sputterd a lot at first as if it was really cold. We had about 10 miles to go to get back to the truck.

Once I got home, I drained the oil and replaced it with some cheap automotive motor oil. (I planned to drain that and replace it before I rode again.) The old oil looked normal. I ran the bike at idle for about 10 minutes with the throwaway oil in it. This evening, I drained the cheap stuff and took off both filers to clean and inspect. Both filters had a little bit of mud on them. Hopefully, I've done everything I needed to do to clean out the crankcase. I'm pretty confident it will be OK. I'll probably change the oil after my next ride, too. (I usually change the oil at the interval recommended in the manual--every 500 km.)

Lessons learned:
-Don't be afraid of crossing water, but do be careful in it.
-If it hadn't stalled it, I don't think I would have gotten water in the engine.
-Water in the cylinder is better than water in the crankcase. The water level did rise higher than my crankcase vent hose, so I think that's where the mud got in.
-If it looks deep, it probably is.

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited 07-17-2001).]

  • z4me

Posted July 18, 2001 - 04:13 AM

#2

Man that sounds familiar! My WR250F went through the same.

Sounds like your recovery worked well. My one suggestion is to remove the 17mm drain on the bowl of the carb and let some gas pour through it - this will help get the water out as once it is through the airfilter gravity will put it into the fuel bowl.

Also, I would recommend changing the oil after every ride until you stop seeing any debris in your oil. It took four changes to be rid of the foreign material in mine.

My last suggestion is on how to attack deep water - let your friend go first :)

- Sean

  • Bob_Heald

Posted July 18, 2001 - 05:51 AM

#3

This weekend, I had a similar experience... only it happened to a friend. I went through the water first and it was up to about the bottom of my carb. My bike tried to stall, but I gave it more gas and it kept going... I made it but it didn't look good for a few seconds..

My friend tried a slightly different line and found the a hole that dropped him in up to the top of his seat. Not fun for him, but great entertainment for me... :)

Question - Why did my bike try to die? Is it because the crankcase breather is under water or because the carb vent hoses are under water... or is it some other reason?

  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted July 18, 2001 - 06:25 AM

#4

Bob,

I think it's a combination of the carb breather hose and the quick cooling of the motor that makes it want to stall. I routed the two "upper" hoses (the hoses that go up from the T on each side of the carb) into my airbox. That way, there's always air in the circuit. I think water can work its way up into the carb otherwise or cause a vacuum problem. Also, I think the quenching of the cylinder may cause fuel atomization to be sporadic and make it run like its cold. The breather hose draws in and out only in little gulps so I don't think that would cause stalling.

  • WR_Jason

Posted July 18, 2001 - 06:56 AM

#5

I sank my WR trying to hydroplane it through the corner of a small lake about 2 weeks ago. Once I got it winched out, I pulled the hot start, and decomp and cleared about 10 to 15 times. Tried to light it about 10 times, clered again and it lit back up. I have a hard time understanding how mud got in your crank case and is still intact as mud, in the filter. Even if the bike stops in deep water, above the tank, it should not suck water into the breater, and the presure in the otherwise sealed case should not permit the water to come up the tube. Like putting your finger over a straw and putting it in water. Anyway I belive the stalling tendency comes from the rapid cooling of the cylinder. This seems to keep the fuel from atomizing and makes the bike want to stall, untill the temp stabilizes. I have ridden DEEP water for a long time and sunk a few bikes. The air cooled bikes had a bad tendency to stall in deep cold water. Liquid cooled ones are not as bad as the coolent acts as a buffer against the cool water on the cylinder.
I have the best luck crossing Deep water in 1 st or 2 nd gear, weight back to be ready for rocks, ruts, or sudden stops form big flat faced holes, trees or rocks. I keep my legs tight against the bike to fend the water away form the airbox. Keep the speed high enough to keep the water dug out around the bike but not so fast you are slamming into the water and pushing a wave over the handlebars. If you can keep good speed you can cross water much deeper than the exhaust pipe because the wake you cause keeps the intake out of the water.
Good story.
A few years ago I was ridng a flooded very deep and fast flowing crick bed with a bud and we were seeing if we could cross it, on one of the crossings, I got in so deep the current from the water pulled the bike right out from under me! :) . Also, bikes dont float, quads will, but only upside down! :D

  • Ron_in_SoCal

Posted July 18, 2001 - 07:12 AM

#6

Yes, that sounds familiar to me too. I had my 'ol XR600 so waterproof that I could ride it in water that was over the seat, although not for a long duration as water would find its way into the airbox and flood the motor eventually.

The reason your bike is trying to die when in deep water is your carb vent hose(s) are under water and the fuel can not be drawn out of the float bowl by the main jet. It's kind of like a vapor lock situation. Air must enter the float bowl to replace the fuel being used. With the hose under water, no air gets in and no fuel gets out, sputter cough die. It does not take a deep water crossing to make this happen with the hoses hanging down only a few inches from the ground.

The best way to prevent this is to install a tee in the float bowl vent hose (others?) near the carb and run another hose up high (airbox?). This allows the bowl to vent while the bike is in water. I have to admit, I have not done this to my WR yet, so I don't know if other hoses are effected by water. On my XR(s), only the bowl vent hose had to be altered.

My $0.02


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  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted July 18, 2001 - 07:57 AM

#7

Ron, I hadn't considered the float bowl vent tube. I think that's good advice. I've got a spare tee at home and I'm going to put it in tonight. There's a big dual-sport ride in Central Florida this weekend and there's going to be a lot of water. The nickname for our club's ( www.wdsrc.com ) route planner is "Swampy".

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited 07-18-2001).]

  • Ron_S

Posted July 18, 2001 - 02:47 PM

#8

Originally posted by Rich in Orlando:
Riding in the Ocala National Forest is awesome! We've been getting a lot of rain here lately (thank God!), and this Sunday's ride was full of standing water. Most of it was less than a foot deep. Some of it was a lot deeper. I haven't been real keen in the past on riding through water, because when I've done so, my bike has either stalled or tried to. I knew I'd encounter deep water again, so I rerouted my carb vent hoses so that each hose "circuit" has one hose in the air box. I also moved my crankcase vent tube higher up and to the right side of the bike so that it terminates just below the steering head. I was ready for deep water.

Like I said, there was a lot of water this weekend and the bike performed just like I had hoped. No bogging in deep water, some almost as deep as the air box, and no stalling. The air temp was in the upper 80s but the water was cold and it felt good as it evaporated as we rode. There was one exceptional trail, about 2 miles long, that was like a "bobsled run", kind of cut into the forest floor with banked sides the whole way. I've ridden it dry before and you can really fly through it, even though the curves are tight. The sides of the trail act like berms so it's a lot of fun. When we passed the trail head, I knew we were in for a treat. The entire trail was under about a foot of clear water. I recorded the entire day's ride on my GPS so we could come back to the places we liked.

On the way back, I was following the trail plot on my GPS and it worked great. It's funny how the same trail can look completely different coming from the opposite direction. As we approached a large "puddle", the GPS indicated that we had been through it before, straight ahead. It looked deep, but since we'd been through the puddle before, I didn't hestiate entering it. (I had learned how to attack water that day: be deliberate, keep the revs up, 2nd or 3rd gear, be prepared in case of underwater obstacles, and DON'T STOP.) Entering the water was normal, but it got deep pretty quick, soon it was halfway up the engine, but no sweat--push on. Then the bottom dropped out. A second later, it was up to handlebars. The bike was still running, and I grabbed the brakes before I went any deeper. The tailpipe was still mostly out of the water. The last thing I wanted to do was stall the bike and try to start it in the water. We've all read horror stories of sucking water into the crankcase. That's what was going through my mind. Grabbing the clutch to keep it running, I jumped off and tried to push the bike backwards before it stalled, but the mud was too deep and it died before I could get it out. I did not try to start it again until it was out of the water. As I got the bike out, my GPS finally figured out where we were. We had been through here before, alright, on a parallel trail about 20 yards to our left! We went around this thing the first time.

The first thing I did after it was on dry land was to see if it would run. Nope. I took off the air filter and rung it out. Lot of water. I set it on some dry grass in the sun to dry it out. There was sediment in the airbox. Not good. With the filter off, it tried to start, but wouldn't. I pulled in the decomp lever, opened the hot start switch, and kicked it through about 25 times. With the choke on, it would run but would die if given any throttle. I decided the best thing was to let it warm up on choke for a few minutes to dry out the cylinder. Finally, I put it all back together after about a half hour. Once it warmed up fully, it ran fine, but it sputterd a lot at first as if it was really cold. We had about 10 miles to go to get back to the truck.

Once I got home, I drained the oil and replaced it with some cheap automotive motor oil. (I planned to drain that and replace it before I rode again.) The old oil looked normal. I ran the bike at idle for about 10 minutes with the throwaway oil in it. This evening, I drained the cheap stuff and took off both filers to clean and inspect. Both filters had a little bit of mud on them. Hopefully, I've done everything I needed to do to clean out the crankcase. I'm pretty confident it will be OK. I'll probably change the oil after my next ride, too. (I usually change the oil at the interval recommended in the manual--every 500 km.)

Lessons learned:
-Don't be afraid of crossing water, but do be careful in it.
-If it hadn't stalled it, I don't think I would have gotten water in the engine.
-Water in the cylinder is better than water in the crankcase. The water level did rise higher than my crankcase vent hose, so I think that's where the mud got in.
-If it looks deep, it probably is.

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited 07-17-2001).]



  • Ron_S

Posted July 18, 2001 - 02:53 PM

#9

Been There, lived miserably through that. The vent tubes are the key. I put 2 "t's" in the upper hoses since there are 4. The 2 on each side are actually out of one breather. There is no need to "T" into all 4 that I can see. They say the reason water gets into the crank, is trying to start the bike with the crank breather hose by the footpeg sucks in water with every kick. I routed the original up behind the front number plate, and ty-wrapped a small piece of foam rubber on the end. So far so good.

  • David_W

Posted July 19, 2001 - 01:36 AM

#10

I don't have a recovery story, but a friend dropped his two-week old XR650 into a waterhole and all we could see was the tip of the clutch lever and handlebar. We dragged it out when we'd stopped laughing. The big old bus was fine after we got it home and dried out. Bike was OK to....

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  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted July 19, 2001 - 04:07 AM

#11

Originally posted by z4me:
...My one suggestion is to remove the 17mm drain on the bowl of the carb and let some gas pour through it - this will help get the water out as once it is through the airfilter gravity will put it into the fuel bowl...


I took off the float bowl drain plug last night. I didn't find any water but there was black muck in it. I had to use carb cleaner to get the thing clean. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Bryan

Posted July 19, 2001 - 04:58 AM

#12

Great story Rich!
When my WR was only a few months old, I submarined it in Crested Butte. But my water crossing wasn't so deep. I was showing off in front of some Jeepers and trying to go fast through a pretty deep stream. Next thing I knew, me and my WR were on our sides completely under water.
Getting it started was an ordeal but I did do it.
After taking the seat off and seeing the air box was COMPLETELY full of water, I drained the air box, drained the float boal, then KerryT and I turned the bike on end and water came gushing out of the exhaust. Yep, the crank case was also completely full of water. Next I pulled the spark plug and kicked it over. It was an old faithful gusher of water that hit me in the eye!
I dried out the air filter the best I could, put in a new plug, and kept kicking until the water was out of the crank case.
After about 1.5 hours and hundreds of misquito bites (and much humiliation in front of laughing Jeepers), the sucker started right up.
When I got home I changed the oil twice but it didn't really seem dis-colored to me which was a surprise.

Now I'm much more cautious when a long way from my truck and going through a stream of any depth! :)

Bryan...

  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted July 19, 2001 - 05:36 AM

#13

Originally posted by Bryan:
...After taking the seat off and seeing the air box was COMPLETELY full of water...turned the bike on end and water came gushing out of the exhaust. Yep, the crank case was also completely full of water. Next I pulled the spark plug and kicked it over. It was an old faithful gusher of water that hit me in the eye!...


:) I cringed as I read that.

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited 07-19-2001).]

  • YamaCazi

Posted July 19, 2001 - 09:05 PM

#14

Man that's amazing....Yesterday I once again earned my Nickname.. I love water sports :D

Yesterday afternoon a couple of us checked out of work early to get a little ride time at a local motocross track before the sun set. :D

I'm not anywhere close to being an expert on the track , but I like to think Fearless in the woods. At 42 I need something to hold onto if you know what I mean. :D

Anyway, I was pushing for the group to do the trails around the track and they finally agreed. They had been kicking my butt on the track so now it was my turn. As the fastest woods rider they allowed me to take the lead and with a vengence I did. Man we were rockin. :D I had been on this trail dozens of times and knew every rock, root and tree by name (or so I thought) anyway there is one creek crossing that is about 3 ft deep and about 5ft wide. In previous rides we simply hit a berm on the side and jumped the creek. I knew that I had to be running about 20 mph to get the landing that I wanted and as I rounded the curve heading for the creek I hammered the throttle. As the crossing came into view I noticed that the crossing was no longer 5ft wide but about 18ft wide :), with a nice 3ft drop off onto a sandy beach then the water. I went through a mental checklist and found the berm, I could still reach it but would have to increase my speed. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a new trail had been cut around the creek crossing...I remember thinking "Sissy crossing" :D . Looking away from the trail would cost me dearly as I forgot to bring up the front end as I had planned, and when I realized this it was too late. I figured what the heck I'll just drop onto the sand then crank the berm, man was that a big mistake. :D 25 mph dropped onto the sand and it swallowed Big Blue...I don't mean just a little bit...It ate my damn bike. in a matter of a split second I was riding a freakin mouse trap lever :D! The front end burried all the way to the headlight then pivioted and slammed me head first into 3 ft of running water. I remember looking up through the water and hearing the tremendous laughter of my buds as they first stood on the edge of the crossing. :D After a moment which seemed like an hour they almost broke my neck dragging me out of the water by the front of my helmet. Poor Blue was now no more than a channel bouy. It took 7 of us 30 minutes to get Blue pulled from the pit of hell. To make matters worse I had to be towed back to my trailer by a QUAD...a honda at that! :D After draining all the fluids from everything and changing the oil it appears Blue will survive to try and kill me another day....The Moose bars once again will have to be replaced again! But ya gotta pay something to have fun. Can't wait until next Saturday.....(IF My Wife will loan me the money for a set of Bars) :D

Bonzai......... :D

  • armourbl

Posted July 20, 2001 - 11:05 AM

#15

I have yet to actually by my WR, but I have a suggestion for all of you.

On my street bike, 1999 Suzuki TL1000R, the crank case breather can be a problem. The breather on my bike vents to the airbox. Which is fine, but can cause the inside of the airbox to get a thin layer of oil residue. Our answer is to route the breather hose to a separate catch container.

I used a lexan bottle, about 250ml. I drilled some small holes in the bottom of the container to allow for pressure to vent to the atmosphere. I put some fine UNI foam at the bottom and then some corse plastic spounge in after that -- this allows oil vapors to be collected, condensed, and drain back into the crank. I mated a plastic hose nipple to the screw top of the bottle to connect the hose.

Basically, I now have a clear catch container which allows me to visually check for maintenance needs. If I feel the need to clean it out, I just unscrew the lid, remove the filters and clean them.

I imagine this could also help prevent unwanted debris, like mud, from entering the crank case.

Road Race bikes on factory budgets do the same and route their new crank case breather container under the tail section, using a long 5/8" hose. So, hose lenght shouldn't be an issue.

If you wanted to get real fancy you could put a one-way valve in-line with the breather hose. This would allow pressure to vent, but the valve would close of if crank began to suck. ???

ben

  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted July 20, 2001 - 11:57 AM

#16

Originally posted by armourbl:
...If you wanted to get real fancy you could put a one-way valve in-line with the breather hose. This would allow pressure to vent, but the valve would close of if crank began to suck. ???...


Good suggestion about the bottle (I think I know what you're describing, but I'm not sure if there's enough room for it), but the one- way valve wouldn't work. I put a wad of polyester batting, kind of like quilt liner, in the end of my crankcase vent tube to act as a dust filter. Since the tube terminated at my steering head, I can see the end of the tube as I'm riding. It is also clear vinyl, so I can see inside the tube as well. As the batting got old, it kind of wound itself into a ball, just slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the tube. When the bike was running, it oscillated back and forth at the end of the tube, with a magnitude of about an inch. This shows me that the pressure goes in and out. A one-way valve would choke off the "intake" stroke (exhaust/compression strokes of the piston). This could cause problems with the motor if it's not vented properly.

  • WR_Jason

Posted July 20, 2001 - 11:58 AM

#17

I dont think the one way would work cause the crank case needs to breath both ways. The only way it would work is if you used a floating check valve like styrofoam or something that closed because of boyancy. I use a very cheap method in all my vent hoses. I split them about 1.5 inces and shove cigarette filter material up in them. lightly spraying the filters with wd 40 helps them keep the water out. Ill have to jam one in that vent hose line too. :)

  • armourbl

Posted July 23, 2001 - 08:02 AM

#18

When I do get my WR, I'm going to try the catch container. We don't have a lot of wet land here in Phoenix, but I will try to test it and post my results.

ben

  • gempler

Posted July 23, 2001 - 02:55 PM

#19

I had just the opposite experience with my 99 WR last week. I dropped it in a marsh and water got in through the pipe. I pulled and drained the pipe, went to kick it over and water came out. So, I pushed the bike out to the truck to take home. I then drained the oil and a little bit of water came out. I pulled the camshaft cover and there was some water in there as well. I pulled the plug and with the decomp lever pulled in, kicked it over a few times to help dry the cylinder. I let it sit overnight and then put it all back together with new oil, etc. Now, when I went to kick it over, there was very little compression, like I had the decomp lever pulled in. The only thing I could think of was stuck/bent/broken valve. So, I took it to the shop where they'll let me know the verdict Thursday or Friday. I run my crankcase hose up into the airbox, so nothing got in that way. The water never got up to the airbox, but when we went to pull the bike out, we had to lay it over and water got in through the pipe.
Keith

  • z4me

Posted July 23, 2001 - 03:28 PM

#20

Originally posted by gempler:
I had just the opposite experience with my 99 WR last week. I dropped it in a marsh and water got in through the pipe. I pulled and drained the pipe, went to kick it over and water came out. So, I pushed the bike out to the truck to take home. I then drained the oil and a little bit of water came out. I pulled the camshaft cover and there was some water in there as well. I pulled the plug and with the decomp lever pulled in, kicked it over a few times to help dry the cylinder. I let it sit overnight and then put it all back together with new oil, etc. Now, when I went to kick it over, there was very little compression, like I had the decomp lever pulled in. The only thing I could think of was stuck/bent/broken valve. So, I took it to the shop where they'll let me know the verdict Thursday or Friday. I run my crankcase hose up into the airbox, so nothing got in that way. The water never got up to the airbox, but when we went to pull the bike out, we had to lay it over and water got in through the pipe.
Keith


uugh - get it back, don't waste your money.
Until I got it fired back up - I had no compression either. Once I went through getting everything dry it finally started - then it had normal compression. 12 rides since - no problems.

- Sean




 
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