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  1. #1
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    Member No: 45114 jnimeroff is an unknown quantity at this point jnimeroff's Avatar
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    Hydrolock in 4-6 inches of water...

    Greetings,

    I live in a remote area of Jersey and my street was flooded. After reading in my manual that you should drive the Cooper through more than a foot of water (very slowly), I decided that I would be able to make it out of my development, through 4-6 inches of water, if I drove slowly. I drove slowly through the water and made it out no problem. 25 feet down the road the car starts sputtering. I shut it down and wait 5 minutes. I try to start the car and it sputters so I shut it down and call roadside assistance. They take the car to my dealership for a checkup.

    My dealership calls me the next day and tells me it will cost $7,500 for the installation of a new engine and that my insurance will have to cover it because it is an "act of god." I am very ticked off since I followed the manual in its letter and spirit.

    I decide to chat with my sales manager and come to find that they have had 10-12 Coopers that have hydrolocked, and 0 Cooper S's (due to the placement of the air intake). A stupid salesman who was listening in on my conversation actually jumped in an blurted out, "that wouldn't have happened if you had a S." I am thinking design flaw and want Mini to pick up the tab for fixing my car, or let me turn her back in and I will purchase a new S.

    Has anyone else had such difficulties?

    Best,
    Jeff


  2. #2
    RichmondJCWMCS
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    Re: Hydrolock in 4-6 inches of water...

    My MCS was flooded by Hurricane Isabel about 6 inches above the bottom of doors. It was sitting on my street and it flooded as I was not driving it at the time. No engine damage at all, but many electronic parts had to be replaced and things like the carpet, mats, etc.

  3. #3
    Alan Kilian
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    Get a second opinion.

    Generally, "hydrolocking" prevents the engine from turning over
    properly because one or more cylinders get too much liquid water
    in them, and the piston slamms into the water at the top of the
    compression stroke.

    The running engine goes "Bang" and stops immediately.
    You cannot crank the engine over. Done. Tow it to the garage.

    Yours kept running the whole time, and you shut it down and restarted
    it, so it didn't hydrolock. It may have ingested some water, but not
    enough to lock it up.

    Let it dry a few days at the dealer, and ask to go in ind restart the
    engine. It will probably run fine, and you can guve them the
    center-finger when you leave.

    Let us know what you find out.

  4. #4
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    Re: Get a second opinion.

    Alan,

    Thanks for the info.

    I already tried your advice. I have been to the dealership and seen my car, hole in the block and all. I guess it could have been the case that the dealership tried to start it when there still was water, and hydrolocked it, but that would just be speculation on my part.

    Best,
    Jeff



  5. #5
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    Re: Get a second opinion.

    great advice....hope he keeps us posted

  6. #6
    markjenn
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    None of this makes much sense

    First, I don't see a mechanism where 4-6 inches of water could possibly get to the air intake on a Mini.

    Second, I don't see a mechanism where the car would run through the water and then quit a while further due to any type of hydraulic locking.

    Third, I don't see how you'd have missed a hole in the side of the block when the car quit (and it's associated noise and vital fluids leaking out) so I don't understand how the current state of the car could have much to do with the state when it quit.

    I hope you get this resolved to your satisfaction, but somebody here is not telling the whole story.

    - Mark

  7. #7
    Alan Kilian
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    OK, now you have me thinking you\'re making this up

    There is almost no way your car would continue to run
    after punching a hole in the block.

    It would be making some god-awful racket with a broken
    connecting rod and only three cylinders firing.

    I'm not completely sure, but I think this is a made-up problem.

    Sorry to accuse you like this, but I don't know you, and your
    story seems fishy.

    I apologise in advance if it turns out I'm wrong.

  8. #8
    Drewmon
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    This is some strange voodoo

    we be talkin' 'bout folks.

    Now I realize the potential for damage with water ingestion in a motor but a hole in the block? Mmmmmmkay, that's a first. And, if that happened how did it sputter onward? A exit wound like that equates to instant done, fin, kaput.

    Something does not come out right here.... I'll have to side with Alan on this.


  9. #9
    Rich_V
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    The air intake is up high..how would you get water

    in there and besides it would have to be a lot because it would have to fill up the airbox. Also there is a hole in the bottom of airbox to drain it. Am I missing something here? Are we talking about the same thing?

  10. #10
    Alan Kilian
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    A hole in the block is possible.

    That's the classic hydrolock result if you are running
    at 3000 RPM, and you suck a lot of water into the intake.

    THe water gets into the cylinder and when the piston
    comes up, it stops, the connecting ron breaks, or punches a hole
    in the top of the piston, and the next time around, it falls
    out the botton of the cylinder, and the next time around, it
    points at the side of the block and pops a hole in it.

    Then, the car starts to make evil sounds and usually can't
    continue running.

    So part of the story is reasonable, maybe he was not honest about
    the driving real slowly through 4 inches of water part.

    If it was "I blasted through 6 inches of water at 40 MPH, and
    the car went "Bang" and ran lousy for 5 seconds until I turned
    it off..." Then I'm a believer again.

  11. #11
    gscooter
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    The lower air dam can become a scoop

    With enough standing water and a little speed you can push a wall of water up and with enough speed and a long or deep enough "puddle" the air intake can easily ingest enough to do the number.

    I has an old Austin American (69) that would do that from time to time. Fortunately the air intake was not right the pointed at the front grill opening.

    And think about it - At full compression how many oz or fractions there of does a cylinder hold? Exceed that number and BANG you'll bust something expensive. The law of physics bites.. Again!

  12. #12
    wolfsburg_de
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    Only 37 cc's needed if the CR is 10.6:1.


  13. #13
    Dave B
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    The water would be divided between the cylinders..

    Also to get into the cylinder it would have to be sucked in (same way as a straw) which the pistons certainly could do if the intake etc was completely full.
    With only moderate amounts of fluids it would seem unlikely this would or should happen.
    Where exactly is the hole in the block?
    Have the pistons been damaged?
    More than one cylinder?
    Is there water in the oil?
    Does the cooling system hold pressure?
    Is there still water in the intake runners?
    I would think the engine would quit firing before it would suck in enough water to hydrolock.


  14. #14
    gscooter49
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    Sounds like dodging the Issue

    1. It's a four cylinder - only one cylinder is sucking air at a time. If enough water enters the intake (Hey 37 cc is not much) there will be plenty to do the deed.

    2. Have you ever hit deep water with a low car? I have and I can tell you it's more than a little disconcerting to see the wall of water come over the nose of a car. Don't forget the tires are pushing water in front too. It doesn't take 6 inches of water and/or 30 mph to send that wall over the nose.

    3 At even 10 to 15 mph if the "fire goes out" in the engine the car will continue to roll for a some distance and the engine will continue to turn over. It only takes one compression cycle of "nuthin but water" to do the job.

    Ultimately the questions being asked were really get to the real story since there were conflicting pieces of information in the post. Clearly an engine with a hole in the "block" is going to put out one heck of a lot of noise IF it even fires on 3 cylinders. Maybe the post is just a confused and frustrated owners post. It's just that some of the folks here would like to know what the real conditions were and what the real damage is. I don't think we are going to run around in circles and set our hair on fire over this report, but some would like to know the situation to try to avoid having the same experience themselves. Car designers do make mistakes and sometimes drivers make even bigger ones. I think we are all just curious to know what happened.

  15. #15
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    Re: Hydrolock in 4-6 inches of water...

    I'm with MINI USA. I've passed this message on to a MINI National Customer Relations Representative who will be in touch with you soon.

  16. #16
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    Re: A hole in the block is possible.

    Greetings,

    Seems that everyone is a know-it-all ;-).

    I believe I said 4-6 inches of water. I was following another car. We were moving slowly. Cars were coming through the water in the other direction. Those are the facts.

    Car ran crappy and I pulled it over. Tried to start again. More crap. It was pitch black out and freezing, and even if it was something that I wanted to look at and check for, I figured better to just get it towed and checked at the dealership. Stayed in car until RSA came and then got a ride home with a friend who came to pick me up.

    A lot of messages make correct points but nothing occurs in a vacuum. When the tires push water both to the inside and outside of the car, and those waves get combined with water raised by the front damn, and you combine that with waves generated by the other cars going through the water you can get some interesting heights and patterns. Water ingestion is possible.

    Also the Mini box filter system is pretty good and absorbing quite a bit of water so it is possible that the cylindar contained water for a little bit before actually containing enough to fill the 100cc gap between the piston at the top of the stroke and the cylindar head.

    Best,
    Jeff

  17. #17
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    Re: Sounds like dodging the Issue

    20 years ago a (not real mechanically inclined) graduate student friend of mine bought a radiator flush kit for his carborated Toyota. This is the kind that you splice a hose connection to one of your heater hoses, open the radiator cap, hook up a water hose, and turn on the water. However, he didn't put the spliced hose connection on the heater hose. He put it on the hose between the EGR valve and the Carb. (not knowing what he was doing, obviously). He turned on the water and by his observation, nothing happened (water did not come out of the radiator cap). It did hower enter the carb and go into any cylinder with an open intake valve. He walked to my house to ask for help. He said the engine would not turn over.

    When I saw the car and realized what happened, I removed all 4 sprk plugs and we turned the engine over. Water shot out of the spark plug holes twenty feet into the air. Clearly at least 2 cylinders were full of water. The starter could not turn the engine over until the spark plugs were removed, since liquids are noncompressable. We did get it dried out and it did finally run.

    In a moving (running) engine I do not think the cylinder would have to be completely full of water to do some damage.

    Enough of this tale! Since I am about to get a new MC in a week, I would like to find an air intake which would shed any water pushed up from the lower air dam, before it gets to the filter and ultimately to the engine. The Promini air intake looks like a good choice. Anyone have any idea if MiniMania's Cold air intake for the MC (non S) has a means to keep water out of the engine, should it get in the lower air intake pipe?

  18. #18
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    Can split a Piston

    I borrowed a friends Model A that wasn't driven for some time. Water went past the head gasket while I was driving and when the piston went up it was litterall split in two at the top. The top part stayed up at the head while the bottom portion continued to go up and down with the piston. Sucked most of the oil and water out before I got it stopped. Took a little bit to figure out what happened.

  19. #19
    gscooter
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    Visit Dealer and lift the hood

    Your best bet is to start a new post on air filter options and visit your dealer to see how much space there is to do what you want to do. Currently the air intake sits right behind the front grill and whatever comes in that grill is headed towards the engine.

  20. #20
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    Re: Hydrolock in 4-6 inches of water...

    Greetings,

    Thanks for taking the time to look at my situation. Just to let you know, I spoke to Marty at the CS phone number and he called Peter, my local service manager and both said I was SOL.

    I am very angry and would appreciate any help you can give to me regarding this situation.

    Best,
    Jeff

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