Deep water crossing prep?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by TBob, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I once drank the kool-aid. :huh

    For dinking around in your back yard, if you have the money to waste, then go for it. If you're actually on a transcontimental adventure, then you either learn quickly, or you go home.

    That being said, next time I go, I'm taking a snorkel and a breather tube. I already spray everything with WD-40.

    I have the 11 gallon touratech tank, with the oilable foam air filter, and I usually run with the pre-filter. When I'm in heavy rain the pre-filter can get saturated with water. I've been thinking about a short snorkel anyway- one with a oilable foam pre-filter near the intake, then water-tight down to the air-box.

    Water getting into the oil isn't that big of a deal- it'll boil off fairly quickly. Just don't work the engine too hard for a little while. IMHO, it's not critical to get the oil changed immediately, but that depends on the water. If it's brown muddy water, then change the oil quickly. If it's good, clear water, then don't worry about it.

    It's usually better to go around, even if that means days of riding. Otherwise you'll spend days in the shop, not-riding. You'll be lucky if you get away with just a broken flywheel and a shattered starter and a few electrical gremlins.
    #21
  2. chilipeppernorm

    chilipeppernorm Been here awhile

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    Ok, I am a total new guy, no dirt experience in the last three decades, sure as hell no adventure knife in teeth while crossing the Amazon stuff. So forgive me, but if you've read history you know some of the most truly real man adventurers in our exploration of the West required those brave adventurers to ford the river/stream/body of water at the best spot. Find the shallow spot not the macho spot. The GS was not ever designed for submarine duty. I may be off the mark or issue. Those with greater experience will correct me.
    #22
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Common sense is never off the mark. Even the shallow water crossings tend to be super slippery as they tend to be coated in slimy algae.
    #23
  4. ricohman

    ricohman Long timer

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    If your pissing around in the water an hour from home, its really not an epic adventure anyways.
    If your pissing around in the water 5000 km from home (and you need your bike to get you back home) thats an adventure. And you got the balls to prove it.
    I'll disagree with the oil in the water though. Change it immediately. As soon as it mixes and the oil turns milky bearing surfaces start to deteriorate. Water is a poor lubricant and it will take many oil changes to get rid of it if you run it to long.
    Don't ask me how I know this.........
    #24
  5. diabolik37

    diabolik37 Deadly Gubba

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    I think the problem with the bike in the picture is that it has the GPS but you can clearly see that is missing the SONAR..:D

    What a sad picture...
    #25
  6. Gillies

    Gillies Long timer

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    I figure there must be something truely worth exploring on the other side. The New World, perhaps?
    #26
  7. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    TRUE!!!

    Bananaman's Rules For Water Crossing:

    1) Walk the water. Park your bike safely on dry land, and walk across the water. If the water is close to, or over, boot-high, then it's too deep.

    2) Find the Best Route. This might not be straight. Especially for wide streams, the shallow route might be a big curve, dictated by the currents. You have to ride the way Tiger Woods putts. You might need to find two or three landmarks. It's ok to spend a little time lining yourself up.

    3) Dismantle Your Load. Take side cases off, remove tank bag, etc. Make your bike as light as possible. Just imagine trying to pick it up once the panniers are full of water...

    4) Be Prepared to Swim. Do you really want to have to swim- to save your life- if you're wearing a full-on riding suit, helmet, gloves, etc? At least empty your pockets of anything you don't want wet (camera, phone, ipod, passport, etc.).

    5) Be Prepared for Bike to Sink. You weigh a lot less than your bike. Your bike will sink in the mud, push rocks apart, and it might stall. IF IT STALLS, DO NOT TRY TO RE-START!!!

    6) Ride. Be aware of the bow-wake. This will drown your bike. Be aware of obstacles. Depending on the speed and footing, I sometimes keep my feet on the pegs, sometimes I carry them out-rigger style. It's gonna be tricky.

    7) Once you've negotiaged the water, stop and inspect your bike. Keep it running- this will help burn off the water and dry the bike.

    8) Re-load your gear.

    9) Ride.

    Special Note: If possible, position photographers in strategic locations. Make sure the cameras have plenty of memory and good batteries. I like a fast shutter, but if the photographers have skill, then let them do their fucking job without yelling at them. It'll be hard enough for them to take photos while they're laughing.

    The only time I drowned my bike was when I didn't pre-walk. I had walked the river previously that day, but I hadn't taken into account the possibility that a truck might have come by and left a deep rut- way too deep for me. PRE-WALK EVERY TIME!

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    #27
    edd-nor likes this.
  8. TBob

    TBob Offroad Fab Guy

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    Thanks for all the replies - good stuff!
    I would much rather prep and test my bike in my own back yard than learn the hard way when I'm 1/2 around the world in a jungle - but to each his own.
    #28
  9. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    You can think you're prepared, and then you realize you fucked up.
    #29
  10. TBob

    TBob Offroad Fab Guy

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    yep that's why you do as much as you can up front - there will alway be something that comes up unexpected, that's part of the adventure :)

    #30
  11. 1.Rider

    1.Rider Been here awhile

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    '08 GSA w/ESA multiple (boot/knee) deep river crossings off road solo on Iceland this summer. Zero problems of technical nature then with the bike, and sofar none later:1drink

    As to use of clutch. The important thing is to keep control of the bike, avoiding submerging it, avoiding building up a too big a bow wave, and keep your exhaust flowing (avoid water entering) - so keep your speed down and rpm reasonably high. (If needed accept to slip the clutch to keep the rpm at about 3K)

    That said as Bananaman and other say, prepare the best you can, but there is allways a residual risk - just be sure you have done all to minimize it:augie
    #31
  12. DPS77

    DPS77 in no hurry whatsoever!!

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    AMEN....
    #32
  13. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    Hey Bob,

    It is your bike do your own thing...I for one think you are on the correct path...preparation and planning...nothing is certain but the couch gets really boring even if it is safe...look at the many, many different bikes that have been used for RTW trips...it is what you make it...

    Sounds neat to say the GS or GSA is not a submarine...what bike is? But following BM's advice and use common sense and you will be fine on a GSA crossing water..not rivers, get a boat ride, but the thousands of shallow water crossings that are inevitable if you ride off road [or sometimes even on pavement water must be crossed]...

    FD...if hot cool it down before entering water...drop in temp could suck in water past a seal...but at least on my '07 GSA not vents on FD...

    U-joints and splines can be maintained and not rust..

    Trans I believe does have a vent...if it is like a PCValve on a car I don't know...that is directional..out not in...

    ABS..servo...could be an issue as mentioned...starting '07 no servo..no problem..

    Induction intake...do need to seal and run a tube to handle bars..don't forget to seal air box just in front of filter...as mentioned..I use the Oz brand of UNI filter, which is oiled foam with a prefilter over end on intake snorkle...only way to go...wet BMW 'paper" is useless...

    Electronics...ignition will not be stopped by water...even if over cylinders...ECUs, well I don't know...

    Biggest issue in my mind was also mentioned by BM...dropping bike midstream...picking up my bike is a chore, picking up my bike in a current or on a slippery bottom by myself could be impossible [I ride solo]...I did notice that BM or whoever was in picture still had the aluminum boxes on bike for the crossing...need to re-think that, my boxes [now on shelf] would not seal and in a current would create a lot of drag and lift until they filled with water, plus they weigh 14 lbs each...I now use low profile soft luggage and it is waterproof, lighter and will not crunch you leg if trapped under it in a fall..

    So ride on Brother! Know when to turn back and say "no" and know when to vote with your right wrist and go WFO! Above all have fun...and of course come home in one piece...:wink:

    Ps...as BM emphasized do not try to start an engine or run an engine that has taken water into the induction...water in cylinder can bust the shit out of your motor; pull plugs and then turn it over to expel water...I too think you should not try to "burn off water" in engine oil...the water/oil emulsion will persist and damage bearings..

    Oh yes, there is a vent tube opening inside the airbox that leads directly to the oil sump...so water may not get into throttle bodies, but may be in motor...

    PPs...I find standing on pegs helps me control bike at low speeds and over rocks better than being seated
    #33
  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    For big water crossings, I strip the bike if luggage. In the photo I posted, I was only crossing a small stream, so I didn't bother. I had already walked it and I was certain that I'd make it (and I did).

    Fatigue is your enemy. My drowning mistake came at the end if an epic day (as evidenced on the front page).

    (FWIW, Luciosq also has front-page photos from this area of Panama.)

    After my drowning, I was surprised by how little water was in my oil. One oil change and it was fine. If you don't drown your bike... (I'll leave oil changing up to each individual. If you don't drown, maybe you're fine, but it won't hurt to change the oil.)

    I completely forgot to mention in my drowning thread that my ABS was fucked up- either in the rivers, or in the dozenish drops that day. The BMW dealership had to reset it.

    Other Problems: I didn't want to get to
    #34
  15. ricohman

    ricohman Long timer

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    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the design of the GS engine. Years ago I read a piece about VW powered buggies on the Oregon coast that were subjected to frequent dunkings.
    These engines suffered some ill effects over time and when they tore a few of them down they found terrible scuffing at the tops of the cylinders.
    The pistons themselves measured reasonably to spec however the bores were oval.
    The large surface area of these heavily finned motors led them to cool quickly and unevenly causing the damage.
    I have no idea on how this type of thing would translate over to a GS mill but these are primarily air/oil cooled engines.
    I do remember wrecking a few air cooled Moto-Ski engines as a teenager. We used to throw snow on them to cool them down!:eek1
    #35
  16. PukaWai

    PukaWai Long timer

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    I still don't get why anyone would want to take a $20K bike and park it in the middle of a river. Can't get to the other side with the sidestand down...
    Maybe the necessary prep is a lobotomy?:D
    #36
  17. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    Or they had enough and that was as far as they were going....alternate ending: If the sidestand works on that bottom perhaps it was not a difficult ride and they figured they had it made and stopped for a cool photo:wink:
    #37
  18. configurationspace

    configurationspace delooper

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    :scratch Next up, motorcyclist rides his GS adv off devil's peak and miraculously lives, complains the GS was advertised as a world traveller, demands his money back.

    [​IMG]
    #38
  19. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    Ok...I am too slow to get the point...do you think the GSA is a bike capable through design and dependability to be an ATW bike? Remember before you answer that a Harley was....

    Ps...Devil's Tower.... and it has been climbed by Vespas
    #39
  20. Mav

    Mav Something witty...

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    You can certainly go pretty deep - here's a pic of a successful water crossing:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasemarkos/2622631322/" title="IMGP2417 by jsmarkos, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3203/2622631322_79977b7817_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="IMGP2417" /></a>

    My bike has a snorkel fitted which brings the air intake pretty much up to the top of the tank. However - I have dropped the bike in water a couple times including a proper full, entirely underwater dunking. That took a tipping up to drain the exhaust (glad I don't have a cat ;-) ) and a pulling of the airbox and plugs. After which it started fine - I think first time :clap But the oil was creamed - took four flushes to get somewhere what looked like oil coming out :huh

    As far as ongoing damage - the dash on my bike is regularly on the blink. On changing the gearbox bearings, they found the clutch assembly had corroded - I can only assume from water ingress.

    So if you want to use the bike for proper playing and don't mind paying for serious work every so often - go for your life. If your doing proper, long distance adventure riding - follow the advice of people like bananaman. The aim is to complete the trip - not prove to your friends that you rode the deepest bit of water there is :D
    #40