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How my car got hydrolocked, and how to avoid it..

14261 Views 20 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  iKermit
Ok so lets go back to July 16...

It was raining pretty hard and i had just left the gym... I get to the street i usually take and see its flooded. Its not quite as bad, or so i thought ( as you will see in the pictures i will attach). When all of a sudden, my car started to die... And then it just shut off and kept going forward..I waited a good 10 minutes and i tried to fire her up again (Horrible idea when i learned i shouldn't have done that). And the scraping and metal noises i heard, confirmed my dead engine. I called Roadside and they towed it to the dealership. In the morning i wake up, and i get to the dealership. And turns out my car wasn't there because the dealer was closed...

After an hour wait, my car got there and the technician said my starter was bad (I laughed inside) and i said ok replace it. When the tech came out again, he said we needed to talk and he told me that my engine blew... CONGRATULATIONS! Anyways, he took me inside the shop and sure enough, he showed me the throttle body, and it was still wet... He then showed me pieces of the pistons from inside there.. And my block cracked...

So whatever, my insurance covered it and i was told i was getting a new engine, but then my insurance decided that i was going to get a used one to save some money. I argued, but they rebuttled saying, it would have a lifetime warranty if anything were to go bad. The used engine has 8000 miles, compared to the original with 16000.

Now lets fast forward to yesterday, i pick up my car... I drove it around the block and it turned off (I WAS RAGING AT THIS POINT). And they simply took it back in, fixed it and sure enough my car was back to normal. ****, it even runs better than before... They left my CAI (Switching to SRI ASAP) in it and the tune is still active (Which i still need to data log, but i sold my cable, ill solve this part later)

The total invoice was $3,661.. (I only paid my deductible of 1000).

So here is my warning... If you have a CAI, and see ANY flood... DO NOT GO THROUGH IT, STOP, annoy everyone behind you... And turn away, save the headache that this has caused me. It took me a month to get my car back. If you DO NOT have a CAI and want one, make sure you are conscious of this. Avoid floods, by all means.. The CAI is a great addition to the car, the only regret i have is not turning around..

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<-- thats me, screaming at AAA because it took an hour for me to get it.

As you can see, it was a small flood.. It wasn't even huge. But it dipped towards the middle.. Which was my mistake.
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· Lyrical Wordsmith
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry to hear about your luck. That's one reason why I've always gone SRI
YUP i am switching over to it ASAP..
What part of your insurance covered this? Also, you have a 1000 dollar deductable?
Comprehensive covered it, and yeah. I am 22 yrs old, every penny i can save i get. After a month or two i am switching to another company and getting $500 deductible.
 

· Lyrical Wordsmith
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How deep do you figure it was in the middle?

:( Sorry man
If i were to estimate i'd said 7-9 (max) inches, and the problem was also that as i tried to go through it, my car hesitated and didn't accelerate so it slowed down, and later it reacted and accelerated...So it was more prone to sucking it in..
 

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I don't do deep standing at all these days, but not for that reason. When a vehicle goes through deep water, the lubrication of the parts under the car can get flushed away. Links and brakes are mostly affected.And then the fan belt can slip. Possible fracture of the exhaust manifold. Just not worth it. And if there is ANY current at all to the water, then there is the danger of it pushing you off the road.
 

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...down here in southern AZ, when the monsoon rains "flood" just about every normally dry road crossing, there are many "dead" engines/cars sitting in the middle of flooded roads...and, some cars even end up getting "floated / washed" down the stream/arroyo for miles!

...so, the road people put up signs & close/block all the known flooded washes & roadways, and AZ has a "Stupid Motorist" Law that makes the owner who drives around those signs liable for all the costs of their 'swift-water' rescue.

...obviously, not the same situation as yours, but similar.
 

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Sorry to hear about your misfortune... sometimes you just have to take it as reality badge & know next time you'll reconsider the choice of staying or going. I had a similar situation almost happen, but I got out to check the water level & poof I was knee deep! I waved off the two people behind me & said back up because I'm not going... they quickly reversed after seeing how deep I was in water. Oh I was driving my Isuzu Trooper so that is why I was able to keep the engine dry, but if I'd continued on I likely would have suffered the same fate. Getting back in was no fun... took off my belt & wrapped it on the steering wheel for leverage.

Now that you're back on the road... hoping your troubles are behind you.
 

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...down here in southern AZ, when the monsoon rains "flood" just about every normally dry road crossing, there are many "dead" engines/cars sitting in the middle of flooded roads...and, some cars even end up getting "floated / washed" down the stream/arroyo for miles!

...so, the road people put up signs & close/block all the known flooded washes & roadways, and AZ has a "Stupid Motorist" Law that makes the owner who drives around those signs liable for all the costs of their 'swift-water' rescue.

...obviously, not the same situation as yours, but similar.
I like that law.
 

· Lyrical Wordsmith
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
...down here in southern AZ, when the monsoon rains "flood" just about every normally dry road crossing, there are many "dead" engines/cars sitting in the middle of flooded roads...and, some cars even end up getting "floated / washed" down the stream/arroyo for miles!

...so, the road people put up signs & close/block all the known flooded washes & roadways, and AZ has a "Stupid Motorist" Law that makes the owner who drives around those signs liable for all the costs of their 'swift-water' rescue.

...obviously, not the same situation as yours, but similar.
They should make that here, but there are so many little roads, and so many floods that i think its too big of an investment right now for the county/city. It would also help ALOT with insurance rates.

Thing is a FIAT 500... passed through and it made it FINE. Can you say F my life?

I don't do deep standing at all these days, but not for that reason. When a vehicle goes through deep water, the lubrication of the parts under the car can get flushed away. Links and brakes are mostly affected.And then the fan belt can slip. Possible fracture of the exhaust manifold. Just not worth it. And if there is ANY current at all to the water, then there is the danger of it pushing you off the road.
Yeah i am just going to avoid them all together and back up.. Good information.. I know the sudden change in temperature can crack meta.. Unfortunately it is impossible to not find puddles here. (and i when i say puddles i mean real big ones)

Sorry to hear about your misfortune... sometimes you just have to take it as reality badge & know next time you'll reconsider the choice of staying or going. I had a similar situation almost happen, but I got out to check the water level & poof I was knee deep! I waved off the two people behind me & said back up because I'm not going... they quickly reversed after seeing how deep I was in water. Oh I was driving my Isuzu Trooper so that is why I was able to keep the engine dry, but if I'd continued on I likely would have suffered the same fate. Getting back in was no fun... took off my belt & wrapped it on the steering wheel for leverage.

Now that you're back on the road... hoping your troubles are behind you.
Wow yeah, thankfully you backed up. It would have probably gotten inside the cabin too maybe? I also waved off everyone behind me lol but some didn't listen and rubbed it in that they could make it -_-
 

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FWIW I have to constantly remind the wife that her '11 Cruze is much LOWER than her '87 Astro Van was...and, that GM makes cars not boats!
 

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First off, if the water level is over the tail pipe, the engine rpm must be kept high in order to keep the exhaust pressure up, so that water does not go up the tail pipe and stall the engine. If this was to happen, it wouldn't likely do damage, but the car would have to be towed out of the water, and a modern car would likely throw a trouble code to the computer, causing the computer to have to be re-set. If you were able to drive through, then you didn't have this problem.

If the water level gets above the air intake while the engine is running, the engine could suck in water, and the engine could hydrolock, which means that water is sucked into the cylinders. Because water does not compress like air, water in the cylinders can cause severe damage that will require and engine rebuild or replacement. If water gets in the engine while the engine is stalled, the water will have to be removed before the engine is started or a hydrolock could occur. Remove the spark plugs and crank the engine, and the water will be pumped out of the spark plug holes. If your vehicle hydrolocked, you would know about it, because it would make at least one very loud bang, and would not continue to run. Since most air cleaners are near the top of the engine compartment, in most cases, the water would have to be more than a foot deep to allow water into the air intake.

Finally, if the water gets higher than the vents on your crank case, transmission, or differential, you could get water in your engine, transmission or differential oil. This would allow the vehicle to continue to drive, but over time, it could damage the vehicle. To check if this is the case, check the oil in each of these locations. if the oil on the dipstick appears milky, then there is water in it, and it should be changed.
 

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Reminds me when I was driving south on the Edens Expressway north of Chicago after a heavy rain. At an underpass, saw water, but could not see the surface of the road. I quickly slammed on the brakes, the guy being me started blowing his horn, giving me the finger, and was yelling at me when he passed me and shot under that underpass.

So help me God, the water was three feet deep, sorry, but I could not but help laughing my butt off. So your advice should read, if you cannot see the road surface, stop or either proceed very slowly. That runoff water is anything but clear, don't know if its one inch deep or three feet. My only regret is that I didn't have my camera with me.

Always carried non-deductible collision and comprehensive insurance, that was changed in the 80's, carrying $100.00 deductible now, to get non-deductible, would cost me an extra 96 bucks per six months. Only had to use it a few times, last week was one when my wife was driving and a deer ran into the right front fender.

Really have to watch for dual wheels kicking up stones to break your windshield, but can't do very much about it on a narrow two lane road with the offending vehicle coming from the other way. A couple of years ago, got a rock in my windshield, glass shop wanted 460 bucks for a new one if I had insurance, was 146 bucks if I didn't. Said I didn't have insurance, for the extra 46 bucks, didn't have to file a claim and expect my rates to increase the following six months.

They found a used engine with only 8K on it? Vehicle must have been totaled, Cruze's haven't been around that much. How do you know it only had 8K on it? Did you see the donor and read the odometer?

With my claim, insurance company wanted me to straighten out the old fender, are you kidding? New one only cost 97 bucks, I got a brand new fender. And once sheet metal is crushed, no way to save it.

When I hear guaranteed for life, I don't walk away, I run. Usually talking about he life of a mosquito, about two weeks.
 

· Lyrical Wordsmith
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
FWIW I have to constantly remind the wife that her '11 Cruze is much LOWER than her '87 Astro Van was...and, that GM makes cars not boats!
I have also noticed the Cruze is lower than most cars.

First off, if the water level is over the tail pipe, the engine rpm must be kept high in order to keep the exhaust pressure up, so that water does not go up the tail pipe and stall the engine. If this was to happen, it wouldn't likely do damage, but the car would have to be towed out of the water, and a modern car would likely throw a trouble code to the computer, causing the computer to have to be re-set. If you were able to drive through, then you didn't have this problem.

If the water level gets above the air intake while the engine is running, the engine could suck in water, and the engine could hydrolock, which means that water is sucked into the cylinders. Because water does not compress like air, water in the cylinders can cause severe damage that will require and engine rebuild or replacement. If water gets in the engine while the engine is stalled, the water will have to be removed before the engine is started or a hydrolock could occur. Remove the spark plugs and crank the engine, and the water will be pumped out of the spark plug holes. If your vehicle hydrolocked, you would know about it, because it would make at least one very loud bang, and would not continue to run. Since most air cleaners are near the top of the engine compartment, in most cases, the water would have to be more than a foot deep to allow water into the air intake.

Finally, if the water gets higher than the vents on your crank case, transmission, or differential, you could get water in your engine, transmission or differential oil. This would allow the vehicle to continue to drive, but over time, it could damage the vehicle. To check if this is the case, check the oil in each of these locations. if the oil on the dipstick appears milky, then there is water in it, and it should be changed.
Good information, my mistake was misjudging the water level. And when it got to the mid part of the flood, my car decided to acclerated (i had my foot on accl) and it just sucked it all in.. I never heard a bang, but when the car tried to turn over it made horrible scraping metal noise. At that point i gave up lol.

Reminds me when I was driving south on the Edens Expressway north of Chicago after a heavy rain. At an underpass, saw water, but could not see the surface of the road. I quickly slammed on the brakes, the guy being me started blowing his horn, giving me the finger, and was yelling at me when he passed me and shot under that underpass.


They found a used engine with only 8K on it? Vehicle must have been totaled, Cruze's haven't been around that much. How do you know it only had 8K on it? Did you see the donor and read the odometer?

With my claim, insurance company wanted me to straighten out the old fender, are you kidding? New one only cost 97 bucks, I got a brand new fender. And once sheet metal is crushed, no way to save it.

When I hear guaranteed for life, I don't walk away, I run. Usually talking about he life of a mosquito, about two weeks.
Well the dealer covers it for 12 months or 12,000 miles, state farm covers the rest of the time. So pretty much i got anally raped with my warranty. Atleast i still have free maintenence for 2 more years, and that was included in my payments so..

If worse comes to worse i will save a little and just trade her in for a higher trim. But so far, i've literally FLOORED it everywhere i've gone. To get rid of the month old gas, and to make sure my engine is in top notch shape... I also feel it faster :\ don't know why. Can't be the newer engine either..
 

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Thought my 88 Supra Turbo was low, but my now 40 year old ramps still worked. Had to buy 17 degree ramps for my Cruze, no way could I drive that up this car on those things.

Another hazard is private driveways for various stores, have to drive it very slowly and approach them at a 45 degree angle. Bet you will be watching for any puddles now. When I was your age, really got screwed by an insurance company and wasn't even my fault. Never again.
 

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YUP i am switching over to it ASAP..Comprehensive covered it, and yeah. I am 22 yrs old, every penny i can save i get. After a month or two i am switching to another company and getting $500 deductible.
I pegged you older! Just a year younger then me, but I opted for 500 Deduct and I pay $125 a month now.. It just raised $15 :(

Sorry to hear about it bro, this is why I got the SRI cause it floods bad around here. Hopefully we can still do the S. Florida Cruze Meet one of them days!
 
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