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Outback Rescue: Time For An Inspection

Water ran out of the Nissan Patrol for about twenty seconds, which doesn’t seem like that long but if you actually sit there and count twenty seconds while staring at the wall you’ll realise it’s longer than your mind thinks at first.

Oh yeah did you remember Matthew and I were rescuing Lars and Coby from a bog hole they shouldn’t have been in in the first place? Well now you do.

Although they had a relatively new Patrol, only five years old if my calculations were correct, the person they’d bought it off for their tour of Outback Australia had set it up pretty well with winches, bars, running board, lights and a well packed roof rack. But I’m sure as we stood there watching the water pour out of the four closed doors one of the things they were really thankful for was the fact that the previous owner had ripped all the factory fitted carpet and material out of the cabin and replaced it with rubber and neoprene. Surprisingly enough most four wheel drives will survive well inside when wet providing they are given the chance to dry and replacing stuff like carpet and seat material shows a modder, or enthusiast who knows what they are doing and what they expect their ride to achieve.

Despite the door seals letting water out, and obviously letting it in in the first place, the fact that the water level inside the cabin had been lower than it was outside the cabin showed that even the door seals had been retro fitted with the idea the extra seal would be an advantage.

Lars and Coby may not have realised when they bought the thing as a run about for the Outback, which they would offload to the highest bidder when they were finished with it, was made with river crossings in mind but it definitely was.

I also didn’t think that the water was going to be an issue with the engine either. It was a diesel engine which can happily run underwater nearly forever, especially in fresh water, as long as it can get clean air. Providing the snorkel that was fitted, the snorkel being the plastic pipe that runs out of the engine bay and up to roof height, was sealed properly and no water got into the air system the engine should kick over almost instantly.

Once the Patrol was unhooked from the Beast Matthew and I did a bit of an inspection. Coby and Lars didn’t really know that much about the off roading machine they’d purchased and were glad for any thoughts or options we could offer them.

The first thing we did, and if you need proof that Matthew and I think alike every so often this is it, was to lift the rubber floor mats in the foot well, one of us each side, and locate the rubber grommets. I’m not sure if Nissan put these things in for drainage, I suspect it’s more likely for cabling given that the warranty booklet for all Nissan four wheel drives clearly states they don’t cover the four wheel drive for being off road, which is kind of clever, but they work great for drainage when so much water has been inside them.

As the remainder of the water drained out of the four foot wells we checked the electrics and under the dash, not fully just a look and a squizz to see if everything looked ok, we’d find out if it wasn’t when we turned the key. Things looked pretty good because like I say these things despite their warranty bullshit are built and in many cases modified for such work.

With the grommets back in and the boys mopping up the last of the water with rags I popped the bonnet, or for those American’s reading who have weird words for things just so they can be different, the hood. What a ridiculous name, do they not know what a hood is? And if that’s a hood, what the hell is a hoodie? Do kids where big steel lids on their heads when they want to look hip and cool? Strange American’s!

Oops I digress.

We popped the bonnet and had a quick inspection of the engine bay. Like I said previous the engine was a diesel and therefore shouldn’t have been affected by water if all things were good. Just like our look under the dashboard the look under the BONNET was a check for things out of place, wires that might have come off or things that shouldn’t have been there. We did check that the battery terminals were tight as well as the leads down to the starter motor and the fan belts but we didn’t go and feel every wire connection for looseness.

The other thing we did and it’s something all four wheel drivers should do when they have been submerged in water for long periods. Actually it’s something four wheel drivers should do every day after any water crossing whether they were submerged for long periods or not, but it should always be done if submerged and the engine has been turned off.

That thing is checking the air filter, it will be different on every car so I’m not going to give you a run down on how to do it but it is essential. You don’t need mechanical knowledge to do the job all you need to do is open the air cleaner casing, pull the air cleaner our and check for water, because if there is any water in the air cleaner it’s going to be sucked into the engine when the engine is started and that is not a good thing. If there is no water in there it’s a safe bet your system is still water tight and that will not stop it running. If there is water in there figure out where it came from.

Anyway this isn’t a mechanics lesson.

There was no water in the air system of the Patrol and after a few little backwards and forwards words between Matthew and I we were fairly confident that there was nothing obvious going to stop the engine from kicking over.

Without further to do I jumped in the driver’s seat and turned the key…

Previous Outback Rescue story here.


  1. A BONNET…. what a silly name for a hood … : )

    • Not as silly as having the trunk in the back, whose ever seen an elephant with his trunk on the back?

      • So are you saying that in Australia, the engine is in the back and the trunk is on the front? Like a VW bug? That’s just silly. It would not work well in our ice and snow to be pushing, not pulling.

        • No, engines in the back are reserved for sports cars, the Herbie the Love bug.

          The bonnet and engine bay are at front, (although that has nothing to do with snow cause we have snow too!) and the boot where you shove your dirty boots is at the rear. No sane person would have a trunk at the rear just like no sane elephant would.

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