Track 4 - The day I killed my Jeep

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Talbotville Campground was the site for the 6th Annual 4x4earth Victorian Gathering.  Home of some of Australia's iconic tracks, including Blue Rag and Billy Goat's Bluff, there is plenty of amazing 4 wheel driving to be had in this beautiful part of the world.  Find out what went tragically wrong on this trip and the mistakes that James made that resulted in him destroying his Jeep Wrangler.

This is a tragic story, and a fate that has occurred to many other 4 wheel drivers.  Please have a listen and learn from James' mistakes and share the story so we can make sure that more people have a great time out in the bush and go 4 wheel driving without any damage to their vehicles.

We discuss the driving technique that was wrong (a lot of people do this - James wasn't the only one that day with this nasty habit)

We discuss the one accessory that could of saved him.

We discuss some what to do when caught in this situation.

Big shout out to Davids and Mandy for helping us get home!


Have a listen and please share with a mate so we can see less vehicles getting busted like this.

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The trip to Talbotville as awesome apart from this.  Check out our trip report and another trip report from Talbotville.

Have a read of Slartibartfast's great write up on what happens when an engine gets water in it.

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Latest Posts about Track 4 - The day I killed my Jeep

Submitted by Patriot Patriot
@Threshold - It was the first thing on my BT-50. Really sad to see the Wrangler go :(
Submitted by Threshold Threshold
Wow. Finally seen the video. Water up to your hubs if that! Snorkel is next on list :/
Submitted by r0bl r0bl
It does suggest a rather poor design of the air intake to hydraulic the engine in water only that deep. I guess you where very unlucky. As an aside the deepest water crossing I have done was just down stream from Talbotville. The water level was just over the exterior rear vision mirrors as I drove through. It was kind or strange looking out the windscreen underwater ... I did have a snorkel and i was lucky enough to get through ok.. but I learn't your lesson, always walk the crossing first. In this case I nearly go caught as the crossing was not straight across the creek, it veered to the left, avoiding the deep hole I drove into while driving straight though.
Submitted by kam kam
Sorry to hear about that. I have been smashing Beach creeks quite few times in my Jeep, never had problems and filter and intake was totally dry after that. This was really unlucky. Thanks for the post, pushes me to get a snorkel asap.

Submitted by Patriot Patriot
Hey Naturesprite, have you downloaded the podcast about how 4x4earths kept O'Tooles campground open? We think this is a way forward in regard to maintaining access. There wasn't any real erosion there. I reckon 10 vehicles would have done that creek crossing that day alone. It is pretty stable there. Most of the crossings in that area are pretty solid, but definitely it is something to think about.
Submitted by naturesprite naturesprite
Patriot submitted a new blog post
Hi James, thanks for being brave enough to share what happened, it was enough to make me cringe, not only for your loss, but the reckless destruction to the creek bed and bank, eek! So important to cross at a sensible pace, stop and drop the water, especially when in convoy.
Nat Parks and Wildlife are locking gates all over the place. If us 4x4 drivers are to enjoy these beautiful wild places we need to minimize damage wherever possible. In fact get involved at club level with track maintenance. I live in ACT where hooligans are destroying tracks by spinning up spoon drains and creating bog holes in public 4x4 campsites. The response from territory services.... lock gates.

Track 4 - The day I killed my Jeep


Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
Submitted by Spike69 Spike69
Thanks for the blog James. Pity about your Jeep, that's gotta sting. High speed really is the enemy in creek crossings, for a few reasons. One is the danger of water in the motor you experienced, but another point to note about speed through crossings like that one is the amount of water you end up pushing up the exit to the crossing. Not such an issue where the exit is reasonably flat, but I think better practice is to exit as slowly as possible, firstly to prevent a huge wave of water washing up the track (see your video), which will increase erosion of the track, and secondly to allow excess water to drain from the vehicle before climbing the far bank. This has the advantage of not turning a steeper exit into a slippery mudslide for those coming behind you. Thanks for sharing the post and spreading the word!
Submitted by mitschal02 mitschal02
One of the main reasons we fitted a snorkel to our challenger was that the air intake was right at the front facing forward above the headlight, stupid idea :mad:
On billy goats bluff track we came unstuck in a very scary way. Mainly because of my right foot, open diffs and the old ABS design on the PA Challengers.

It was my first time on billy goats and rather than just letting the car do the work i was "giving it the berries" as they say, came to a washed out part of the track, front right & rear left lost traction, just started spinning wheels jumped on the brakes and because of the old ABS design when the car starts slideing backwards the brake peddle went hard as a rock, engine died and we started to slide backwards, Thankfully we slid backwards into a tree on the edge of the trck and it stopped us. Had to be snatched/towed out by BigRig in his jeep rubicon which with both lokas on pulled us up past the wash out and we contiued on.

Two things could of helped that day
1, a loka either front or rear but more importanly me being more consertative with my right foot, if i was just taking it more easy and letting the car do the work when we did get to the washed out section i could of just put the brakes on and it would of stayed where it was and not slid backwards.
Thanks to Bigrig & NickJ in getting us out of that situation ;)

Link to a couple pics of us being recovered
Submitted by Chatty Chatty
All a bit hypothetical for me now as I have had a snorkel fitted... o_O
But you've now got me wondering - I need to find a stock NS and have a look :confused:
Submitted by prawns prawns
One of the things I didn't like about the Paj in stock form was that the air intake was facing forward, just under the bonnet - essentially between the bonnet and the radiator. And an ideal spot to ingest water in a creek crossing, but no doubt the boffins thought it would be good for sucking in cool air.
Sheer stupidity on a 4WD.
I thought that too - until i pulled off the drivers front quarter panel after following the main air intake line back from the airbox. On my NH the main air intake is actually located above the drivers wheel facing backwards (as per how you see the snorkels fitted to the existing plumbing for the airbox) I think the much smaller one facing forwards near the front bonnet is meant to work a bit more like a snorkel if you exceed the depth of the main intake (way larger) inside the guard? (eg exceed the wading depth into a creek above the tops of the tyres by a fair amount and the intake above the front drivers tyre would be underwater - perhaps the only thing saving it would be that smaller (yet higher and more protected in deep crossings with a bow wave?) intake near the bonnet perhaps? if your going slow a bow wave should keep that one clear and it enters the box in a spot with a water trap? been a while since I had my paj I cant check) I only found that out after looking at fitting a snorkel for ages I had thought the same as you but perhaps its not?
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