Doctor Diesel

Getting into deep water

Web_Letter two (2)It’s Phil, of the previous correspondence on Hyundai i30 mpg & winter fuel. I am well behind in reading my Diesel Car subscription. Looking at the subject of flood water ingress into the engine, did you know that the Vauxhall Zafira seems especially vulnerable, as it seems to have air intakes set very low? My brother found this out in under 12-inches of water (an engine rebuild necessary, and then it was never right afterwards). We take great care now with our old Zafira! Are there other cars equally susceptible, do you happen to know?
Phil Coates

I had a Citroën ZX some years back (three actually, all good cars, petrol 1.4, and 2x 1.9 TD) and I remember well when I discovered one Sunday during working under the car how low the air intake was on the turbodiesel. The same went for the later Xantias and Xsaras, I believe. I’ve also found reports of older Ford Escort, Focus, and Mondeo having dangerously low intakes, but I don’t know whether the recent models are any better. Hopefully manufacturers have learned lessons. Also, I’ve seen reports of ruined BMW 330ds, old Volvo V40s, and pre-2012 Clio engines in relatively shallow water. I think manufacturers have responded to the problem, particularly with more frequent floods, and I think you’ll find that most SUVs and 4x4s now have high air intakes. Hopefully manufacturers have learned lessons.

Thanks for the thoughts Phil – perhaps we can warn Zafira owners though, and ask other readers with good information to give us their reports on this for their own cars, if they know, or if they have had expensive experiences? Some people are plain stupid though, and I think that six inches of water is probably just about the safe limit; having said that, I’m feeling quite nervous now recalling what depths I went through only a few months ago, but it’s not easy to stop once you feel committed, and possibly have somebody on your tail. I hope that the i30 is going well – and not too thirsty – did it ever loosen up and get more economical?
Best regards,

Phil then came back: 

The i30 went. It was a good car, but a bit small for family plus dog. Before it was sold, it went back to Hyundai for a steering joint, under their five year warranty, in year five. There were no issues, but a steering joint should not have gone in my opinion over 35,000 miles of flat A-roads. But it made me wonder about longer term reliability.

No, the fuel economy did not get any better – 51mpg in winter and 55mpg in summer, as I recall, with the manufacturer’s guide being 60.9mpg. We now have a Ford Grand C-MAX seven-seater, 1.6 TDCi. As I recall, the official mpg is 57.7mpg and I’m getting 48.7mpg in winter, 52.5mpg in summer. Although most would not complain (you shouldn’t Phil – your figures are quite good. Doc), the economy lags behind the manufacturer official figure by about the same extent as the i30 did. It has a sixth gear, but even so it is not especially economical at 70 to 75mph on motorways. My Vectra 1.9-litre 148bhp (2005) was far better. But the C-MAX is otherwise nice, and a good drive. Shame about the door pillar rattles on the sliding doors which the local dealer can’t sort out! Anyhow, enough from me. I hope you are well.
Phil Coates


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



and save over 40%

Looks like you're leaving

Subscribe to Diesel&EcoCar for just £5.99 a Month

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.