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Submerged bike!

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I was trying to cross a stream today and I slipped into a hole, crashed, and completely submerged the bike and me. The engine died while I was holding my breath under water so I didn't even get a chance to kill it.

Recovered the bike, opened the air filter cover to release a picturesque waterfall, attempted to kick it through but it was locked. A buddy pulled me back to the truck with his atv. It was a very long haul back but to make a long story short at one point I kicked the shifter by accident, putting it into gear, and it did a little 'sput sput'

So then I figured what the heck I already messed it up, what else can I do. We tried starting it with pulling start and after a while it started running again.

After all the steam and smoke cleared out, I did about a 10 minute ride with mid throttle and it ran fine. It wouldn't hold idle at all and if I let it idle, it would die pretty quickly.

So did I ruin the piston/cylinder and need bore and hone? :applause: Thanks

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Sounds like you were lucky.

If it won't run off the low speed/pilot circuit, there's probably water in the carb somewhere. It would be a good idea to drop the float bowl - or better still, pull the carb and dissassemble it entirely. Last time I did something like this, there was crap in the float bowl and I ended up doing a carb rebuild.

If it was locked when you kicked it, but freed up during towing, maybe the water seeped out of the cylinder past the rings into the crankcase. I don't know where else it would have gone, unless you had the comp release open while you were being towed, in which case it blew it out through the exhaust valves.

You've got water in the oil for sure, so change the oil, and keep changing it until it comes out clear, not milky. Rotella 15W-40 works well for this, and it's only $8 and change per gallon at Walmart. You'll use a gallon or more easily if you've got water in the crankcase, and I expect you do. You should also pull the airfilter element and clean it, or replace it. A new spark plug probably wouldn't hurt either.

If the bike ran decently when you got it started again, then maybe you won't need a new top end/piston/rings/rebore. If you do a compression test and get normal results, you should be good to go.

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I was trying to cross a stream today and I slipped into a hole, crashed, and completely submerged the bike and me. The engine died while I was holding my breath under water so I didn't even get a chance to kill it.

Recovered the bike, opened the air filter cover to release a picturesque waterfall, attempted to kick it through but it was locked. A buddy pulled me back to the truck with his atv. It was a very long haul back but to make a long story short at one point I kicked the shifter by accident, putting it into gear, and it did a little 'sput sput'

So then I figured what the heck I already messed it up, what else can I do. We tried starting it with pulling start and after a while it started running again.

After all the steam and smoke cleared out, I did about a 10 minute ride with mid throttle and it ran fine. It wouldn't hold idle at all and if I let it idle, it would die pretty quickly.

So did I ruin the piston/cylinder and need bore and hone? :applause: Thanks

I'd think you would want to drain the oil and put in fresh, and tip the bike straight up to drain out the exhaust. Not sure what else, but definitely check your oil out.

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it would be much easier if you took out the entire pipe and dripped dried it. i would recomend draining the oil and putting in a fresh one. im sure your contaminated oil will look like milk! :applause: but before putting in the new oil, use pressurized air to drive out excess oil and water in lower cases, head and combustion chamber. clean your carb and spark plug. after doing these, put in some flushing oil let your bike idle for 10 to 20 minuites to take out the excess oil and water. after that put in the fresh oil. :applause:

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I would never, ever try to restart a bike after dunking it on the trail untill I got it home and got everything cleaned and dried out. Would you take your bike and pour a quart of muddy water into the crank and/or air box and then see if you could get it started? Do have any idea how much damage you can do to the engine with muddy water in it?...not to mention the electricals?!!!

Don't be so stupid! Clean it out FIRST!

Holy Cow.

Sorry if I seem too harsh but it seems that common sense is not so common.

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My experience. 1985, brand new XR350, local hare scramble. Dumped the bike in a muddy water crossing, picked it up immediately. Pushed it to the other side, pulled the spark plug & filter, got out all the water I could, engine fired up after several kicks, sputtered a little, ran OK. By the end of the race, smoke was pouring out of the exhaust and the engine was making noises that made me cringe. Bottom line, engine was toast, had to replace darn near every internal part. It was a very expensive class second place.

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Appreciate the feedback guys! No offense taken, XR-Rated. I don't know how much damage could be caused, that's why I asked! :applause:

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Last spring I dropped my XR into a huge puddle 8 miles after a full topend rebuild-damn stubby legs. I did get to shut it down before it took a real big gulp but it still sucked in a good amount.

I was only a 5 minute walk back to the truck. I ran about 4 cycles of drain-fill-run engine for a minute before I got all the water out.

I felt that the engine ran normal so I never bothered to tear it down again. I rode the whole rest of the summer and it still runs great.

A couple things to do also would be to get some isopropyl (sp) one of the brand names is Heat. It's found in cold areas. It will pull any water out of the gas and any lines in my have settled into. It may be a good idea to run some Seafoam through the oil. That will also help pull any water hiding in the engine or clutch.

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I've heard about running that Seafoam in the crank to get water out. I’d drain the oil fill it with kerosene to the top and let it just sit for a day. Then drain that and fill with some regular motor oil with some Seaform in it and kick it over slowly for 10 minutes not starting it and then drain that. Then do it over again but maybe fire it up and let it idle, no revving, and drain that and see what it looks like. Also I’d take apart all the electrical connections before I tried to kick it over once and spray ether or starting fluid in all of them, especially the high voltage stuff after the coil and dry it out good.

I don’t think you have to tear it down but you do want to flush it good before turning it over or running it. That and get all the electric connecters dry before putting any current through them.

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I would never, ever try to restart a bike after dunking it on the trail untill I got it home and got everything cleaned and dried out. Would you take your bike and pour a quart of muddy water into the crank and/or air box and then see if you could get it started? Do have any idea how much damage you can do to the engine with muddy water in it?...not to mention the electricals?!!!

Don't be so stupid! Clean it out FIRST!

Holy Cow.

Sorry if I seem too harsh but it seems that common sense is not so common.

This is good advice - but sometimes you're miles from anywhere, and the choice is walk out, or get it started and ride out.

XR-rated is absolutely right - clean it out first. You can do that on the trail, if you carry the tools and a plug. Here's a list of things to do:

1. clear the airbox - dump all the water out.

2. pull the carb - or at least dump the float bowl. Make sure there's no water or mud in the float bowl. It won't start if there is.

3. While the carb is disconnected, put the petcock on reserve and run some gas out of the fuel line. If there's water in the tank (pretty likely there is) it will go to the bottom of the tank.

4. pull the spark plug, and kick the engine until the water stops coming out of the spark plug hole. Then kick it a bunch more.

5. stand the bike on it's rear tire, and hold the comp release open and work the kickstarter. This will move whatever's left in the cylinder out into the exhaust, and help drain whatever's in the exhaust pipe. Depending on how the exhaust pipe is made, you may want to put the bike on its side first to move the water further down the pipe before you upend the bike. But get the water out of the pipe.

6. Wring the air filter element out and reinstall after you've wiped the air box out. No towel? Use your shirt. But get the air filter element as dry as you can make it.

7. If you've got a clean dry gapped plug, install that. If not, get the old one clean and dry and reinstall it.

8. After all that, you'll probably have to tow it or push it to start it. It can take a while.

You still haven't done anything about the water in the oil, or the electrical connections, but if you're lucky, the bike will get you home. Once it gets you there, you owe it some maintenance right away. A shot of Heat/isopropyl alcohol/drygas in the tank is a good idea.

After you've been through this once, you'll probably change your ideas about what a good toolkit contains. A clean gapped plug can be a really good thing to have.

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I was think of what blackadder mentioned about draining the bowl. I don't know about you guys but taken the bowl off while the carb is installed is a bit tricky with those darn little screws and big hands. I just replaced all three screws with socket head ones. I can all ready see if I have trouble on the trail getting an allen wrench in there will big a heck-of-a-lot easier than trying to deal with a small phillips.

I can't remember the pitch or length but you can just bring the old screw to the hardware store and find the right ones. The ones I got were just a few mm shorter but they fit fine.

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I did my 03 XR400 twice. I upended it, got the water out of the pipe, pulled and changed the plug, drained the oil a few times, cleaned the airbox, cleaned the filter, pulled the carb and cleaned it, dropped it and bent the jet needle, got a new one from baja designs.

I think thats it. That was 3 years ago, no problems since.

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I was think of what blackadder mentioned about draining the bowl. I don't know about you guys but taken the bowl off while the carb is installed is a bit tricky with those darn little screws and big hands. I just replaced all three screws with socket head ones. I can all ready see if I have trouble on the trail getting an allen wrench in there will big a heck-of-a-lot easier than trying to deal with a small phillips.

I can't remember the pitch or length but you can just bring the old screw to the hardware store and find the right ones. The ones I got were just a few mm shorter but they fit fine.

I did this on my bike as well when I rebuilt the (stock) carb. Home Depot sells 4x10, 4x12 and 4x16 metric allen head screws and washers that fit and will do the job nicely. As GUMBYXR400 says, just take the old screws with you and match up the sizes. As I recall, the 4x16s replaced the float bowl screws, the 4x10 or 4x12 replaced the others.

You can also drain the float bowl by unscrewing the 17mm float bowl plug that allows access to the main jet. On the trail it's easiest to loosen the hose clamps on the rubber boots the carb mounts into and rotating the carb to get at the plug. But if you've really drowned it (like those guys in the dirtrider.com link above!) you'll want to pull the entire bowl off.

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That sucks, my dad did this with his old 78 Yamaha IT400, however it took a full hour to get it to run again, however it ran just as good as it did before!:applause:

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