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· Registered
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, lets just say I know a guy who may or may not have turned his bronco into a submarine this weekend, and he is wondering exactly how waterproof is bronco is. (For the purposes of getting water out of everything and knowing what fluids to swap).

Its a 95 5.0 E4OD with a SMOG delete
the water was all the way up to the hood and i was able to shut it off before water was sucking into the intake causing hydrolock.
But when I did that the truck did sit in the water for about 20-30 minuets before i was able to get it pulled out. The whole cab up to right under the cluster was filled with water.
Since then
-I have drained about 4+ gallons of water out of the oil pan and the normal 5 quarts of oil and let that drip overnight.
-pulled the plugs, and turned over the engine to shoot water in cylinders out.
-Dropped the tranny pan and got the water contaminated fluid out of there.
-removed soaking wet Intake filter
I would assume I need to crack the front and rear diff and swap that fluid before I intend to drive it again, But i would figure it would be BEST to get oil back in the engine and tranny fluid back in the tranny and get that lubricated and get the engine running and pumping oil asap.

My main question is how water proof is the gas tank. the gas tank and filler neck were completely submersed at some point from anywhere from 15-25 minutes during the process of slowly getting pulled out. I am wondering if anyone knows if water can get back into the tank through the vent or possibly through the charcoal canister through the EVAP system or maybe through the Gas cap. I found a product online call "SAR-GEL" that changes color in the presence of water. It is used to text fuel tanks of water contamination. I was curious of any input on if anyone believes water can get in AND if it DID what would be my best method to get it out? Or should i be okay in starting up the engine without getting water into my fuel system.
-drop tank?
-Syphon with tube?
-disconnect inline filter and jump fuel pump to pump out fuel?
-any other ideas??

Also any other things I should be checking after a full submersion (electrical or mechanical or anywhere water might still be trapped) OR any ideas on drying the truck out and not having it smell like the pond it sat in does)
(FYI I live in MN)

Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this and is willing to suggest any ideas.

· Registered
1,524 Posts
diffs, trans, t-case, oil, coolant, gas.

then redo your vent hoses for everything and move them to higher than you would expect the depth of the water to be next time you go submarining.

expect electrical issues, but you can either redo everything, or just tackle individual issues as they show up. We've sunk a trunk to the roof overnight and got it running in about an hour, albeit with electrical issues in the gauge cluster. And we had to flush the trans a couple of times over a couple of weeks.

· Charlie don't surf..
'92 Ford Bronco XLT
16,900 Posts
If there was water right up to underneath the cluster, I would say he definitely turned it into a question..
Aside from everything mentioned above, I'd check all of the electrical connections, particularly the one to the want to make sure that's dried out before starting it again..

With regards to the gas tank, I'd say you're probably ok..the tank is completely sealed and there is really no way for water to to force it's way in. I guess it could be compromised on the EVAP side, but even that seems like a stretch.

· Premium Member
78 Custom 460 NP435 NP205 Sniper EFI HyperSpark Ignition 4.56 Gears Front/Rear Grizzly Lockers
4,482 Posts
There was another guy on here not too long ago that sank his Bronco far enough to get water up to the fuel filler and he ended up with water in his tank. Not sure how it got in, but it got in. If it were me, which.. it's not!.. I would definitely check every fluid regardless.

· Premium Member
78 Custom 460 NP435 NP205 Sniper EFI HyperSpark Ignition 4.56 Gears Front/Rear Grizzly Lockers
4,482 Posts
Guess my search skills aren't as bad as I thought. Anyway, here's the thread I was referencing.


· Registered
189 Posts
power steering fluid, and flush radiator too. Definitely disconnect the PCM and verify that it is 100% dry. Once you get it running tear your hubs apart, clean and fresh grease.
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· Registered
497 Posts
I like the idea of either siphoning out the gas or disconnecting the fuel line and letting the Bronco pump itself out. The most you'll lose is a tank of gasoline. I guess I'm a little perplexed. If you didn't submerge your intake, how do you think the water got into your cylinders and oil pan?

· Registered
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I guess I'm a little perplexed. If you didn't submerge your intake, how do you think the water got into your cylinders and oil pan?
Im almost sure the intake was underwater once the truck settled, I shut it off on my way in once my headlights dipped under water. ( I have 33's so my truck is a little taller than complete stock. There was quite a bit of water in two fo the cylinders ( which im guessing were the ones with the intake valves the most open)

· Registered
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So basically my next steps will be (prior to starting)

-unplug ECM and ensure connection and ECM itself is dry

-drain fuel tank (using sending unit in tank, and disconnecting inline filter)

-reinstall trans pan with new fluid and let run (possibly another flush)
QUESTION, if my engine was shut off upon entering water, would it be safe to assume water only got in through the dipstick, therefore water only getting in the pan and mixing and (getting pumped around) not contaminating the fluid in the pump,Torque converter, ect...?

-check fluid condition in T-Case

-check coolant condition(possible flush)
(I just replaced water pump, thermostat, and obviously all coolant in the truck 2 weeks prior to this)
-refill with oil and filter (multiple oil changes at short intervals)

then for driving again:

-pull apart and re-grease hubs (mine are manual lockers)

-possibly re-grease slip joint on driveshaft

-regrease all front end parts/U-joints

will comeback with updates as time allows (Im a full time college student)

Thanks everyone

· Registered
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Kinda curious how this may or may not have ended up in a pond in the first place. 🤷
Just be glad it was fresh water and not salt water.

Yeah in Minnesota If you found your way into a salt water pond you should be buying a lottery ticket.

I was driving around and through this pond and on one side it was a very gradual slope so i figured it was probably deepest in the middle so i tried the far side opposite form where i was. I was going in about 5' from the edge on the one side, but on the first attempt on the other side i immediately found out it was much deeper ( as my headlights and whole front of my truck went under water). shut my truck off to prevent hydrolock in the engine and it took about 30 minuets in total to get me pulled out... Will definitely stay away from ponds with out a depth check or at least invest into some waterproofing in my bronco.

It also doesnt help that I have rust holes in my rear cargo area on the floor the size of a baseball, as water was able to fill my truck very quickly from that and under the doors

· Registered
82 XLT Lariat 351w, Edelbrock 1406 4bbl ,C6 auto, auto locking hubs ,33x10.5x15
6,148 Posts
It also doesnt help that I have rust holes in my rear cargo area on the floor the size of a baseball, as water was able to fill my truck very quickly from that and under the doors
Oi vey... That definitely doesn't help...
I'm not sure how familiar u are with ponds but, yeah, they're usually pretty deep to prevent drying up and a good majority are spring fed so they never really lose depth, all (that I've encountered) have steep drop offs once u get past the first 10 feet around the edges...

But yikes... Talk about lesson learned the hard way... Hope u get her all back to running well... Just a thought... Never underestimate the power of dry gas to help some of the harder places to drain and flush fuel from.

· Registered
80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well for anyone who may find this thread later and run into a similar situation, I have drained the standing water out of (I believe) all components and my truck still runs, drives(with no parts replaced so far, just fluids) and the sound system still works too! I had fans running in it out the windows for a few weeks after, and dehumidifiers. There is no abnormal smell or mold growth so far that I have noticed.

Here are a few pictures of how deep I was. You can see the back of the truck is even deeper.

Once I got the truck back I filled a 5 gallon bucket to the brim, with water and oil out of the oil pan.
left the drain plug out overnight.
dumped a few quarts of oil in the engine with a cheap oil filter.
pulled the plugs and used jumper wires to turn the engine over without power the ECM (to hopefully let the truck dry out more before powering any major circuits)
LOTS of water came out!
sprayed a small amount of wd40 into cylinders to try to prevent surface rust.
did a power steering fluid flush using a homemade fluid transfer machine involving a shop-vac, fuel lines, an empty milk jug and a barb fitting.
-Lots of water in my pump, refilled with new ps fluid
-my windshield washer fluid was still at the same level it was prior to me swamping the truck, so i believe it did not get contaminated nor did the coolant reservoir so I did not change any fluid there(I replaced my coolant only a month prior and it was still nice and green).
-used compressed air to blow out cylinders again, some more water came out of a few cylinders
-more water came out of the oil pan after sitting for a few days.
-I dropped the trans pan and there was some water mixed in the fluid in the trans but i believe the fluid only go there through the dipstick, and the truck did not move under its own power after the incident so I am hoping the the water did not get pumped through the transmission. I left the pan off for a few days and let it drip out, reinstalled pan with new fluid.


I pulled the trucks fuel pump relay and jumped across the terminals with a jumper wire to power the fuel pump to pump out the fuel (I had a battery charger on the truck while i was doing this). I disconnected the fuel line at the inline filter and pumped it into 5 gallon buckets.

- If this happens to you DRAIN YOUR TANK!
me and my dad were skeptical that much water could have gotten in consider this is supposed to be a sealed fuel system (EVAP), or that only a small amount might have gotten in but not enough to be work pumping out.


You can see the physical separation of the white (water) and gas water mix (yellow). It started off with mostly white (which i would assume is a mixture of mostly water to a small amount of gas, considering the water is denser and the sump pulls from the bottom of the tank) and as i kept pumping the color gradually got lighter and closer to the normal color of 87.

I got as much as i could out. I have a 33 gallon tank, it was about 3/4-2/3 full before i got stuck and read just under full after I pulled it out and i pumped out about 20 some gallons and then the flow dropped dramatically s i figured it was close to empty.

I disconnected the fuel supply line and used a small amount of air pressure to push the fuel back out the line and back through the inline filter into the same collection bucket.
I dumped 10 gallons of good gas back in.

I re-primed my fuel lines.


pure white Elmers glue. This is what was left in my drain pan from the front and rear DIF's after i emptied it into a jug.


i used a transfer pump and pumped out as much as i could through the fill hole, then added a half a quart and pumped it out again, just flushing it until it looked a normal color.

I added just about 2 qts of 80w-90 in the front DIF w/ friction modifier because i was unsure if it was a limited slip and it wouldn't hurt if it wasn't.

I added 75w-90 i believe in the rear, mine is an open so i used just under 3 qts with no friction modifier.



The transfer case is only supposed to have about 2-3 qts of fluid in it and i took 5.5 out of mine.
fluid change is very straight forward on that.

long story short, after a full fluid change (except coolant) I started and drove my truck around the block and it now likes to crank, start and die before it gets to and idle one or two times then it will start fine once its warmed up. I figure this is just due to lots of moisture in the engine and fuel. The problem has been getting better and less prevalent the more I run and drive it. Transmission shifts fine ( for a 25 year old truck with a used transmission with 190xxx miles on it).

Not sure if this will help anyone in the future but I know i sure learned that broncos are not very water proof, but they are built tough.


· Registered
1995 Bronco Eddie Bauer 5.8L
51 Posts
I'm pretty sure my 95 was flooded with fresh muddy water up to the rearview mirror during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. That was two owners ago. The guy I purchased it from back in June didn't disclose it being flooded and it had a clean CarFax. It ran and drove when I got it, but just barely. I got a good deal so I won't complain, he may not have even known. The engine had bad blow by on one of the cylinders and it was cheaper just to put a remanufactured unit in rather than rebuild. The gas tank and fuel lines were replaced by the PO and the instrument cluster was rebuilt. I had to replace pitted wheel bearings and frozen calipers. The rear differential fluid was chocolate milk. Some of the electronics were also shot. I've replaced the EEC, ABS diagnostic module, and stereo among other things. Now, besides a CEL for the EGR, everything seems to be relatively sorted for a 25 year old Bronco. It runs well and shift smoothly and all the components seem to work. I still want to replace the rear axle bearings and flush the rest of the fluids more frequently keeping and eye out for water contamination and metal shavings.

If and when I do eventually sell it I will be up front about my suspicion that this is a reformed sea horse.
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