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Car that Rides High through water

What is the best used car/suv that:

1. Rides through 12 inches of water w/o damage (I live in FL)

2. Good Safety

3. Good gas milage

4. Fairly inexpensive

Your best choice is a pickup truck. If you wanted to spend lots, there is a conpany near me that modifies vehicles by adding a long pipe to the roof of the car for the air intake, and adds other items for fording streams. This is out of your range, so I would settle for a compact pickup truck, such as a Ford Ranger. A used Forest Ranger’s truck would be ideal! Check with your state government if they have auctions.

The “inexpensive” part puts a limit on your choice.

Thanks. I was thinking of $10,000 range for a used car, so that gives some leeway.

Good question, and one that will elicit a lot of conflicting advice.
High body clearance, which is what you need, may mean less safety on road, unless you go large SUV which means poor mileage. To the previous excellent Ideas…

IMO, one of the ways to get all in one, is to go after market and go to a body shop, off road equipment shop, and see if there is a recommended compact you could safely add adjustable air shocks to.
Subaru used to have that as a option on early cars and there are more expensive suv s that offer them. They must be used carefully, as they put a strain on the drive train they were not designed for, and why it’s not a real common option. They won’t increase ground clearance but will raise the body off the suspension, which is what you need…just a few inches which may be enough.
I found cheapos that allow you to add lift like you would pump up your tire from an a common tire compressor plugged to your cig. lighter outlet… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk9xLe6210U

I am not convinced you need a high vehicle in Florida. I drove my 1998 Honda Civic in the middle of tropical storm Irene in Miami (really slowly), and it did just fine. However, if you want something that rides high, I used to recommend the Honda CR-V before Honda redesigned it to be a crossover vehicle instead of the car-based SUV it used to be. If you can find a used CR-V or a Toyota Rav4 that was made when they were car-based SUVs, either one would make a good reliable vehicle. Perhaps you could add a snorkel to the air intake if you want to be able to drive through water without slowing down to a crawl.

it is not the level of the body from the road that matters here. If the alternator, distributor, ignitor and the exhaust are above water level, even when you are up to the hubs in water your vehicle will run. A ten year old Jeep sounds ideal for your price range. A foot of water is only a cause to go slow, in a Jeep, not a cause for worry about water damage.

A Wrangler would be the only newer (as in made in the last 20 years) Jeep I’d recommend for fording deep water. The unibody construction of the Cherokees and other Jeep vehicles often does not do a very good job keeping water out of the inside of the vehicle as they get older.

For what it’s worth, my old Toyota pickup had the driveline lube interval printed on the sunvisor. It listed three schedules: “normal”, which was something like every 15,000 miles, “dusty”, which was more like 3,000 and “submerged”, which was daily. I think a high-riding compact truck is the best bet, assuming just not driving around when there’s a foot of water on the ground isn’t an option!

Greasy jack, thanks for your comments. You have some valid points. One foot of clearance for the body is needed when the cab has leaks from below. and you are right again about the drive line (esp. the u-joints) getting the lube washed out of them in deep water. If you are talking about a small truck with torsion bars, a lift is fairly simple. And can be done safely by a good after market shop. I must a been dozin on this one.

One thing to look for is where air intake is, it verys a great deal.

Let’s not go “overboard”…my second thoughts agree with “Whitey”…

The Jeep Wrangler is designed to go through water. The axles and transmission have breathers that go to thee top of the engine compartment and the air intake is high in the engine compartment.

You also have to have the intake above water level. Some vehicles the air-intake is very low. Start sucking in water and you’ll need a new engine.