Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Driving Through Water

Extreme care should be taken crossing any type of water.

Water crossings should be avoided if possible and only be attempted when necessary, in a safe responsible manner. You should only drive through areas which are designated and approved. You should tread lightly and avoid damage to the environment. You should know your vehicle's abilities and be able to recover it if something goes wrong. You should never stop or shut a vehicle off when crossing deep water unless you ingested water into the engine air intake. If the engine stalls do not attempt to restart it. Determine if it has ingested water first. The key to any crossing is low and slow. You want to use first gear in 4L (Low Range) and proceed very slowly with a constant slow speed (3-5 mph [5-8 km/h] maximum) and light throttle. Keep the vehicle moving; do not try to accelerate through the crossing. After crossing any water higher than the bottom of the axle differentials, you should inspect all of the vehicle fluids for signs of water ingestion.

CAUTION! Water ingestion into the axles, transmission, transfer case, engine or vehicle interior can occur if you drive too fast or through too deep of water. Water can cause permanent damage to engine, driveline or other vehicle components and your brakes will be less effective once wet and/or muddy.

  • Before You Cross Any Type Of Water - As you approach any type of water you need to determine if you can cross it safely and responsibly. If necessary, get out and walk through the water or probe it with a stick. You need to be sure of its depth, approach angle, current and bottom condition. Be careful of murky or muddy waters, check for hidden obstacles. Make sure you will not be intruding on any wildlife and you can recover the vehicle if necessary. The key to a safe crossing is the water depth, current and bottom conditions.

    On soft bottoms the vehicle will sink in, effectively increasing the water level on the vehicle. Be sure to consider this when determining the depth and the ability to safely cross.

  • Crossing Puddles, Pools, Flooded Areas Or Other Standing Water - Puddles, pools, flooded or other standing water areas normally contain murky or muddy waters. These water types normally contain hidden obstacles and make it difficult to determine an accurate water depth, approach angle, and bottom condition. Murky or muddy water holes are where you want to hook up tow straps prior to entering. This makes for a faster, cleaner and easier vehicle recovery.

    If you are able to determine you can safely cross, than proceed using the low and slow method.

CAUTION! Muddy waters can reduce the cooling system effectiveness by depositing debris onto the radiator.

  • Crossing Ditches, Streams, Shallow Rivers Or Other Flowing Water - Flowing water can be extremely dangerous. Never attempt to cross a fast running stream or river even in shallow water. Fast moving water can easily push your vehicle downstream sweeping it out of control. Even in very shallow water, a high current can still wash the dirt out from around your tires putting you and your vehicle in jeopardy.

    There is still a high risk of personal injury and vehicle damage with slower water currents in depths greater than the vehicle's running ground clearance. You should never attempt to cross flowing water which is deeper than the vehicle's running ground clearance.

    Even the slowest current can push the heaviest vehicle downstream out of control if the water is deep enough to push on the large surface area of the vehicle's body.

    Before you proceed determine the speed of the current, the water's depth, approach angle, bottom condition and if there are any obstacles, then cross at an angle heading slightly upstream using the low and slow technique.

WARNING! Never drive through fast moving deep water. It can push your vehicle downstream, sweeping it out of control. This could put you and your passengers at risk of injury or drowning.

Airing Down For Off-Road Driving

Running lower tire pressure off-road can improve your ride comfort and vehicle traction. Reducing the tire air pressure allows the tire to bulge slightly, improving its surface area for better flotation and ability to mold or form to the ground contour. Different terrain, tires, and vehicles require different tire pressure. Hard surfaces like rock and heavier vehicles require higher pressures than softer surfaces such as sand and lighter vehicles. You will need to experiment to determine what is right for your situation. It is easier and faster to let air out than it is to replace it so, start high and lower it as required. Remember you must return the tires to normal air pressure before driving on road or at highway conditions. Be sure you have a way to return the tires to their normal on road air pressure.

CAUTION! Reduced tire pressure increases the risk of tire damage and may cause tire unseating with total loss of air pressure. To reduce the risk of tire unseating, while at a reduced tire pressure, drive at slower speeds and avoid sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers.

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