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Anyone have information about the safety of getting the rear motors wet when launching a boat/trailer with my new RAV4 hybrid? Are the rear motors supposed to be waterproof? How about salt water? The boat/trailer combo is less than the 1500 lb limit, and tows just fine. When thinking through launching, though, I recall prior situations when I was forced to back into the water to free/load the boat."Obviously??!??" this hybrid was designed to be safely driven through thunderstorms and the occasional deep highway/corner water puddles, right? Or at a shore home when the occasional nor'easter and high tide brings up a fair amount of standing water on many streets and connector roads. I say obviously in quotes because I simply assumed that water-safe motors would be the case. Any specific technical references or expertise would be very, very much appreciated! (And yes, I did see the picture/video of the not-RAV4 electric SUV that accidentally plunged into the water at a boat ramp, floated away, and later caught fire. That's not the situation I'm asking about. That SUV was completely flooded, and it probably would have been totaled regardless of the power plant.) Thanks!
 

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NiMh batteries won't react exothermically in the way that Lithium does but water, especially salt water, will inevitably cause damage if it gets inside the battery housing. The specified safe wading depth for the Rav4 is not particularly high and given that sloping foreshore ramps are unpredictable below the waterline it sounds a bit risky to me. The rear electrics are almost certain to be weather proof and water proof at the specified wading depth but beyond that? The other issue with the hybrid is that when reversing the engine may not be running which means that water can enter the rear exhaust box and that could even be enough to prevent the engine restarting, another possible reason for the conservative safe wading depth. Could there be an alternative safe strategy where a rear winch is used for launch and retrieval?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
NiMh batteries won't react exothermically in the way that Lithium does but water, especially salt water, will inevitably cause damage if it gets inside the battery housing. The specified safe wading depth for the Rav4 is not particularly high and given that sloping foreshore ramps are unpredictable below the waterline it sounds a bit risky to me. The rear electrics are almost certain to be weather proof and water proof at the specified wading depth but beyond that? The other issue with the hybrid is that when reversing the engine may not be running which means that water can enter the rear exhaust box and that could even be enough to prevent the engine restarting, another possible reason for the conservative safe wading depth. Could there be an alternative safe strategy where a rear winch is used for launch and retrieval?
Thank you for the worthwhile insights. Well, the trailer winch is not sufficient because the boat has to be reasonably floating before it will do its job. Maybe I need to fashion some sort of mobile winch and dolly for the rear bumper, but that seems sort of dicey too. I am also a little worried about the way the parking break does not automatically engage when I power off the car if/when I forget to put the shift lever in park. a little unsettling in the driveway, but maybe a serious risk at the boat ramp. Will need wheel chocks and a checklist, and maybe a cover over the on/off switch to remind me to set the brake. Disappointed this is looking so worrisome. Do you know the actual specified safe wading depth for my RAV4. Any links or literature would be appreciated.
 

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WARNING:

A hot/warmer sealed electric motor will still suck in water when suddenly submerged in cold water, just like a rear end if you don't have the breather tube high enough.

One of the hack car builders on Discovery was building an electric car and was given the rear motors from a EV wreck that had been driven into a body of water. Lots of talk about how waterproof the motors were supposed to be.

The motors were joined, butted to each other. The motors needed to be opened up to be separated for the build. Both motors had a bit of water in them. Not flooded, but enough that the motors could not be used and they needed to get another set for the build.

I myself, would not take the chance. I'm sure it would void the warranty, which would come out when the motors fail and need to be changed.

Just food for thought.

Have a good day.

PS How about a trailer with a telescoping tow hitch?
 
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Discussion Starter #6
WARNING:

A hot/warmer sealed electric motor will still suck in water when suddenly submerged in cold water, just like a rear end if you don't have the breather tube high enough.

One of the hack car builders on Discovery was building an electric car and was given the rear motors from a EV wreck that had been driven into a body of water. Lots of talk about how waterproof the motors were supposed to be.

The motors were joined, butted to each other. The motors needed to be opened up to be separated for the build. Both motors had a bit of water in them. Not flooded, but enough that the motors could not be used and they needed to get another set for the build.

I myself, would not take the chance. I'm sure it would void the warranty, which would come out when the motors fail and need to be changed.

Just food for thought.

Have a good day.

PS How about a trailer with a telescoping tow hitch?
Wow. Big concerns. And BIG food for thought. Telescoping tow hitch could help, but hard to guarantee the Prius won't need to get its feet wet. Also, the telescoping hitches that I just scanned only add about 11-12 inches, AND my boat trailer would need a huge retrofit. This can't be such a novel question, can it?
 

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I've been towing and launching boats for nearly 50 years, seldom back the rig in past the rear tires and never put any vehicle metal(tailpipes, bumper) in the water (specially salt water) so your conditions are abnormal for 99.9% of most ramp launching.
 

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The actual configuration file for my UK spec car gives wading depth as 500mm i.e. just under 20 inches. In round terms that would be near the top of the wheel rim of an 18 inch wheel with standard tyre. But that doesn't make it a good idea to go that deep on a regular basis.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've been towing and launching boats for nearly 50 years, seldom back the rig in past the rear tires and never put any vehicle metal(tailpipes, bumper) in the water (specially salt water) so your conditions are abnormal for 99.9% of most ramp launching.
Good point. I do not PLAN to back the trailer so far into the water, but I do really want to know how large a risk I am taking if I faced with a situation where I have to. Or, if I am driving near my shore home during one of those ever more frequent storm/high tide combinations. I'm sure others have similar concerns about their RAV4 Hybrid. Or they should, since our SUVs have electric motors driving the rear wheels, not mechanical axles.
 

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2919 Rav4 Hybrid Limited, Entune 3.0, Adaptive Headlights, Advanced Technology Package built June 20
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Back in the 1960s, I used to tow an outboard wooden 14'er with a 1.3L Alfa Romeo Roadster 50 miles and one man launch down a ramp. A trailer with rollers and a front winch and and a young arm to crank it, I never had any trouble getting the boat onto the trailer. Or even getting the rig back up the ramp. Small car engine, low to ground car, summer radial tires, heavy boat...all the disadvantages. And I knew not to get the exhaust pipe under water so I stopped short I don't even remember getting my feet wet when I went to operate the winch and shove the boat off the rollers so I must have stopped maybe 2 feet short of the water.
 

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NiMh batteries won't react exothermically in the way that Lithium does but water, especially salt water, will inevitably cause damage if it gets inside the battery housing. The specified safe wading depth for the Rav4 is not particularly high and given that sloping foreshore ramps are unpredictable below the waterline it sounds a bit risky to me. The rear electrics are almost certain to be weather proof and water proof at the specified wading depth but beyond that? The other issue with the hybrid is that when reversing the engine may not be running which means that water can enter the rear exhaust box and that could even be enough to prevent the engine restarting, another possible reason for the conservative safe wading depth. Could there be an alternative safe strategy where a rear winch is used for launch and retrieval?
Anyone have information about the safety of getting the rear motors wet when launching a boat/trailer with my new RAV4 hybrid? Are the rear motors supposed to be waterproof? How about salt water? The boat/trailer combo is less than the 1500 lb limit, and tows just fine. When thinking through launching, though, I recall prior situations when I was forced to back into the water to free/load the boat."Obviously??!??" this hybrid was designed to be safely driven through thunderstorms and the occasional deep highway/corner water puddles, right? Or at a shore home when the occasional nor'easter and high tide brings up a fair amount of standing water on many streets and connector roads. I say obviously in quotes because I simply assumed that water-safe motors would be the case. Any specific technical references or expertise would be very, very much appreciated! (And yes, I did see the picture/video of the not-RAV4 electric SUV that accidentally plunged into the water at a boat ramp, floated away, and later caught fire. That's not the situation I'm asking about. That SUV was completely flooded, and it probably would have been totaled regardless of the power plant.) Thanks!
By the way, isn't the towing 1,750? That's what we were told at car show
 
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