Crossing Rivers in Venezuela with a '74 CJ-5

by Francisco Serrano
(Baton Rouge, La)

1974 Jeep CJ5 (File Photo)

1974 Jeep CJ5 (File Photo)

Living in Venezuela you have to have a Jeep, period. This is one lesson you learn quick, specially early in your life.

I bought my first Jeep in 1974, after having a Land Rover '88. I had started my love affair with 4x4's.

Some roads back then were without bridges so you had to cross the river. One occasion coming back from the beach there was a bunch of people in their 4x4 vehicles waiting to cross the river that in the morning was low, but after some big storm in the upper land of that valley the river was much higher than before.

A mechanic told me a way to keep the distributor dry by applying evenly a small amount of brake fluid inside, and then reinstall it back. I did that to seal air inside the distributor and keep the engine running.

I removed the belt and prayed for crossing safely some 150' of 4 to 5 feet of turbulent water. The water flooded all inside up to our seats. Pieces of floating branches hit our side doors, and got our a**es wet, but the Jeep crossed the Todasana river.

Of course while everyone was looking at us, opened the hood, installed the belt back in and hit the road. Remember seeing several Toyota Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols stranded in the water trying to get out.

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