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Old 03-29-2012, 06:31 AM   #1
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Default Tonights the night my car caught fire

So heading home from work data logging to see if i was still getting AE Triggers at steady state. Everythings great, think to my self "looking good, its time to start test fitting my ARTech mani and DP and sorting out oil drain/ intercoolet piping".

A few min later im coasing down a hill and notice as i try accelerate that ive go no power, i stomp on it a little and it picks up like normal " must have just been the throttle sticking a bit" i think. 5 seconds later the car dies, rpm etc all go to zero. Pull over thinking and notice black smoke comming frmo the engine bay. ----. Pop the hood and boot, praying to Hustlers mum that my fire extingiusher is in the boot. It was, from there everthings a blur, i must have ripped out the pin and safety tag and went to work on the engine bay.

Fires out, Phew.

Have a look at WTF has happened. In hindsight it was a little fire, and possibly would have burnt itself out had i not done anytthing.

About 18 month ago i had a $900 alarm / remote central locking system installed. The speaker im assuming from that system had fallen off its bracket and goen down and caught on the exhaust, caught fire, blew my 30amp fuel injector fuse and killed the car.

I checked the area for obvious damage and found a very powdery and sooty enhaust side but nothing that looked totally fucked ( apart from the melted alarm crap). A random in a house nearby gave me the correct fuse from his corolla to test out. fuse in, key on fuel pump primes car fires and seems normal.

Had a friend follow me home and its sitting in the driveway now. will post up some pics in a few days on the weekend.

Scary but interesting night for me. I immediatly thought it was something id done, blew the engine or the MS or my wideband had somehow turned into a flux capacitor and i was in an alternate reality where my car was even more ---- than it alread is.

Anyone else have " Car on fire stories? "

Can anyone see any way my MS / Wideband coudl have been damaged before the fuse blew? i gave each a good sniff and nothing smelled burn / fried.

Have a good night!
Scott
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:19 AM   #2
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Never had a car catch fire, but stories like this make me re-think my decision to not have a fire extinguisher in the car. I wish there was somewhere good to mount it where it wouldn't show.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:35 AM   #3
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I've got one.

Years ago, I had a s/c'ed 99. I let a "friend" borrow it to go get his gf...in turn I took his bike out for a spin. About two hours later I get back to the apartment, jump in the car and crank it up. Car is running like ----...sounds like a Subaru and the CEL was flashing. I asked him WFT he did to my car (and used a 1/2 tank of gas in a short trip) and he claimed "I didn't do anything, it was running fine when I parked it". Yeah whatever. Needless to say there was almost no compression on cylinder one. I had no choice but to keep driving the car. I did for for a couple of weeks with no problem other than a lot of white smoke in boost and having to add a lot of oil.

So I was out with friends one night going to a "spot" to do some watching. When we got there, a couple of people were pointing and saying something under my car was glowing. So I pul over (mind you it's 2am in an empty industrial park) and there is a sizable fire on the exhaust side. I knew I didn't have anything with me and the realization of watching my car burn was setting in....very hard feeling to explain. Seeing you **** on fire and not having anything. So one guy jumped in his car and went tearing *** for something to put on it (gas station was about 1 mile away). Within moments, another guy comes over with a bottle of Mountain Dew and starts pouring it on. That 1 liter bottle of the good stuff was just enough to extinguish the fire. Whew.

What ended up happening was that the blowby created too much pressure in the crank case and pushed the oil dipstick up and dumped a bunch of oil on the exhaust, which in turn caught fire. Had to replace some things, but the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:51 AM   #4
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Most stories I've heard include the battery not being covered (or tied down properly on the NA), and large, loose metal objects in the trunk making contact with the battery terminals.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:03 AM   #5
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I left one of the three ground straps off my transmission/engine on my old Jetta when doing a clutch job once and burned every ground wire in the car. That was fun.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidude View Post
Never had a car catch fire, but stories like this make me re-think my decision to not have a fire extinguisher in the car. I wish there was somewhere good to mount it where it wouldn't show.
I put mine here, the floor mat covers the front bit and the seat when pulled forward a bit covers the rear.

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Old 03-29-2012, 09:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
I left one of the three ground straps off my transmission/engine on my old Jetta when doing a clutch job once and burned every ground wire in the car. That was fun.
<threadjack> many ground straps do our engines have? I have one bolt leftover that I labelled "transmission ground strap," but I hooked up the one by the dipstick and don't remember any others. I'm hoping I just used the wrong bolt on that one.
</threadjack>
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevo11 View Post
I put mine here, the floor mat covers the front bit and the seat when pulled forward a bit covers the rear.

That's actually not a bad idea, I'll check it out. What if I let somebody short drive my car, will the seat still slide forward?
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:19 AM   #9
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That's the passenger side, mine's a Eunos Roadster ;-)
And yes, seat still has full travel
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:31 AM   #10
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I had an extinguisher infront of the drivers seat on my old car (read:higher seat than a miata) and I never noticed it. was a great spot for it.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevo11 View Post
That's the passenger side, mine's a Eunos Roadster ;-)
And yes, seat still has full travel
That is cheating! I wouldn't want one where a passenger would see it. I would get really tired of hearing things like "Is this car going to catch fire?? ZOMG let me out!"
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidude View Post
<threadjack> many ground straps do our engines have?
</threadjack>
One on the engine itself near the exhaust, and another on the PPF, back near the differential.


Only car I've yet set on fire was my '76 Beetle. The battery in those cars is inside the passenger cabin, sitting on the floor beneath the rear bench seat. The floorpans on this car, as with most other VW Beetles, were rusted all to hell, with huge gaping holes in some places.

So one day I happen to hit a bump, and that was the proverbial last straw. The battery fell out of the car through the floor, tipping over sideways as it did so. The positive terminal came to rest upon the chassis, generating a large amount of heat as it caused the surrounding metal to rapidly transition from solid to liquid form. This was sufficient to ignite the padding on the underside of the seat, which in the Beetle is made from a material that strongly resembles horse hair.

Fortunately, the rear seat of a Beetle is very easily removable, as there is a storage space under it. I thus rapidly came to a stop, tore the seat out of the car, and tossed it smoldering into the ditch at the side of the road. The battery, by this point, had worked its way free such that it was no longer in contact with the chassis, so I carefully lifted it back up through the hole, placed some scrap lumber which I found nearby across the hole, set the battery atop the wood, and carefully drove to the auto parts store, whereupon I shared a pretty good laugh with the guy at the parts counter when I requested a new battery and a hacksaw.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:26 PM   #13
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LOL at the Beetle fire. That's the only car I've ever had a fire in, too. I was an hour from home, on the way to my first day of work at a new job, not even 5 minutes from the restaurant where I was headed.

Round a corner onto a busy street, look in the rearview and see smoke pouring out of the engine compartment. Jump the curb, run around to the back just as the flames start peeking out of the vents. Pop it open and stand there amazed that my car was on fire haha. Somebody with an extinguisher stopped and put it out.

Turns out the tube that the gas line attached to at the carb somehow managed to back out, leaving me pumping gasoline onto a hot motor. Good times.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:06 PM   #14
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On the bus going to a track meet in H.S. (many years ago), loud bang, alarm beeping on dash, and smoke started pouring out of the left rear tire area of the bus. Turned out the parking brake had not released. After about 40 miles the drum was red hot and caught the tire on fire. Coach went through quite a few fire extinguishers as the dry chemical ones wouldn't cool down the brake drum and it would simply reignite things.

We all crammed onto a smaller bus from the nearest school district and made it to the track meet.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:25 PM   #15
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I once had a mercedes 300SDL. That stands for super diesel, long wheelbase. 83 or something like that.

I was driving to see my frand and hmm car started smoking from engine. i look at water temp gauge and MOTHERFURKKER IS PEGGED. Now this had happened to me before; the water pump went and car overheated, ---- warped or something like that I forget. Anyways, THE SHIZ IS HAPPENING AGAIN. I was like bitch, fu you I am so getting to my frands house.

So I plow on down 95 and by now, the motor is pouring out thick black smoke. I get 20 miles down the highway and it is so bad I can't see so I pull into a rest stop. Shut car off hoping it just needs to cool down. Surprise won't start. Got it towed to a benz shop and they said that I had melted the pistons to the cylinder walls and they were fused. Ugh i hated those old fukin cars.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewdesigns View Post
Turns out the tube that the gas line attached to at the carb somehow managed to back out, leaving me pumping gasoline onto a hot motor. Good times.
Hehe. I knew a guy who lost a Ghia to the same failure. It actually ignited the engine case. When the firemen arrived and saw that it was a VW, they just let it burn. Not because they were jerks, but because you can't really extinguish burning magnesium.

For those unfamiliar, the carburetor on a VW engine sits on top of a vertical pipe, and is located above the distributor. Some folks stick little plastic inline fuel filters in the line between the pump and the carb (which runs directly above the distributor) and when these cheap little filters crack, they start pouring fuel right onto the distributor cap.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:13 AM   #17
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Anyone that has owned a late 80's ford 5.0 prob has a alternator fire story, I had a few catch fire. Last one was a few years ago on my 89 F150. Left house and made it to light at end of street, maybe 1000' saw smoke rising from under hood and new it could not be over heating already, open hood and with no extinguisher or tools I pulled off battery cable and started huffing. I blew out the fire in the alternator! But had inhaled a little smoke and passed out on side of road. People stopped to see if I was alright. After a few minutes I was up and about with a cough.

One miata "fire", Last year at 24 hour Chumpcar race at VIR I had fitted our car with a LARGE oil cooler so we were unsure how much oil the car held. Changed oil during our safety break and apparently put too much oil in the car. After my stint in the car I pulled back in pits and my crew starts yelling "the car on fire!" They tore open the hood and stared assessing the problems still thinking the car was on fire from smoke.....as I yell to help me get out of the car! Window new was stuck! Turns out it pushed out the dipstick and sprayed oil everywhere, smoke but no flames. Back on track the car went...
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:52 PM   #18
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My 02 Impreza caught on fire a few months ago, and only about a month after I bought the car. I was driving down the highway and it started to feel as if the brakes were dragging. I pulled over and noting felt hot/looked out of place, so I pressed on. A few minutes later, I saw some smoke coming from behind the car so I took the next exit and pulled into a parking lot. I ran into a nearby gas station and asked them if they had a fire extinguisher because my car was smoking(in the back of their parking lot). They were anything but helpful at first but finally brought out an extinguisher when flames started coming up. It took two extinguishers to put it out and the fire department came, but things went a lot better than they could have. The fire was above the fuel tank, and to this day, I have no idea what the cause was. The car was, and still is, bone stock with the exception of a skid plate, mud flaps, and rally lights. I had the car towed to a dealer because I was too busy to make the repairs myself. A bunch of fuel lines/lines for the evap system were melted and had to be replaced. Fortunately, the car has been fine ever since the incident.

While all of this was going on, I had $5,600 in a backpack in the car because I was headed back to school and would be leaving from there in a few days to pick up my Miata. That would have been pretty shitty if my dd, plus the money for my future toy, had all burned up.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:22 AM   #19
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Had an aircraft catch on fire. That turned out VERY badly.
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Old 03-31-2012, 03:33 AM   #20
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I once had an intercooler sprayer (on an old DSM) with a tank in the trunk. Kept it full of water. Temps dropped below freezing one day and I accidentally nudged the pump switch to the 'on' position while on the highway. Burned out the motor and lit my trunk floorboard (which was wood) on fire.

Pulled over and sprayed it with my extinguisher.
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