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Checking engine after fire in engine bay

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bruceg, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. bruceg
    Joined: Jun 1, 2009
    Posts: 52

    from NWATL

    My middle son picked up a project car a while back that we've worked on, off and on. We had it running for a while, then had fuel delivery problems. We replaced the fuel pump and he started it up a while back. Must have had a build-up of fuel or something spilled on the headers, as the engine caught on fire. He got the fire out, but has been afraid to try it again.

    Pics of the car are here:

    It's a kit car, looks like an early 60's Austin Healey, has a Chevy 350 and a TH350 transmission.

    My thoughts are:
    pull out the plugs
    put a little oil in each cylinder
    disconnect the battery
    put the car in neutral
    manually turn the engine to make sure nothing is frozen
    change the oil if the engine still turns

    If that checks out, replace the spark plug cables that are fire damaged and check the rest of the wiring.

    Ummmmmm - pick up a good garage fire extinguisher.

    Push it OUT of the garage. Try turning the engine with the starter motor. Connect up the coil again, and see if it starts.

    Is that a reasonable sequence? I just want to make sure not to melt it down, but also don't want it sitting after a small engine fire until my son's ready to work on it again.
  2. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,460


    Guess those are the "before" pics. Do you think the oil in the engine cought fire? Typically just replace all the electrical stuff, rubber fuel lines & check for what caused the fire. Usually no internal damage unless Aluminum or magnesium parts catch fire/melts.
  3. First and foremost take that glass fuel filter off, unless your looking for another flame job. After that , yes i would manually turn it over after fogging each clyinder and see how it feels. I would then crank by the key W/O the ignition hooked up to see how that sounds and feels. From there if all is good try and fire it up and keep a close eye on the gauges.
  4. bruceg
    Joined: Jun 1, 2009
    Posts: 52

    from NWATL

    Before and after pics look the same. No real fiberglass damage. I pulled all the plugs, gave each cylinder a shot of Kroil and couldn't turn it by hand. I'll let it sit with Kroil for a few days and try again. Then I think the next step will be to pull the heads and take a look.

  5. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,597


    How long has it been sitting since the fire, and how was the fire put out?
  6. retromotors
    Joined: Dec 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,045


    I'll second Ebbsspeed's questions.
    Unless something was ingested in the course of extinguishing the fire, I wouldn't think any internal engine damage would have occurred.

    Hell, i bought a crispy critter BMW motorcycle once. The alloy carbs had melted into puddles, but inside the engine was perfect.
  7. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,035

    from Oregon

    Seems odd that an engine would not turn over after a fire. I would pull all the sprkplugs and try to turn it over without the plugs. If it wont do that, then it needs to come apart. But make sure the engine turns over by hand , as it could be a starter issue also.

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