The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by oldeman, Dec 11, 2020.
What is the leading cause of fires in the cars we build?
Combustion of combustible materials.
Probably poor fuel lines/leaking carbs and poor electrical wiring.
Backfires with a fuel leak and no aircleaners? Electrical ? Smoking ? (cigarettes). Battery blow ups? Plastic fuel filters?
Gas & electricity ........
Substandard wiring & too heavy of a load for said wires. You know what else doesn't help..........tar based sound deadeners like hush mat, peel and seal, fatmat.....etc. They almost guarantee that you will not be able to put out a fire with that tiny little red cylinder you have.
I have had to extinguish two car fires in hot rods in the last few years. Neither of them mine thank the hot rod gods. Both of them in beautifully painted and detailed rods, both of them with substandard wiring.
1. Carry a good extinguisher, preferably halon (you should have seen the mess I made on that 57 PU's engine bay using ABC)
2. Don't skimp on your wiring! A hate threads that start "who makes the cheapest fuse panel"!
3. Oh and always buy the guy a beer that saved your car or truck from burning to the ground. Neither of the above bothered with that any of those bullet points BTW. Seriously? Do you know what it costs to recharge one of these things?
glass fuel filters (they look cute)
Burnt a mustang up and almost my wife's car.!
I suspect some are caused by blown transmission cooler lines spraying hot atf on exhaust manifolds.
Must have been one of those new chrome glass filters. Chevrolet used a glass bowl filter for years.
That's why I only drive manual trans cars....
yup these should be outlawed, they unscrew and leak
Actually, my youth and stupidity caused the two car fires I had. I cheaped out on wiring once and once I left rags underneath the open headers. But I learned.
Yup. Happened to me. Luckily it was on a cold start. That saved me. Trashed it that day. Snowman
Having the thought that it won't happen.
Always carry an extinguisher. Think of the extreme possibilities.
I Hate fire
Those cheap fuel filters are awful and how they are legal to sell is beyond me.
I had one in a OT air cooled vw and it leaked ( fell apart and dumped fuel all over the place almost immediately.)
I think most fires are caused by bad wiring and cheap electrical components
Or Batteties in an enclosed box and not vented correctly
Anyways I’m thinking electrical fires are the leading issue
followed by fuel and oil, atf leaks etc
Clear and red hose might look cool or the fake braded crap but it’s all that...... crap
Ohhh look at my cool fuel lines as my car burns to the ground !
Sorry, I'd have to disagree on that comment. Used one for 8 years on my HA/GR racecar and on my classic street cars for years without one coming unscrewed. Actually for it to unscrew the hoses must be loose. If they are tight the tension would stop the filter from unscrewing. Is it possible the haters just think they are not traditional ?
Poor workmanship or using old components in the fuel system or wiring
No, not so, do a Google search. They have caused a lot of fires. I removed everyone that was on a car that came in my shop. If they turn just a small amount they will spray fuel. I am amazed they still sell these.
Some people are lucky. Some are not. Why take the chance to find out which one you are?
As a firefighter for the last 33 years I sum up the answer based on my experience fighting vehicle fires: 1) electrical, 2) automatic transmission fluid (surprised?), 3) all other causes. I have yet to fight a fire on a HAMB-friendly car, except a mid-60s Porsche if that counts (electrical.. save!).
Carry that extinguisher!
edit: I’ll be a Monkey’s uncle.... the National Fire Protection Agency’s report agrees with my answer (see pic or grab a beer and read https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/...nd-reports/US-Fire-Problem/osvehiclefires.pdf).
The fires that I have seen grow large have been from gas leaks, usually ignited by a hot surface. Old rotted fuel lines, leaking carbs, loose hose clamps, low pressure hose/clamps used with high pressure fuel injection supply pumps. Or pouring gas in the carb while trying to start it, or backfires thru the carb.
I've had a few electrical shorts, and luckily the wires have burned off, ending the circuit without catching anything else on fire.
My scariest fire was when I was about 18, I forgot to release the transmission mounted hand-brake on my 48 Plymouth convert. The heat from the friction ignited the heavy coating of old grease all over the trans. I didn't have a fire extinguisher, but I had a case of beer in the trunk.. My girlfriend was opening bottles and handing them to me, while I laid under the car trying to maneuver the liquid up into the tunnel onto the flames. Were it not for the beer, the car would have been lost.
Youthful determination and ignorance, not knowing at the time that I had stabbed the dist in 180 degrees out on my old 283 in the first vehicle I owned ( 2 years ot ) well it’s not starting so I have the lid off the old oil bath and I’m putting gas down the carb and dicking with the timing, and thankfully I did not have a remote starter switch, otherwise I’d have no hair or eyebrows to this day. The fireball that rolled up the inside of the hood was a phenomenal sight, if my butthole hadn’t puckered so hard I’d have shit myself for sure. Jumped out and ran around front to grab the now on fire air cleaner, waved it right past the half full pop bottle of gas on the fender as I stumbled over the jerry can beside the truck, running to throw it into the alley behind. Was 2 weeks before I was brave enough to try again , thankfully armed with better knowledge.
I've had three rigs catch on fire when I was driving them all gas related fires, Two fuel leaks on top of the engine and one carb fire that I still am not sure what the actual cause was. That one burned the air filter element up and damaged the top of the carb.
Had a student's car burn to the ground behind the high school auto shop when the power steering pressure hose his father had cut in two and put a piece of tubing in and stuck a couple of clamps on rather than driving him to town to get a new hose sprayed fluid on the exhaust manifold. An Absolutely pristine early 70's Mercury Cougar. Luckily someone had parked their car in front of the shop door or he would have driven it all the way in the shop and probably burned the place down as bad as the car burned.
Stupidity and laziness, guys who think they're car builders, but never should be allowed to touch a car.
They don't use fuses, bundle wire looms, wires hanging from the dash, everything is just to get it running. Battery cables made of whatever was handy, routed through frame rails and over engines and trannies with no fasteners, sixteen feet of hose used as fuel line cause they can't be bothered to unroll a hard line, or for that matter, buy some.
Stereo installations by your friend who knows everything about stereo's, amps and speakers, butting your car up against an immovable object and running her hard till the tires light, I have fixed all these things, but never been able to fix the guys that do these things.
In California, the leading cause is Pacific Gas and Electric, our power utility.
I've had 3 car fires.
The 1st one, me as a 16 yo was helping a guy work on his race car, the thing was blubbering and caring on, and he thought maybe the float was set too high on his Holley carb. He instructed me to remove the sight hole plug on the float bowl. Sure enough, the float was too high, or had sunk, the amount of gas that came rushing out of the that site hole covered the hot engine and caught fire. After cleaning up the mess the ABC fire extinguisher made, we had to rebuild the carb.
The 2nd was my old beater truck. I had jumped into it to go someplace and it wouldn't start. I did the rain dance thing on the gas pedal and tried again. That time it backfired and I soon noticed smoke coming up around the edges of the hood. When I got it open, the entire air cleaner housing was burning and the engine wiring was also smoking. I didn't get where ever I was going that day, I had to replace the engine wiring.. Whatever may have caused the it not to start was probably burned up with the wiring.
The 3rd time was on my coupe. After 5 years on the road, I discovered that when the front wheels were turned sharply to the right, it would lift the inner fender just a bit. After 5 years, that little lift finally cut through the insulation on the positive battery cable, where it was laying between the inner fender and a battery box support. Of course, it waited until we were at a local cruise night before it decided to catch fire. I'd just cut the wheels hard to the right to get out of a parking place, and had stopped to talk with someone, when some guy told me there was a lot of smoke coming from under the fender. the fire had burned through the hood release cable and was burning pretty good. I used my fire extinguisher, but the fire kept restarting. I had to lay under the front of the car to open the hood so I could disconnect the battery cable. That was the one time the car got towed home in almost 70,000 miles. When I redid the wiring, I rerouted the battery cable.
3 fires, 1 gas, 1 gas & electrical, and 1 electrical. I'm pretty sure my stupidity played a part in all 3. Gene
Amen to that.
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Had one crack the length of the glass tube. Fortunately we smelled it when we left the restaurant. My teen aged daughter was delighted to come rescue dad.
I had one crack as well, 55 Buick Super . . . had started it for my wife (gas pedal starter) after buying the car and getting it home, heard a woof sound from under the hood, shut it down immediately, popped the hood and unloaded an ABC on it. What a way to celebrate a new car for my wife to drive. As previously stated, those filters should be outlawed.
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