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Hot Rods Fires

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by oldeman, Dec 11, 2020.

  1. Tell me more! I have an amp gauge in a car I just purchased and want to change it to a volt gauge.

    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,408


    I put one of those on a car 30 years ago and it leaked. No matter how tight or loose.
    I returned it to Summit Racing the next day. (I lived down the street from the original back then.) Guy said "we don't normally allow returns on used items but we have had problems with those" and gave me a refund and an apology.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 366


    I had a hair line crack on the back of a front carb setting on a dual four Air Gap intake. It leaked and puddled gas at the rear of the valley cover right under the Dist and when I started the car it went off. I did get it out but it was not pretty. Fried some wiring and damaged paint on hood. I was parked inside the garage with a car parked directly behind, couldn't have moved it out at all. I was Lucky I got it out without burning the house down. Lesson learned: (1) have a Fire Extinguisher handy and know how to use it. (2) when working on a vehicle inside a building have an escape route and a plan if something goes south.
    My next was a close call that came as a real surprise. It is a Hot Rod with a fuel tank located behind the seat in the trunk. I filled up the tank after a trip right before parking it in the garage. About 4/5 days later I go out and get ready to take a spin. I smell gas so lift the hood and there is gas around base of carb and puddle on intake. I mop it up but the seep keeps coming back. What happened was that with the full tank the level was higher than the carb and I had a needle/seat issue filling the carb, running gas into the crankcase. Pulled the spark plugs and gas ran out two cylinders. Drained what must have been 2 + gallons of gas & oil from crankcase. Overhauled carb, changed oil and filter and all seems OK. If it had ignited it would have made the 6:00 PM News. Lesson learned: because of elevation of tank in this car, don't top off tank if you can't run it to 1/2 tank level before parking for extended period of time.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  4. Bryan G
    Joined: Mar 15, 2011
    Posts: 188

    Bryan G
    from Delmarva

    The ones I know of: My dad & a co-worker were trying to get a mid-50's Dodge to start. Dad was the one dribbling the gas down the carb. He ended up in the hospital, and was on his back for a while. The car managed to survive, until a kid down the street played with matches and finished it off.

    That same co-worker was trying to straighten a bent rail on an 80's T-Bird/Cougar, heating it up with a torch & got way too close to the fuel line. Only time I've seen a fire extinguisher put into action. It worked.

    Most of the others were related to fuel lines up at the carb. That seems to be the most common, and typically resulted in a fire small enough that the vehicle was quickly back on the road with blistered paint. Saw a truck that was hauling hay, trailer caught fire & then the truck. Everything else was electrical, and was all crispy critters when I saw it so very difficult to pinpoint. One was hooked to an expensive trickle charger but we could never determine if it contributed to the fire.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  5. Just by pass the amp gauge and run the volt gauge. Easy peezy.

    You should have no problem with an amp gauge if your amp draw and output is not any higher than the AMP rating of the gauge. Where you run into a problem for example is running a say a 65 amp GM alternator and using a 30 amp (or less) AMP gauge. It becomes overloaded then something has got to give.
    chryslerfan55 and Special Ed like this.
  6. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,242

    from Burton, MI

    I had an O/T car catch one day shortly after buying it. ATF leak on the exhaust. Fortunately it was winte and the car was low...I drove it into a snow bank and put the fire out. Scary!
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 1,119


    While traveling through PA, I saw a fiberglass RPU with a fuel tank and the battery in the pick up bed. I owner just filled it up, he hop in, turn it over and the battery exploded causing the fuel to catch. I was in the lane on the other side of the pumps and was able to move my car right away. That fiberglass car burn down to the frame in what it seems like a matter of minutes. I don't know why the battery blew up but thinking it was of the old acid filled type with the caps acting as breathers. The flumes from the acid mixed with a loose battery connection cause a spark that blew up the battery. Add this to the fuel tank sitting right next to the battery cause the explosion and demise of the fiberglass car.
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  8. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,604


    I saw this when I was a kid and was totally devastated. Scan-201214-0001.jpg
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  9. redoxide
    Joined: Jul 7, 2002
    Posts: 685

    from Scotland

    People are the biggest cause of car fires . Wires dont burn by themself and fuel is fairly inert. The common denominator is people, taking short cuts and making silly decisions.

    With a bit of common sense fires are avoidable .

    Its like workshop fires , I know guys who have oil and gas soaked rags discarded by carboard boxes, meanwhile they have no thought of cranking up the grinder and have sparks flying in all directions ..

    There is always a person involved so I still say people are the biggest cause of car fires :)

    Apart from the Hot rods I also run a Type 2 bay window VW van. They are renound for self ignition, with fuel pipes being the biggest cause . The thing is every one knows it and either replace the old rubber lines with cheap replacements that are not compatible with ethanol fuels or ignore the problem altogether . I replaced what I could with steel line and routinely check the high grade short rubber runs and replace them when needed .. so far so good ,If it does go up in flames its not for the lack of servicing :(
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
  10. Fuel to burn
    Joined: Jul 17, 2009
    Posts: 282

    Fuel to burn

    Fuel filters on the pressure side of the pump.

    I saw a beautiful OT Cutlass convertible with a dollar 99 fuel filter flopping loose between fuel pump and the carburetor.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  11. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,385

    from Oregon

    Fuel line leaks, or electrical wiring in poor condition. I've seen more than one car end up in flames from too much rubber fuel line. And a good number go up in smoke from screwed up wiring.
    I put all new wiring in every build I've ever done. And run as much hard fuel line as possible. Leaving just enough flexible fuel line to isolate for vibration.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  12. fordflambe
    Joined: Apr 9, 2007
    Posts: 560


    A Mad wife?
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  13. Wanderlust
    Joined: Oct 27, 2019
    Posts: 494


    They’re all mad it’s the crazy ones you have to watch for
  14. One cause not yet mentioned.... Rodent nests. If the vehicle sits for a bit, they can take up residence and build nests or food storage spots. Top of the motor, inside the heater box, exhaust system, places that have heat-generating means to ignite whatever they leave there. More of a problem with motor homes, but it can happen with cars too. Saw a MH catch fire while waiting to get an emissions test, burned the whole facility to the ground....:eek:
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  15. KJSR
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,488

    from Utah
    1. Utah HAMBers

    I'm surprised tech inspection allows that.

    I hate them because they are junk. I think you just have beat the odds for quite a while....
    chryslerfan55 and dirty old man like this.
  16. spanners
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,537


    Tech is ok with it because I've got a clear piece of plastic tubing covering it to stop rocks from hitting and cracking the glass but can still check it for a clogged filter.
    Personally I think old crossply tyres are junk and wouldn't drive out of the yard on them but I don't jump down people's throats who 'have beaten the odds with them'.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  17. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,893


    Having been a welder for years, mostly on old cars and trucks, I think I could add welding related things to the fire causer list as well.

    A guy needs to know what is under or behind that piece of metal your going to cut out or weld to.

    I don't want to count how many rodent hotels I've removed from rockers, lower fenders, quarter panels, frame rails & cross members. If you ever had one of those catch on fire, its something you never forget, and will always be on the look out for. I can tell you from experience they burn slow and hot, and are usually very difficult to put out because of where they are located.

    A buddy was "helping me" once and decided he would cut the rocker out of a car I was going to work on. He gabbed the sawzall and cut through the rocker, and the fuel line and brake line that were attached to the back of it. Fortunately, we dodge that fire.

    One day I was welding in floor pans with my mig, and that hit one spot where the wire went right through the old floor pan. When I couldn't pull the wire back up through the hole, I wiggled under it to take a look. The mig wire was welded to the steel fuel line, I had to cut the wire to free it. That one will make you sit and think a bit! After that, I look under everything, and cover any existing lines or wiring with a piece of sheet metal if I can't move it out of the danger zone. I also jack up the car and put jackstands under it, so I have access to the underside, just in case.

    Then there is the renegade hot spark. I was putting floor pans on a 64 Impala. The entire interior was gutted except the dash. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a spark roll up the new floor pan and under the dash, then there was this orange glow from the dash. I got the fire out with quick action and a fire extinguisher, but not before the paint was burned off the top of the dash. The cardboard glove box was empty, except for a single book of matches. That spark rolled up under the dash, and dropped into the cardboard glove box and on top of that lone book of matches, which burst into flames. Why the guy thought he should leave the book of matches in the glove box I'll probably never know. I do feel pretty good that the dash was painted rather then have had a rubber and vinyl covering. Back then, to pull the windshield, pull the dash, have it painted, reinstall the dash and reinstall the windshield cost me $400.

    Inside a car, seam sealer, carpet and padding, and seats all catch fire real easy, and under the car undercoating will self feed itself in a fire. I took a small spray bottle of water with me when I was welding inside a car to put the small fires out, and had a 10 lbs ABC extinguisher easily accessible near by. When a fire starts inside or under a car, you have about 30 seconds to put it out before you loose control. If your welding and something smalls funny, or you see a glow, stop and check it out, both inside, and under the car. That 10 lbs ABC fire extinguisher is cheaper then burning down the car, and your garage. I've used 4 or them in 30 years of running a welding shop. Gene
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  18. grumpy65
    Joined: Dec 19, 2017
    Posts: 925


    I am so happy to hear this. Beer really is the 'nectar of the gods'. I shall endeavour to have some close at hand at all times. And now I have the proof I have needed to convince my wife..............................:):):)
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  19. cvstl
    Joined: Apr 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,476

    from StL MO
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    He also needs to remember that towel that was covering the end of the transmission and is now on the floor under the car..... 'cause if he forgets about the towel, and has to pee, disaster could strike, turning your quick engine swap into a full on rebuild. Burned Sept, 2019, finally going back together.
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  20. hook00pad
    Joined: Mar 5, 2013
    Posts: 21


    A leaking valve cover on my old Ford Tractor caused a fire the other day while mowing, a quarter mile away from the house or any other water source. I had a cheap ABC fire extinguisher, but didn't know it had been used and had no pressure.

    Well I guess the oil leaking from the valve cover ignited from the exhaust manifold heat and was burning kind of moderately at the front and back of the valve cover. Couldn't shake enough of the powder out to extinguish the flames, which were no more than 6-8" below the full fuel tank. After frantically trying to beat out the flames that I couldn't quite reach, I made a run for it (Run being a relative term as I am 74 yrs old) to get some water 1/4 mi away, which I had in two one gallon jugs. I was so winded, I had to walk back briskly so the water trip took me at least 3-4 minutes. By this time when I opened the hood to pour water down onto the flames, the tank was flaming around the cap, but not badly. I was very bold but extremely lucky to extinguish the flames at the tank by beating it out and the oil fire by drowning it with water. I'm still Thanking my guardian angel for help that day.

    Al Hook
  21. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 1,218


    ^^^^ Yep, been there.

    Working at a service station during college, the boss replaced a carb on a customer's Lincoln. Went to start it up and Whoomp! Engine fire. I grabbed the CO2 extinguisher off the wall, pulled the trigger and ... nothing. Boss starts cursing, runs into the office, comes out with a chemical fire extinguisher and puts out the fire. What a mess. Turns out my boss had used the CO2 extiguisher a few weeks early and had meant to get it recharged. But once he put it back on the wall bracket, he forgot all about it. He kicked himself pretty hard for that. Paid me overtime to clean up the engine compartment.
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  22. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,768


    Oooo, oil on hot exhaust manifolds, reminded me of an issue I had years ago. Buddy and I were set o play Golf one day, I drove the betters halfs OT turbo car to his place (it was my turn to drive). I knew it was a quart low and a longish drive ahead.

    So out in front of his place I added a quart, some dripped on the exhaust but the turbo, it ignited immediately. My buddy was sipping a Snapple, and poured it on the flames and put it out.

    Sacred the piss out of him, so we took his car for the day;)
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  23. Years ago (mid 1970s) we had a car fire in my dad's garage caused by insulation catching fire when were brazing a patch panel in cowl section of the car...caught the inner dash and burned the wiring harness too....I was just teenager back then but we learned to really watch for fire at all the point where to this day I hate all kinds of fire..including campfires and wood stoves too...funny how something from 45 years ago still sticks in your and learn...
    my 2 cents

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  24. brianf31
    Joined: Aug 11, 2003
    Posts: 779


    I worked in the school bus manufacturing industry. I can tell you the leading cause of fires was due to wiring and fuel line routing problems. 2/0 hot wire running across a metal edge or through an ungrommeted hole, a trans shifter cable rubbing a fuel line, etc.

    Although I paid special attention to routing on my car, I unhook the battery every time I park it. Those quick disconnect battery cable ends make it a no-brainer.
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  25. My brothers 35 Ford coupe. I had just finished the body work, and paint. I painted it Porsche indian red. It turned out great. We never even got a photo of it. He and his wife took it to Florida on their vacation from here in Virginia. On the way back home in N. Carolina they stopped at a traffic light. A gas line broke, and along with an electric fuel pump feeding the fire. { Bad !}They didn't have an fire extinguisher. Not sure it would have even saved it. No one was hurt. But I never start my Rods without one. I have them in my garage, and house too. Ron... { damage was from the fire, plus a dumb tow truck driver. } 233.jpg
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