The biggest cause of engine fires is?

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The biggest cause of engine fires is?

Postby itchyfeet » 19 Apr 2018, 15:59

Had some fire safety training at work today by an ex London fire brigade fire fighter who knew his stuff.

I was asking about vehicle extinguishers and one question he asked was do I know was whats the biggest cause of engine fires?

I got it wrong with several guesses

Can you guess?
Last edited by itchyfeet on 20 Apr 2018, 10:09, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is?

Postby Born Too Late » 19 Apr 2018, 16:09

My first guess would have been fuel leak followed by dodgy wiring but I'm thinking they'd both be wrong now...
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is?

Postby silverbullet » 19 Apr 2018, 16:22

Electrical. Overloaded circuits (bad earths) then melting insulation which catches fire.

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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is?

Postby itchyfeet » 19 Apr 2018, 16:24

No
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is?

Postby philmcC » 19 Apr 2018, 16:26

Overheating, cooling system not maintained.philmcC
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is?

Postby 937carrera » 19 Apr 2018, 16:32

I'll have a go then, the question was being asked about engine fires, not vehicle fires so, excluding arson and cigarettes

You need a fuel and ignition source, so not in any particular order

Electrical short, perhaps caused by rodents using wiring for breakfast
Fuel line breakage onto hot engine
Oil leak onto hot exhaust
Debris / rubbish around catalytic converter or misfuelling causing cats to overheat

Is that a D+ or an F ?
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is?

Postby itchyfeet » 19 Apr 2018, 16:59

937carrera wrote:Oil leak onto hot exhaust
?



Pretty much this, oil leaks or people missing the oil filler and spilling it over the engine, engine gets hot enough to ignite the oil.
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby Mr Bean » 19 Apr 2018, 20:32

Well am not keen on diesel engines mainly because of the travel sickness caused to me when the wonderful London trolley buses were replaced by the evil Routmaster - read pukemaster - which smelled awful and whose engine vibrations resonated through the bus particularly badly at tick over which in London is much oof the time.

Discounting that:
Owners of diesel cars are safer, because diesel is essentially an oil and you need much higher temperature to set it on fire.Which is certainly not the case for petrol. For this reason while I will undertake welding repairs on a vehicle with a diesel engine I will not weld on car with a petrol engine without removing the fuel tank.
In my opinion under normal circumstances there is only a limited amount of flammable material in an engine bay. Although introduce pumped petrol via a split pipe or fractured union and a manageable fire can turn into a conflagration in seconds. These are the fires which frighten me. By choice then I prefer mechanical fuel pumps over electrical pumps so if the engine stops so does the fuel flow although this is not really a choice with fuel injected engines.
In my opinion damage from both engine bay fuel fires and body shell electrical fires can be drastically reduced by prompt use of a battery isolator switch whatever the fuel.

As an aside : Richard Hammond's crash, and the curious detail of his 'pure electric' car catching fire in much the way an internal combustion car would be expected to encourages me to think that the Tefal men have a bit more work to do on batteries :roll: .
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby Mocki » 20 Apr 2018, 05:25

the fact still remains, that with our vans, fuel lines are THE biggest cause of fire.....
well, lack of prevenative maintenance and inspection of fuel lines
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby Karen&co » 20 Apr 2018, 06:34

Mocki wrote:the fact still remains, that with our vans, fuel lines are THE biggest cause of fire.....
well, lack of prevenative maintenance and inspection of fuel lines


I think this was the issue with our fire, we'll never know, but the fact that we had documented proof on the invoice that they and various other perishable bits had been replaced just weeks earlier, helped with the insurance pay out.
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby itchyfeet » 20 Apr 2018, 06:53

Mocki wrote:the fact still remains, that with our vans, fuel lines are THE biggest cause of fire.....
well, lack of prevenative maintenance and inspection of fuel lines


Maybe you are right but I wonder if there is any evidence of this or is it just generally thought of as the case.
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby silverbullet » 20 Apr 2018, 07:37

When you see how quickly non-ethanol resistant hose can perish when compared to the better quality stuff (or even old OE hose), I would say that its the #1 cause of fires in T3's

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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby weegaz22 » 20 Apr 2018, 07:46

Mr Bean wrote:As an aside : Richard Hammond's crash, and the curious detail of his 'pure electric' car catching fire in much the way an internal combustion car would be expected to encourages me to think that the Tefal men have a bit more work to do on batteries :roll: .


Thats just entropy at work, cram a lot of energy into a small space and when things go wrong its going to release and usually not in a good way

Lithium ion batteries once they catch fire are also way harder to deal with and put out than a car with a fuel/oil based fire, there's a few videos online of electric cars being dealt with by fire services and the things just keep burning no matter what they do, manufacturers like tesla also say it should be monitored for up to 48 hours after the fire as re-igniting is a real possibility, as well as fire crews having to wear respiratory gear to prevent inhaling heavy metals in the fumes

the futures bright, the futures the orange glow of an electric car on fire for 24 hours :rofl

on older stuff like our vans i would say the fact that the fuel having ethanol in it nowadays is more likely to be a cause of fire as the hose was never designed for that in mind when built in the 80's
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby itchyfeet » 20 Apr 2018, 07:50

Mag alloy wheels are dangerous in a fire too he said
mag = magnesium
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Re: The biggest cause of engine fires is? = Oil leaks

Postby weegaz22 » 20 Apr 2018, 08:02

itchyfeet wrote:Mag alloy wheels are dangerous in a fire too he said
mag = magnesium


yep, knew a guy whose race bike had magnesium wheels and had his garage catch fire, once the mag eventually hit ignition point it gave off so much heat that the rest of bike literally melted into a pile of slag on the floor
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