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 TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!

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TouringBubble

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Age : 35
Location : Chelsea, AL
Drives : GG IX MR SE
Registration date : 2007-07-09

PostSubject: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:15 pm

This really is a great story ...

So, Cesar comes over to the house yesterday to install some parts and to get a new tune. He had just left Morgan Performance with a sweet new mani ... my God it is BEAUTIFUL too. Anyway, we grab some food and let the car cool down.

We get back and start working. We are installing his Forge WG actuator, so we put some cardboard against the radiator to protect it. We pull out the fan and shroud and the intake for clearance. We scarred the rad a little behind the fan, so we toss in another piece of cardboard in that area for the re-install.

We get the actuator on and start to install the new boost solenoid ... which he didn't bring. So, we start to reinstall everything and plan to install the solenoid tonight. We put the fan back in and pull out the cardboard from behind it ... put in the intake, tighten the DV. All is good. Cesar went inside and I finished it all up.

My contacts had been blurry the entire night, so when Cesar came back I told him to double check the bay while I went to put in drops. He checks it over and I came back out and even gave it another glance. All was tight, all tools were put away.

So, we go out for a test drive. He lays on the throttle in 2nd ... 27 psi. We pull in to WalMart and turn it down. Another pull ... 26 psi. Turn it down. Another pull ... 25 psi ... we're good. He rolls in to 2nd and then 3rd ... 24.5 to 25 psi and holding ... all is well.

So, we're making our way back to my house and we see the tiniest red dot float over the windshield ... "Did you see that?"

"Yeah ... it looked like an ash or something."

"Yeah. Do you smell that? Is that coming from your car?"

"I think so. Is that the manifold?"

"I don't know. I don't think it should smell like that."

"Should I pull over of go back to the house?"

"Oh shit ... we didn't take out the second piece of cardboard did we?!?"

So, he pulls over and I hop out to see a faint orange glow from the hood vent. I rush and open the hood. the cardboard had leaned against the turbo at speed and ignited. There is about a 4" flame coming from the lower right side of the radiator. The air flow was keeping the flame from getting too large ... but now we're stopped.

The flame is growing exponentially. I start reaching for the corner of the cardboard in between the scalding hot radiator and searing hot manifold. The closer it gets to the top of the bay, the bigger the flame gets. After a few tries I get a good hold on it and toss what I can of it out the the side of the road. About half is still under the hood.

Cesar grabbed the hood and I quickly stamped out the flame on the grass beside the road before I burnt my neighborhood down, then went back to the car. There is still a decent sized chunk of cardboard burning about 8" across and about 12" high in the center of the radiator. The overflow hose has caught fire as well. We both start blowing on it to put out what we can.

The fire slowly grows smaller and dies out. Cesar cautiously turns on the ignition so see no screaming dash lights. the starter engages fine and the car starts. All temps are in check ... nothing is sparking, spraying or smoking aside from the few small cinders from the remaining cardboard.

We limp it back to the house and pull in to the garage. I go inside and put some Neosporin (all i had) on the couple of burns on my hand from hitting the manifold while reaching for the cardboard. We look over the engine bay to access the damage ...

The overflow hose is burnt badly in a spot about 4" long where it ignited. There is some ash around the AC compressor wiring and hose that runs just behind the radiator. There are a few scorch marks on the radiator and a few other pieces.

The real test is the AC ... I assumed the line was fine because a spray of pressurized R33 would have killed the fire, but the wiring could have been damaged. The AC kicks on and cold air flows from the vents. All seems well.

We patched the coolant overflow with some fuel line I had lying around and Cesar headed home. The car ran fine and he drove it in to work today. We were very lucky.

So, the moral of the story is to always check EVERY INCH of the engine bay after you finish a job ... and don't just check for tools. Walk back through every step you've taken and talk through it for good measure. I know that Cesar and I will ALWAYS check for flammable items in the bay ... even if we didn't put anything in there.

I know you guys are going to laugh about this, but it could honestly happen to any of us if we aren't careful. I don't want to see anyones car up in flames because of a simple oversight. No

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Trekster

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:22 pm

LOL always double check. the first rule.

craziness. you should of taken some video or pictures and put it on youtube.

frankly, I wouldn't tell people about this. lol
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TouringBubble

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:24 pm

Like I said ... I know people will laugh and say that we were stupid, but honestly it's a simple oversight that anyone can make ... especially if you are one of the cocky ones that thinks it wouldn't happen to you.

The cardboard was flat against the radiator .. not a place you'd think to look. I just want to make sure no one else makes this mistake.

We were even double checking in the area to make sure the actuator was bolted on well and the pin was in place on the AG arm. That was honestly 1.5" from the cardboard and we didnt' see it. It's just not something we though to look for. I think it had something to do with the fact I'd already pulled a piece of cardboard out ... there were just 2 of them.

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Last edited by TouringBubble on Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Trekster

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:29 pm

I don't think it's stupid. I've seen real stupid things. This is just an oversight. like leaving your screwdriver inside the engine bay sort of thing.

it's easier to just take the radiator out. takes 10 minutes and you get free coolant.

So why was there 2 cardboard?
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TouringBubble

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:32 pm

We put in the first piece on the belt side before taking out the fan. After the fan was so difficult to remove (clearance on his airbox/heatshield), we decided it would be best to put another piece behind the fan for the re-install. We removed that second piece while putting the fan back in, and I think in my mind I'd removed the cardboard so that probably had a little to do with the incident.

I know you didn't say it was stupid. I'm just hoping this post can help others not make the same mistake. I also know that if it gets out some people might not want me to tune them because I made this mistake ... but I think the benefit of people learning form this story will outweigh that.

Learning from others mistakes is a good thing. This time, it was our mistake. Honestly, I'm sure others have made this mistake too and just didn't tell anyone out of embarrassment like you said.

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Trekster

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:24 pm

LOL when you said "learning from others mistakes" instantly I thought about joey. LOL

he'll probably do the same thing today.

joey, you know I love you, but IN YO FACE! Twisted Evil
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EvoLady

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:27 pm

LOL that was a crazy story!!! glad there was no serious damage or injury!!!!
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bomjoon
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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:17 pm

burnnnnn~!

j/k thats why we didnt use the cardboard.

the radiator looks like shit but atleast i didnt have fiuh~!
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LayinLo

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:13 pm

Thats crazy!
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Trekster

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PostSubject: Re: TRIPLE check your engine bay before a test drive!   Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:43 pm

sara is confusing me. I was like, "wait a minute, I didn't write that... or did I? ( in a drunken rage)." lol but then I was like "that doesn't sound like me. That's too positive for my taste". Then I looked and it was sara.

all in .0002 seconds.
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