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How did it catch fire?

Hello All, this appeared in the local papers today. I'm shocked.

Click here for Online News Article from The Straits Times.

How did the car catch fire? Ruptured fuel line? Naked electrical connection? Arson? Sabotage? Insurance fraud? The owner seemed to walk away casually as if he expected it.

The car in question is NOT 15 years old. I have no idea how the papers arrived at that. Another paper reported it's a 7 year old Boxster. *faints*

It's a 1978 SC (with Gemballa widebody kit 964 look and Big Reds) running CIS. Doesn't the CIS have a safety switch that cuts off the fuel supply or something? Or does the pump keep on going?

Can the fire get so massive? Check out the video clip. Click the link below the dude's pic.

This is giving Porsches a lot of bad press in Singapore. All my friends today asked if it was safe to sit in my car. Of coz it is!!! My '67S has no firey temper.

Sprint.

Old 01-28-2004, 08:30 AM
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I'll say it was maybe caused by the heater blower motor I watched a RS America have it's heater start up in burn right in front of me the other day....
and the cabin filled with smoke and it was a scary time..
maybe thats what happend as it looks like it's cold in the pick..
but thats just my guess...
nah i retract my guess after i watched the video of it all.. he was in short! hahaha so I guess it was a fuel line break..
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Last edited by Eric Mckenna; 01-28-2004 at 08:43 AM..
Old 01-28-2004, 08:39 AM
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Too bad, nice car. I wonder if the oil leak had something to do with the initiation of the fire.

I thought this was oddly phrased: "The rear of the 911-model, estimated to be worth less than $40,000 by experts"
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eric Mckenna
I'll say it was maybe caused by the heater blower motor I watched a RS America have it's heater start up in burn right in front of me the other day....
and the cabin filled with smoke and it was a scary time..
maybe thats what happend as it looks like it's cold in the pick..
but thats just my guess...
nah i retract my guess after i watched the video of it all.. he was in short! hahaha so I guess it was a fuel line break..
Eric
Fuel line break? The CIS system has metal lines, right? At least that's how they are on my 931.

Sprint.
Old 01-28-2004, 08:45 AM
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i have seen so many cars burn, and most of them are american made. and what about house fires? no one walking around asking me if it is safe to come into my house. sorry, i dont even know what point i am trying to make. ignore me.
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:46 AM
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I find that to be one horribly written news article.

Who CARES what kind of SHORTS the guy was wearing.
OMG.

It could have been a fuel fire. There are soft lines that run from the accumulator and if it was a early SC, the injector lines are plastic.
Too bad though.
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:53 AM
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about a year ago at a track event at streets of willow, a 914 caught fire at a restaurant during an after-race dinner. a fuel leak probably was the cuplrit.

in any event, the magnesium in the engine compartment burned so hot that firefighters could not extinguish the fire. the car burned totally to the ground. the driver had put a tire in the passenger seat, and apparently that exploded like a bomb and created quite the commotion on top of the flames.
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:59 AM
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A friend of mine had his 81' SC burn to the ground, literally melted the car to basicly nothing. Never found the cause. It just caught fire in the engine compartment when he was on the freeway, he pulled over, barely got his son out of the back seat before the whole car was just engulfed in flames.
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 911ctS
It just caught fire in the engine compartment when he was on the freeway, he pulled over, barely got his son out of the back seat before the whole car was just engulfed in flames.
So would it appear odd that the owner calmly got out and walked "calmly" and "casually", to quote the eyewitness?

Sprint.
Old 01-28-2004, 09:05 AM
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If it were me... and I was in shock... no extinguisher... what can you do? Jump up and down?

All you can do is just stand there.
The fact that he appeared "calm" is no admission of guilt.
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:08 AM
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:14 AM
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:25 AM
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I bought an '88 Carrera last year that the P.O. sold because the fire repair estimates he was getting were too high.

2 years before, he was told he needed to replace his fuel lines. The dealer wanted nearly $350, but he found an independent shop to do it for a bit over $150. The new fuel line replacement lasted approximately 30 miles before the car burst into flame at a gas station. Thanks to a prepared motorist with a fire extinguisher, the fire was out in minutes, but it slumped the plastic air intake & blistered the paint. The guy was never able to find an 'expert' to testify that the fuel line replacement was the cause. total cost to repair was under $2200.

Last Summer there was a Factory Turbo Look Carrera coupe on eBay that the firefighters attacked, trying to stop a fire (apparently with marginal success) The front fenders had been destroyed with prybars in a protracted attempt to open the front lid. The engine lid & surrounding sheetmetal was ripped up, too, and random wires were cut, destroying the loom. A real mess that still brought $4K because there was *no salvage title* so keep your eyes open for that one coming back on the market!

As for the original subject car, it's obvious quite a bit of work has been done to it. Who's to say it was done to Porsche standards?
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:37 AM
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Pretty obvious what the reporter thinks happened!
Old 01-28-2004, 09:43 AM
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Let me tell you a story.

In the early ‘80s I took my CP 914-6 (46IDA 91x66) to a USRRC drivers school just prior to a SCCA double national at Riverside Raceways. We would come into the hot pits and confer with our instructors, say 20 minutes, and then go back out on track. Well, I now know what happens to a carbureted 911 in that situation. It boiled the fuel out of the float chamber, the float expanded and stuck in the down position, there was a slight intake backfire when started, and it didn’t run perfectly when leaving the hot pit. I recognized it wasn’t running right and proceeded slowly around the track. By the time I came down the back strait into the Carrousel it was running worse. Just as I entered the Carrousel GIANT flames came up out of the engine grill – I mean 10’ flames. It got my attention and I’m still at 50 mph or so intending to enter the hot pit lane. I turn everything off, unbuckle, grab the little 2# extinguisher, and sit on the driver’s door (still at speed) steering the 914-6 toward the corner station at the pit entrance. The workers at first scattered as they feared this flaming car was going to hit them. Fortunately the car stopped abreast of the corner station, I fell off the door and the workers extinguished the blaze. The big flames were because the small carburetor fire burned through the fuel lines and then melted the fan belt. The fan had been directing the flames through the engine until the belt broke.
This all happened about 3 PM on Wednesday. A Riverside Porsche shop owner came up offered us the use of his shop. We repainted the engine compartment, replaced the wires and hoses, and installed our spare engine. We were in bed by 11 PM that night and successfully raced for the next four days. The only damage to the engine was the air filters, 46IDAs, fan, wiring, and fan shroud.

The moral of this story: SS fuel lines wherever possible; Pay attention to this carburetor issue; Have a larger than required fire suppression system; Stop at the next corner station if you even think you have a problem. Be PREPAREd.

The fix I came up with was (is) having a pair of aluminum baffles alongside the carburetors/manafolds, attached to the three fan shroud screws. After each session I take a 5# bag of ice and put ice alongside the intake manifolds. It keeps the manifolds from conducting the heat to the carburetors and consequential problems. The float chambers stay full and the fuel cool. When you go to restart the car, it fires on the first turn (no fuel fowling of the plugs) and runs perfectly.

Gasoline is one of the most dangerous substances we normally ever deal with. It is just short of high explosives and nuclear fuel.


I’ll try and find some photos of Hal Shaw’s fire in his IMSA 934. It will make a believer of anyone about multi-multi-layer fire suits.

Best,
Grady
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Old 01-28-2004, 10:00 AM
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This is what they put on the news in other countries??? And they make fun of the US? BFD, it was car fire. That's some crack reporting!!

OK, ignore me too.
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Old 01-28-2004, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by techweenie
As for the original subject car, it's obvious quite a bit of work has been done to it. Who's to say it was done to Porsche standards?
I'd say the car was pretty well built initially as the PO lavished lots of love, care and money on it. When it fell to the hands of the current owner during the downturn of 1998 era, I would say the same love was probably there but the same money wasn't spent.

The car has a Gemballa Widebody kit and has Big Reds with 17" Twist replicas. The engine was a gem. Rumored to have been built by Ruf (on orders of the last owner) to the tune of $45k. It's way faster than a 3.0 hamster mill of a SC. If I was blindfolded and sat inside, I'd claim it's a unmodded 930. The pull is insane, especially in the higher RPM range. It becomes alive when regular SCs begin to get breathless. And yes, it runs on CIS, which pretty much amazes me. Not to mention that this car is NOT light. The present owner put in tons of sound proofing and insulation and fitted in a 993 interior. Definitely a comfort cruiser but blistering fast.

There's a conspiracy theory on this accident. Some are saying he intentionally set the car on fire to claim insurance. For those who can offer an objective view to how it could have happened, please chime in with your opinion. Or PM me for details relating to the car and then feel for yourselves if it's an accident or intended. I'm curious myself. I know some facts but am not able to arrive at a conclusive end.

Sprint.
Old 01-28-2004, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by VaSteve
And they make fun of the US?
OK, ignore me too.
Err... I don't see any references to the US....

But I'm facing a moral dilemma here. Should I call the papers or insurance company to add on the facts prior to the fire?

For those interested to know, PM me. I cant' wash dirty linen in public, but I'm keen to know your 'judgement' assuming more knowledge.

Thanks.

Sprint.
Old 01-28-2004, 04:10 PM
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"The fire was extinguished after about 40 minutes and the car was eventually towed away."

Really? they towed it away? and I thought they would leave it there as a highway statue.

the guy who wrote this article has obviously been smoking crack.

a 15 year old Porsche? hmmm, that would make it a 1989, worth $40K? and where did they get that figure, perhaps from the driver? (who might file a (fraudulent) claim with the insurance company?)

Last edited by on-ramp; 01-28-2004 at 04:16 PM..
Old 01-28-2004, 04:13 PM
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Thats kind of a cool looking picture....sort of the Porsche version of Hindenburg.

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Old 01-28-2004, 04:15 PM
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