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Vanagon fire at gas station - Portland OR
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If a lawyer could get their 1/3 suing 20+ year old vehicles it would be a full time industry. Would need some deaths too.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
If a lawyer could get their 1/3 suing 20+ year old vehicles it would be a full time industry. Would need some deaths too.


The problem has pretty much been there from day one, these vehicles didn't just start burning yesterday. When I bought my first transporter I was wide eyed when I figured out what a fire trap it was and immediately took actions to lessen the risk. This was most of three decades ago now.


Last edited by Wildthings on Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
Merian wrote:
what are the major things to inspect?

- any pro-active replacements?


If your van or westy is mostly original wiring theres nothing to worry about.


If you say so...

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(Not my photos.)
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(^Electrical fire in parked van, which allegedly engaged the starter)

In my own van, I've done the following:
  • Replaced major grounds, cleaned their attachment points
  • Removed and cleaned almost all other connections (still have a few more to do)
  • Rerouted Hall Sender wires from being pinched and strained under A/C bracket and partially melted where it sat on the coolant pipe
  • Repaired damaged Digifant ground wire that was wrapped around the coolant pipe and rerouted it
  • Repaired and rerouted wires that were so close to exhaust pipes that their insulation was melted
  • Repaired melted wire that was laying unprotected across the engine; put it into a loom and tied it up off the engine


^Those damaged wires were factory OEM, not some PO add-on/modification. Confused

I'm not saying to replace the electrical harnesses, but just as you regularly inspect your fuel system, inspect your electrical system too (including the hidden A/C stuff) and repair any damage ASAP. Whenever you remove electrical stuff, thoroughly inspect the wires and connections, repair/clean as needed. Run your blower fans regularly to keep the bearings lubed; any sign of trouble, fix it (continued use means resistance, which means a potential melted fuse like that shown above).

Cleaning connections, including those in plastic junctions, removes dirt, corrosion, bugs/nests/webs, and, ergo, resistance. The worst junctions yet in my van have been at the starter... pulled the disconnects out of their plastic junctions and Sick .

If you're adding electrical components: do it right, or have a professional do it for you.
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Ride-Fly
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimf909 wrote:
For starters, this is the best how-to I've found on replacing fuel lines (found in the FAQs here).

http://www.benplace.com/fuel_line.htm

There is a topic filled with opinions, e.g. which fuel line to use; "the stock wiring doesn't cause problems" / "yes it does" just seen here, etc.

As far as class action lawsuits, either there's a valid case and no one has filed it or it doesn't appear to be strong enough for even the most bored lawyer to take on.


Jim - awesome gouge! Thanks! I feel somewhat confident that I could do this myself. I think I'll also replace the tank lines and seals too. I saw some fuel dripping underneath the tank recently. Yikes. Again, thanks for pointing out the site!!
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Ride-Fly
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might have mentioned this before but my AC motor froze up and stared smoking the belt. I pulled off the freeway fearing my van was going to catch on fire. Luckily it was only smoked out.

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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
Sodo wrote:
If a lawyer could get their 1/3 suing 20+ year old vehicles it would be a full time industry. Would need some deaths too.


The problem has pretty much been there from day one, these vehicles didn't just start burning yesterday. When I bought my first transporter I was wide eyed when I figured out what a fire trap it was and immediately took actions to lessen the risk. This was most of three decades ago now.


OK so "nothing to worry about" with regard to un-altered vanagon wiring overstepped reality a bit. Probably should never be uttered in regards to 25-35 year old vehicles. BUT----- it's pretty hard to tell that those failures were not caused by other alterations. My van engine wiring is significantly modified.

I've had some trouble with original connectors overheating / melting due to corrosion.

What & Where are the most important 'offenders' that a vanagon owner should tend to?
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
It may be more productive to members (and I think appreciated) to focus on gasoline vehicles for this thread.


I don't see where you are coming from. The actual topic is specifically about A SINGLE VAN. Any discussion about fires in any other vanagons is off-topic. There are vanagons with diesel engines and there are vanagons with gasoline engines and while we are all OFF-TOPIC discussing any van other than the one that caught fire at the fuel station in Portland, OR, I see no rational reason to preclude the discussion of the relative fire issues of diesel fueled vanagons. Seriously, WTF?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In before its locked.
I ordered a blaze cut before our 4th weekend camp trip and it came in 2 days before we left. I thought about this thread the whole way to and back from our campsite.

We just got back, unpacked and I see this thread has jumped 3 pages over the weekend.

Its a 10 min install!

Super easy to locate the wires inside the foam sound pad under the cover. Use the supplied zip ties to tie it to the wire stringers. Done

Now I need one for the left rear D pillar to contain my AC wiring.
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew A. Libby wrote:
Sodo wrote:
It may be more productive to members (and I think appreciated) to focus on gasoline vehicles for this thread.


…... I see no rational reason to preclude the discussion of the relative fire issues of diesel fueled vanagons. Seriously, WTF?


I have been under the impression that Vanagons torching was a 2WD (not Syncro) problem. So was selfishly trying to keep the discussion on Syncro Car-B-Qs, at least for a little while. Thats WTF but I'm over it and apologize. Diesel conversions NOT burning is interesting but not what folks are going to get from it or how to implement the knowledge and it seemed off-topic.

I never really thought of electrical fires as a significant risk. But no doubt, with 25-35 yr old vehicles extensively modified, patched, road-repaired,
frankensteined, corroded, and so many maintained by shadetree mechanics. Not to mention aux batteries added, aux fueltanks, propane stoves, cigarettes and A/C systems. And in many cases including my own, temporary modifications and experiments intended to be buttoned up at a later date… The A/C belt that was close to bursting into flames could have taken the whole van.

This is our world.

I'd sure hate to see my van burn but can't really imagine adding a fire suppression system (blaze-cut or diesel).
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the apology.

The fact that diesels do not typically burn up is very applicable to this type of thread. Having been on the Samba for quite a few years I've seen more than one post of a new diesel owner alarmed about the need to change fuel lines and seeking info on how to approach that maintenance. Certainly the fact that diesels do not typically burn up from fuel leaks and the fact that none of the rubber fuel lines on a diesel are under any pressure is also pertinent.
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furrylittleotter
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MsTaboo wrote:


What is it with you and Bostig/Zetecs? .


https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1238835.jpg

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1112721.jpg

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1105708.jpg

Nothing. Bostigs are the best ever. Just watch those speed bumps!

Neil2
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

furrylittleotter wrote:
MsTaboo wrote:

What is it with you and Bostig/Zetecs? .

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1238835.jpg
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1112721.jpg
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1105708.jpg
Nothing. Bostigs are the best ever. Just watch those speed bumps!
Neil2


Those pictures have what to do with van fires? Your post implied Bostig conversions were prone to fires and I asked you to prove your assertion, you come back with speed bumps?
As far as I know you've never owned or done a Bostig conversion. Why the animosity?
And I'll gladly measure up my ground clearance vs yours.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

furrylittleotter wrote:

Has anyone ever seen a Subaru powered van Car-B-Q? I have not. Plenty of Bostigs, but no Subys.???
Neil2


Umm, his post didn't imply that Bostigs caught fire, it said "plenty" of them catch fire. Maybe he posted the links to fiery Bostigs on the ground clearance thread?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimf909 wrote:
furrylittleotter wrote:

Has anyone ever seen a Subaru powered van Car-B-Q? I have not. Plenty of Bostigs, but no Subys.???
Neil2


Umm, his post didn't imply that Bostigs caught fire, it said "plenty" of them catch fire. Maybe he posted the links to fiery Bostigs on the ground clearance thread?


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atomatom
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

van is on fire, thread is full of flames
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man this is sad.

https://www.iaai.com/Vehicles/Search.aspx?Keyword=vanagon

There are 5 burned Vanagons on this page out of 9. I wonder how many hundreds have burned over the years.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was at the auction a while ago and there were a few dozen vehicles burned to a crisp and none of them were VW of any type. They had them in a separate section so they were easy to identify the body styles.
Look on that website's main page and click on the Loss type- fire in the left column. There are several thousand fire losses nationwide at any time so 5 vanagons lost seems pretty insignificant.
It is sad but accidents happen as you know.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

17 car fires per hour, 160,000 per year.

Vanagons don't seem to be exceptional in this regard, we just see every single one.

http://www.businessinsider.com/17-cars-catch-on-fire-every-hour-in-the-us-2013-11
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimf909 wrote:
17 car fires per hour, 160,000 per year.

Vanagons don't seem to be exceptional in this regard, we just see every single one.

http://www.businessinsider.com/17-cars-catch-on-fire-every-hour-in-the-us-2013-11


There are 254 million cars on the road in the US so 160,000 car fires per year equates to one fire for every 1600 vehicles.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know how many vanagons were produced? Searches below suggest anywhere from a few hundred thousand to millions. If a couple hundred thousand remain and there are 10 fires per year the rate would be similar. Real numbers would be more helpful though.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6...p;start=60

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7314829

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=340362&highlight=production+vanagon

kamzcab86 wrote:

Production numbers for Vanagons, from a Catalog of Imported Car book I have (this is for Vanagons, not total T3 chassis production, and is for the calendar year, not production year):
1980: 28,673
1981: 25,083
1982: 24,203

For the remaining years, only total number of Volkswagens sold in the USA are listed. Mad


Serial #'s by year:
http://www.brick-yard.co.uk/VehicleSpecific/T3/info/manudates.htm#1991
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