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melted tail light?
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:38 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

There is Black around that decal, is this black evenly distributed across the entire rear?

I Wonder if a larger vehicle (A Delivery truck? ) was parked close to and left idling while a delivery was made?
The heat from the exhaust could easily melt plastic.

Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:47 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

My money is with hot exhaust gas from some big arse vehicle parked aimed just right. Otherwise cannot explain it short of willful sabotage.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:55 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

I would suggest there was a dead short in that taillight assembly and it caught fire until the power source melted off, and it ran out of a heat supply.

There was something burning in there, this is way beyond a hot light bulb.

I've seen some melted lenes in all kinds of vehicles in my day.
This one was on fire and self destructed.

What's really odd is how did it miss the paint surrounding the lamp?

Really odd.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:04 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

angrychicken wrote:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.




I've burned a fair amount of plastic in my day.

When plastic burns it not only melts but it also is consumed. A Result of the fire is black char and really nasty dripping snot.

This lens has no signs of combustion, only extreme heat modifying the clarity of the plastic and melting it without consumption.

Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

Yes. "The housing, for the most part, seems intact. As in it it not melted."

But the housing is thicker and likely a different type of plastic than the lens. Maybe Doug knows what plastics (acrylics?) are usually used for lenses?

So, the lens -could- have melted from internal heat.

Where was it parked? Could a big truck have backed up near the back of the van?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:18 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

Definitely no signs of a fire. I think it's isolated heat. Of what source I have no idea. Possible the a big truck was next to me as I'm in Minnesota. But def not a semi truck or anything. Basically the only place my van was "exposed" was in a strip mall/plaza parking lot where I was getting coffee.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:06 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

OK--there was no fire.

Then please elaborate of the total discoloration of all of the lenses.

One bulb didn't do that, they all would have to have been on at the same time to first change the entire lens into a discolored mess, plus melt it.

That was a fire of some sort--look at the little bit of black above the lens hole--


Good mystery, but everything would have had to been on at the same time to get that kinda mess, & I doubt that an exhaust pipe of a diesel truck would be up that high--and where is the soot from the exhaust?
It would have had to been right on top of it--like an inch or two---it would have had to take out a portion of the bumper to get there.


Interesting--
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

Wow. I'm going to go with 90% creative vandalism, 10% bizarre perfect storm electrical short. That was high heat, and it was sustained heat.

Could you look at the underside of the hatch lower lip? If there is no issue there, I am at a loss for explaining that level of heat, for that length of time.

I honestly think it was someone horsing around with a portable torch - possibly a contractor's truck in the parking lot who had bad memories of some hippie in a VW van taking his girlfriend and took 20 year later revenge. Or a couple kids who found a torch and your Vanagon was the most visually unusual vehicle and caught their attention, etc.

It's the lack of blackening indicating combustion I'm resting my suspicion on. For that much heat in such a uniform way across the lense, it had to be an external source.

And I'm rejecting a nearby vehicle due to exhaust height regulations that make it unlikely an exhaust pipe is that high. Sure you can find a lifted truck but now you're talking 1 in 1000 vehicles and to get it that close you are also talking about deliberate - backing up until its right against the Vanagon. Possible but unlikely.

I say vandalism.

Doug
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

The discoloration is a basic indication of a fire is all's I am saying--

I don't know, I wasn't there, neither was the owner obviously--he can't figure it out either.

Milked out yellow & red means a fire an got very hot in that spot, and all of the bulbs were not all on at once.
It's impossible.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:34 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

<<<Here ya go--

I honestly think it was someone horsing around with a portable torch - possibly a contractor's truck in the parking lot who had bad memories of some hippie in a VW van taking his girlfriend and took 20 year later revenge. Or a couple kids who found a torch and your Vanagon was the most visually unusual vehicle and caught their attention.>>>

Maybe he bopped somebodies girlfriend in the roach coach and somebody was getting even--

Ta Da--

Douglas, you come up with some off the wall stuff most of the time-
But this one was spot on--
Fast torching would do this without too much soot, or burns anywhere else.

It's a revenge Burn.

Just think back awhile--pretty recently.
Who'd you PO lately?

He didn't get mad--he got even--

A truck never did this--neither did hot bulbs.

Dick Danger Douglas came up with the correct answer to the crime.

Good call on the mystery burn.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:36 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

then there was that news article about a fire that burned down a house or something - it was started by the perfect sun angle into a giant glass window reflecting off of it...

any security cameras in that mall/plaza parking lot?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

Hey, my little buddy's not "Dangerous"! He's anything but that - downright friendly and looks out for me as well.

Just needed to clarify that.....
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:59 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

The 2WD Vanagon (I only checked the two I have here) have the bottom of the tail light 24" off the asphalt.
A problem with Vanagon lighting is how low they are, we all know that.

My Pontiac Vibe has the bottom of the tail light 32" off the asphalt, my Ford F-150 is 39" off the asphalt.

My F-150, a low sitting stock unit has the exhhaust tail pipe 18" off the Asphalt.

It isn't a large leap to most delivery Box trucks, raised pickups, etc having an exhaust at 24" or higher.

Exhaust temperatures are high, many trucks aren't diesel so the exhaust gases are clear.

At what temperature does a Vanagon tail light go soft and soggy?
I do not know, but depending upon the plastic used it could be fairly low depending upon it's makeup. Some plastics melt as low as 80*C ...... A temperature easily expected out of a idling tail pipe.

There is no viable alternative. No one is going to sit with a torch and gently heat a tail light until it melts but doesn't burn.

It isn't logical that all the bulbs in the unit would be on long enough to evenly melt the assembly, there would be hot spots from each bulb.

A fire inside? The circuit board where the bulbs insert would certainly show severe burning. (It does not)

No, I'm sticking with my theory of a perfectly parked idling delivery vehicle.


Edit:
My F-150 with the 5.4 idles at between 280* and 297* F at the exhaust pipe ..... that's 137*+ C
Hot enough to burn you.....Probably hot enough to soften a tail light lens....

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:18 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

solvents also will soften plastics. i would guess that the lenses are PMMA the only thing that softens that is heat ,or a solvent. did you spill any trichloromethane?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:20 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

dave -if that were the case then where are the carbon deposits around it? there would be carbon deposits from exhaust dont you think?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:34 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

outcaststudios wrote:
dave -if that were the case then where are the carbon deposits around it? there would be carbon deposits from exhaust dont you think?


That why I asked about the Black on the sticker and surrounding paint. Is it dirt? Is it from and engine oil leak?

My F-150 runs quite cleanly as do most modern engines. I'm not sure that they produce much in the way of carbon or soot.

As I wander about today I'll be very aware of straight job delivery trucks and their exhaust pipe locations / Heights!!

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:50 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

Usually--( not 100% of the time--just usually) a ton and a half, 2 ton delivery trucks exhaust end exits under the truck--about right behind the cab of the truck-- Midships--take a look as you're motoring about.
The tail pipe does not go back as far as the DOT bumper at the end of the back side of the box body.

The tail pipe doesn't extend beyond the rear of the truck to pull this burn caper off.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:53 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

No soot. Just dirt from driving around the tail light.

I'm in a small town as a traveler. Doing some temporary contract work. Only been out here for 1 month. 5 more to go, I'm hoping this doesn't happen again. Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Energy-Efficient-Windows-Causing-Heat-Damage-259328151.html


the above link tells of reflective windows melting things by concentrating reflected light. do a seach of the internet and you will find several stories about this. I recall it happened near a friends home in arizona a while ago.ss
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:12 am    Post subject: Re: melted tail light? Reply with quote

Yeah, I think an exhaust pipe definitely puts out enough heat. I'm just not sure about how close they'd have to be, and that exhausts are often downward pointing. Also agree there may not be any visible deposits as most vehicles are clean these days.

Notice as you drive around today. Not many exhausts are set up to fire straight back from the rear of a truck parked like that. Maybe a propane powered forklift, perhaps another piece of equipment like a trailer mounted generator, pump, etc. One of those propane powered construction heaters shaped like a jet engine that was sitting on an open tailgate, etc. Definitely possible. The mystery deepens.....

DougM
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