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tiico fire
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pigottp
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:14 am    Post subject: tiico fire Reply with quote

Quote:
I purchaed a Tiico last year from Peter in Cameron Park CA. I had two weeks of bliss then this calamity. Last October my local VW mechanic installed an Tiico. My 86 Wesy Syncro was parked until April 24 2009 when I started driving it six kilometres a day back and forth to work. There was a problem with the battery. At 50 kms I took it for service oil change and battery repair. VW initialy failed to fix the problem: the battery was still dying after repeated starts. I returned the van againMay 3. The fixed the problem the next day and the mechanic actually drove in to and from his home for a day to see if the battery would died out. On May 5 I came down to the shop to pick up my fixed van. The mechanic told me he had to replace the alternator wire and he showed me the new wire running from the alt to the back of the engine compartment. Things seemed to work fine on the way home. I took it out again on the May 9 for a few stops around town with my daughter. ON the way to the fourth stop at a traffic light we advanced on a green when the engine made a pop sound...the battery warning red and the ignition red light came on while the ignition made a celenoid clicking type of sound. Somebody pulled up beside us as I was about the turn off the key and shouted get out you're on fire. I got myself and my daughter to safety then ran back to the van opening the rear door and removing the engine cover. Thick black smoke and flames rushed out from the back of the engine compartment. I ran to the front to the key which was still clicking and red light showing, I pulled the key off and grabbed my extinguisher. As I ran back a gas attendant with a large extinguisher was at the back and he doused the flames immediately. When the smoke settled I found most of the wiring is burnt, and the newly installed alt wire in particualr was burnt to the metal. The distributer cap is also melted a bit. The electrical box at the back of the engine compartment seems undamaged but the wires going up to it are melted down to the wire. The wire harness and wires down to the spark plugs are burnt but the plugs are basically in tact. Despite the smoke and flames it seems like the fire did not get that hot since my engine lid is only singed on one side and none of the rubber hoses or belts are damaged. All of the wiring in every part of the engine compartment is fried though. I'm tyring to figure out the cause of this fire. As well I've tried to contact Peter about my warranty and get only an I'm out of business message. I'm tyring to contact the manufactuer about possible cause for the fire. I also need replacement parts. Is there anyone on this blog who can offer advice? I've spent 10 grand "recharging" my Syncro and right now I've got a mess

[img]http://picasaweb.google.ca/pigott.paul/Fire#5337207335210192146[/img]
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are you trying to say?
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McVanagon
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

McVanagon wrote:
That sucks! I'm glad you and your daughter are OK!

Was it a fuel fire, or an electrical fire?

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pigottp
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I'm trying to figure out. From what I can tell the fuel system remains entirely intact and the flames were doused remarkably easily once the key was turned off and the fire extinguisher applied.

I'm not trying say anything all at. I'm wondering if there are others on samba who can share their experience with this tiico convernsion and hopefully pass on some advice on how to get back to happy and safe trails for my family.

McVanagon wrote:
McVanagon wrote:
That sucks! I'm glad you and your daughter are OK!

Was it a fuel fire, or an electrical fire?
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I mean is I don't understand why you quoted your first post, and the link to your pictures doesn't work.

If this is what you wanted to ask "I'm wondering if there are others on samba who can share their experience with this tiico convernsion and hopefully pass on some advice on how to get back to happy and safe trails for my family"

Then start a post titled:
what is your experiance with tiico conversions? mine caught fire.
Or something like that.
and then tell what happened and ask what others think, and post your pictures.
If you don't know how to post pictures read this:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6
I'm not trying to be an ass, I'm just trying to help you find out what you want.
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McVanagon
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mightyart wrote:
What I mean is I don't understand why you quoted your first post, and the link to your pictures doesn't work


There was somthing screwy with his first post. It was blank. I accidently quoted his blankness, and a ****load of text appeared in my post. When I previewed it, it was again blank.

I took the links out, and the text appeared. Odd. Must have been what he did to get his post to appear.
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pjrae
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked the self quotations McVanagon, reminded me of Bob Dole
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I modified the link, found a pic and reposted it below. I think OP was trying to post image of engine fire along with questions.

It may also be possible OP was "bumping" topic to the top though if so, likely should have done that with original post. IMO Smile

To the OP: with picasaweb, I right click on image, open in new window, then post that address (containing .jpg suffix) between image tags.

Neil.


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

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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here is what appears to be all the pics

http://picasaweb.google.ca/pigott.paul/Fire#5337201013188223538
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Captain Pike
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is that even a fuel fire? Looks all electricial_-what a mess.
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Robw_z
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pulled a Tiico kit from a junked Westy, obviously junked because the Tiico had caught fire. The one I pulled was pretty bad, the wiring and all the hoses were wayyyy gone, but the motor core and mounts all seem to be good.

-Rob
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a914622
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iv got to agree It look electrical. With the mess of burn wire its hard to back track and figure out what grounded and to were. I would have to guess the hot wire to the coil or your alt wire got a ground and acted like a hot plate burner.

I had a smaller wire fire on the suby conver. It fryed the fuel pump wire. Luckly the power was cut with the key and there was no damage.


glad you have enough to rebuild.


jcl
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a long standing email support group for TIICO owners and people interested in the conversion. I have heard of several engine fires with them but mostly due to fuel system leaks. There were common installation errors by even professional shops that led to leaks and sometimes fires.

Your problem seems electrical in nature and it may have nothing directly to do with the conversion. Most of the vehicle wiring and even charging wiring is retained from the old engine configuration. It may be something that existed before or something done by a mechanic during or after. Most serious engine electrical fires don't stop just because the key turns off as the key switch has only a small role in the electricity moving around the engine compartment. Once a power wire melts it often shorts to other power wires and then turning off the key does nothing to stop the electricity from cooking things. For example that red alternator wire has power 100% of the time, key on or off. If it melts and shorts to something things will cook until the battery is dead.

Mark


pigottp wrote:
That's what I'm trying to figure out. From what I can tell the fuel system remains entirely intact and the flames were doused remarkably easily once the key was turned off and the fire extinguisher applied.

I'm not trying say anything all at. I'm wondering if there are others on samba who can share their experience with this tiico convernsion and hopefully pass on some advice on how to get back to happy and safe trails for my family.

McVanagon wrote:
McVanagon wrote:
That sucks! I'm glad you and your daughter are OK!

Was it a fuel fire, or an electrical fire?
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill W wrote:
Is that even a fuel fire? Looks all electricial_-what a mess.


I agree. Something I posted about in response to OP's other post regarding this engine.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=332795&start=40

Neil.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanagon Nut wrote:
And here is what appears to be all the pics

http://picasaweb.google.ca/pigott.paul/Fire#5337201013188223538


Harness is likely TOAST based on the above pictures. Not pretty.

Can you get the harness?

If not, looks like it is time to get a harness together from an early 90s Jetta.

If you are not VERY electrically inclined, I'd say you have a goner.

I have a degree in electrical engineering and I have fixed lots of stuff like that, but it is VERY time consuming.

GOOG LUCK!
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pigottp
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well the good news is that my VW mechanic agrees this is an electrical fire that "may" be the result of improper installation. They're offering to redo a very messy and long rewiring job for free if I supply the parts. Sounds like a fair deal to me. Now to find the parts.....

r39o wrote:
Vanagon Nut wrote:
And here is what appears to be all the pics

http://picasaweb.google.ca/pigott.paul/Fire#5337201013188223538


Harness is likely TOAST based on the above pictures. Not pretty.

Can you get the harness?

If not, looks like it is time to get a harness together from an early 90s Jetta.

If you are not VERY electrically inclined, I'd say you have a goner.

I have a degree in electrical engineering and I have fixed lots of stuff like that, but it is VERY time consuming.

GOOG LUCK!
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pigottp
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for your insightful post Mark. The guy who installed the engine has been working on VW's most of his adult life starting in the German military. The installation is good. But it turns out another mechanic tried to fix the battery problem and he is to blame for this mess.
I wanted to get this Syncro to a Tiico installation specialist, but my waterboxer went and I live in a very remote location. So I had it done locally. When I get it fixed again I will take it straight to a specialist to check over the job. Until then I need help ordering replacement parts. Where is the this TIICO email support group? thanks again

crazyvwvanman wrote:
There is a long standing email support group for TIICO owners and people interested in the conversion. I have heard of several engine fires with them but mostly due to fuel system leaks. There were common installation errors by even professional shops that led to leaks and sometimes fires.

Your problem seems electrical in nature and it may have nothing directly to do with the conversion. Most of the vehicle wiring and even charging wiring is retained from the old engine configuration. It may be something that existed before or something done by a mechanic during or after. Most serious engine electrical fires don't stop just because the key turns off as the key switch has only a small role in the electricity moving around the engine compartment. Once a power wire melts it often shorts to other power wires and then turning off the key does nothing to stop the electricity from cooking things. For example that red alternator wire has power 100% of the time, key on or off. If it melts and shorts to something things will cook until the battery is dead.

Mark


pigottp wrote:
That's what I'm trying to figure out. From what I can tell the fuel system remains entirely intact and the flames were doused remarkably easily once the key was turned off and the fire extinguisher applied.

I'm not trying say anything all at. I'm wondering if there are others on samba who can share their experience with this tiico convernsion and hopefully pass on some advice on how to get back to happy and safe trails for my family.

McVanagon wrote:
McVanagon wrote:
That sucks! I'm glad you and your daughter are OK!

Was it a fuel fire, or an electrical fire?
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the link to the Tiico group on Yahoo. Many years of posts and other info for members.

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/tiico/

Mark


pigottp wrote:
thanks for your insightful post Mark. The guy who installed the engine has been working on VW's most of his adult life starting in the German military. The installation is good. But it turns out another mechanic tried to fix the battery problem and he is to blame for this mess.
I wanted to get this Syncro to a Tiico installation specialist, but my waterboxer went and I live in a very remote location. So I had it done locally. When I get it fixed again I will take it straight to a specialist to check over the job. Until then I need help ordering replacement parts. Where is the this TIICO email support group? thanks again

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foodeater
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should contact these guys about parts.

http://www.foreignautosupply.com/

They have taken over the importation of the Tiico kits. the prices are slightly higher than they were when Peter was running things, but on the plus side you actually get the parts that you pay for. Also they've made improvements to some parts, like the exhaust headers.
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pigottp wrote:
well the good news is that my VW mechanic agrees this is an electrical fire that "may" be the result of improper installation. They're offering to redo a very messy and long rewiring job for free if I supply the parts. Sounds like a fair deal to me. Now to find the parts.....

!

Wait...what? Why does your mechanic think that this fire "may" be his fault? If he admits this is "his" fault. you shouldnt have to pay for squat..
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