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Thread: DeLorean Car Fires ...Numbers, Causes and Fixes

  1. #51
    Young Padawan With The DeLorean kings1527's Avatar
    Join Date:  Jun 2012

    Location:  Oak Park, CA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    Thanks for the info Alex. I reread the comments I received and I think the thoughts got misunderstood. It wasn't so much a suggestion of not being able to lift the lower engine cover as it was one for not wanting to lift the lower engine cover. This was related to not giving a fire unlimited access to new oxygen. That's where the "pry the corner of the cover" thought came from. You're right about catching it early enough and you should be good. The part that worries me is not knowing exactly what you're about to have happen the minute you open the lid. Could be nothing or it could be a lot worse than nothing. I think the uncertainty of it all and each one of these occurences being unique from the one before it might limit how many hard fast rules of thumb we can come up with and apply to all.

    EDIT: You know, on second thought, I take some of that back. I watched the above videos where for the interior fires it looks like you have 1 minute or less before it is well past the point where your portable fire extinguisher is going to help. I don't agree with this idea that you should have time to deal with it. I think if you were to start adding up the seconds of when it first starts, and then you notice it, and then you slow down and get safely off to the side of the highway, and then throw it in park, get your seatbelt off, maybe help your passenger get theirs off, get your door open as well as your passengers, get out with possibly your phone or wallet in hand if they weren't in your pocket, grab the fire extinguisher from wherever it is you mounted it, then get around back to lift the louvres and/or engine cover if you so choose, and then spray your couple of pounds of extinguishing material on the fire... you'll have much less time than you think. Not to mention this whole time you haven't panicked and taken something like your seatbelt or door handle release 1 second job and made it 10 seconds. None of us behave well under this sort of pressure or circumstances. If you're saying we have 60 seconds from start to finish, my vote would be you get out and away from the car and that's it.
    I see. I completely agree with the notion of lifting the engine compartment and introducing more oxygen, feeding the fire. That definitely does happen and can be dangerous if you're not ready for it. I know what you're saying about having less time than you think, particularly with the second video. But on the second video, I'd bet a set of brand new Toby Tabs that they had extra materials in the back seat to get it to go that quickly. The more I watch it, the more I believe that. Even cars of yesterday didn't have interiors made of woven gun powder, which is kind of what that second video looks like. The first video is more realistic of the time it takes for it to get going.

    A friend of mine is a fire investigator and about 10 years ago he went to a class much like in the videos. He said they were working with cars of around 1990 vintage and told me that it was near impossible to get the car to catch simply by throwing flares in the back seat.

    The decision to intervene is definitely an individual one and you're absolutely right, time can add up quickly. It the beginning, the biggest deterrent will be smoke and I think some would be surprised how quickly decisions can change solely based on that.

    Alex Abdalla

    Late 1981, Grey 5-speed, 72k miles. Built 11/11/81

    A stock-look with modern, reliable technology.

    A full restoration with step-by-step "what I did" is in progress at

  2. #52
    Senior Member OverlandMan's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rowlett, TX

    Posts:    1,526

    My VIN:    5482

    My car (engine) caught fire today. It appears to be fuel system related but I haven't torn into it completely yet to verify. I was very fortunate and it last maybe 30 seconds. There was no noticeable damage other than a couple of spark plug wires. The location was at cylinder 4. It was very close to the idle/low speed regulator. I'm hoping this isn't damaged cause it appears to be an expensive replacement part.

    I posted a thread about it here:

    I'm already putting together a list of replacement parts so I can replace all the fuel injection lines, seals, washers, etc.
    Jeff in Rowlett, TX

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