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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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caught on fire

ok so heres what happened. we left wrk with heater going but then noticed it startd to blow cold air. look at gauge it was overheating. puld over popped the hood cap on rad. was loose had antifree comn out of it but was not hot. even cold to touch! so we r 1hr deep bacwoods wv need to get home so we went for well 30min into journey heater started to get really warm. keep n mind the gauge is still maxd out. few more mi got cold again. then the beast starte to run rough we wer 2mi frm home. whn she started to smoke and knock b4 it finally gave out and lost power. later there was a fire under car looked to be leaking oil. put fire out and everybody was safe! now can anybody tell me how we drove 50mi with gauge that says it was overheating but car was not smoking. or any explaintion as to what caused all this. thnx
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 12:41 AM
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there may be too much damage now to get a good chain of events figured out, but a collapsed hose or stuck/incorrect thermostat, or gas bubble probably prevented normal coolant circulation - not sure why you saw coolant out the rad cap and not the overflow bottle, but continued operation probably led to overheated and thinned out oil, maybe additional blow-by into the crankcase, external oil leak out blown headgaskets from warpage or PCV system or ??? is compromised, oil gets on overheated exhaust - fire.

sounds like no one was injured so that's good.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 02:03 AM
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this is easy:

1. headgasket failed
2. exhaust gases from #1 pushed into coolant and prevented coolant from circulating
3. engine overheats and you get no heat inside cabin due to #2
4. sustained driving while #3 was happening caused engine failure and fire

an exploding/burning process designed with a cooling system leads to temperatures high enough to combust with that cooling system removed.

what caught fire first and where would be interesting to know.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 09:42 AM
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13 year old car could easily have enough greasy grime on it's exhaust shields and elsewhere to catch fire if temps are high enough.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grossgary View Post
this is easy:

1. headgasket failed
2. exhaust gases from #1 pushed into coolant and prevented coolant from circulating
3. engine overheats and you get no heat inside cabin due to #2
4. sustained driving while #3 was happening caused engine failure and fire

an exploding/burning process designed with a cooling system leads to temperatures high enough to combust with that cooling system removed.

what caught fire first and where would be interesting to know.
Sounds correct, and I would bet that the loss of power was associated with connecting rod poking a hole in the block, and hot oil on a hot exhaust fire.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 12:10 PM
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Coolant can be flammable, if it is concentrated enough, and hot enough.

I can think of several things I would probably done differently than what you did.........But, what the he!!, nobody was hurt.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 01:33 PM
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One of the few things that I have been disappointed about on my 13 is that it doesn't have a temp gauge, just an idiot light.
This guy just sat there and watched his gauge pegged for 50 miles so I guess it is clear why Subaru has gone the route of just installing idiot lights.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 99outbac View Post
ok so heres what happened. we left wrk with heater going but then noticed it startd to blow cold air. look at gauge it was overheating. puld over popped the hood cap on rad. was loose had antifree comn out of it but was not hot. even cold to touch! so we r 1hr deep bacwoods wv need to get home so we went for well 30min into journey heater started to get really warm. keep n mind the gauge is still maxd out. few more mi got cold again. then the beast starte to run rough we wer 2mi frm home. whn she started to smoke and knock b4 it finally gave out and lost power. later there was a fire under car looked to be leaking oil. put fire out and everybody was safe! now can anybody tell me how we drove 50mi with gauge that says it was overheating but car was not smoking. or any explaintion as to what caused all this. thnx
Coolant which is not flowing due to air pocket in the water pump etc or some other issue can cause hose to be cool due to no coolant flowing through it - and can result in overheating given the engine is actually overheating.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 01:43 PM
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One of the few things that I have been disappointed about on my 13 is that it doesn't have a temp gauge, just an idiot light.
This guy just sat there and watched his gauge pegged for 50 miles so I guess it is clear why Subaru has gone the route of just installing idiot lights.
I feel the same way about my 2010 given my 2001 I used that temp gauge a whole bunch to keep the car happy!

The thing is though that gauge was stepped and not really that different than the hey Idiot light which has different indication of your heat status. Cold ie the blue light - too hot slow down turn heater on cool things off - and Pull over NOW status. Which for the most part is the same thing that old gauge was.

I like the actual digital read out our 2001 VW has given you have a much better idea just how hot things are.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 02:15 PM
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Your big mistake was not following my father's advice on what to do if you car catches fire.

1) Get out of the car.
2) fan the flames! You don't want the insurance company to try to fix it or if you don't have insurance, you don't want to be tempted to try to fix it.

Good advice, I think.
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