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Doing the math of Fiero fires vs other new cars.... Maybe...? by pavo_roddy
Started on: 10-31-2014 04:33 PM
Replies: 14 (501 views)
Last post by: virtuetovice on 11-03-2014 11:47 PM
pavo_roddy
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Report this Post10-31-2014 04:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pavo_roddySend a Private Message to pavo_roddyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
HI all

I was just thinking... If you were to take a look at say just domestic US cars, where does the Fiero rank, in line with other new vehicle fires at the start of each production run?? Anyone any idea where to begin to look?

I am but wondering the rank in terms of when any car first came into production vs the Fiero, for the number of reported fires anywhoo...

Anyone... Bueller, Bueller...?

Thanx,

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Report this Post10-31-2014 04:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Note that there weren't that many actual fire cases with the 84 Fiero. The recall of course was massive, and was for potential fire hazard. That's what created the bad rep.

Other manufacturers have had their fair share of potential fire hazard recalls over the years.

Also, is it a fire problem if the ECM sticks the throttle open and drives you over a cliff, and the car catches fire on impact? All in all, fire hazard is a pretty low metric for "dangerous vehicle" when we're all driving around on 10-30 gallons of combustible fuel.
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Kitskaboodle
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Report this Post11-01-2014 07:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KitskaboodleClick Here to Email KitskaboodleSend a Private Message to KitskaboodleEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I know that there was significant amount of Ford Rangers that caught on fire sitting in people's driveways due to overheating wires in the steering column. Check it out....
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pavo_roddy
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Report this Post11-01-2014 08:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pavo_roddySend a Private Message to pavo_roddyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
HI all

I wonder if the engine placement also plays a difference...

Thanx,

Ear-ick
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dobey
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Report this Post11-01-2014 08:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
No, engine placement is pretty irrelevant to the engine fire issue. If it was a problem, every VW Bug ever made would have caught on fire by now.
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MulletproofMonk
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Report this Post11-01-2014 08:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MulletproofMonkClick Here to visit MulletproofMonk's HomePageSend a Private Message to MulletproofMonkEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have seen a lot of Series 2 3800n/a and 3800sc burned up in the junkyards. They had a problem with the valve covers leaking oil onto the manifolds... and there were WAY more cars with 3800 series 2 motors...

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Report this Post11-01-2014 09:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by MulletproofMonk:

I have seen a lot of Series 2 3800n/a and 3800sc burned up in the junkyards. They had a problem with the valve covers leaking oil onto the manifolds... and there were WAY more cars with 3800 series 2 motors...



And now everyone is putting them in Fieros. So i guess all those Fieros will burn up soon too.
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hyperv6
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Report this Post11-02-2014 08:42 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Engine placement can and will have an effect in some cars.

In the Fiero GM designed air to come in under the car and out the vents in back on the 85 and later. This is why they redesigned the 84 vent.

With the engine placement there is little air around the engine and if oil gets to a manifold in a larger than normal quantity it can ignite. Generally most front engine cars have air coming through a grill at speed and it helps keep the under hood temps lower.

There are no absolutes here just if the conditions are right oil can ignite. In a Fiero it is only so dramatic because you have a molded deck lid over the engine that also will burn and spread. If the body was metal it would pretty much be contained to the engine compartment.

Case in point, Most Fiero fires were with the 4 cylinder. Why? Well first there were more of them. Second some did have rod issues that would blow a hole in the block and could catch fire but seldom did. Three the Iron Duke no matter what it was in would start to leak oil from the valve cover by 20,000 miles. Once started it only gets worse with time and the oil will accumulate on the engine. A simple gasket added to replace the silicone on the V cover would solved the issue but many people just keep on driving and in some cases in the right conditions the heat can ignite the oil if it builds along the manifold.

If this were as simple as a rear main seal leak etc like a VW normally has there would be no issue. But with the oil that high up and with the heat condition that could happen it is possible something could happen. On the other hand the same engine in a S 10 or Citation rarely had an issue as often it took in more air in the grill and keeps the under hood temps down.

To ignite oil it takes a lot of heat and in a Fiero it is possible with enough heat and enough oil it could happen. It is not common for both to happen but it can and has happened. Then the media just over played it and just made a small issue into a greater one that GM failed to addressed. If they had just recalled the cars and repaired the cover leaks so they would not leak this would have never even come to light.
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Indyellowgt
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Report this Post11-03-2014 06:57 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IndyellowgtClick Here to Email IndyellowgtSend a Private Message to IndyellowgtEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Good points, all.

I do remember when I first started going to salvage yards(I seem to remember only calling them junk yards then)in '93 seeing many,many 84's that had burned badly. To the ground.. my Father worked at a dealer locally way back in '87. During a snow removal day as the guys were moving around the lot there was an 84 in the lineup.
They left the cars running to melt them down and the 84 caught fire.... the sales manager waited until it was fully involved before they called the FD to come put it out they took the insurance for it..

I had an INDY burn up on me once also.. was not fun....
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Report this Post11-03-2014 09:55 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Other GM cars with the 2.5 were recalled, along with the Fiero. My uncle had the 2.5L replaced in his Celebrity (I think that was the car), under a recall.
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Report this Post11-03-2014 01:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for TONY_CSend a Private Message to TONY_CEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
A major difference between the Fiero and all other FWD cars with transverse engines (like the duke, 2.8 and 3.8) is the location of the cat converter and how close it is to the engine in the Fiero.
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Report this Post11-03-2014 01:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by TONY_C:

A major difference between the Fiero and all other FWD cars with transverse engines (like the duke, 2.8 and 3.8) is the location of the cat converter and how close it is to the engine in the Fiero.


And yet my car hasn't burned down, despite the fuel filter springing a leak on my car at one point in the past. Also, some time after my new stainless fuel lines were installed, one of them managed to vibrate loose and started spraying fuel everywhere while I was driving it… without catching on fire. I'm very surprised my car hasn't burned up, but I think these arguments about converter location and such aren't necessarily true.

A moving Fiero will have the air flow under the car carry any oil or fuel leaking in the engine bay, to the rear of the car, away from the converter. In a front-engined car, the air flow will carry it across the converter, so if anything, the FWD cars have it worse in that respect. Throwing a rod through the front of the block is of course a different problem, if travelling at speed, as throwing a rod will result in a sudden loss of speed, and inertia will carry the oil forward through the big hole that was just ripped through the block, and onto the converter. A small leak at the valve cover on the other hand, would just slowly run down the block and drip away, never hitting the converter. Fire as a result of that would more likely be due to oil starvation causing overheating and possible ignition of any oil residue on the engine, or ignition of other materials. Until it throws a rod through the block from being starved of oil, and dumps whatever remaining oil there is, onto the converter, of course.
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hyperv6
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Report this Post11-03-2014 07:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by TONY_C:

A major difference between the Fiero and all other FWD cars with transverse engines (like the duke, 2.8 and 3.8) is the location of the cat converter and how close it is to the engine in the Fiero.


The ones I have seen it was not the converter that was the issue unless you parked over leaves. The real issue was oil leaking from the Valve Cover. The Duke is well know for Valve Cover leaks from the factory after so many miles. The oil would leak and accumulate on and around the exhaust manifold where if it was gathered in large enough amounts with enough heat could ignite.

Now keep in mind it takes a good amount of oil and heat to ignite but it can and does happen. The lack of air flow in parts of the manifold can get temps to that point. I have also seen it in some vans due to the lack of air flow and high temps with leaks.

It is not a common thing and not all that easy to make it happen but it does happen. In a Fiero as I pointed out the real problem is the body catches fire where in most cars the steel contains it. If the Fiero has a steel body we would not even be talking about this.

But the air flow is limited in the back. I know even in the PPG cars like Fred's the air cooling had to be addressed as the addition of the small turbo took the oil temps to over 300 degrees in the red car in slow street traffic. They added fans and even a vent from a Chrysler Lebaron Turbo to the rear deck to vent the air better. The electronics were moved to the trunk in the PPG cars to avoid the heat killing the MSD box etc.

Note too even in the stock car they had to add the cooling fan for the electronics in the early v6 cars to preserve the electronics.

Heat is an issue in most mid engine cars and often is addressed with scoops and intakes. The latest super cars have these and they are not just for show.

The Fiero was ok for the stock set up but could have been better. The side scoops were investigated at one point but rejected due to them filling with snow and other road debris.

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wayneman
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Report this Post11-03-2014 08:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for waynemanClick Here to Email waynemanSend a Private Message to waynemanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wasn't the Ford Pinto a fire bomb when rear-ended?
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virtuetovice
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Report this Post11-03-2014 11:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for virtuetoviceSend a Private Message to virtuetoviceEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Another thing to consider, it's not just the oil accumulating. Once oil accumulates, dust, dirt, and leaves ALL stick to it.
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