Disaster. No joke.

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Gyrhead
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Disaster. No joke.

#1

Post by Gyrhead » 02 Sep 2017, 20:30

Experienced a terrifying and potentially devastating situation today.

After a long and careful Holley EFI installation on our '71 XR-7, today was the first startup. Car immediately started on the first turn of the key, and I set the base timing underhood. Returning to the driver's side to shut off the engine, and noticed a MASSIVE and rapidly growing puddle of fuel under the car.

No sooner had I shut off the ignition when the fuel ignited into a gigantic fire inside my garage!

My shop extinguishers proved useless, and we dialed 911 - assuming the car, house and 2016 GT-350 were goners.

Then, my son appeared with the garden hose and I managed to extinguish the flames before the fire trucks even arrived. Not sure how I managed to accomplish this - the entire nose and underneath of the car was engulfed in 4' high flames.

Net of the story is that the family, house and cats are fine. The Shelby is untouched - but our lovely Cougar is burned pretty badly.

Most of the damage is confined to the engine bay near the brake booster, and all the wiring and hoses in that vicinity are toast. The entire EFI harness burned, the left front tire burned. The fender and door paint is burned off, and the hood paint is toast. The interior was spared - as was underdash.

The cause of the fire was simple - and entirely my fault. I failed to notice that the factory 3/8" fuel supply metal hose had a 6" section of standard fuel hose spliced between the factory hard lines. Under the 58 psi fuel pressure - it burst while I was busy setting timing. Had I noticed it, I would have replaced this hose with the correct 225 psi vapor guard line and proper clamps. So stupid of me to miss this. So uncharacteristic of me to miss something so important.

I'm a total nervous wreck, I nearly lost everything that matters today - and very sad that the car was damaged. It is fully insured with Hagerty and will get repaired, but it's gonna need a lot of parts and effort to restore. Don Rush, counting on WCCC to have some of the stuff I'll no doubt need

Learn from my nearly catastrophic mistake. Triple check everything having to do with fuel. Take NOTHING for granted. Get lots of fire extinguishers, and take NO CHANCES.

Thanks for listening.
1971 Cougar XR-7 Convertible 351C 4V, 4 speed (medium well done 😥)
1970 Torino Cobra 429CJ Ram-Air 4 Speed
2016 Mustang GT350 Chassis #2710
1988 Mustang 5.0 LX Coupe
2002 Porsche 911 3.6 Carrera
2017 Honda Civic Si
2017 VW Jetta GLI
2013 VW GTI (Unitronic Stage 1+ tune 260 HP / 295 ft/lbs - second fastest car in the fleet)

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Yorgle
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#2

Post by Yorgle » 02 Sep 2017, 21:03

Sad for your cat, but thank God you stopped it before things got really bad!
1968 XR-7 Augusta Green, J-Code, 5 litre, Autolite 6100, 5 spd, convertible with heated seats, cruise control and rear sway bar.

BTW, I think electronic ignition is pointless.

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G Dub
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#3

Post by G Dub » 02 Sep 2017, 22:12

Glad you got it out!
I can relate. I had a similar experience a few years ago. I also got lucky because the garden hose was nearby, or there was no saving it.

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1967 S Code
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#4

Post by 1967 S Code » 03 Sep 2017, 07:28

I'm sure it was a very tense time for you and your family. Putting out a car fire with a garden hose is quite a task. Working in the Fire Service I have seen many cars lost due to failing to call 911 early on. As a rule of thumb Fire doubles in size every every 30 seconds and your fuel load put it out of the incipient growth stage quickly. I'm sorry to hear about your damages and loss but as I've said to many Fire victims thank God that you and your family are safe. Possessions can be repaired or replaced.
Steven
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Our Cougars

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1967 Standard
Dan Gurney Special

6.5 Litre, Black / Black, AC Whisperaire, Am/FM, Sports Console,
Front and Rear Bumper Guards, Clock

1968 XR7-G
302 4V, Lime Frost / Black Leather, AM/FM, Black Vinyl, Tilt-A-Way
Heavy Duty Suspension, Power Disc Brakes, Rader Wheels


1968 XR7-G Hertz
390 4V, Black Cherry/ Dark Red Leather, Black Vinyl, Sunroof, Tilt-A-Way,
Cruise, Rear Defrost, AC Whisperaire


1968 Convertible Conversion "Top Cat"
Standard, 302 4V, XR7G Console, XR7G Front Valance, XR7S Taillight Bars

Gyrhead
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#5

Post by Gyrhead » 03 Sep 2017, 08:05

1967 S Code wrote:
03 Sep 2017, 07:28
I'm sure it was a very tense time for you and your family. Putting out a car fire with a garden hose is quite a task. Working in the Fire Service I have seen many cars lost due to failing to call 911 early on. As a rule of thumb Fire doubles in size every every 30 seconds and your fuel load put it out of the incipient growth stage quickly. I'm sorry to hear about your damages and loss but as I've said to many Fire victims thank God that you and your family are safe. Possessions can be repaired or replaced.
Steven
Thank you Steven. Thankfully my wife called 911 immediately, but we live in a rural community with a volunteer Fire Department. The pumper truck took at least 15 minutes to arrive. I knew that We'd lose the house unless I tried to knock back or at least slow the progression of flames. Switching off the ignition also helped - at least it stopped adding to the volume of fuel.

Didn't sleep a wink last night, just kept seeing the event over & over in my mind.
1971 Cougar XR-7 Convertible 351C 4V, 4 speed (medium well done 😥)
1970 Torino Cobra 429CJ Ram-Air 4 Speed
2016 Mustang GT350 Chassis #2710
1988 Mustang 5.0 LX Coupe
2002 Porsche 911 3.6 Carrera
2017 Honda Civic Si
2017 VW Jetta GLI
2013 VW GTI (Unitronic Stage 1+ tune 260 HP / 295 ft/lbs - second fastest car in the fleet)

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xr7g428
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#6

Post by xr7g428 » 03 Sep 2017, 08:09

First off, I am very happy that you and your family are all okay. Everything else can be fixed replaced or forgotten. Don't be so hard on yourself. They call then mistakes not on-purposes.
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

Gyrhead
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#7

Post by Gyrhead » 03 Sep 2017, 09:04

Thank you for the support Bill. But, I am very cross at myself for missing something so terribly important. And tormented by the thoughts of how badly this all could have turned out. The fate of the Cougar is the very least of my emotions right now
1971 Cougar XR-7 Convertible 351C 4V, 4 speed (medium well done 😥)
1970 Torino Cobra 429CJ Ram-Air 4 Speed
2016 Mustang GT350 Chassis #2710
1988 Mustang 5.0 LX Coupe
2002 Porsche 911 3.6 Carrera
2017 Honda Civic Si
2017 VW Jetta GLI
2013 VW GTI (Unitronic Stage 1+ tune 260 HP / 295 ft/lbs - second fastest car in the fleet)

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R Code
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#8

Post by R Code » 03 Sep 2017, 09:41

Gyrhead wrote:
02 Sep 2017, 20:30
...Then, my son appeared with the garden hose...
Glad to hear you're all safe, and that your son was there to help you react to the emergency.

Let me know if you guys need anything. I could drop off my trailer if you need temporary storage options, etc.
- Chris

1967 Std 4 speed conversion
1969 XR-7 "R Code" Convertible

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xr7g428
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#9

Post by xr7g428 » 03 Sep 2017, 09:41

You need one of those signs that says "What happens in the garage stays in the garage" Maybe a bit too soon for humor, sorry if so. I know this scared you to death and rightfully so, but for some reason I am feeling nothing but relief that it turned out okay.

It does make me think that the way to do these EFI conversions is not fully developed. I could envision an original fuel line, that had rusted from the inside out, popping pretty easily. I know there are a few systems that use an under hood sump, but that also seems potentially problematic. Since the absolute amount of fuel required actually goes slightly down with EFI, it seems possible to step up the pressure internally in the throttle body assembly. It would not be that hard to create a sump with in the assembly just by enlarging the size a bit.
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

DieselD
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Re: Disaster. No joke.

#10

Post by DieselD » 03 Sep 2017, 10:47

I had a similar experience in the garage but it involved welding. There was a bucket of waste oil/gasoline combo stashed under the workbench that I was welding I. Top off. Of course you can imagine my suprise when it practically blew up sending flaming oil all over myself and the garage! Luckily I was able to get it out with fire extinguishers which of course made an even bigger mess but that was nothing compared to what it could have been.

I think sometimes we become very relaxed when it comes to dealing flammable liquids and vehicles. I know I am guilty of it myself too. All it takes is one spark and you have a fire. I have to remind myself to be careful when working around gasoline again as typically I'm accustomed to diesel fuel which is a lot harder to spark.
1968 Standard, 302 2v, 3 speed.

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