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Old 08-12-2010, 10:54 PM   #1
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Default Car fire

This is a PSA for all 3800 owners. Today on the way to work I saw a 96 bonneville burning bright on the parkway. When I saw the smoke from a distance I was hoping it wouldn't be a 3800.

To everyone that owns a 3800 you need to clean your spark plug heat shields. How engine fires are started in our cars is years of gunk and grime getting caked up in the heat shields. As we know the spark plugs need these shield because they are set right between the header primaries. When the heat gots hot enough this can ignite the oil based grime in the shields an start an engine fire.

So the best way is to check these shields and spray them clean with some break clean. Please don't want anyone getting hurt.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:59 PM   #2
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The best thing that can be done is clean the engine bay. Engine bay fires is something we have talk about in the past. It comes down to keeping it clean. You clean the outside.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:07 PM   #3
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I also keep a fire extinguisher in both of my rides. They're cheap enough.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:48 PM   #4
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Both great ideas. When I say it was an engine fire I don't mean a little flicker under the hood. This was a full involvement of the car. When I drove by the scene the cabin was also roaring. This must have happened fast because the car was stopped in the middle of a 3 lane highway.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:30 AM   #5
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A lot of this has to do with leaky valve cover gaskets. They're cheap, easy to replace, and leak often. There'* a recall out for them IIRC, but supposedly only for select L67 models.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:48 AM   #6
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Bonnevilles of that era don't have exhaust heat shielding on the manifold. Which is what "supposedly" causes the fires.

Enough looking has shown me that W bodies with the shield could go up in flames from a lack of maintenance on the valve cover gasket etc. On a Bonneville though, 96-98 IIRC had a FPR recall that can and will blow a plastic UIM to bits and leave the car in a ball of flames. As well the nylon fuel lines, the o-rings like to leak as they age and the lines themselves can spring pinhole leaks.

Everyone like how I justified braided fuel lines and normal maintenance? Hang in and I'll justify cams etc.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:46 PM   #7
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I had a scare over the July 4th holiday. The water pump went out on the highway and by the time I got off the exit ramp the engine was smoking hot. I did have a fire extinguisher just in case, had cleaned the engine bay before the trip, fresh oil, replaced UIM, supercharger gasket, valve cover gaskets and such last summer. All of the above probably saved the car and there was no damage beyond the water pump and belt. As stated before, regular maintenance and cleanliness are well worth the effort.
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:58 AM   #8
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I keep a fire extinguisher bolted down to my left next to the door. But for me it'* a nitrous backfire worry. It is funny that GM blames something the Bonne doesn't have and we still have seen our share of melted engine bays here. If these were Toyota'* it would be News.
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:41 PM   #9
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A few years ago, someone on this forum posted a picture of an exploded UIM. Not pretty, to say the least.
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