xr4ti fires?

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amphibious6
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xr4ti fires?

Post by amphibious6 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:24 pm

i just bought an 87 xr4ti with 150000 miles for $400, perfect inside and out with leather interior. it had an engine fire and needs a new engine loom. is this a common problem with merkurs? ive heard the problem stems from the fuel pump wiring, is this true and how do i fix the wiring problem so this never happens again. thanks

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Post by MC6521 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:15 pm

The usual suspect is the alternater harness, the hot end touches the hood when the hood is closed and shorts out....Try to rotate the hot end down and redo the insulation.

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Post by Merkenstein » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:18 pm

I know I bought caught my car on fire when I had my 88TC battery, cause it was to high and grounded out on the hood :D . I havent seen anything about the fuel pump wiring though.
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Post by MerkXRTurbo » Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:43 am

I have personally seen 3 XRs that have had engine fires. They all were due to someone using a rubber oil feed line for the turbo. When it bursts, it spills oil on the hot turbo and then it's all history from there.
3" mandrel bent exhaust, Ported/Polished head, 1.89/1.57 valves, Gutted uppper/Knife edge lower intake, T3/T4, LA3, Big VAM, Cold air intake, 40bob header, Gillis valve, Forge BOV, Mustang SVO T5, Conquest intercooler, 20psi.

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Mike McCreight
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Post by Mike McCreight » Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:36 am

Wonder what happened to my post from last night??? It was late....
Most XR fires I've seen are from oil spraying on the turbo (get rid of the hard line that feeds the turbo, best $25 I ever spent) or from leaky injectors. Injectors usually let you know there's problems LONG before there's a fire risk. If you smell gas, there's a problem... I've seen more than a few XRs with a puddle of gas on the upper intake...
I carry a 10 pound extinguisher in the drivers side rear seat footwell. If you have to go to the hatch to get it, it's probably going to be too late. :(
It's not a hobby, it's an obsession!

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anglin
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Post by anglin » Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:40 am

amphibious6 wrote:ive heard the [engine fire] problem stems from the fuel pump wiring, is this true and how do i fix the wiring problem so this never happens again.
There's no wiring for the fuel pump in the engine compartment. There is fuel injector wiring. However, those aren't likely to be the problem. From what I've gathered over the last 10 years on the various Merkur lists, the biggest sources of engine fires on the XR4Ti are:

- fuel leaks, either at an injector (most likely) or at a fuel line connection (not quite as likely)
- oil leaks from; oil feed line at the turbo or head, a seriously leaky valve cover gasket, or other oil leak
MC6521 wrote:The usual suspect is the alternater harness, the hot end touches the hood when the hood is closed and shorts out....Try to rotate the hot end down and redo the insulation.
It may be the usual suspect for some other model of car, but I've never heard of an XR4Ti engine fire stemming from an alternator cable (you called it a harness, but we only have the main cable and a trigger wire). However, there is no doubt that some schmo could cause a fire like this. Any fires stemming from this sort of thing could be considered entirely operator error. The hot end of the alternator wire connects to the alternator about 8 inches from the hood surface.
merkenstein wrote:I know I bought caught my car on fire when I had my 88TC battery, cause it was to high and grounded out on the hood :D . I havent seen anything about the fuel pump wiring though.
That is one tall fricking battery. It would have to be like 3 inches taller to be able to get near the hood if it were bolted down. I'm going to suspect there was some combination of:

- the battery not being bolted down
- the battery not fitting in the battery tray
- the heat sheild being removed from the battery area

Again, I'm going to chalk this one up to operator error.
MerkXRTurbo wrote:I have personally seen 3 XRs that have had engine fires. They all were due to someone using a rubber oil feed line for the turbo.
That's more like it. The XRs tend to catch fire when flammable fluids are exposed to the turbo.

I remember somebody's XR caught fire when he was prepping it to leave for Carlisle (1998? 1999?) when the A/C hose split right above the turbo. This vented the freon, with its oil, right onto the hot turbo. The oil caught fire. Yipe. I think this happened at Paul West's house, IIRC.

Now, all this being said, there are plenty of ways I can think of starting engine fires using the alternator and battery. However, they all involve grounding a wrench across their terminals while pouring gasoline on the wrench. Any careless mechanic or pseudo-mechanic can create the correct environment for a fire. However, this has nothing to do with the XR4Ti, other than the fact that it is the innocent victim of a careless or thoughtless owner/mechanic.

Let's focus on the ways the XR4Ti degrades (injectors that start leaking, etc.), or faults in the design of the XR4Ti that cause fires (poor original valve cover gasket - get the 1993 Ford Ranger gasket and never look back).

The injectors leak at the o-rings or between the sections of the body of the injectors. If they leak at the o-rings, you can replace them. If they leak between the body sections you'll be buying new ones. If someone assembled the fuel lines in the engine compartment carelessly, an o-ring may have been damaged causing a slow, dripping leak. Not the fault of the car. In both cases, you'll smell gasoline while you are in the driver's seat. I've had both problems.

The oil feed line to the turbo can start leaking at the 90° fitting that goes into the turbo. I've had this problem as well, but it didn't even smoke, so it may not catch fire with a leak that is slow enought. Of course, replacing a steel oil line with a piece of hose is really operator error too.

I had a "fire" in my XR when topping up the oil on the way back from Carlisle. The car had been off the highway for maybe 5 minutes when I spilled a little oil down the valve cover onto the hot exhaust manifold. The oil caught fire, but there wasn't much to burn and it was over with in about 3 seconds. I closed the hood and got back on the highway.

Based on the experiences of one Merkur owner on the way to Carlisle (or the day before, can't remember now), if you crash your XR into the back of a semi tractor trailer, the high bumper may crunch the hood back to the point where it breaks the fuel rail, resulting in a fire. The XR was probably 'toast' before the fire actually started if you ran into the back of a semi, though.

Let's review fires mentioned in this post and their root causes:

- A/C oil onto turbo, a part failure
- fuel injectors, leak over time, a part failure
- fuel line leak, operator error
- rubber oil line to turbo, operator error
- oil fire while putting oil in a hot engine, operator error
- battery grounding on hood, operator error
- alternator grounding on hood, operator error
- car accident, operator error, even if it is the other operator's fault

With the exception of the leaky fuel injectors and exploding A/C line, all fires mentioned in this post were operator error. If you want to be sure you never have a (nother) fire in your engine compartment, then you should do a few things:

- Make sure you aren't allowing flammable fluids to leak.
- Make sure you don't have bare wires exposed anywhere.
- Make sure you don't ground the alternator or battery on the hood of the car.
- Make sure you aren't allowing/creating unsafe situations.

The XR4Ti is not fire prone. It's not just going to burst into flames while you are driving down the road. Poor maintenance and mechanicking practices can cause fires.

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Post by Chuck W » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:06 am

anglin wrote: The XR4Ti is not fire prone. It's not just going to burst into flames while you are driving down the road.
VROOOOMMMMM......WWHHHOOOOOSHHHH.......*POOF*.....*yelling screaming and general panic*

:lol:
Sorry, that visual just popped into my head when I read that.


That's a very good post Chris, it's amazing the things some folks do as "repairs" and then wonder why they're scrambling to try and put out this blaze that's all of a sudden started under their hood.

The alternator thing is more a trait of old 2G alternators with the plug connection.

I never generally worry about fires, but then again I tend to not drive the cars around with leaky injectors or top end oil leaks...
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Post by xrian » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:07 am

Ecellent Chris! Couldn't have said it better myself.
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Post by Grayson » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:53 am

Fire extinquishers are a good way to put out fires, but I keep a Snicker's bar in the glovebox to throw onto the fire in the event one should pop up. If the Snicker's bar doesn't put out the fire, I usually just run from the fire with my arms flailing and scream.

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Post by anglin » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:47 am

Grayson wrote:Fire extinquishers are a good way to put out fires, but I keep a Snicker's bar in the glovebox to throw onto the fire in the event one should pop up.
The Snickers advertizing slogan is currently "Hungry? Grab a Snickers." Some how I don't think they meant "On fire? Grab a Snickers."

http://www.snickers.com/

What about their old slogan? "Snickers satisfies you." Try:

http://snickerssatisfies.com/

You'll find a game where you 'pilot' a seagull around in an attempt to deposit birdpoop on people in a park below. Maybe the big boss at the end of level 1 is an XR4Ti with an engine fire and you have to birdpoop on the fire until it goes out, avoiding flying oversized batteries and flailing alternator wires. I wonder if there are peanuts in the birdpoop.
If the Snicker's bar doesn't put out the fire, I usually just run from the fire with my arms flailing and scream.
I would love to say that the Snickers bar thing is an inside joke between Grayson and myself, but I really have no idea what he is talking about. I am also amazed at how quickly this topic digressed.

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Post by Grayson » Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:55 pm

There is a commercial where a guy is walking through a building and happens upon a burning couch. He quickly runs into the hall, breaks the glass to access a fire extinguisher, and lo and behold there is a Snickers bar in its place. He grabs the Snickers, and lobs it into the fire. Upon realizing that it didn't do jack, he runs away from the room in utter panic. The commercial then states "Snickers - it only satisfies if you eat it". It's a rather amusing commercial, particularly at the end when a firefighter is shown reeeaaaly enjoying a Snickers bar while the building burns down behind him.

Blame me for the digression. I guess I should go as AlexD for Halloween.

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Post by MerkXRTurbo » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:24 pm

Grayson wrote:I guess I should go as AlexD for Halloween.

We should have a competition for who can make the best Alex.

In the pics I've seen of him he looks alot like Steve Urkel. :lol:
3" mandrel bent exhaust, Ported/Polished head, 1.89/1.57 valves, Gutted uppper/Knife edge lower intake, T3/T4, LA3, Big VAM, Cold air intake, 40bob header, Gillis valve, Forge BOV, Mustang SVO T5, Conquest intercooler, 20psi.

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Post by anglin » Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:28 pm

Grayson wrote:Blame me for the digression. I guess I should go as AlexD for Halloween.
haha :lol: :lol: :lol: :shock: :wink: :o :D

(Speaking of AlexD, he hasn't posted in 10 days. Did the moderators disappear him?)

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Post by Cosworth » Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:31 pm

I just installed a Fire extinguisher under my parcel shelf. i aint taking any chances

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Post by wilky » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:42 pm

I had a fire in my XR (in Ronin's driveway) due to the new 3" cat being too close to the tunnel and an accumulation of oily grunge. Excellent example of lack of thought, maintenance and care causing a fire huh :oops: .

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