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Date:         Sun, 16 Dec 2012 19:43:18 -0500
Reply-To:     Dennis Haynes <d23haynes57@HOTMAIL.COM>
Sender:       Vanagon Mailing List <>
From:         Dennis Haynes <d23haynes57@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: Fire!
Comments: To: Dick Wong <sailingfc@DSLEXTREME.COM>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Definite bummer. The major point is that no one got hurt. Investigation will be needed to determine what failed first. It is possible something else failed and caused a clutch line failure. The volume of brake fluid is limited and you need both heat and spark to get it going. Let us know what you find and if there is any way we can help.


-----Original Message----- From: Vanagon Mailing List [] On Behalf Of Dick Wong Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2012 6:37 PM To: vanagon@GERRY.VANAGON.COM Subject: Fire!

I'm okay.

Early November I bought my first Vanagon. 1987 GL Syncro with a Audi/VW 2.5L I5 conversion.

Today I had an engine fire.

Coming to a stop on a freeway off ramp the clutch pedal goes to the floor without disengaging. Step on it again and same results. Van is lurching forward because the clutch won't release. Hitting the brake slowed it but I can feel the engine pushing forward. I shut off the ignition to bring it to a stop. I look in my mirrors and see smoke coming from the rear air intakes. I hop out in the middle of the road and run to the back hoping it might only be steam. No luck, it's stinky smoke and starting to turn black. I get my cell phone and dial 911. I stand there and watch flames starting to come from the bottom of the engine. More black smoke. I think to myself, I am going to watch my "new" Syncro burn to the ground. All of a sudden there is a loud hiss and the smoke turns to white steam and water is streaming from the engine. The coolant tank melted and sprayed coolant on to the fire and put it out. Shortly after an highway patrol pull up. A few minutes later the fire truck arrives.

Not a nice day.

My theory is: Clutch hose or the slave had a catastrophic failure and when I stepped on the clutch, the brake fluid sprayed out on to the exhaust piping (exhaust runs forward on the driver side). The fluid flashed and started burning.

It's sitting in my driveway now. I'll start looking at the damages another day. I'm too depressed to do anything now. Fireman said that it might be a total loss.

-Dick Wong- 78 Scirocco Original Owner 87 Syncro 2.5 Third Owner 12 Golf TDI Original Co-Owner

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