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Old 09-15-2009, 05:40 AM   #1
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My 97 boxster caught fire

After changing the oil, I added 8 qts of Syntec 10W 40. When I pulled the dip stick out to wipe it off and reinsert it I heard a snap like a spark noise. When I pulled the dip stick out it had a loop of the wire about 6 inches from the engine end and was red hot! The wire looked like a paper clip loop. Then smoke started and grew. I quickly disconnected the battery. By this time the smoke was really coming out so I pushed the car out of the garage and called 911.
When the local fire dept come we moved the top up to get access to the engine top. And they sprayed some water in before the hatch top was removed. This stopped the smoke. After they left I surveyed the damage. The most obvious things were the air manifold closest to the front of the car on the passenger side had melted, the shift cables and throttle body tubes where toasted and the throttle wire was cooked. There is probably more damage.
I noticed that the tube going from the rear of the car to the engine which the dip stick goes through was broken where it enters the engine. I'll show pictures when I take them. So I'm guessing that when I put the dip stick in to get a reading it came out of the guide tube and shorted on something.
Any ideas what I should do next are welcomed. I already got drunk yesterday.

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Old 09-15-2009, 05:48 AM   #2
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This all happened with the engine and ignition switch off?????

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Old 09-15-2009, 06:12 AM   #3
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Yes engine was off, no key

The engine was off and there was no key in the ignition.
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:34 AM   #4
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So you're thinking the dipstick touched the live wire on the starter and something else, shorted out and started the fire? the hot wire on the starter is probably the only one large enough to carry the amperage to to do this.
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:51 AM   #5
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A few years ago Honda settled a class action suit related to some of its Element vehicles catching on fire during/after oil changes.

The way the filters were installed led to excess dripping on exhaust that ignited. Not in any way implying that this is what happened here, but it did surprise me at the time the
oil could ignite that "easily."
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:56 AM   #6
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Garage
Insurance?

Have you reconnected the battery to see what does and does not work? I agree the starter wire would be the only one that could do it?? If you do a search, I believe on this forum there was another boxster that caught fire awhile back..

hummm....??? interesting thread..

good luck!
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:04 AM   #7
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Hi, Sorry for your bad luck, what to do next is call your insurance.

Good Luck
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:17 AM   #8
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care to post any photos?
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:19 AM   #9
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Sorry about your luck. Could you post some pics?
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:24 AM   #10
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Damn, another form of failure!! We'll refer to this one as "SVC" or spontaneous vehicle combustion"

Thats wild!! Post some pics, I'll help you figure this out!
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:39 PM   #11
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I madee a claim

I called the insurance company today and made a claim. I am covered under my Comprehensive. I already have a rental car courtesy of GEICO. The adjuster is to get in contact with me by tomorrow.

What I am not clear about is whether the claim depends on me doing something to the car or did the problem occur because of a failure independent of an action by me.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow.
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:13 PM   #12
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Porsche modified the air intake on the early 986s after a few cars ingested lit cigarette butts and caught on fire.
Maybe that was your case?
Sorry to hear. Hope your insurance takes care of you properly.
Happy Boxstering,
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:52 PM   #13
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OUCH!

That's Nasty!

At least no one was hurt and the car was saved before it was totally cinders. And, your house/garage was spared - quick thinking you!

Well, now you get to see how good your ins. co. really is (and I hope it is as I'm with them for several cars too).

Sounds like Raby's gonna have a place in your future... some good comes out of everything!

Best of luck!

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Old 09-16-2009, 07:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefCarnivore
What I am not clear about is whether the claim depends on me doing something to the car or did the problem occur because of a failure independent of an action by me.

Who knows what started the fire. The key here is that you were not NEGLIGENT in anything you were doing. All you did is pull out the dipstick! Any dipstick can do that right. It's not like you did it wrong or something!!! As long as you were not negligent and doing something stupid, you should be fine.

Let the insurance take care of it. Have their shop fix it like new and INSIST that it is indeed fixed right.

Kirk
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:38 PM   #15
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Hear are Ins offers

The adjuster gave me two options as follows:

GEICO keeps car and I get $11,4444.

I keep car and GEICO gives me $8,650.

Both of these were in the total loss catigargy.


The $11,444 is more than I paid for the car.

What do you think is best? I am inclined to take the money and find a new car. I am considering a Mazda 3 S in either sedan or hatchback. My wife hated the Boxster so it's not an option anymore.

I did rent a Mazda3 when the clutch was replaced and it seemed like a good handeling car. I test drove a 2.3 L one today and it was great.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:33 PM   #16
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If you don't want the Boxster any more, take the 11K and run. If you keep the Boxster and do the repairs, you'll be stuck with a car your wife hates. Even if you get the car running with money to spare from the 8K, your resale value is shot. If you can really get out with more $ than you paid for it, that sounds like a win.

If the motor is damaged - and I'm guessing that's a yes since it was... well... on fire - the one big-ticket item you could have sold used is worth less or worthless.

Some folks will probably recommend trying to get it running again or taking the carcass and trying to part it out. It doesn't sound to me like you want to go that route. I wouldn't.

As far as the 3 goes, I rented one in Canada and thought it was truly awful. Granted, it was rental-fleet trim, but after driving that thing I'm not sure I'd even go for a Mazdaspeed 3.

Good luck with whatever route you choose - and keep us posted!
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:44 PM   #17
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I'm guilty of tending to view everything in my life as an investment, (some items pay for themselves in fun though)

I'd take the $11,444.00 which is more then you gave for the car, and look into another car, maybe another Boxster, or something else fun.

Sorry to hear about the car though.
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:03 PM   #18
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Hope this all works out. And you did not get hurt.

Why are you using 10W40?
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:11 PM   #19
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WOW.....i need to refill my extinguisher since i wasted it on some ****************************s car in AX who didn't even thank me. $100 for refill since its one of those that doesnt do any damage to the car after using it.
Sad to hear about your car thou...sounds freaky...., it does make sense to take the money and give up the car......but personally i would keep it.
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:28 PM   #20
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swap out your 3 spoke with the 4 spoke and your oem wheels for the aftermarket wheels and sell them... that should at least take you to 12 or 13k when all said and done.

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