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post #1 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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FIRE!!!! (Re: SAM unit)

OK, so this weekend we did an overnight trip. The wife and I headed out for a family gathering without the kids so we took the Smart. Got to the first birthday party for my Aunt (80 years old) and spent the great day, not a cloud in the sky, nice breeze etc. Afterwards we were to spend the night at the in-laws about 15 miles dwn the road. We got about 10 miles and the wife said she smelled something 'HOT'. About this time, the wipers started up on their own and made 1/2 a pass and stopped. I started and stopped them and they parked like normal.next, the dash went crasy, speedometer disappeared, lights went on and off and the horn turned on continuously. I checked to see if something hit the key and noticed brown smoke around my feet.

I pulled over quickly and shut off the key, found I couldn't get into park or remove the key. By now the car was filling with smoke and the stench of burning plastic. I told he to get out now and proceeded to do the same only to get tangled up in the darn seatbelt...

As I climbed out on my hands and knees, I saw flames under the dash. I grabbed an unopened can of Mountain Dew and shook it up, popping the top to spray it under the dash. I was rewarded with a sticky face full of smoke and hot dew. The wife was on the cell phone to 911 but she didn't know what street we were on.... I flagged down a truck with a boat and asked for some pliers to pull the battery, he tossed me a pair and grabbed an extinguisher out of the boat, As I was removing the negative terminal. he shot the underside of the dash which was again burning away and dripping melted plastic onto my all-weather floor mats.. I got the battery disconnected and he hit the dash a third time as it was still burning.

During all this, the wife had pulled everything out the back and dumped it alongside the road. The police car that had just passed us going the opposite way showed up, along with the volunteer fire department from St Bonifacious (where my wife grew up) They made sure it was out and we had a little training class on Smart cars.. My father in-law was the fire chief in St. Boni years ago and my wife went to school with a number of the firemen that showed up.. They also had a new fire station which was less than a mile from where we were.


I called the 800 number and they dispatched a flatbed to pick up the car and take it to the dealer on Tuesday So... there I am, 75++ miles from home with no car, We called her parrents and they swung by on the way home from her brother's house. The arrived at the same time as the tow truck.



SO...3 weeks to the Dells rally, No car, and a reservation to put cruise in a car that is burned up like toast....I need to be at work with no car to get me there... NOT A GOOD WEEKEND!!

We will see what happens in the morning when the car gets to Bloomington.
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post #2 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 05:51 PM
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Yeow! :eek: Sorry to hear this Jim; glad you're both OK and help was near by. Will be very interested in hearing what caused this (and will be picking up a fire extinguisher tomorrow.) If the car isn't on the road in time maybe someone with an extra seat can get you to the Dells anyway.
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post #3 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 05:53 PM
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Wow...what an experience. It's a good thing no one got burned, or that the smart burned. That you have family in the area is a good thing. I wish you well.
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post #4 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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Sorry to hear about that, and am glad you're not injured. Please keep us posted on what they find as the cause. The under dash area sounds like an electrical short as most likely culprit, as I don't know of any fuel or other flammable fluids in the area.

This is the first Smart fire I've heard of, so this one will be watched closely by a lot of people, especially Smart Corporate.

I was already thinking of keeping an extinguisher in my own car, but it gets to 120-130 F internal during the summer; that should be ok for an extinguisher, right? i.e. valve won't melt and cause it to spray all over...
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post #5 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:00 PM
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Awful, awful, awful; but at least neither of you were burned. So sorry to hear about your weekend disaster.
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post #6 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:01 PM
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Well the up side is they can't blaim it on the cruise control/

I sure hope your up and running soon.



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post #7 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:03 PM
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Glad you're not injured! I bet you're glad you don't have CC installed yet or they'd try to blame the CC for the fire and void your warranty. I didn't know our cars were so prone to combust.



Fire Bad! Arg!

Last edited by fpage77; 05-25-2009 at 07:29 PM.
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post #8 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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No, nobody got hurt but there were some real anxious moments when hot plastic started dripping on my legs. It looked like the fuse box caught on fire. I have not added anything to the car and have not been under the dash at all. Here are some pictures.

https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/for...1&d=1243307709
drivers side floor
https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/for...1&d=1243307709
fuse box (or whats left of it)

https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/for...1&d=1243307709
I hope it fits on there...

As you can see, we were out in the rural countryside. The horses were watching closely.

Of couse NOW I have to deal with a hysterical wife that will jump anytime something makes a sound or she smells something when she is in the car..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg floor1.jpg (29.3 KB, 501 views)
File Type: jpg fuse1.jpg (30.7 KB, 745 views)
File Type: jpg bigenough.jpg (75.6 KB, 553 views)

Last edited by jimvw57; 05-25-2009 at 06:12 PM.
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post #9 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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Had the same thing happen back in the 80's with my International Travelall. Hit a bump and poof! Instant release of magic smoke from underneath the dash and the ignition switch bundle was a solid lump.... Now that was a primitive beast so big screwdriver to jump the starter and a jumper wire to the coil got me home..
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post #10 of 154 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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It would have been nice to have a fire extinguisher on hand but it would not have prevented what happened.

One will be mounted when I get the car back.
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