Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 154 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,221 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
28,247 Posts
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. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,790 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,709 Posts
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...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,898 Posts
Awful, awful, awful; but at least neither of you were burned. So sorry to hear about your weekend disaster.
 

·
Red Roller Skate
Joined
·
3,895 Posts
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!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,221 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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.

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=855&stc=1&d=1243307709
drivers side floor
http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=856&stc=1&d=1243307709
fuse box (or whats left of it)

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=857&stc=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..
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
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..
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,221 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Wow! Glad you two were not hurt! I`m sure smart Bloomington will get you up and running asap. Keep us posted!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,834 Posts
Was there anything on the car beyond basic stock? Factory options, dealer installed options or accessories, after-market additions, personal modifications?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,971 Posts
...thank God you guys are OK...sorry about your ride...if at all possible you don't want that car back...from now on it will be an electrical nightmare...just me...good luck and hope to see you at the Dells with your new car or a loaner...

jetfuel...in FL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,072 Posts
They just might keep your car and give you a new one. They might want to know what caused it to flame up. Also, they might want to keep this on the Quiet side. Also, I am very thankful everyone is O K.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,221 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I understand things happen. I am concerned that the burned wiring and plastic smell may never leave the car completely, and I'm not sure if I could get myself to trust it. Since it was a Pure with A/C and radio 9, and thats it, it may be hard to find another. If it was a passion, it would be easier to replace. We'll see what they come up with. I believe something strange happened and I don't think it is something we need to watch for. Just an unfortunate accident.

I have not added anything to the car except plugging in a ScangaugeII which still works (tried it on the wife's truck) and a set of all weather floor mats which may have kept the fire from spreading to the carpet. I have the utmost faith that Bloomington will take care of me. (Hopefully they can get my CD out of the radio)
 

·
Lifetime Member
Joined
·
11,307 Posts
I am so sorry for this and glad you guys are OK. I was honest to goodness almost in tears reading this because it hits close to home. Last year I blew a fuse and replaced it with a cheap Harbor Freight fuse which cause the particular harness it was wired to to go up in smoke (and flames). The smell took a while to go away and I have yet to get a new harness and the fire was completely my (and Harbor Freights) ignorance and not Smarts in any way.

I hope they can investigate where this started from. I don't care for how the box is mounted, but that is just my opinion. It is kind of flimsy - just today I did the power window override mod and kept sniffing thinking I burnt something up. Turned out to be neighbors burning leaves.

Good luck and I hope they can resolve this for you in an expeditious manner.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,244 Posts
OMG, jim - glad you two are ok. This is a shocking story. It started out sounding like the old Herby love bug movies - coming alive on it's own. But fire and molten plastic sounds very bad.


Keep us posted on the repairs. Fingers crossed you two make it to the Dells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,552 Posts
The interesting thing is that the fuse box isn't just a mass of fuses: that's the SAM everyone talks about. Much of what happens in our cars goes through that box.

I am so glad you're okay and that you had the foresight to disconnect the battery.

You have one more wish for a very fast repair!



By the way - I appreciate your choice in beverage!
 
1 - 20 of 154 Posts
Top