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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 10:58 Thread Starter
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VW Campervan fires

I saw another classic VW campervan on fire on the M54 a few days ago. I have seen at least three of these burned out or on fire in recent years and I was wondering if these vans are a known fire risk? I don't intend buying one but if I were these incidents would make me think very carefully.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 11:20
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Usually a petrol leak from the fuel pipe where it comes into the engine bay, nothing known about other sources, although campers do carry gas bottles etc.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 11:29
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I had a 1970 van for 18 years and it never caught fire once..LOL
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 14:04
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About 20 years ago my then next door neighbour (we moved about 16 years ago) used to fit out campervans. I remember him having some fire damaged VWs - he said that they would get oil on the engine and being at the rear and air cooled, they were prone to overheating and catching fire. Keeping the engine clean helped to minimise the risk of fire.
This was long before I became interested in motorhomes.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 14:50
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I remember that old Beetles used to have a fire risk.

If memory serves it was because the battery was located under the rear seat squab. If the cover was missing and a heavy passenger used the seat, the springs dipped and could short the across the terminals!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 18:12
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The last of the 'real' European Type 2 Bay Window vans were made in 1979, that's thirty four years old for the youngest. During that time many have suffered poor maintenance and are often owned by those who do not really understand them.

As said above there are rubber fuel pipes in the engine bay, there are wiring looms there also. Both of which are subject to neglect. It is also often not appreciated that the engine bay should be sealed from the portion below thus preventing re-circulation of hot air into the cooling system. Failures in this region result in overheated engines!

Care of these parts and proper attention to any additional electric circuits that are added should minimize any fire risk in the region of the engine.

We are all accustomed to seeing these VWs on our roads but how many of us remember how old they are? Yes we all see them having come to grief occasionally but it is rarely the well maintained ones.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 20:30
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I've had quite a few air-cooled VW's over the years without any fire problems.

Although many years ago I was a passenger in a friends Beetle that had an engine fire. He wasn't into maintenance and everything in the engine compartment was covered in oil. The exhaust had a leak near the manifold and the heat generated set fire to some of the oil covered electrics.

When he stopped I leapt out of the car but he just calmly got out, retrieved a fire extinguisher from the boot, put the fire out as cool as you like. When he saw the horrified look on my face he just said, 'Ah, eerr no problem, it does that a lot. Jump in, we've only got 50 miles to go.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 21:38
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usual case

My T2 caught fire in the usual way . timing rod( or whatever its called) snapped pushing out through aluminium casing along with bits of piston etc ....mix of petrol vapour/oil/air goes wooooosh.

pulled over at side of German Autobahn like the Red Baron with a trail of smoke and flames behind...opened back flap to scene of carnage...put out inferno with a large foam extinguisher i always carried.

caught my breath and phoned German police and then....

Got a huge Bo**ocking from the german police for crossing the carriageway to call em

just sat there covered in oil and soot and laughed!!!! i was so filthy they couldn't be bothered to drag me away

sue and andrew
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 23:17
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We too saw one burnt out on our way to Dover last week, must have been on the a2/m2
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