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Old 02-23-2012, 10:05 AM   #1
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My last post - Alpine Coach burned

As a few of you already know, as I was driving my Alpine Coach towing my Jeep Grand Cherokee near Denton, TX, it caught fire in the battery compartment the Monday after last Thanksgiving with the fire spreading to the engine compartment. I first noticed a problem when the dash instruments started flickering and I felt a loss of engine power, then when I looked in the mirror I saw black billowing smoke.

I immediately pulled to the side of the road and grabbed a fire extinguisher. However, by the time I was out of the coach and back to the rear, 4 other cars, including a County Constable, had stopped and were already using their fire extinguishers. Within a minute, a cement mixer truck pulled up and the driver yelled that he had water, so he immediately started dousing the engine and battery compartment using his water hose. As the others doused the fire, I unhooked the Jeep from the coach so that I could save it in case the coach went up in total flames.

Within 5 minutes the Denton, TX fire department arrived. Since the fire was out by then, they simply cut all the battery cables to prevent the batteries from continuing to arc.

From the exterior of the coach, there was no apparent damage and the interior was not damaged nor was there any interior smoke damage. However, battery compartment with all the critical electronics and cabling were a total melted mess. The engine/transmission compartment was heavily damaged. The repair facility told me that they could try to repair it, but it would take a complete rebuild of both the engine and transmission and an additional 500+ hours of their labor, plus parts to repair it. After all that they could not guarantee that it would work or ever be reliable. A big part of the problem is no factory to provide technical support.

So, after a couple of months in working with the insurance company and the repair facility, the insurance company declared the coach a total loss.

In July, 2011 we bought a 27 foot trawler/cruiser type boat, so rather than try to replace the coach, we have decided to focus entirely on a move to a new phase of our travels, using our trailerable trawler in lakes, rivers and the Intracoastal Waterways of the Gulf Coast. We have enjoyed the last 1-1/2 months in southwest Florida with our new boat on the Gulf Coast.

We will truly miss all the travels and friendships we encountered over 11 years and 2 Alpine Coaches.

Best Regards to all,
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:13 AM   #2
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Smooth Cruiseings!
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
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Dale & Karen- So sorry to hear about your fire tragedy. Maybe when we go boating we'll see you down the rode (you budding yachties oughta get that one).
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #4
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Dale & Karen,

That must have been terrifying, I am glad that both of you are safe.

It must be very different, being on the water than a highway, but interesting too. My former brother in-law, when he retired from the Marine Corps, purchased a 40 foot boat, and he and his wife sailed the world. He loved it!

I wish you both all the best!

Sheila
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
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Emike,

On my boat the rode is 200 feet of line + 50 feet of chain. On your boat, how long is your rode?
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:14 PM   #6
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Just glad that the two of you are OK. Heck you don't have to leave here though. Keep us posted on all the smooth cruising you'll be doing. Take care.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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Sounds like an Albin, yes?
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmmpe View Post
Sounds like an Albin, yes?
Albins are similar, but its a Ranger Tug R27. See this link:

R-27 | Rangertugs

See this link for the tugnuts forum:


http://www.tugnuts.com/index.php
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:19 PM   #9
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We looked at Ranger and American Tugs. Very nice bits of work.
Good luck and smooth sailing.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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Dale, FWIW we had the very same situation happen to us driving the coach home from buying it. We were somewhat lucky in that we put out the fire with drinking water bottles. It still cost the insurance co $33K and couldn't use it for a year.

Good luck and enjoy your new traveling configuration!

Hopefully, you'll check out the forum once in a while and continue offerring assistance from your memory/experience bank. I think I can speak for the continued Alpine owners that help is ALWAYS appreciated!
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:38 PM   #11
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did they ever figure out what caused that fire?
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
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did they ever figure out what caused that fire?
Neither the insurance company nor the repair facility would tell me what they thought started the fire.

However, I suspect there was arcing in the battery compartment. I had 8 new house batteries installed about 2 weeks prior to the fire. Without any accusation, I can only guess that the installer left a hot cable somewhat loose or too close to a ground or a tie-down strap was installed too close to a hot cable, which subsequently with vibration caused arcing that became self-sustaining with all that energy stored in the huge battery banks.

Since the battery compartment and batteries were a melted down, charred mess, there is no way to really know. Plus, when the fire department took their heavy, heavy duty cutters to all the cables, any evidence was likely destroyed.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:01 PM   #13
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Do you know who has the coach now as I am in need on some parts?
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:14 PM   #14
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Dale, I hope you came out OK financially but After having a fire myself and having it repaired, I don't think you would had been happy with the coach. It's never the same. Better off letting it burn. I had to take a real hit to unload it. Plus 11 months for repair.It's always on the Car-fax and I believed the new owner just wanted the drive train. Insurance would of paid me 4 times as much as I sold it for if it was totaled.
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