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Old 04-23-2013, 08:16 AM   #1
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Scary Sight

Yesterday we took the new coach to Tom Johnson in Marion, NC for work on the PS rear slide. As we were driving on I-40, we noticed a flatbed with something hulky on it. As it passed me going in the opposite direction I suddenly realized it was a relatively new coach. The entire rear half was nothing but charred black framing and the front windshield was gone. Couldn't tell what the make was.

That is a sobering thing to see and our thoughts went immediately to whoever had been the owner. Let's hope all they lost was "stuff".

We will definitely be testing and drilling on the fire escape windows. The obvious intensity of the rear end fire brought reality quickly to the forefront.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:19 AM   #2
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I would think that the all-electric units would reduce the likely hood of a fire, but is that really the case?
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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I'm not smart enough to know, but it seems logical. But then we are still susceptible to shorts and other bad things.

Only takes one.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:39 AM   #4
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Well, lets see. The only diff between all electric and propane versions are the propane tank and piping and a diesel aquahot vs propane aquahot. Gas stove is amidships and propane tank is near the front of the coach. The primary propane runs are black pipe (metal) with a rubber hose tap off for the stove.

Aquahot is a diesel fired burner on the electric coaches and obviously propane on the others. Diesel burners get dirty and need regular maintenance, propane not so much. Aquahot is also located amidships in both cases. With its metal casing and all the redundant safety interlocks on that thing its chances of starting a fire are probably small for either fuel.

Propane itself is heavier than air and can pool and settle if trapped creating potential for an explosion. That's an issue on boats, but not so much on RV's that don't have water tight bilges. Diesel is of course flammable and a leak anywhere could be a potential fire.

Electrical is always a risk of fire. Loose or dirty connections on heavy current carrying conductors (battery, inverter, starter, shorepower, etc.) can heat up very quickly. Circuits that are not fused properly can melt the conductors and start the insulation on fire should there be a fault. On boats I see melted shore power inlet jacks and shore power cable connectors all the time due to dirty/worn connections that cause arcing, a primary cause of fires according to the marine insurance industry. Fortunately most of our RV's have no inlet jack and the shorepower cord is hardwired at the coach. Also the plug/socket design for RV electrical is not as prone to the wear/arcing issue as the marine variety. All electric coaches actually have even more high current electrical connections vs the propane models, such as for appliances like the cooktop.

Then there is the engine and all its paraphernalia. Hot exhaust, leaky fuel lines? What about the emissions system? I'm still learning about this, but isn't there a soot burning cycle or something where the emission system generates extremely high temps?

Back of coach burned out? Engine related would be my bet. Lets hope it happened while underway and no one was hurt.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:41 AM   #5
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Well, lets see. The only diff between all electric and propane versions are the propane tank and piping and a diesel aquahot vs propane aquahot. Gas stove is amidships and propane tank is near the front of the coach. The primary propane runs are black pipe (metal) with a rubber hose tap off for the stove.

Aquahot is a diesel fired burner on the electric coaches and obviously propane on the others. Diesel burners get dirty and need regular maintenance, propane not so much. Aquahot is also located amidships in both cases. With its metal casing and all the redundant safety interlocks on that thing its chances of starting a fire are probably small for either fuel.

Propane itself is heavier than air and can pool and settle if trapped creating potential for an explosion. That's an issue on boats, but not so much on RV's that don't have water tight bilges. Diesel is of course flammable and a leak anywhere could be a potential fire.

Electrical is always a risk of fire. Loose or dirty connections on heavy current carrying conductors (battery, inverter, starter, shorepower, etc.) can heat up very quickly. Circuits that are not fused properly can melt the conductors and start the insulation on fire should there be a fault. On boats I see melted shore power inlet jacks and shore power cable connectors all the time due to dirty/worn connections that cause arcing, a primary cause of fires according to the marine insurance industry. Fortunately most of our RV's have no inlet jack and the shorepower cord is hardwired at the coach. Also the plug/socket design for RV electrical is not as prone to the wear/arcing issue as the marine variety. All electric coaches actually have even more high current electrical connections vs the propane models, such as for appliances like the cooktop.

Then there is the engine and all its paraphernalia. Hot exhaust, leaky fuel lines? What about the emissions system? I'm still learning about this, but isn't there a soot burning cycle or something where the emission system generates extremely high temps?

Back of coach burned out? Engine related would be my bet. Lets hope it happened while underway and no one was hurt.
Rob, thanks for the clarification. I was thinking along the lines of all the issues that were out there with the refrigerators that were catching on fire and I believe they were the propane/electric units that had all the issues. My knowledge of electrical stuff is pretty limited. I used to simple stuff, like the federal and NY tax laws but electrical and mechanical stuff throws me for a big time loop.

Ed
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:52 AM   #6
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Rob, thanks for the clarification. I was thinking along the lines of all the issues that were out there with the refrigerators that were catching on fire and I believe they were the propane/electric units that had all the issues. My knowledge of electrical stuff is pretty limited. I used to simple stuff, like the federal and NY tax laws but electrical and mechanical stuff throws me for a big time loop.

Ed
Ed...So what your saying is during tax season all your hair falls out (more like pull it out) and you regrow the rest of the year? I would also like to thank Rob for the excellent write up. I know enough about mechanical and electrical to be dangerous. As for tax laws, that's a whole nother animal.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:45 AM   #7
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Have good working smoke detectors, addequate working and accesable fire extingusher(s) one being in the bedroom and an escape plan that you practice at night in the dark. The small fire extingusher that comes with most RV's are totaly inaddequate for any fire beyond very small incipient fires. You may need to fight your way out. You should also concider if the escape window is big enough and how far it is to the ground. Make no mistake RV's do burn and burn fast!
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:05 PM   #8
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Rob, thanks for the clarification. I was thinking along the lines of all the issues that were out there with the refrigerators that were catching on fire and I believe they were the propane/electric units that had all the issues. My knowledge of electrical stuff is pretty limited. I used to simple stuff, like the federal and NY tax laws but electrical and mechanical stuff throws me for a big time loop.

Ed
Yep had one of those absorption type fridges on my prior coach (Discovery). It was a Norcold and there was a recall that added a high temp shutdown due to its tendency to start fires. That fridge ran off heat from, as you said, either an electric element or a propane powered flame. I *think* (don't quote me on it) what could happen if the refrigerant were to leak out is the burner, or coils or something would overheat and start a fire - not sure if it mattered if the heat source was propane or electric.

The residential style compressor type fridge was a requirement for our new coach. Not only are they roomier and safer, you don't need holes in the roof and side of the coach. 250 watts or so worth of solar panels on the roof can probably run one of these indefinitely.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:13 PM   #9
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Ed...So what your saying is during tax season all your hair falls out (more like pull it out) and you regrow the rest of the year? I would also like to thank Rob for the excellent write up. I know enough about mechanical and electrical to be dangerous. As for tax laws, that's a whole nother animal.

Ray, by the time April 15th rolls around I'm in the fetal position on my desk singing the "Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round" and just looking for my blankee! This year has been the worst ever with forms not being released until March 1st and delays on brokerage statements that didn't arrive until mid-March. Every year it gets harder and harder, but I've got three more years of working full time then I'm going to "slow down" to just working tax season. Hence, my lurking here to find out everything I ever wanted to know about Entegras and absorb the wisdom of those much smarter than myself.

Ed
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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Lots of great hypothesis: guess it is a sign of the times that "smoking in bed" was not mentioned.
Hope everyone escaped without harm.
Happy Trails.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:41 PM   #11
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maybe the driver was smoking a ci inside while driving and the hot ash fell inside instead of out the window and set a fire behind him/her and then it was out of control before they knew it
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:16 PM   #12
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I think the biggest potential fire that I would be worried about would be an engine fire. One f those could really get ahead of you before you're even aware of it. Other Issues might be a fire started by malfunctioning brakes. This kind of issue might be caught in the developing stages if you have a good tpms that measures increased heat. For options detecting engine fires and suppressing them, checkout Cruzer's website where he shows what he did on his Allegro Bus.

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Old 04-24-2013, 06:47 PM   #13
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Most fires are started in the rear engine. Have you ever noticed all the safes for our valuables are located in the rear over the engine. Lesson learned, I keep a briefcase by my side when we travel with all my important documents. Like someone else I know i wouldn't want to be in Canada on the road, fire starts in the rear, can't get to the rear so all passports, licenses, extra cash etc... go with the coach. Makes for a real bad day. Just a thought.
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