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Discussion Starter #1
So I was getting a couple groceries on my way home from work. Got on her & went to start her & she caught fire. I had lay her down. Luckily the was a guy near by with some water bottles. And we put out the fire.
I had the wife come pick me up. We ate dinner. And I trailered B.B. home.

I am ok. Nothing happen to me. No real damage that I can see. I'll be able to tell more when I look at her more closely this weekend.

Fire was on the right side around carb & air filter.
Fire was maybe 20 seconds. If that. Time is funny when stuff like that is happening.

SILVER LININGS
1- B.B. has a great spark!
2- I have laid the bike down. Got that "stigma" off my back.
3- I know I can pick up the bike from the laid down position.

From you knowledgeable folks...
1- what could have started the fire?
2- what should I look for when I look at her this weekend?


Ride Smart! Ride Often!
 

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What did the smoke smell like? Burning plastic? If so, it was an electrical fire. Wires will have burned back insulation. When a shorted wire heats up it will bubble the insulation off the copper. It's being burned from inside out. An electrical fire leaves a black smoke residue. From the pictures I'm not seeing black residue, so I don't think it's electrical. I see a whitish residue. Whitish residue is normally from heat. Possibly a fuel leak onto hot engine was the flames. Until you investigate that's the best I can observe. First I would look for fuel leak, then look at wiring. By the way, glad you had pants on when you took the pic, look at the reflection.
 

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dont know where the fuel filter is on a road star. Maybe loose hose clamp, split fuel hose, pin hole leak in the gas tank.

If the float bowl was stuck high the fuel would flow out between the cylinders on the over flow tube, but maybe the carb could flood back into the air filter box?

Good deal on the guy with water bottles. A 2 liter bottle of soda works great too, you can shake it up and spray it out with a foaming mist. Root beer is the best - foams like crazy.

Ive always kept fire extinguishers in my cars going back 40 years. I have put out 4 car fires, none of them were my cars.

twenty seconds in a gas fire can damage wires and gaskets. You will have to pull the tank off and see what got cooked and melted under there. The carb intake air box may be melted.

Maybe the engine backfired into the carb and set it on fire from the inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tank is most definitely coming off.

I'll take pictures along the way. Maybe even video is I can figure out what account I want to use.

Thanks in advance to all the help & input.

Ride Smart! Ride Often!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Maybe the engine backfired into the carb and set it on fire from the inside.
That is the consensus of the peeps I've chatted with. But without looking at the area under the tank. We are just speculating.

Which is ok, because it gives us (me) many different view points & possibilities to look at & fix.

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If this happens to anyone, the first thing to do after you put out a motor vehicle fire is to disconnect the ground wire from the battery.

If the wire insulation is compromised between the battery and the fuse box, or the fusible link on a car, it can start an electrical fire when you move the vehicle.
 

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Would also be a good time to inspect all the hoses before you take it apart too much also.
Make sure all the hoses are there and connected, don't have cracks.

Might be the carb overflowed, if the drain hose wasn't attached, could have spilled gas onto the engine and ignited.

I want to say it was unlikely electrical fire, cause you managed to put it out pretty easily with water, but not sure how much actual fact is in this statement :)
 

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I also want to say, it is unlikely to be a single problem that caused it. Most cases it takes multible failures to cause an issue. Fuel itself won't burn, it needs something to light it. A sparking, loose electrical connector that you haven't noticed yet, then gas getting added to it, both would need to be fixed, not just the gas.

Not sure how hot the engine was, but it normally has to be pretty warm to set gas off by temp alone. But it will help vaporize it quickly, letting it find any electrical relays near by that will set it off when you turn the bike on.
Normally the electrical relays are seperated from the egine enough so fumes won't get to them.
 

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^ thats another reason why your air intake, air box.. needs to be intact, in place and secure.

if you run a carb with no intake airbox or air filter, if the engine backfires it blows flames out of the carb intake. Usually the next stroke will suck the flames back into the cylinder and put it out, but if you have a gas leak in the area around the carbs it will catch.

another thing that can cause an engine fire is oil leaking onto the hot exhaust manifolds - doubt that is the case here.

One of the car fires I put out was a neighbor when I was in college. The kid had his mustang in the parking lot, took the carb off the engine to have it rebuilt, then tried to start the car up with no carb to pull the car back in his garage. I dont know what he was thinking but WOOOOOF! Fuel pump was spraying gas all over the engine when he cranked it.

Maybe he had the fuel line pushed in the intake manifold and thought that would give the engine enough gas to start it up?! I did not ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I will be giving a thorough going over. Believe you me!
I will replace all hoses in that area on general principle alone.

Also, when I go to start her the 1st time. I will have a fire extinguisher handy. In fact, I think I may buy one for each of my cars. I will also research to see if they make them small enough to have on the bike.

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when you start it up at home have the hose nearby with a nozzle adjusted to a spray / mist, with the faucet turned on.

A water fog/spray will knock down a gas fire. If you use a fire extinguisher its a pain to clean all that powder off your engine - you will end up using the hose anyway.. so just use the hose.
 

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Here's one. It's 8.5 x 2 inches. I have a similar one in each car. One for bike is a good idea.


 

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Discussion Starter #14
when you start it up at home have the hose nearby with a nozzle adjusted to a spray / mist, with the faucet turned on.

A water fog/spray will knock down a gas fire. If you use a fire extinguisher its a pain to clean all that powder off your engine - you will end up using the hose anyway.. so just use the hose.
There is not a water spigot near by. & I am not dragging 200ft of hose out there.

Ride Smart! Ride Often!
 

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So I was getting a couple groceries on my way home from work. Got on her & went to start her & she caught fire. I had lay her down. Luckily the was a guy near by with some water bottles. And we put out the fire.
I had the wife come pick me up. We ate dinner. And I trailered B.B. home.

I am ok. Nothing happen to me. No real damage that I can see. I'll be able to tell more when I look at her more closely this weekend.

Fire was on the right side around carb & air filter.
Fire was maybe 20 seconds. If that. Time is funny when stuff like that is happening.

SILVER LININGS
1- B.B. has a great spark!
2- I have laid the bike down. Got that "stigma" off my back.
3- I know I can pick up the bike from the laid down position.

From you knowledgeable folks...
1- what could have started the fire?
2- what should I look for when I look at her this weekend?


Ride Smart! Ride Often!
Wow...I could say something funny...but man oh man...nothing funny about this at all. So glad to read you safe and sound. Imagine if you would have been down the road at 60 miles per hour...and the flames flow back onto you...gawd....great to read, you're ok...
 

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If a car or motorcycle catches fire its pretty much the same as having all the steel and aluminum oxidize and rust

but instead of taking 30 years, it happens in about 30 minutes.

I have always purchased new cars and keep them till they are ready for the junk yard. I have accepted that one might go up in flames someday.

If it does, get it off the road, dont stop under power lines or trees or a bridge, or near a storm drain (in case your gas tanks melts and burning gas floods out.

If the shop size extinguisher behind my seat wont put out the fire, theres nothing else to do but enjoy the bon-fire till the fire trucks get there. Im mean, how often to you get to watch a car burn to the ground, even if it is mine? (I have given this some thought).

Oh yeah... get out of the car.
 
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