my packard's on fire....

General topics, not covered elsewhere, of all things Packard.
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absfan
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:38 pm
Location: nz

my packard's on fire....

Post by absfan » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:34 pm

Hi All

The inaugural test drive of my new 1938 Packard 1600 6 nearly ended in disaster after the muffler/silencer exploded and the car subsequently caught fire!

Having picked up my car only on last Saturday, I decided to see what she was capable of. Afterall, I reasoned I needed to know if there were any issues. After checking the oil/water I set off on a 200km round trip to visit an uncle and watch a rugby game.

The trip down was uneventful. NZ won the rugby championship again. The trip home however was more exciting. It started with a call out to the local roadside assist to unlock the car. Turns out the lock is broken and while it locks, it doesn’t unlock.

Back on the road sometime later I experienced a momentary loss of power - the engine stuttered but but carried on. Then a few moments later an almighty bang…loud enough for the cars following behind to shrink back further.

I pulled over. The engine was dead and wouldn't turn over. I looked under the car and I could see the silencer was buckled. For the second time that day, I called roadside assist and waited for the tow truck to roll up.
Back at the garage, we determined the entire car battery was loose and had shortied on the body of the car. It seemed this had caused the momentary loss of power which in turn had caused a build-up of fuel, which had exploded and blown out the silencer.

By now it was dark and it had been a long day; I still had an hour to drive home. Talking with the mechanic, he suggested I would be ok to drive home. “it’ll be a bit loud and you’ll get some fumes, but you’ll be alright”, he said. I texted my wife to say I was leaving just before my phone died.

I drove off mildly concerned and was looking forward to relaxing for the night. About 20min out from home, I started to notice an odour. It seemed to get gradually stronger and thicker inside the cab. I pulled over and unwound the rear windows thinking I was just experiencing the fumes the mechanic had warned me about.
As the smoke increased I considered stopping but decided against it as I knew that I had no tools, no light, no phone and home was just five more minutes way. I was literally forced to drive the last kilometer with my had stretched out the driver’s window as it was becoming difficult to breathe. Using the automatic door opener in advance, I drove straight into the garage and immediately jumped out, white smoke following me.

I grabbed the driver's seat to have a look at what was going on. As soon as I pulled it up, the sudden rush of air caused the smouldering seat to ignite and before I knew it the underside of the bench seat AND carpet was on fire. To be honest, the day had just gone from bad to worse.

I screamed for my wife to grab the fire extinguisher from the kitchen as I tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire. I had visions of not only the car going up in flames but also the house and garage too!

We quickly extinguished the flames and dragged the bench seat outside where we doused it with water. We then poured water over the carpet on the floor pan of the car and listened to the sound of the hissing as the water cooled the hot metal.

Obviously the split silencer had allowed the exhaust gases to heat up the floor pan which resulted in the fire.

With the drama over and the smell of charred carpet still heavy in the air I sat down to a long overdue whisky while reflecting on just how I had gone from new car owner to restoration project in less than 24hrs!

life lessons learnt:

1) carry a fire extinguisher
2) do not drive a burning car into your garage
3) don't always trust the mechanic
Attachments
car.jpg
My new packard
silencer.jpg
after the big bang
seat1.jpg
fire damage
seat.jpg
fire damage
floor1.jpg
burnt floor
cleaned.jpg
next day and getting ready for new carpet and seat

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Ozstatman
Posts: 476
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:58 pm
Location: Bowral, Southern Highlands NSW, Australia

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by Ozstatman » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:57 pm

Very lucky, better buy yourself a lottery ticket.

"NZ won the rugby championship again"

Go the Wallabies, or is It the "Wobblies"?
Mal
Currently - '50 Packard Eight Touring Sedan
Previously - '41 120 Club Coupe(Sold October 2017) & '38 Eight Touring Sedan(Sold July 2009)
Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW Australia

"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

absfan
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:38 pm
Location: nz

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by absfan » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:21 pm

Thanks Ozstatman.

I'm just happy happy alls well that ended well. maybe I will get that lottery ticket after all.

cheers

1935Packard
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 7:28 pm

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by 1935Packard » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:40 pm

Yikes! Glad you and your wife are okay.

A lot of lessons here, starting with those three. And while we're at it, I would add perhaps including get to know a "new" car with short drives, and keeping your cell phone battery charged up when going on a long ride. :)

But your first lesson is the most important: I always keep a fire extinguisher within 5 seconds' reach in the car. It's saved the day more than once.

absfan
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:38 pm
Location: nz

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by absfan » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:12 am

To tell you the truth its all been one big adventure. Enjoying the process now of sorting out interior. All's well that ends well.

Don Shields
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:33 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by Don Shields » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:21 pm

I might suggest a fourth lesson: Never ever drive a car with an unsecured battery. That was the root cause of all your other problems. Battery hold-downs have a critical role to play in protecting the electrical system. I learned that lesson the hard way decades ago, Fortunately I only had to replace the battery and the negative cable; and of course, install a hold-down.

absfan
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:38 pm
Location: nz

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by absfan » Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:52 pm

yep...another really good point

flackmaster
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:12 am

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by flackmaster » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:58 pm

FYI - you are not the first person to create these events. I was with someone who I'll just refer to as "Noel" set his seat bottom on fire with the same skill and aplomb as you. We pulled to the roadside and pulled the front seat bottom out. Quickly. Very Quickly.
Been there, done that.

Battery box cover actually had factory installation, as did the original cables had rubber boots on them....best to be very cautious about battery height, but you know that....

absfan
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:38 pm
Location: nz

Re: my packard's on fire....

Post by absfan » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:19 pm

Well I must admit it's something of a relief to know I wasn't the first.

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