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Fireproofing your Kombi... a must read for all Kombi owners.

Discussion in ''How To' & 'Handy Hints'' started by Schmoburger, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. ttmck

    ttmck Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,733
    Location:
    Hallett Cove STH AUS
    One lucky man , funny thng is i went to a breakdown yesterday a kombi in the adelaide hills same thing had happened , good job to be doing over xmas , glad you caught it in time
     
  2. VanAime

    VanAime Active Member

    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Primate Gully Vic.
    Then why the heck doesn't some bright spark (pardon the pun) start manufacturing them out of something else:(???
     
  3. VanAime

    VanAime Active Member

    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Primate Gully Vic.
    Well, who would of thought metal would burn anyway?? Jeeeze!! Is nothing sacred any more??:wtf:
     
  4. kazmattsas

    kazmattsas New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Noosa
    Well - I'm a long time reader - first time fire victim.
    Replaced all hoses in our 76 EFI bus with good quality house and clamps. All except a 1 inch hose from the fuel rail into injector 4.

    6 Months later

    Guess what ... bang
    Here's a video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyE2NuLaR3A

    The kicker - let the insurance lapse about 8 weeks earlier.....
    Learn by my mistakes
     
  5. BryceBusDriver

    BryceBusDriver Member

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Southern Adelaide
    So sorry to hear about that Kaz. Saw the video, not happy viewing.
     
  6. dbs

    dbs Member

    Messages:
    949
    Location:
    Melbourne
    My thoughts are with you K. Such a major blow. It was only last weekend that I was checking my fuel lines to find one was slipping from the carb inlet pipe. new lines in place pronto and tie wire on the must purchase very soon list.

    I hope the damage wasn't to extensive.
     
  7. Volksy85

    Volksy85 Member

    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Replaced my fuel line/clamps from tank to carb on Friday - now running the correct cotton sheathed stuff and a nice new filter. Its good to know its spot on, and its such an easy job.
     
  8. jobell

    jobell Active Member

    Messages:
    580
    Location:
    Walwa, Victoria
    Having read this thread recently I thought it high time I got under my kombi and had a look at 1) identifying the fuel lines and 2) checking them as per instructions in this thread (thanks folks!). I've just done this this afternoon. My first thought is that if I ever win lotto I'm buying my kombi a hoist. What came next resulted in the following fireproofing for dummies questions... hoping someone can advise.

    These photos show two different sections of my fuel lines (at least, that's what I'm thinking they are....)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My first question is: what are those white plastic thingies in the fuel lines. There are two of them, one in each line. Are they a filter?

    My second question is: in the first photo you'll see that the line attached to the top side of that unidentified part is most of the way over the, um, I guess it's a nipple of sorts? I wiggled it, and it seems quite firm. When you compare it to the fuel line attached to the second one of these parts in the second photo, you'll note that the fuel line is not inserted as far over the nipple thingy. And when I wiggled that one, I got a misting of fuel on my fingers (well, it felt cold, and it smelt like fuel, so I'm thinking I'm on the right track there). Clearly, this isn't a satisfactory arrangement. Can I simply unscrew the clamp and remedy the situation? Or is that going to unleash a torrent of fuel in my face? What do I do if not that?

    I'm going to get some tie wire and put securing all these clamps on my to-do asap list.

    As always, any guidance will be much appreciated.
     
  9. jobell

    jobell Active Member

    Messages:
    580
    Location:
    Walwa, Victoria
    Update: so I had a bit of a go at it (refer my post above), loosened the clamp and tried to push the fuel line up the nipple, and have discovered that the line is a different diameter to the others. In fact, if you look closely at the photo, you can see that quite clearly.

    I'm due to drive off to Young tomorrow and Albury after that, and was planning to be away for 10 days with lots of driving. I've clamped it back on as is, and am thinking that I might have to visit my mechanic for a fix tomorrow morning before I go.
     
  10. london_mike

    london_mike New Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    VIC 3071
    I noticed my fuel pump was leaking this morning when I went round the back to change the battery (I haven't driven in a week). It's leaking from what appears to be the rubber[?] gasket down the middle of the pump. I tried tightening the screws, but they're aready all the way in, so it looks like I'll need the pump taking off and looking at.
    I have a small steady drip about once every 20 seconds. Will it be safe to drive to the mechanic or should I get a tow?

    nb. I had a full service 2 months ago - should this have been picked up (could it have been?)
     
  11. fancy-bug

    fancy-bug Member

    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Petrie, QLD
    Also watch out for your vent hoses, there are 2 above the fuel tank behind the panel at the front of the engine bay that dont have clamps from the factory!!

    I found mine perished last year when i filled my bus for a long trip and it "flowed" out.

    Also up the left hand side of the engine bay, towards the left vent, there is a tank vent there, which degrades due to water dripping on it from the left vent. Easiest way to know if this one has "gone", is if you smell fuel when you go round a tight right hander, or roundabout!!

    We get the remote fire extinguishers in the UK at rally car suppliers, retail arond £200
     
  12. Schmoburger

    Schmoburger Active Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Nowra/Jervis Bay area, NSW.
    Jobell.... you are correct in thinking those are filters. generally I only like to run them on the unpressurised side of the fuel plumbing on any car (between the tank and pump... as opposed to between the pump and carby), as to lessen the chance of failure and minimise the number of pressurised joints in the hose that can leak or slip off. Also the plastic filters can become brittle over time and exposure to fuel, and VW engine bays get rather warm as they have minimal airflow outside of the tinware, so therefore I prefer to keep filters right out of there anyway... I have known them to split in Beetles and the resultant showering of the dizzy etc in fuel is equal to bad bad ju-ju. Now, as for the lines and the mist of fuel... You will find two different diameters of hose under there, this is normal. the stock fuel pump has a larger diameter intake fitting and correspondingly larger hose that connects it to the tank. From memory it was 5mm on the pressure side and 8mm on the tank side but dont quote me on that... I got the wrong size this week if its anything to go by lol. Now those plastic filters have two different diameter barbs on them usually, such that they can accomodate two different hose diameters, so it is not unusual for there to be a bit of exposed fitting if you are using the smaller diameter line. that said, you should make sure that the line is pushed home against the second barb, and that the clamp is secure and positioned maybe a millimeter from the end of the hose, so it clamps correctly. If it is leaking, there are a couple of possibilities... first is that the clamp is loose... if the line can be twisted or moved back and forth along the fitting, this is likeley. Second, is that the line is split or cracked and leaking near the end or around the edge of the clamp... If this is the case, the line has begun to deteriorate and the entire length should be binned, and the rest of the lines treated as suspect and checked/replaced. I had to replace the pump inlet line on the Fairlane recently as it had aged, hardened and split along the edge of the clamp, so when I decided to replace a filter, i felt a squirt of fuel as the split opened up from bending the hose. The other possibility is that the filter is cracked... as a general rule of thumb i replace plastic filters whenever i replace fuel lines, regardless of the age of the filter. That said, in the Fairlane I have a servicable glass filter that comes apart and has a replaceable filter element inside.

    Also, I second the vent line problem... there are at least 3 rubber elbows about the vicinity of the engine bay and intakes, and most have probably not been changed in 20 years if ever, and many are split and leak, particularly when the tank is full, and the hose that connects the filler to the tank is also often a little suspect, such that when going round left corners, fuel is sloshed into this filler neck due to centrifugal force and leaks out the cracks.
     
  13. coastaldream75

    coastaldream75 Member

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    Morayfield, Queenslander
    Hey syncro, do you know how I can check if my electric pump has a safety cut out? is this something I can check or do I need to speak to the mechanic who fitted it?

    Cheers,

    Pat
     
  14. jobell

    jobell Active Member

    Messages:
    580
    Location:
    Walwa, Victoria
    Having read the recent thread about Kenny's engine fire, I was motivated to inspect Miss D's fuel lines again. They seem okay, but she's in for a service on Monday so I'll ask my mechanic to double check given my lack of competency in all matters engine related. I do have a few follow on questions though and this seemed the appropriate place for them. They are:
    1) I was doing a little online browsing, and discovered that Just Kampers has an "automatic" fire extinguisher that mounts in the engine compartment and activates if the temperature goes over 79' Celcius. This seems a whole lot more affordable than some of the previous systems I've seen. Any thoughts? Could it accidentally discharge on a hot day and stuff the engine by powdering it up?
    2) This one is a mechanics for dummies question: where would I go to buy a bunch of those clamps with the rolled edges? And how do you access those ends that seem to be concealed behind... um... engine bits? :eek:
    Thanks!
     
  15. 68BUS

    68BUS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,224
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Question 2 first. With a lot of swearing.
    Now question 1 - Go for it. I have spoken with Just Kampers about it as well as several UK based companies and they are the best option. Paul used a themomoeter after a hot winters day freeway run - still QLD and the temp at the mounting point was only 50+degrees.

    I still really want one on my bus but I would have to mount near the new turbo so temps will be over that safety threshold pretty quick for me I think.

    So far the absolut best one I can find is the balls of powder. They have strips of gunpowder running around them When flame hits the strips they light a fuse that goes tot eh centre of the ball and explodes out.

    I found a Chinese seller that could do a min order of 10 for me at a cost of about $80-100 each. But I did not want to spend $1000 on the assumtion I could sell the rest at cost price.
    These ones here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6K300IEOr0
     
  16. jobell

    jobell Active Member

    Messages:
    580
    Location:
    Walwa, Victoria
    Whoa. I bet they had fun making and testing those babies! Where/how would they mount in the engine bay?

    I think I might hang an oven thermometer in the space I've got in mind and monitor the temperatures for a while before I fix anything in place...
     
  17. chewtah

    chewtah Guest

    Seeing the top photo there appears enough room in the housing to thread a brass connection in there, if you can get the original spigot out replace it with a threaded in one.
     
  18. paul77

    paul77 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    926
    Location:
    Brisbane
    So until now I pretty well ignored this thread. Luckily my first leak occurred near the tank outlet and nowhere near the engine. The cloth covered hose was quite 'squishy' and fuel would bubble out when hose was squeezed. Also, no fuel filter in sight. It was hiding in the engine bay behind the air filter box! Just thought I'd share this to bump this thread up for any new Kombi owners, it really is a MUST READ.

    I have some hose replacement and lockwiring to do on the weekend.
     
  19. wowkombi

    wowkombi New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Brunswick, VIC
    Reading this post, I remember with horror how DAMN CLOSE my first Kombi was to blowing up in a huge fire ball many years ago.

    I remember the day vividly: My girl friend and I were just strolling through the zoo thinking we had another day before her flight out. The next moment we discovered that, oops, her flight is in 2 hours. We were racing the 1600cc engine through Perth's streets and onto the highway, where I was flooring the gas pedal at 110 kilometres an hour. Suddenly, the engine cut out, we lost speed and the fuel gauge dropped rapidly. At the same time, the cabin was enveloped in thick, dizzying fuel smell. As we rolled onto the hard shoulder, we were more panicking about missing the flight than the possibility of a roadside roast! I opened the engine hatch and there were fuel fumes. I could see that the brass fitting of the carburettor had slipped right out! So there I was: no fuel, no girl friend (she hitchhiked the rest of the way). I friend rescued my with some fuel and as I popped the brass fitting back into the carbie I thought "I'll fix it later." Well, it did come off again 2 weeks later - again, no fire. I didn't wait for strike three and secured the thing with wire. Those were the days.

    Looking back no it could have been much worse. I could have been another unhappy statistic, and instead of my great travel adventure I would be telling my friends about how I lost the most awesome Kombivan to poor maintenance.

    Well, thanks to forums like this I've learned. My second van has new fuel lines and fuel filter. There's already some chafing on one of the lines and I will replace that one this weekend. While I'm at it I'm also going to fit a brass T-piece because the old plastic one looks so flimsy (it irks me every time I see it) and replace the fuel filter! Then I will lockwire it all up. But before I do any of that, I will buy a new fire extinguisher! Hope I will never ever have to use it. :)
     
  20. wenmac

    wenmac Active Member

    Messages:
    512
    Location:
    Sunbury
    I know this is an old post but have we gone any further looking into this Firetrace Quote. I have contacts in the states and I can get them shipped for a very low price. It's what I do for a living. I'd be interested to see where we are with it.
     

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