just wanted to add in my 2 cents on this topic. I own a 1994 fuel injected
LLV that used to be owned by a city. Fortunately I have NOT experienced a
fire, but I've recently had an issue that could EASILY start one! There is a
fuel line that runs fuel vapors from the gas tank to a charcoal vapor
canister, when then runs through a valve to the throttle body. The canister
is mounted to the left of the radiator underneath the left headlight.
One day after driving my truck, I found
fuel leaking out around the left front bumper near the wheel.
Even if the truck hadn't been driven, it would leak just from
the change in air temperature! I first replaced the valve
between the throttle body & vapor canister and also the gas
cap, but that didn't fix it. The rubber fuel line from the
hard line from the tank to the canister was old, so I replaced
that. After replacing rubber line, I left the front panel of
to see if I could see any leaking. I ran it and everything was
fin, UNTIL I turned off my truck, which then fuel began
spewing out the air tube (fresh air inlet) on the vapor
canister. I had suspected the canister was the issue, but had
been having issues finding a replacement. I found one
(Standard Motor Products #CP1022 Vapor Canister). Seeing as it
was the original canister, my guess is it had gotten clogged.
I replaced it and so far so good......
Whether or not these
issues might have occurred on the vehicles that encountered
fires, the canister and rubber lines to/from it should
definitely be checked or replaced if necessary!" -
Andy, Seattle, WA
"I have seen several LLV's that have caught fire. As a VMF tech I have seen fuel lines that were cracked as shown on your web site, this
looks like the major cause. One other potential problem is the windshield washer hoses falling off or breaking. These hoses run along
the cowl in the engine compartment, and can be accidentally removed or broken, windshield washer fluid contains alcohol which is highly
flammable, especially winter blends.
Yes the fuses do get hot and melt due to corrosion, but this usually just causes the plastic to melt, and would be easy to spot
before the truck was engulfed, also this would not likely spread to the engine compartment from the passenger compartment.
Another cause may be that fine paper dust collects at the bottom of the steering column, on the park/neutral switch. This stuff looks
like dryer lint, all it would take is an arc from the switch to start it."
- Thank you, George Leszczuk, Newark, NJ, VMF
"As a VMF tech I agree
that the fuel filter O-rings can leak and should always be replaced with the
filter. Some of our so-called "techs" are lazy and don't do it. The fuel
lines on the left side also need inspection/replacement. As far as the fuse
panel goes, I have replaced many melted panels and the wire gauge is too
small for the load, especially when strobes are used almost constantly as
they are here in south Florida. Many trucks have windshield leaks. I have
also made numerous complaints to management and have been ignored." -
"Look at the photo again...
Did'ja notice the fender is missing on the left side?
How about leaking fuel filter "O" rings from a fuel filter being replaced
and leaking directly onto an exhaust manifold?
Bet if you went into the history you would find a fuel filter being
replaced awhile ago...
Did the carrier complain of a fuel smell? May or may not..."
"The only fire at my VMF was when the starter main positive rubbed against
the upper control arm threads, grounding out the cable. Any questions email
me at email@example.com."
(below) from the rural carrier in Vermont. We now have 4 more LLVs at this
office sent to us from city routes. I drive an LLV that has a problem with
a leaky windshield over the fuse panel. This has led to corroded fuses,
and overheating and blown fuses at times as well as circuits continuing to
be activated when shut off, such as flashers. The remedy for this was not
to seal the windshield but to install a custom made box over the fuse
panel. This has led to a high humidity problem inside the closed box with
more overheated and blown fuses. Replacing the fuses works for a few weeks
though there is no remedy for the corroded connections in the fuse panel.
These poor connections lead to high electrical loads at the fuse panel and
more overheating and blown fuses. On rainy days the overheated fuse panel
steams for a few minutes at a time several times a day, and the familiar
scent of heated plastic wiring is obvious. I just hope I am able to park
and exit the vehicle in a timely manner if this problem results in a
meltdown as shown in your picture."
"I work at a rural office in Vermont. This
summer during a hot spell all three LLVs in the office had electrical
system failures, requiring replacement of alternators and batteries. The
engine compartments do get very hot as observed when checking the oil and
transmission fluid levels. The vehicles are serviced regularly and yet use
oil and transmission fluid, several quarts of each between regular
changes. These vehicles are used for delivery from box to box and park and
loop routes. The rural carrier contract carries a commitment to increase
the number of postal owned or leased vehicles available for rural route
use over the next five years and depending on the type of vehicle provided
we may see an increase in this problem." - EP
"I work at a VMF in a major city. My
experience is that the ignition switch is causing the fires. That was
supposed to have been fixed several years ago, but some are still catching
on fire. They get very hot during the day when they are driven non-stop
several hours at a time. The LLVs are mainly made out of aluminum, and
aluminum melts very easily. That's why they all appear to be melted in the
front when the engine catches on fire. It's like driving an aluminum soda
can." - D
"No, these are not isolated cases. South
Florida has had
burned vehicles also. Electrical problems are the root of the cause
by factors ranging from water leaks, aging wiring harnesses, faulty
original wiring design, and outsourcing LLV maintenance to lowest bid type
quality. Management is certainly aware of the problems. Their
comments would be interesting." - JV
"They catch fire because
they have a Ford engine." - Ryan