Flame-broiled mouse

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting & Diagnosis' started by Tphil413, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. Tphil413

    Tphil413 Veteran Member

    Jun 1, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    The hard luck saga continues...yesterday I tried to start up my '71 after 5 months of interior renovation ( I redid the entire interior, new RaaMatt insullation throughout, new carpet, restored the console, straightened warped dash, reworked the gauges, installed a new gauge bezel and a custom trio gauge panel under the stereo in the opening behind the shifter. Everything was wired up and perfect. Heck it was even my birthday, so I decided to start it up to celebrate. Little did I expect I'd be blowing the candle out on a 350 crate engine!

    At first it didn't turn over, so I gave her plenty of gas and time...I guess I either flooded it or I had a fuel leak somewhere because suddenly I heard a backfire in the engine and had an inferno under the hood. Luckily I have a cowl induction hood so I spotted it right away and was able to grab my extingisher and douse the flames before it really took off. So now my meticulously detailed engine bay and block are as "white as the Sierras after a snow storm" and I have to begin assessing the damage and plan to repair. Not to mention assess exactly what happened so it doesn't happen a second time.

    Here's what I can tell so far...the fire was concentrated on the rear passenger side of the engine just behind the valve cover breather and in front of the distributor. It also overflowed down to the tranny housing and under the car. Can't tell if it was caused by a loose fuel line (checked it and was wasn't totally snug - but I haven't messed with it in months and I never had a leak before) or just fuel spillage due to flooding. I have an Edelbrock carb - not sure where they typically leak out if flooded. I also don't know how it ignited - I guess it could have been an engine fire or perhaps an arc'd wire.

    Damage consists mainly of melted plastic connections (vacuum line to my gauges, oil pressure line to my new gauge, and some scorched but intact wires (e.g., choke wire). Still need to check if any exposed transmission connections were effected. Also need to find a good cleaner to remove all the baked on powder from the estinguisher on the wire wall, engine and tranny housing. Strange thing is I would have expected the fire to have burnt the K&N air cleaner, but it just looks like its just black from the smoke - hopefully I can just clean it.

    So here's my question, should I be concerned about parts that look unaffected but may have sustained damage due to the heat from the fire? For example the ignition wires were right in the middle of the blaze and are somewhat blackened, but otherwise look okay - might they be damaged interally or are they designed to withstand extreme heat so I'm okay?

    Considering the size of the fire, I guess I'm pretty lucky, just not looking forward to the cleanup...
  2. K5JMP

    K5JMP Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    glad ya got it put out... :eek:
    I'm not too famaliar with the eddy carbs, so not much to offer here other than good luck.
  3. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    Bloomington, MN
    Sorry about the bad luck. :mad:

    If the wire insulation is intact... the wires inside should be fine.
  4. Tphil413

    Tphil413 Veteran Member

    Jun 1, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Still trying to pinpoint the source of the fuel that ignited. Has anyone had a past problem with fuel leakage from a flooded Edelbrock carb? If that's not it, then I'm left with a potentially leaky fuel line. And if I have raw fuel on a cold manifold (air gap), what could have ignited it? I hate to torch it again next time I try to start it just because I didn't fix the cause of the original issue. Any ideas or insights appreciated...
  5. Keizer

    Keizer BANNED

    Jan 17, 2005
    Wa State
    I have a Carter AFB carb, which is basically the same thing as your Edelbrock. On mine, I have what is equivalent to a brake banjo fitting where the fuel line enters the carb. Do you have the same thing? Check to see if it is tight there. Also, why don't you just pull the coil wire, and have someone crank on the engine while you look for a leak along the fuel line.
  6. blades67

    blades67 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    Chandler, Arizona, USA
    Make sure you have copper washers on both sides of the banjo-fitting if that's the style you're using.
  7. kain13

    kain13 Veteran Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    if it is a fuel leak and hit the dizzy that would start it
    dont ask how i know
  8. sniggle_t

    sniggle_t Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Schenectady, NY
  9. Tphil413

    Tphil413 Veteran Member

    Jun 1, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Not sure what type of fitting I have, can you send a pic?
  10. Tphil413

    Tphil413 Veteran Member

    Jun 1, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Not familar with "the dizzy", can you translate?

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