96 Aerostar hood liner fire

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I'm stumped with this one. What do you fellers think could have cause a spark? No damage. I'm not taking a chance in my shade tree skills with this one, but have to use the car tomorrow around town until the shop opens on Monday. Meanwhile, I put a fire extinguisher and a full 2 gallon weed sprayer in the front seat just in case.
Car was cold. Drove about 3 miles at 35mph or less. Parked. Then smelled asbestos burning. Popped the hood. A 6-inch diameter section of the hood liner over the battery had burned. I mashed the few embers that were still soldering around the edges.
Can't tell for sure, but the starting point could be a 1/16 inch depression that is darker than the rest near the center. If that's was it, my first thought was a red hot piece of metal, sand, etc, that had come from a pulley. Reason I say that is one of the idler pulleys has been squealing lately. Nothing else was hot or burned. Battery was cold, terminals tight, no corrosion, no sign of shorting. Checked every wire and connection I could see and all look OK.
Only other thought is that it picked up a cigarette or something burning in the road. Although doesn't seem likely, since it would have had to have to fly up and around different ways to get there.
http://i61.tinypic.com/24f9uab.jpg
http://i61.tinypic.com/1252x60.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/sne0cx.jpg
Any ideas what might have caused something like this?
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I'm stumped with this one. What do you fellers think could have cause a spark? No damage. I'm not taking a chance in my shade tree skills with this one, but have to use the car tomorrow around town until the shop opens on Monday. Meanwhile, I put a fire extinguisher and a full 2 gallon weed sprayer in the front seat just in case.
Car was cold. Drove about 3 miles at 35mph or less. Parked. Then smelled asbestos burning. Popped the hood. A 6-inch diameter section of the hood liner over the battery had burned. I mashed the few embers that were still soldering around the edges.
Can't tell for sure, but the starting point could be a 1/16 inch depression that is darker than the rest near the center. If that's was it, my first thought was a red hot piece of metal, sand, etc, that had come from a pulley. Reason I say that is one of the idler pulleys has been squealing lately. Nothing else was hot or burned. Battery was cold, terminals tight, no corrosion, no sign of shorting. Checked every wire and connection I could see and all look OK.
Only other thought is that it picked up a cigarette or something burning in the road. Although doesn't seem likely, since it would have had to have to fly up and around different ways to get there.
http://i61.tinypic.com/24f9uab.jpg
http://i61.tinypic.com/1252x60.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/sne0cx.jpg
Any ideas what might have caused something like this?
------
I just saw this about evaporating the water out of the radiator and leaving pure glycol which he says is flammable. http://www.croberts.com/coolant.htm I did have a hose pop off and spray coolant a couple of weeks ago, but the mixture at that time was 50/50. And it sprayed toward wheel well. Since then I have been checking every day or so and everything under the hood was dry before and after the burning. Just in case, I'm going to hose down the entire engine today.
Found some good info about sources of car fires... http://depts.washington.edu/vehfire/homepage.html
Before going nuts pulling things apart, I will clean the battery connections and do a better check of wiring and charging circuit, replace the idler pulley and and look at cleaning or replacing the hood liner.
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On Sun, 5 Apr 2015 10:08:25 -0700, "Fred James"

basically come apart. If it hasn't, 9-+% chance it was not the idler. Being above the battery I'd definitely be looking at an electrical cause first and foremost if the idler is not very obviously overheated and disintegrated.
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skills with this one, but have to use the car tomorrow around town until the shop opens on Monday. Meanwhile, I put a fire extinguisher and a full 2 gallon weed sprayer in the front seat just in case.

of the hood liner over the battery had burned. I mashed the few embers that were still soldering around the edges.

it, my first thought was a red hot piece of metal, sand, etc, that had come from a pulley. Reason I say that is one of the idler pulleys has been squealing lately. Nothing else was hot or burned. Battery was cold, terminals tight, no corrosion, no sign of shorting. Checked every wire and connection I could see and all look OK.

had to have to fly up and around different ways to get there.

http://www.croberts.com/coolant.htm I did have a hose pop off and spray coolant a couple of weeks ago, but the mixture at that time was 50/50. And it sprayed toward wheel well. Since then I have been checking every day or so and everything under the hood was dry before and after the burning. Just in case, I'm going to hose down the entire engine today.

replace the idler pulley and and look at cleaning or replacing the hood liner.

Thanks, Clare. I'll keep looking but so far have not see any wiring troubles. Battery cables and connections were fine & tight -- just to be sure I pulled them off and cleaned them good.
Lots of guesses at what the hood liner is for. I always thought it was to muffle engine noise. Some folks are saying it's to help smoother engine fires. To me, it looks like a good place for oil and soot to collect and *start* a fire.
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On Sun, 5 Apr 2015 12:16:48 -0700, "Fred James"

noise and it insulates the fiberglass hood from engine heat.
I've owned 2 Aerostars, and 2 brothers have owned 2 each as well. 1989 to 1997.
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I had an Aerostar, and liked it. I'd buy another if they still made them.
I once found a depression in the hood liner pad.
(no fire though)
The cause was pretty obvious when I looked. I'd added oil and forgot to pu t the cap on. When I closed the hood the cap compressed the pad above it.
So here's my theory. You somehow had a piece of metal above the battery's hot terminal. Maybe a wrench or screwdriver left over from a repair, bottl e cap, coke can, etc. It compressed the pad above it when you closed the l id. As you drove the pad wore enough to make contact, and you had current flow from the hot terminal to the grounded hood lid. When you opened the h ood to check, the metal fell off and rolled away and you'll never find it.
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wrote:

Only problem with that theory is the Aerostar hood (and tailgate) are fiberglass
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On Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 5:20:33 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

t.

ttle cap, coke can, etc. It compressed the pad above it when you closed th e lid. As you drove the pad wore enough to make contact, and you had curre nt flow from the hot terminal to the grounded hood lid. When you opened th e hood to check, the metal fell off and rolled away and you'll never find i t.

Yeah, that would definitely blow my theory.
Google suggests they come both ways. Mine seemed like steel but it's been a long time since I had that van.
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wrote:

glass hoods. 5 were Canadian Market, and 1 was a US market Eddie Bauer IIRC. The only 2 parts of an Aerostar that didn't rust were the hood and back door.
That said, I'd by a '97 if I could find a good one. (they finally solved the body rust problems, then stopped making them). The '97 4 liter long body with the 5 speed automatic was a real nice package.
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pad above it.

repair, bottle cap, coke can, etc. It compressed the pad above it when you closed the lid. As you drove the pad wore enough to make contact, and you had current flow from the hot terminal to the grounded hood lid. When you opened the hood to check, the metal fell off and rolled away and you'll never find it.

This one's definitely got a metal hood. Maybe it was replaced before I got the van?
I just remembers something that may or may not be related... A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at light (daytime) and the current meter started oscillating up and down - just slightly. I would not have noticed it except I just happened to look. I raced the engine and it still was wavering. Next stop, I checked and it was steady again.
Today when I cranked the engine, I heard a 1/2 second chatter in the engine area on the drivers side. Never heard that before with this car. Like a solenoid does when something's getting ready to head south. Will check that out. Last time I bought a battery it was $60-70. Surprised that they are twice that at the auto parts places.
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On 4/5/2015 1:08 PM, Fred James wrote:

There is no asbestos and it is a mineral that does not burn.
Since it is above the battery, I'd think it could have been electrical. Possible that a cat, squirrel, or other small animal started to build a nest and brough up some material that shorted across the battery and burned up leaving little visible residue. Wet dried out grass coud evendo it.
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looked like there had been a small fire at some time - - there were maple keys all blackenned and charred -We had trouble with chipmunks chewing on things (ate plug wires and vac hoses as well as the underhood pad) and my suspicion is the rascal pissed on the maple keys on top of the battery, causing them to conduct to the hold-down bracket and heat up. No proof, but no other explanation.
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On 4/5/2015 1:08 PM, Fred James wrote:

chance in my shade tree skills with this one, but have to use the car tomorrow around town until the shop opens on Monday. Meanwhile, I put a fire extinguisher and a full 2 gallon weed sprayer in the front seat just in case.

diameter section of the hood liner over the battery had burned. I mashed the few embers that were still soldering around the edges.

the center. If that's was it, my first thought was a red hot piece of metal, sand, etc, that had come from a pulley. Reason I say that is one of the idler pulleys has been squealing lately. Nothing else was hot or burned. Battery was cold, terminals tight, no corrosion, no sign of shorting. Checked every wire and connection I could see and all look OK.

it would have had to have to fly up and around different ways to get there.

http://www.croberts.com/coolant.htm I did have a hose pop off and spray coolant a couple of weeks ago, but the mixture at that time was 50/50. And it sprayed toward wheel well. Since then I have been checking every day or so and every thing under the hood was dry before and after the burning. Just in case, I'm going to hose down the entire engine today.

charging circuit, replace the idler pulley and and look at cleaning or replacing the hood liner.

touched the hood, shorted out.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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On Sun, 05 Apr 2015 19:12:11 -0400, Stormin Mormon

You've never had the hood open on an Aerostar, eh??? Linda hard to short out the battery to a fiberglass hood.

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On 4/5/2015 8:41 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

News to me.] on an Aerostar, eh???

Center posted like your reply. - . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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+1
was someone perhaps sitting on the hood of the car and pressing it down at some point?
Mark
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I'm stumped with this one. What do you fellers think could have cause a spark? No damage. I'm not taking a chance in my shade tree skills with this one, but have to use the car tomorrow around town until the shop opens on Monday. Meanwhile, I put a fire extinguisher and a full 2 gallon weed sprayer in the front seat just in case.
Car was cold. Drove about 3 miles at 35mph or less. Parked. Then smelled asbestos burning. Popped the hood. A 6-inch diameter section of the hood liner over the battery had burned. I mashed the few embers that were still soldering around the edges.
Can't tell for sure, but the starting point could be a 1/16 inch depression that is darker than the rest near the center. If that's was it, my first thought was a red hot piece of metal, sand, etc, that had come from a pulley. Reason I say that is one of the idler pulleys has been squealing lately. Nothing else was hot or burned. Battery was cold, terminals tight, no corrosion, no sign of shorting. Checked every wire and connection I could see and all look OK.
Only other thought is that it picked up a cigarette or something burning in the road. Although doesn't seem likely, since it would have had to have to fly up and around different ways to get there.
http://i61.tinypic.com/24f9uab.jpg
http://i61.tinypic.com/1252x60.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/sne0cx.jpg
Any ideas what might have caused something like this?
------
I just saw this about evaporating the water out of the radiator and leaving pure glycol which he says is flammable. http://www.croberts.com/coolant.htm I did have a hose pop off and spray coolant a couple of weeks ago, but the mixture at that time was 50/50. And it sprayed toward wheel well. Since then I have been checking every day or so and everything under the hood was dry before and after the burning. Just in case, I'm going to hose down the entire engine today.
Found some good info about sources of car fires... http://depts.washington.edu/vehfire/homepage.html
Before going nuts pulling things apart, I will clean the battery connections and do a better check of wiring and charging circuit, replace the idler pulley and and look at cleaning or replacing the hood liner.
== Long time shop checked it out and could not find any electrical or other possible ways the hood liner could have burned. Suggested could have been something picked up from the road, but no way to tell.
He also checked out engine which has been overheating lately and rough running. Said it was a leaking head gasket. Said the tan colored residue where coolant spilled out are from the engine leaking exhaust into the coolant. Gastket leak was also pressurizing the radiator and causing coolant to flow out the cap and was overflowing the reservoir.
Will send me an estimate for replacing head gasket and another for swapping out with a used engine.
No matter was the costs are, I have another mechanic I'll have check it out just to be sure. I bought it 10 years ago for $3000 and have only spent routine service on it, so if the cost is under $2K, I'll get 'er done. Other than that, it's a great work van - nothing like it new for under $25K.
Sound reasonable?
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On 4/7/2015 1:02 AM, Fred James wrote:

is flammable. http://www.croberts.com/coolant.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethylene_glycol Flash point 232F (way, way over 100F) which makes it combustible, not flammable.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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Doesn't sound likely to me either. But I'm gonna not going to fool around with a head gasket leaking a fuel/air mixture into the radiator, pressurizing it and then venting it into the engine compartment.
I'm thinking of running a hose temporarily from the rad cap overflow out the side of the car to keep the fume away from hot parts until I can get the repair done.
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On Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 12:58:37 AM UTC-4, Fred James wrote:

ere coolant spilled out are from the engine leaking exhaust into the coolan t. Gastket leak was also pressurizing the radiator and causing coolant to f low out the cap and was overflowing the reservoir.
A head gasket will cost you about $3500 and a rebuilt engine the same. If you like the van (I did) I'd do it in a heartbeat.
How's the transmission? It's about time for that to go, you might want to think about biting both bullets.
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