18HP Evinrude On Fire!

Discussion in 'Bubba's Outboards' started by Ridge Runner, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner New Member

    Messages:
    4
    State:
    Arkansas
    I have a 1960ish18HP Evinrude that briefly caught fire on me over the weekend. Fortunately I had the cowling off and was able to actually blow out the flame. What happened was the motor backfired as I was trying to crank it and a spark ignited fuel that had been leaking from the fuel filter bowl on the tiller side of the engine. I saw it. My question is, where exactly could such a spark have come from? What cover or gasket is on the right hand side of that motor that seals exhaust or compression? Thanks -
     
  2. Arkie55

    Arkie55 New Member

    Messages:
    669
    State:
    Mississippi
    To answer you question. You don't necessarly have to have a leaking gasket or anything else to cause that. The vapor from your leaking fuel is just that, VAPOR that is extremely flamable. Under the right atmospheric conditions, the vapor could settle in the area between the power head and the housing. A spark for any wiring could be the ignition source. Spark plug wire, power pack, points, anything. Don't just assume that you had a leaking gasket somewhere on the tiller side of the engine. This is one subject I know something about. I work in a chemical plant where we handle thousands of gallons of solvents of various kinds and we go to extremes to educate our operators on explosive vapor and sparks. Please. repair the leak on the filter bowl. That is the cure to this porblem. No leak, no vapor, no fire. I wouldn't want to see you loose your motor or worse receive an injury or sever burn that could be prevented.
     

  3. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    As a retired mechanic at Chemical plants,I agree with Terry.Gasoline is also a solvent and it,s vapors are a constant threat.Static electricity can set you off.Most older internal combustion engines with electrical ignition have wiring and other electrical components that have deteriorated with age.I have seen many look like a electrical storm,when viewed at night.Fire is always a potential threat with any engine.It should always be expected and prepared for.It should never come as a surprise,as the potential is always there.There are several other things that could have set you off.peewee-williams
     
  4. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    It backfired, end of story. No spark, that was open flame igniting those vapors from the leak. I've seen it a few times . The last time it caught my friends hair on fire, and he wears a rug. Smelled just like the real thing.

    I had nothing to do with it. It was him and my idiot former boss trying to take a short cut to starting an engine that needed more work.
     
  5. dreamer34

    dreamer34 New Member

    Messages:
    849
    State:
    danville virginia
    maybe Arlington(JOHN) got around it with his flammable shirt
     
  6. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner New Member

    Messages:
    4
    State:
    Arkansas
    Good advice all and your points are well taken. Gas leaks are potentially dangerous anytime and especially so when in association with 45-year-old equipment. Rest assured the old ‘Rude will not be back on the water until the problem is corrected.

    But the ignition source was definitely from the backfire. Here’s a little more info. When I saw the filter bowl was leaking, I took it apart and found the gasket was shot so I fabricated a gasket from a piece of cardboard. It was better, but it still leaked. I disconnected the fuel line from the motor and we fished for an hour or two with the cowling off. When we decided to motor to a different spot, I hooked everything back up and the rest is history. The motor backfired and before you could say “medium rare,” flames surrounded the fuel filter bowl.

    It was over in a few seconds and after blowing it out, amazingly there was no discernable damage. But I wasn’t about to risk starting it again with that fuel leak. To get home, I snipped a piece from the small end of one of our cane poles and used it to splice together the fuel lines going into the filter housing and bypassed it completely. That actually worked. (McGuiver would have been proud!) No leaks. After a few more hours of fishing everything was nice and aired out and dry so I felt reasonably safe about starting the motor. It backfired again and this time I was watching. I saw a flash from the side of the motor just ahead and below where the filter mounts on the right hand side.

    That can’t be normal. The motor finally did start and after adjusting the mixture (which is probably what led to the flooded condition that caused the backfire in the first place) it seemed to run fine. Any thoughts?
     
  7. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    It looks like you've got it worked out.
     
  8. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    It helps to carry a few x-tra filter gaskets.You never know when you are going to get bad gas with water or trash.You can end up dumping your filter many times to get home.peewee-williams