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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Looks like the insurance company is declaring my '91 Spider a total loss from an engine fire last week (See March 14 "R.I.P '91 S4"). I can buy it back from them as salvage but don't have the time or space to part it out - any thoughts or wild guesses on the value of selling it as a donor or for someone to part out? Someone with parts, time, and ability might be able to get it back on the road but with a salvage title. I'll get some better pics, just wondering if it's worth buying back.
 

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Looks like it may need a new hood....

Sorry to hear about your disaster (belatedly)

Bob
 

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what was the cause of the fire?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
power line source

The insurance company engineer looked at it and is doing some more research. Most of the flames were on the r/f side of the engine where the power line runs to the starter - the line may have rubbed against an improperly placed clamp and arced to cause a spark that then ignited fuel. Since the engine died suddenly right before the fire and there was no electrical smell, that could be it. It felt to me while driving like a fuel or injector line blew and spewed gas on the block but the forensics guys seem to know a lot more about figuring these things out than I do. They sould have a report early next week.
 

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Sorry to hear about your loss. She looks like a beauty. My 164 also had a bracket problem which resulted in the wiring harness falling on the exhaust manifold. Needed a new wiring harness only. The insurance co hired an investigator and paid me 750 usd. Dean Russel supplied a wiring harness basically for his labor for removing it. I think 220 usd. Its a long tedious job. A few years back my 944 turbo fuel line sprung a leak on the very hot exhaust manifold resulting in lots of damage. She is running now but with some problems. I might be interested in your car as I am interested in installing a 200 hp fiat turbo set up.

diverdan
 

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The insurance company engineer looked at it and is doing some more research. Most of the flames were on the r/f side of the engine where the power line runs to the starter - the line may have rubbed against an improperly placed clamp and arced to cause a spark that then ignited fuel. Since the engine died suddenly right before the fire and there was no electrical smell, that could be it. It felt to me while driving like a fuel or injector line blew and spewed gas on the block but the forensics guys seem to know a lot more about figuring these things out than I do. They sould have a report early next week.
Several things.

First don't just assume the engineer knows what he is talking about.

The power line or battery cable to the starter is located at the right rear of the engine were the starter is. There is no main power cable at the right front.

In reading your first thread about this.

The pop you heard was the fuel vapors igniting. A popping noise is a sign of vapors igniting. Much like lighting your propane grill without opening the lid.

There is not much on the right side that will instantly ignite fuel. An example fuel sprayed on a hot exhaust manifold will ignite real quickly with out much noise. There is nothing really hot on the intake side.

From looking at your picture of the motor. It looks like the hottest part of the fire was right at the fuel pressure regulator at the end of the fuel rail. In the picture it looks like the fuel hose popped off the regulator. Then a spark ignited the fuel vapor then from there it just burns. The source of the spark was probably the distributor.

This is why on boats everything that can produce a spark either has a flame arrestor or is shield.

This is based on my 10 or so years of working professionally on Alfas and seeing and parting out many burned and wrecked ones and the last 16 years working on boats were fuel vapors are very very dangerous.

I hope this might help you out.

As far as salvage value. It usually 15 to 25 percent of what the insurance is going to pay you. So if they were going to pay you a 1000.00 and keep the car. Then tell them you want to keep the car and they would give you at least 750.00 or more and the car with a salvaged title. A lot of insurance companys would rather you keep a car like an alfa as their getting more for the car from you then they would at the insurances auctions.
 

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When the 944 went it was a fairly major "Kaboom" and the car shook like a bomb had gone off underneath. Used a lot of fire extinguishers. No insurance for that. Just sucked it up. I agree with the fuel initiating the blaze from what I can see in the pictures. Everybody needs to inspect those old fuel lines!
 

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When the 944 went it was a fairly major "Kaboom" and the car shook like a bomb had gone off underneath. Used a lot of fire extinguishers. No insurance for that. Just sucked it up. I agree with the fuel initiating the blaze from what I can see in the pictures. Everybody needs to inspect those old fuel lines!
Yes. The more fuel vapors there are the bigger the boom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you Jim. Your explanation fits perfectly from what I recall and what I can now see (with my limited knowledge) The engineer was a nice guy and probably would have nailed the cause if it was a Ford F-150 but seemed way over his head with an Alfa, understandably I suppose. He was very pleased when I offered to show him the shop manual. He then went through it and took pictures of a lot of the pages. After reading your post, I went out to look at the car again: when I checked the power line he was focusing on that he was certain arced to cause the fire, I noticed a pattern - the firefighters sawed the hood in half (nicking both fenders and other bits under the hood by the way). I closed the half of the hood that was left and the "arc" was right in the path of the saw blade. Might be that they simply cut it? As you can see in the pic, the saw blade was, um, large. I really appreciate your time and very helpful explanation. One of best things about owning Alfas is the help and advice on this board. I hope to get the salvage price this week and go from there.
 

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Sorry for your loss. I went back through your postings. This was the same car that the shysters tin canned opened your fuel tank.

So the car was having a previous fuel issue, now I think it was gummed up fuel they opened the tank to clean it out, quick and dirty.

So then they flushed the system, cheapo style, and left a fitting loose in front, spraying gasoline everywhere in front, which caused your fire.

I don't know, obviously, but looking at what when on with your fuel tank, it seems very plausible to me.

This looks like a good lawsuit, that is, if there's anyone you can find to sue. Could have killed you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yup, I typically take a route that includes mostly a 6-lane interstate with a concrete dividing wall. Instead, I stuck to back roads and it's a good thing I did. I would have been run over or run into the wall with nowhere to go when it lost power.
And thanks for the salvage link, long drive to Tulsa but very tempting!
 

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Yup, I typically take a route that includes mostly a 6-lane interstate with a concrete dividing wall. Instead, I stuck to back roads and it's a good thing I did. I would have been run over or run into the wall with nowhere to go when it lost power.
And thanks for the salvage link, long drive to Tulsa but very tempting!
You can always get it shipped best prices are finding haulers trying to fill the last place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
91 Spider Salvage ready to go

Finally heard from the insurance company and they are letting me buy it back. I don't want to do so unless I can sell it because I don't have the time to part it or repair it. It comes with a regular title, not a salvage title, which is how they do it here for older cars. It seems to me that bodywork on the fenders, a new hood, and a new engine would make it whole but I'm not a restoration expert. It has lots of newer parts and over $3800 is brand new parts that were added right before its fateful day. I'll be posting an ad on the classified board with a link to 153 photos on photobucket. The first $5,800 cash that can pick it up the soonest takes it. If not, it goes to the auction.
Here is the photo bucket URL. Just copy and paste in browser
http://s1383.photobucket.com/user/kzoodog/library/silver salvage?sort=2&page=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sold her yesterday. Sad seeing her go off on the trailer but at least she'll eventually be back on the road.
 
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