Prado 150 fire

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 16:00
ThreadID: 136186 Views:2845 Replies:9 FollowUps:29
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Our first day on the Canning Stock Route last year our Prado was burnt. I am trying to find out what could have ignited the spinnifex jammed between the fuel tank and guard. When we first stopped spinnifex was smouldering at the right hand front corner of the fuel tank which we cleaned out,. After travelling approx 5 kms it was on fire and being aided by fuel leaking.The rest is history but I am at a loss what caused ignition because when we checked under vechicle during the day there was no other spinnifex caught in any other place.
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Reply By: cookie1 - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 16:54

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 16:54
Sorry to hear of your loss so early in your trip, I presume you are the unlucky one who had just left Bililuna and got as far as Well 46 I think I read.

I am no expert on the matter but have travelled through spinifex before, indeed we came across the Jeep back in 2012, and it is sharp stuff, presumably there are rubber fuel lines going to / from your tank and one would think it possible that maybe it has either penetrated the fuel line or, when you were clearing the spinifex, it may have loosened a hose perhaps. Followed by a loose stone / rock flicking up causing a spark.

All hypothetical I know, but I too would like to know what the actual cause was as we are heading back that way this year, with a DPF this time so does that not make me a tad cautious.

Again, sorry to hear of your loss but trust it hasn't put you off 4wding

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - abqaiq - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 07:48

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 07:48
It is virtually impossible to generate a ignitive spark by mechanical means (rock/stone). There just isn't enough energy it the spark. In fact it is extremely difficult to light gasoline vapor let alone diesel, with a cigarette: again to little energy available. Look to the brake system as others have suggested.
Retired fire prevention engineer..
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:04

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:04
Are you sure when a rock / stone hits the metal underbody it never creates a spark? So sparks don't cause fires?

Point taken on it being Diesel but Spinifex itself is highly flammable

Curious

(Theatre Fireman, with zero experience in this scenario)

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Lloyd M1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:53

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:53
Fully aware of fire risk on the Canning, just about impossible to remove spinafex from between fuel tank and guard without taking guard off. Make sure if you are travelling in spinnifex country, carry a water fire extinguisher or sprayer, other fire extinguishers are useless.
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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 09:06

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 09:06
or shroud the area with aluminium midge screen.
Keeps the seeds and leaves out.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 10:25

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 10:25
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I would agree with 'abqaiq' about the difficulty of creating ignition from a spark.

My experience in the oil & gas industry instructed me about electrical sparks igniting flammable oils and vapours. The physics of ignition is that the 'fuel' (in this case spinifex) has to be raised in temperature to the ignition point before it will actually ignite. As it has mass, this will require some energy and a small spark is unlikely to have sufficient energy before it self-extinguishes.

Liquid fuels such as diesel need to be raised in temperature until vapour is created and even then, the vapour must be heated to the ignition point.

Even the molecules of flammable vapours have mass and the smaller the molecule then the easier it is to ignite. An example is the very small molecule of hydrogen.

Ignition of solid material such as spinifex more likely occurs following it being heated by coming into contact with a hot body (exhaust pipe) or by friction (tail shaft).
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Follow Up By: Blown4by - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 01:33

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 01:33
How come then when ploughing fire breaks when the plough hits a rock a grass fire has occurred. Also has happened near me when baling hay and the baler hits a rock and a fire starts.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 10:20

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 10:20
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Don't know about the other posters, but my expression was "a SMALL spark is unlikely", which is what we do in the electrical industry....... arrange the equipment to keep any spark below a certain size. (It's called Intrinsic Safety)

As for spinifex ignition, I did NOT say that striking a rock would NOT cause ignition, only said it "more LIKELY occurs" from "being heated by a hot body or friction".

If you get a buildup of spinifex against the exhaust, there is a good chance it will ignite. But the likelihood of throwing up a rock of appropriate composition with the right velocity and it striking the vehicle at just the right location where spinifex has lodged and producing a spark of sufficient magnitude to ignite the spinifex....... well, I think I have a better chance of winning CrossLotto twice in a row!

Dunno about ploughing, never did any. lol..... But perhaps a plough scraping across a sizeable rock might produce a series of sparks sufficient to ignite dry grass?

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Allan

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Follow Up By: Blown4by - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 12:39

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 12:39
Good explanation and thank you. I wasn't 'having a go' and you weren't the only one suggesting that it is unlikely a spark could initiate a spinifex fire. Having driven the CSR in 1974 making fuel dumps for a helicopter seismic survey I think it more likely that the sparks or possibly small bits of already ignited spinifex from the Cat or other exhaust parts have blown back and ignited the spinifex at the rear of the vehicle. Or as others have suggested the ignition point could very likely be the heat from the rear brake rotors. In a former job one task was to check if a vehicles Cat was working or not and if temps were below 300°C further investigation was required. Some will go as high as 900°C. Back in '74 we didn't see any other vehicles and had to stop and clean the Landy radiator screen 100's of times. The spinifex stalks were often over bonnet height and the track so ill defined in places that you had to stop every now and then to double check you were actually still on it. It turned out one time we had missed a turning in the track and were driving 'cross country' until we backed up and found our error.
Re intrinsic safety I have a flame proof motor (from a hospital) on my workshop compressor and both end frames are fully sealed.
Re the plough and hay baler initiated fires they both happened on the same property.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 12:59

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 12:59
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Thanks Blown4by, I could be wrong of course. I nearly was once before! lol
Do Cat Cons get that hot? 900C? Glad there are none under my old Troopy.

And do brake rotors get hot enough to ignite anything? Whew!

"Flame Proof" is different to "Intrinsically Safe". With flameproof, the enclosure is not actually sealed, although it may appear to be. It is designed to prevent any ignition occurring within the enclosure from igniting the atmosphere outside. It does that by its mating parts having narrow but lengthy paths to cool and quench any flame. Intrinsically safe on the other hand is circuitry which limits the available electrical energy to be unable to generate a spark capable of initiating ignition.


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Allan

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 18:56

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 18:56
I thought that it was relatively common for a dpf burn to cause very high temperatures around the exhaust pipe. Any spinifex caught near it is in danger of igniting. If there are rubber fuel lines in the mix then the results will be catastrophic. Without knowing any details and only guessing from afar, it is just one of what may be several possible explanations for your unfortunate event. Sorry to hear it.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 19:13

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 19:13
We were couple of days ahead of you in a diesel D-Max and we pull up half though the first day to check for spinafex build up. As soon I got out of the ute I could smell something burning. Got underneath and started ripping the spinafex that was jammed around the exhaust, burning my arm in the process, but when I finished I could still smell something burning. I dived back under and and found a clump of grass jammed around the tailshaft in front of the centre bearing. This was quite hot and was burnt black were it was in contact with the tailshaft. Funny thing is we never had a problem with spinafex for the rest of the trip even though I checked everytime we stopped.
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Follow Up By: Lloyd M1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:02

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:02
What was the spinafex like as you went further down the track?
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 18:53

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 18:53
There was bad patches the whole way. Places were the track wasn't visible for the spinifex.
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Follow Up By: Greg J1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:22

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:22
This post has been read by the moderation team and has been moderated due to a breach of The Personal Attacks Rule .

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Follow Up By: Greg J1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 21:05

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 21:05
What was the spinifex like south of well 33 Ivan
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 19:36

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 19:36
Sorry to hear that Lloyd.

What year Pardao was it, and was it diesel or Petrol?


Diesel Prado fires - pre and post DPF, seem to be fairly common. Usually starting somewhere near the rear axle..




Tony
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 22:33

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 22:33
Welcome to the forum Lloyd - did Toyota ever follow through with an investigation or offer any advice?
Trust you're keeping the replacement Prado nice and dirty :-)
Cheers
Wildmax
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Follow Up By: Lloyd M1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:25

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:25
Hows the Hilux going and are you happy with it?
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:57

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:57
Yep, all good. Just about finished getting it set up, though won't be really tested until we head off in May.
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Reply By: Lloyd M1 - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 22:37

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 22:37
Tony it was a late 2016 diesel 150 Prado, 7000 on the clock. Apparently the slow speed we were travelling at would not cause a burn off according to what we’ve been told. Thanks for info about rear axle, don’t how it might ignite at front of tank
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:12

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:12
Look into that more Lloyd. I really looked into this for my 200. i was told by someone who should know ( but may not) that the 200 won't do a burn off until the vehicle os over 60kmph or when the light is on AND you do a manual burn. But the Prado is different. It can do a burn off under 60 kmph under certain circumstances. I have no idea if that is right or not.

Also don't focus too much on the DPF factor. There are a few instances of Prado fires in grass even before DPF came out.

I hope it works out for you and the insurance company comes good.
Tony
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Follow Up By: Lloyd M1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:42

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:42
I`m pretty sure the fire had nothing to do with the the PDF factor. On every inspection the only place spinafex was located was between fuel tank and guard.
Will continue to follow up, do not want to burn another Prado when off road.
Insurance came good but had to go to management to get it ticked off. Kept being told they were going to pick up vechicle and just like Toyota inspecting it I new that was never going to happen because of cost.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 23:55

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 23:55
My recollection from other Prados that burned on the Canning was that fire starts near a rear wheel.
I wonder whether the traction control has a part to play in that - if it gets activated on the sand, causing the calipers to get hot.
Also the fuel tanks are plastic - not good with a fire nearby.
Here is a thread from 2006 where a couple of Prado fires were discussed:
https://www.exploroz.com/forum/37548/prado-on-fire---clear-any-spinifex
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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 07:51

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 07:51
Like Phil said we've seen a few different vehicles with traction control nearly set fire to spinifex when it has jammed up against hot brake calipers.
As others have said anything that is moving and can cause friction will also start it burning. Years ago on one trip in the northern Simpson we even had a crook shock on a old Range Rover which because that corner was jumping up and down started the spinifex smouldering from the friction.
The other big problem is catalytic converters and DPF's plus I suspect later model vehicles run much hotter exhausts so anywhere it can be packed up against something hot it will start to burn.
Maybe in your case the spinifex was ignited by something further forward and then lodged against the fuel tank. Once the fuel line is ruptured if the engine is on the in tank pump will supply fuel until the tank is dry or the power supply is removed.
Prado's have a bit of rep starting fires at the rear calipers, then look at the utes that have started fires in paddocks in dry conditions. I know of several local cockies that won't allow late model vehicles in their paddocks due to fires being started in the past.
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Reply By: Lloyd M1 - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:24

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 08:24
Hi Wildmax, spoke to Toyota in September and they told me they would go out to inspect vechicle. I rang six weeks later and was told they didn`t go out because they would not find anything due to the time factor since it was burnt. Instead watched a u tube video of burnt out vechicle. Only cause maybe battery came loose in holder and wiring shorted out, can you believe that!! Not interested in helping. Cheers Lloyd
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 10:35

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 10:35
Lloyd
Did you ask Toyota man where the battery is at the fuel tank?
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Reply By: GerryG - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:06

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:06
Having spent the last 45 years doing desert safaris (as a business) we learnt a lot about spinifex.
I too, in the mid 80's, lost a Landrover, out near the CSR, as a result of spinifex seed head build up around various under body hot spots.
There are three things we consider before going out into the western deserts.

a. Try and do the trip as late as possible in the year. Spinifex seeds after good rains which is generally always in the summer. The seed heads break off with the wind eventually but not until mid year. (Give or take) Early in the year desert crossers will snap off these offending stalks, causing build up and possibly creating fires.

b. Remove all bash plates, guards and anything else that will provide a hidden place for spinifex build up. If a fire does start then at least you can see what's happening and deal with it.

c. As some one above has already said, don't waste time with the usual run of the mill fire extinguishers. We carry "squirt bottles" that we can direct a solid stream of water or any other liquid if necessary (urine!) straight at the base of the fire. (I still carry one on my tractor when slashing as I have put my exhaust under the tractor because of the trees.) These bottles are refillable and work.
We've even used hot Fosters Larger to put out fires. Just crack the ring pull and the whole can will empty itself!

Just a few thoughts.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:13

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:13
Seed wasn't our problem. It was the stalks
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Follow Up By: GerryG - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:26

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 20:26
That's right. The seeds will have long gone. I used the term "seed heads" meaning the empty husks and the attached stalks which I referred to later.
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Follow Up By: KevinE - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 21:16

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 at 21:16
Great post Gerry, thanks mate!
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Follow Up By: Blown4by - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 01:46

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 01:46
I too have heard it said that a good supply of kitchen detergent plastic bottles filled with water and some of those 5 litre household weed pressure sprayers filled with water are invaluable. Also a few pairs of elbow length boilermakers leather gloves and various 'hooks' made from short lengths of stout fencing wire that can reach under the vehicle and in to tight spots easily can be used to hook out any compacted spinifex, hopefully before it ignites
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 10:26

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 10:26
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I met a bloke who used a 5 litre garden pressure sprayer to supply his bush shower then had it available to use as a water extinguisher. Seemed like a good idea.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: TTTSA - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 14:41

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 14:41
Allan, that is also what we carry when in spinifex country. Right behind the drivers seat.

Peter
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 15:13

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 at 15:13
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Peter, I don't but maybe I should. Have considered it but I already have a 12v pump-in-a-bucket shower.

With the Troopy I seem to have no trouble from spinifex or other grass. Maybe it is the height and underbelly design with no places to accumulate?
Hot brake disks?... never use them! And with a 1HZ engine, the exhaust runs really cool too. lol

A trick if travelling in convoy....... avoid being the lead vehicle. Let him bash the spinifex down! I once travelled behind the Beadell's. Their Landrover was like a lawnmower!!!!
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Friday, Feb 02, 2018 at 19:52

Friday, Feb 02, 2018 at 19:52
@ allan, I nic from western4wd mag come up with that idea as a solution for a shower but for my shape n size I reckon a overhanging tree with solar shower better and easier option.

DPF re-burn happens at 60kmph according to toyota workshop manager I know of.

Appears to be a possible issue with hilux (latest model) which is rather odd as same programming protocols used in Prado 150 and unit is used across the hilux prado 200 series range and works ok in Prado & 200 series

Know of a bloke who modified a old 9kg foam or powder type to a water unit he can fill with water as needed and pressurise it with air compressor as well. Ideal for quick spinifex dousing -should really carry one on board with me at all times but space is a issue.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Feb 10, 2018 at 09:59

Saturday, Feb 10, 2018 at 09:59
I have heard of people adding some detergent in the pump spray water bottles as well
The detergent acts like a wetting agent and helps hold the water on the sprayed surfaces
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Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Saturday, Feb 10, 2018 at 17:54

Saturday, Feb 10, 2018 at 17:54
@Alby - most fire fighting appliances there days will have either AFFF or BFFF fitted a slightly more advanced version of dish washign liquid dependant on % used can either be a covering foam (as per aviation ) or a light amount allowing water to cling onto vegetation abit longer. They now playign with a gel they layer down to act as a buffer ebtween burnt and unburnt - reuslts yet to be fully released

I used dishwashing liquid to make bit of a foam layer to prevent hotspots in back yard reduction burns to reduce re-ignition foam seals off oxygen from heat source casuing fire to extinquish itself, in case of spinefix the ratio would need to be spot on though as we aren't using a dedicated CAFS system which is how the foam is dosed and pumped
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