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This is a question asked frequently by many Volkswagen owners

There is a number of factors to the engine catching on fire.

Lets start with the basics.

When your engine is hot, this is a perfect environment for a fire to start, and when you get **ANY** flammable material on this hot engine, you can have fires.
The biggest cause of flammable materials getting on your engine are from old, rotten fuel lines. Yes, gas is *HIGHLY* flammable.

So where do I start to ensure that I wont have fires?
Even if you do your best on replacing the fuel lines, you may still get fires from minute amounts of fuel.
Your Aircooled engine will get *VERY* hot. Always carry a fire extinguisher in the backseat of your Volkswagen. I guarantee you it will come in handy someday.

I want to replace my fuel lines, where do I start?
Start with :
The piece under the gas tank.
The piece exiting from the frame horn next to the transaxle.
The piece going to the fuel pump.
The piece between the fuel pump and carburetor.

HOSE CLAMPS
Always use the correct size of HOSE CLAMPS at every single joint. Ask your fuel line supplier for the correct ones, your local Volkswagen shop may not give you the correct one however.
You will also want to make sure you get ***METRIC*** fuel lines. Did you get that, ***METRIC*** fuel lines. One of the biggest causes of fires are from incorrect hose.

Do NOT use American hose.

ROUTING FUEL LINES Always make sure that all of your hoses have some free play to move, always avoid tight bends because these hoses will wear prematurely. Make sure you always route fuel lines as far away as possible of exhaust pipes.

CARB FITTINGS
Make sure that your carburetor fittings are tight. If you do not tighten these correctly a huge amount of gasoline will go right on your engine. Your VW is now as potentially hazardous as a can of gas next to a fire

CONCLUSION
The next time you go out to work on your VW, make sure you inspect the fuel lines and fittings for looseness, or cracks & breaks. Keeping your fuel lines in good shape will be what keeps your VW from burning up. Eventually those old fuel lines will crack & break.

Be safe and enjoy your AIRCOOLED car
 

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Re: Why do bugs catch on fire ??

Vw engine fires I believe are cause by people working on them that shouldn't. I have seen the worst when I used to work at a shop. Also, all the little things are overlooked like broken wires, wires that have been spliced in 4 different spots, glass fuel filters that get broken, ect, ect. I have never had an engine fire (knock on wood) because I always check & re-check everything when working on my vw.
 

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Re: Why do bugs catch on fire ??

I have seen first hand one of the reasons that might get overlooked when checking your fuel system. The brass fitting that is pressed into the top of the stock carb can just pull out. As soon as that happens, the fuel line end drops right onto your dist which is a spark source. The fire can happen even if the your engine has not built up any heat. I think there must be a difference between the expansion and contraction of the two different metals, brass and aluminum. Eventually the brass fitting just wiggles out and poof.
Check the brass fitting at the top of your stock carb to make sure it is tight into the carb. After market carbs, I am not sure about.
 

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One of the biggest causes of VW engine fires is not only the condition of the fuel line, but the routing of the fuel line. I wish I had a nickel for evey decklid I've lifted to see the fuel filter DIRECTLY over the top of the distributor. Crappy old cracked fuel line, el-cheeso plastic fuel filters, and ignition distributors don't play nice together.
 

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A good reminder to check your fuel lines and filter and make sure your safe for next summer







And be careful pulling a hot car into the garage as well

 

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Wow, scary pics. Mine caught on fire once (ALWAYS carry a fire ext!!). Had a burnt tired valve, fire blew by it and lit the carb. Had an electric fuel pump and dual Webers, and the air cleaner was good tinder.
 

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another thing to consider is valve setting, there are many different methods passed around on various forums recommending valve setting at other than TDC, this can be a cause for concern especially with steel pushrods and cold starts. stick with TDC or be real sure your fire safety gear is sufficient.
 

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Any aircooled VW should have a fire extinguisher for survival.


And those cheapy plastic fuel filters are death for sure, the seem splits after awhile! :angrywords:
 

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Cry once when you replace your fuel line and go with an fittings and steel braided line. It's cheap insurance but you should ALWAYS check your lines (oil or fuel) when doing basic maintenance on your vehicle. Replace any lines necessary. Just my .02
I also route my 3/8" solid stainless line outside the vehicle up under the running board area. Cheap Insurance if you ask me. Oh and NEVER run a CHEAP PLASTIC filter
 

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I had a fire once when I was a kid from the passenger side carb actually coming loose. Luckily I was smart enough to carry an extinguisher.
 

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My high school auto shop teacher, who once worked on a fire crew, gave the class a good lecture on car fires one day...

It included some rather sage advice learned while responding to several VW engine fires:

"If your VW catches on fire, you have very little time to save your car" he said "if the fuel line that feeds the fuel pump melts, or is the cause of the fire, the higher fuel tank will just keep feeding the fire until the tank is empty. Once the mag case gets going, you're car is done". He continued "I used to tell people if you have a VW fire, 'the first thing to do is to take your belongings, anything you care about, out of the car' ".
 

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I just recently saw a VW that was on fire. Not because of the VW but because of the hot coals the little girls put in the trash can in the garage. Bye bye VW, garage, house, everything.
 

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LoL I've got a $300 junker/driver that just wont die thats got everything wrong with it that you all just said. Hehe but hay it was only $300 bucks if it burns down it will be easyer to turn it into a baja or strip car. :thumbsup: wish i had a pic One year the car was completely buried in snow for months summer came we jumped in veroom and drove it around. The junky mega-volt battery has to be 10 years old now. Car cranks like it doesn't have any plugs in it the sunroof was welded up I even think the rims were cast or drilled out of round. Hahaa
 

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I had a broken rocker in my 1776 I had yrs ago. I pulled up to a stop sign, it was popping and snarfing something fierce. I had no idea what it was, so I was going to keep going to the house which was jut around the corner. Low and behold, flames in the back window. I grabbed my extinguisher, opened the deck lid carefully, and it went "poof".....nothing. I tore my t-shirt off and beat it out. The air filter on my 40DRLA was what was burning. It back fired hard enough thru the carb to catch the filter on fire. I was very fortunate. I only suffered some melted wiring, and some bubbled paint. A weekend of work, we were back in action. Fires in a VW scare me to death.......crazy stuff.
 

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Similar to the carb pipe, the pipe pressed/cast into some brazilian fuel pumps can pop out too letting the pump spray petrol all over the engine. Stake it, peen it or JB weld it or use a reco german pump. I had new german hose and new clamps, so this engine fire was rather DISSAPOINTING :surprise:
 

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Hotrodvw said:
I had a broken rocker in my 1776 I had yrs ago. I pulled up to a stop sign, it was popping and snarfing something fierce. I had no idea what it was, so I was going to keep going to the house which was jut around the corner. Low and behold, flames in the back window. I grabbed my extinguisher, opened the deck lid carefully, and it went "poof".....nothing. I tore my t-shirt off and beat it out. The air filter on my 40DRLA was what was burning. It back fired hard enough thru the carb to catch the filter on fire. I was very fortunate. I only suffered some melted wiring, and some bubbled paint. A weekend of work, we were back in action. Fires in a VW scare me to death.......crazy stuff.
I had this exact same thing happen going around a slowing exit ramp. It burped out the intake and caught the left IDF filter on fire. I lost a nice t-shirt smothering it out.
 
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