Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Forum for Infiniti M35 and M45, and Nissan Fuga owners.
mnathan
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Car: Infiniti 2008 M35

Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby mnathan » Sat May 16, 2020 2:45 pm

Recently driving down the highway, I noticed white smoke and pulled over. A rather large fire was emitting from the area near the alternator. I doused the fire and drove home. I have removed the alternator and it tested bad. The car will still run off its battery, but I'm unsure what to do. I replaced the alternator a few months ago because it died due to oil dripping onto it (I theorize it was power steering fluid). Currently I am thinking about getting another alternator from the pull-apart, testing, and installing it. The only issue is that the clip that plugs into the alternator is melted, so I am reluctant to install another alternator just to break it. I cant be sure how the fire started honestly. The alternator that died initially was OEM, and the one that died after the fire was the same one, but it had been refurbished at a shop. Thoughts?


cruzad3r
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Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby cruzad3r » Sat May 16, 2020 7:54 pm

Just some thoughts.

1- Go find the root cause of your fire. Maybe some pictures of the engine bay if you want folks here to help. Also maybe provide a history of the car. Many folks here own their cars for years/decade and non caught on fire yet - at least none have reported and that I've seen here.

2- When you doused the fire, I'm assuming you're using extinguisher. I would go back and focus on that area and see if you can trace it. Also see if the surrounding components are burned or affected. Not sure how it's a large fire and yet only the alternator is affected.

Good luck. You will find most here are eager to help, but to do so we'll need additional facts.

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Ilya
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Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby Ilya » Sun May 17, 2020 7:51 am

My brothers alternator on his 97 Maxima GXE caught fire one time. Happens, but I'd say it's pretty rare. I agree with Cruzader...you need to figure out what the cause was and go from there.

mnathan
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:41 pm
Car: Infiniti 2008 M35

Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby mnathan » Sun May 17, 2020 5:55 pm

cruzad3r wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 7:54 pm
Just some thoughts.

1- Go find the root cause of your fire. Maybe some pictures of the engine bay if you want folks here to help. Also maybe provide a history of the car. Many folks here own their cars for years/decade and non caught on fire yet - at least none have reported and that I've seen here.

2- When you doused the fire, I'm assuming you're using extinguisher. I would go back and focus on that area and see if you can trace it. Also see if the surrounding components are burned or affected. Not sure how it's a large fire and yet only the alternator is affected.

Good luck. You will find most here are eager to help, but to do so we'll need additional facts.
Extinguisher was not used. The alternator definitely was the source of the fire in some way or another, but it appears that either power steering fluid or oil was spilled on it but i cant discern which. Currently im looking to refurbish the burnt alternator since it tested dead. I definitely need to determine the source of the leak, and a friend told me i need to trace the connections inside the car but honestly I have no clue how to do that. I am experienced with soldering but ive got to replace the connector that plugs into the alternator, and im not sure if I need to solder or just crimp and twist it.

*edit- There was very little visible burn damage. Im assuming the fire started and melted some wire and shorted the alternator but I cant know for sure. I need to learn how to trace the wires for the short and also how to locate that leak. I was told it could be from the power steering pump or a "cover valve" referring to oil in some way.

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Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby Larz » Mon May 18, 2020 5:17 pm

You're on the right track. First find out what is dripping onto the alternator, where it is leaking, and fix that. As far as the wiring and connector, perhaps you can go to Pull-A-Part, find a similar model, and yank the entire connector and wiring assembly so you end up with a connector that has all the wires included. Now you will know where each wire came from. As far as another alternator, I have always been told that most refurbished units were are done correctly and the only real option is to buy a new OEM replacement or yank an OEM from a wrecked M as you did.
Let us know how all of this resolves.

mnathan
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:41 pm
Car: Infiniti 2008 M35

Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby mnathan » Thu May 21, 2020 9:34 am

Larz wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 5:17 pm
You're on the right track. First find out what is dripping onto the alternator, where it is leaking, and fix that. As far as the wiring and connector, perhaps you can go to Pull-A-Part, find a similar model, and yank the entire connector and wiring assembly so you end up with a connector that has all the wires included. Now you will know where each wire came from. As far as another alternator, I have always been told that most refurbished units were are done correctly and the only real option is to buy a new OEM replacement or yank an OEM from a wrecked M as you did.
Let us know how all of this resolves.
Ok, I've pulled a alternator but sadly they had no m35's. I pulled it from a g35 of the same year. They were visually identical but they've got different connectors. I considered attaching the connector to the wires in my car but my better judgement wants to avoid another alternator fire. Perhaps ill try another pull apart yard. Definitely cant afford OEM anything unless i refurbish mine, or pull one. Still searching for the leak. Do you know any good resources to look up exact parts on cars in general? I've keep getting annoyed by getting a near model of a part (for example cowling plastic or alternators)? Like a general lookup site?

mnathan
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:41 pm
Car: Infiniti 2008 M35

Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby mnathan » Thu May 21, 2020 2:18 pm

https://imgur.com/gallery/gevmcRX

Pictures- Still cant find leak but there is fluid everywhere. The power steering reservoir is low.

EniGmA1987
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Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby EniGmA1987 » Thu May 21, 2020 3:55 pm

mnathan wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:34 am
Perhaps ill try another pull apart yard. Definitely cant afford OEM anything unless i refurbish mine, or pull one. Still searching for the leak. Do you know any good resources to look up exact parts on cars in general? I've keep getting annoyed by getting a near model of a part (for example cowling plastic or alternators)? Like a general lookup site?
Plenty of options here:
https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/inf ... rator,2412

My own car runs a new ACDELCO for the past year with no issues. I dont really know if there is much difference between a new and remanufactured one, since the reman. process replaces all wear parts anyway. Probably just the housing itself is changed to a new one or something.

mnathan
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:41 pm
Car: Infiniti 2008 M35

Re: Car caught on fire, can't decide what to repair

Postby mnathan » Thu May 21, 2020 5:32 pm

the G35 alternnator I pulled is functional. It has the exact same mounting points and hardware as my OEM burnt one. The literal only difference is the connector. Tempted to wire up the connector. Anyone know if thats an awful idea or not?


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