Say it ain't So, Blinking CES and a fire?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

This is a discussion on Say it ain't So, Blinking CES and a fire? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; High everyone, have not been on here in a long time. Well today My 02 WRX's CEL came on and ...

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    40

    Say it ain't So, Blinking CEL and a fire?

    High everyone, have not been on here in a long time. Well today My 02 WRX's CEL came on and blinking suddenly. I noticed a major lack of power. When I got home I parked it and smoke started pouring out of hood. I opened it and was a fire on side of trans and cat about a foot and a half after turbo. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and put it out.

    I was wondering if anyone has had a problem like this before, and what it was? I was just driving normal not beating on the car or anything when it did happen. I cant drive it to have the codes checked as I don't want to catch on fire again. Plus don't know if it had damaged any wires on the trans yet. I will have to look it over tomorrow. Cause its to dark and to cold out were its parked. Also it is all stock.
    Last edited by spt02wrx; 01-31-2011 at 06:52 PM. Reason: had a typo said ces, and should be cel

  2. Remove Advertisements
    ClubWRX.net
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,839
    Quote Originally Posted by spt02wrx View Post
    High everyone, have not been on here in a long time. Well today My 02 WRX's CEL came on and blinking suddenly. I noticed a major lack of power. When I got home I parked it and smoke started pouring out of hood. I opened it and was a fire on side of trans and cat about a foot and a half after turbo. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and put it out.

    I was wondering if anyone has had a problem like this before, and what it was? I was just driving normal not beating on the car or anything when it did happen. I cant drive it to have the codes checked as I don't want to catch on fire again. Plus don't know if it had damaged any wires on the trans yet. I will have to look it over tomorrow. Cause its to dark and to cold out were its parked. Also it is all stock.

    Ive heard of this happening but have never seen it. The ONLY reason the check engine light will blink is when you have a misfire severe enough that enough unburnt fuel is getting to the scalding cat. convertor for it to actually explode or catch fire. How bad was the fire? If it was extremely minor with like no damage to the vehicle ( yea i know rare haha) I would jump into diag. first thing is to pull the code from the ECU and see which cylinder (s) was misfiring? Did you have any kind of engine noise or anything besides the lack of power and the fire when the CEL started blinking? How many miles are on the vehicle?

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by EvoEatr View Post
    Ive heard of this happening but have never seen it. The ONLY reason the check engine light will blink is when you have a misfire severe enough that enough unburnt fuel is getting to the scalding cat. convertor for it to actually explode or catch fire. How bad was the fire? If it was extremely minor with like no damage to the vehicle ( yea i know rare haha) I would jump into diag. first thing is to pull the code from the ECU and see which cylinder (s) was misfiring? Did you have any kind of engine noise or anything besides the lack of power and the fire when the CEL started blinking? How many miles are on the vehicle?

    Well the fire looked bad but was not really that bad got under and looked at it. No signs of damage to the under carriage or wires on trans. I only drove down to my PO box and back which in total is a little over 3 miles with the CEL coming on about a mile down the road. When I got home and parked it smoke started rolling out. I poped the hood and noticed fire and ran for the estinquisher. I have a scan tool but for some reason it wont read like every tenth car and this is one of them. Plus I dont dare to drive it to get them read so first thing will be to buy a scanner or new plugs. I think I might just get the plugs first and see what happens as my plugs have 95,000 on them. The car has 230,000 on it. Ive owned it since 50,000 and have maintained regularly. Oil changes,fluids, timing belt,pulleys,ect. I have had to put two oil presure sensors in it as they both ended up leaking. No engine noises. I tryed to see if the turbo was still working by listening for it(no boost gauge). I think it was still working. I think this was the major reason for that much gas to build up in such a short period of time. As I was stepping on it a little on the way back. As you can hear the turbo really good around 3000rpm or more. Hopefully it does. Would a bad turbo cause a CEL to blink or would you get a lack of power and a regular CEL? Its kind of funny I was praising the Subie the day before. Saying I really had not had to replace much parts beyond general maintenance. Most reliable vehicle I've owned so far. (Please, Please,Please Just be plugs.)

  5. #4
    Registered User oguitar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
    Posts
    1,021
    Did you have the leaky fuel lines replaced? This is probably not the root cause due to your description of where the fire was but I would look there first. If the car is stock I have no other ideas on what would cause a fire under the hood.

    Start it up and look for leaks.
    Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.

  6. #5
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,839
    wow! thats alot of miles for a turbo car. as far as the fire is concerned there def. could be other causes such as a split open DOJ boot or something however I def. find it odd that the fire occured as soon as the check engine light started blinking. which leads me to believe there is a dead misfire in one of the cylinders. like i said the ONLY thing the cel will blink for is a dead misfire so bad that there is enough unburned fuel getting to the cat. conv. for it to explode or catch on fire. And a lack of power can def. be contributed to a misfire.. If its any consolation my legacy has 235,000 miles haha

  7. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by oguitar View Post
    Did you have the leaky fuel lines replaced? This is probably not the root cause due to your description of where the fire was but I would look there first. If the car is stock I have no other ideas on what would cause a fire under the hood.

    Start it up and look for leaks.
    Yes, fuel lines were replaced last year.

  8. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by EvoEatr View Post
    wow! thats alot of miles for a turbo car. as far as the fire is concerned there def. could be other causes such as a split open DOJ boot or something however I def. find it odd that the fire occured as soon as the check engine light started blinking. which leads me to believe there is a dead misfire in one of the cylinders. like i said the ONLY thing the cel will blink for is a dead misfire so bad that there is enough unburned fuel getting to the cat. conv. for it to explode or catch on fire. And a lack of power can def. be contributed to a misfire.. If its any consolation my legacy has 235,000 miles haha
    Yeah, my girlfriend drives it most of the time and I just flog it once in a while. Just to make sure everything ok. So most of the miles are real easy ones as she does not like driving over speed limit. I have heard of these stock turbo cars going 350, 000 with little problems. Yes, it definitely has a mis fire as it is shaking a little and sounds a little different.

  9. #8
    Registered User oguitar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
    Posts
    1,021
    I have seen an o2 sensor pop out of the exhaust manifold. Perhaps the high temp caught something on fire. This would also explain the car running badly. Not sure about the misfire though. Good thing you had a fire extinguisher nearby. You probably saved your car.
    Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.

  10. #9
    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    8000' up in Colorado
    Posts
    6,753
    Next time your CEL is blinking, listen to the idiot light and stop driving immediately. You're lucky you didn't burn up your car.

    Next time listen when your car says "Look at me! Look at me! There's something seriously wrong!"
    Scott
    Past Subies - '11 STI Limited stage 1+ and '04 STi stage 2+
    '13 Wrangler Rubicon - custom front bumper w/12k lb winch & off-road lights, skid plates, diff guards, etc.
    '04 Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 clone 600 HP/TQ
    '77 F-150 heavily modded for off-roading

  11. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    Next time your CEL is blinking, listen to the idiot light and stop driving immediately. You're lucky you didn't burn up your car.

    Next time listen when your car says "Look at me! Look at me! There's something seriously wrong!"
    Yes, I know this. I just had two miles to go to get back to my house plus the fact I wanted to see if the turbo was still working. Plus the fact that the weather has been bad. I didn't want to leave it on the side of road for any amount of time so a snow plow could wipe it out. I know I was lucky I didn't burn up now. Hey did I ever thank you for the parts I bought. Thanks, for them, is there anything good left?

    Quote Originally Posted by oguitar View Post
    I have seen an o2 sensor pop out of the exhaust manifold. Perhaps the high temp caught something on fire. This would also explain the car running badly. Not sure about the misfire though. Good thing you had a fire extinguisher nearby. You probably saved your car.
    No the 02 did not pop out. I had a better look under neith today and there was virtually no damage at all. I think that it was just raw fuel that was un burnt that ended up leaking out of the pipe at the gasket due to being old+ stock+high mileage+horrible winters with lots of salt. Your right about the extinguisher. I think its a good idea to put one in the trunk least.
    Last edited by spt02wrx; 02-03-2011 at 01:58 PM.

  12. #11
    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    8000' up in Colorado
    Posts
    6,753
    Quote Originally Posted by spt02wrx View Post
    Yes, I know this. I just had two miles to go to get back to my house plus the fact I wanted to see if the turbo was still working. Plus the fact that the weather has been bad. I didn't want to leave it on the side of road for any amount of time so a snow plow could wipe it out. I know I was lucky I didn't burn up now. Hey did I ever thank you for the parts I bought. Thanks, for them, is there anything good left?
    I've sold so many things I have no idea what you bought any more. But you're welcome, glad they worked out. I have lots of random stuff left.
    Scott
    Past Subies - '11 STI Limited stage 1+ and '04 STi stage 2+
    '13 Wrangler Rubicon - custom front bumper w/12k lb winch & off-road lights, skid plates, diff guards, etc.
    '04 Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 clone 600 HP/TQ
    '77 F-150 heavily modded for off-roading

  13. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    40
    Well I replaced the plugs and cleaned the MAF. The miss fire is gone. The two plugs on the drivers side were the ones that were missfiring. They smelled gassy. They all looked in descent condition wear wise. They just must of fouled from being 35, 000 over the recommended interval. You would think that there would be more signs that they were going. But. perhaps there was as I don't drive it much the girlfriend sally does and I drive my truck most of the time. Maybe I should drive the car a little more often so I know. Cause the girlfriend barely knows were to put the gas in it. Lol.

  14. #13
    Registered User mav3rik64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    64
    Hey, don't wanna jack your thread or anything, and good thing you got your car running again, but on my way home I had the blinking CEL and noticed the dramatic loss in power, which I attributed to a misfire. I just didn't know how serious it actually was, no fires though. The only main thing I noticed was the smell of burnt oil and that it seems to be leaking near the pan and/or filter, or at least thats where the main accumulation is, which wasn't a whole lot but enough to worry. I just changed my spark plugs last week so I wouldn't expect this problem as it worked fine until I ran it up through 2nd and got the light.

    The only difference I noticed when I changed the spark plugs to the newer ones was that my oil pressure would be slightly raised above what I saw previously(have a sensor in car). Not sure if a rise in oil pressure could attribute anything to a misfire but I did notice an abnormal fluctuation after the initial CEL and felt like I was down a cylinder. Also, right when I was almost home, about 3 miles from the initial blink, the light came on solid. I don't know if I want to take risk driving it to an auto parts store for a check, any ideas? BTW, the car is almost stock, no engine mods that I have done(bought it used, nothing noticeable other than uppipe) Thanks if anyone can help
    A.K.A. The Stig

    "Some say, if he caught fire he would burn for 1000 days, and that the outline of his left nipple is exactly the same shape as the Nurburgring....all we know is, he's called The Stig" - Top Gear

  15. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by mav3rik64 View Post
    Hey, don't wanna jack your thread or anything, and good thing you got your car running again, but on my way home I had the blinking CEL and noticed the dramatic loss in power, which I attributed to a misfire. I just didn't know how serious it actually was, no fires though. The only main thing I noticed was the smell of burnt oil and that it seems to be leaking near the pan and/or filter, or at least thats where the main accumulation is, which wasn't a whole lot but enough to worry. I just changed my spark plugs last week so I wouldn't expect this problem as it worked fine until I ran it up through 2nd and got the light.


    The only difference I noticed when I changed the spark plugs to the newer ones was that my oil pressure would be slightly raised above what I saw previously(have a sensor in car). Not sure if a rise in oil pressure could attribute anything to a misfire but I did notice an abnormal fluctuation after the initial CEL and felt like I was down a cylinder. Also, right when I was almost home, about 3 miles from the initial blink, the light came on solid. I don't know if I want to take risk driving it to an auto parts store for a check, any ideas? BTW, the car is almost stock, no engine mods that I have done(bought it used, nothing noticeable other than uppipe) Thanks if anyone can help
    I have not had any problems with mine since changing the plugs, and doing the other things I mentioned like cleaning the MAF. I also cleaned the connectors to the coil packs and also stretched the springs that make contact with the plugs a hair. I also had a oil leak but repaired it previously to doing this and before the light came on. My oil leak was from the oil presure switch. I initally thought it was under neith the car but I found it was on the top of the motor running down. This was my second replacement of the oil sensor. The first time I replaced it it only lasted about 20,000 miles. I dont know if this was attributed by buying one at Advanced Auto or what but the second one I bought from the dealership. They told me that If my pressure is higher than normal that it would be the only reason why this has happend more than once. Plus that it is not a common problem. I dont know all the reasons to why the oil presure would be higher than normal. The dealership said a blocked passage. I was thinking bad rings at first allowing boost to get buy and increasing presure on the oil. I dont know if this could happen or not. My plugs had no signs of oil on them so I know my rings are okay despite the high mileage.

    If your light is not on, or is not blinking I would bring it to have it scanned. If it is blinking definitely DO NOT DRIVE IT!!! Did you replace the plugs with ngk's and gap them correctly? I also noticed that one of the tabs on the coil packs was missing. The connector had its tab but the part it locks into on the coil pack was missing. This could cause a bad connection after repeated accelerations, and bumpy roads or a bad railroad track on my road that I dont always slow down for can wiggle it loose. I used electrical tape to make sure it does not go anywhere.

  16. #15
    Registered User mav3rik64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    64
    Ok, thanks for the details, I bought NGK's but did not gap them assuming they "should" be the right gap, but they did seem to have a slightly larger gap than my previous set. That was my first conclusion of what was wrong when I started reading up on it, and I accidentally broke of the tab on my connector because it was almost impossible to disconnect, but I strapped it on there with some safety wire and it seems secure but i'll check that too. Thanks for the information.
    A.K.A. The Stig

    "Some say, if he caught fire he would burn for 1000 days, and that the outline of his left nipple is exactly the same shape as the Nurburgring....all we know is, he's called The Stig" - Top Gear

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •