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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter was driving my Patriot today. She noticed some smoke coming out of the hood & pulled over to the shoulder & got out just in time. By the time the fire dept got there, 10 min or so, The car was completely engulfed & it burned to the ground. It was a 2007 with 14000 mi on it & was in perfect condition with no problems at all up until today. She said she smelled a little electrical smoke ( like burning plastic)just before & thought it was coming from the side of the road. It obviously started in the eng. compartment & was electrical in nature. I posted this for 2 reasons 1, to warn all other owners about a severe problem & 2, to ask if anyone else has any similiar experiences with their Jeep Patriots.
 

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POTM June 08
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First, let me say that I am very glad that your daughter got out without any harm. I bet she was still fit to be tied! (Old southern expression)... I haven't heard of anyone else having a fire yet. This, to my knowledge, is the first... Any idea what electrical component caused the fire? Again, glad no one was hurt. Hell of a way to start out on the forum... Any plans to get a new Patriot?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank's for the reply Wade. I don't have any idea where in the eng, compartment it started as, up until today it was trouble free. My wife has a Jeep Compass & she loves that & I picked up the Patriot to replace a Liberty. There might be another Patriot in my future depending on how I make out with the insurance & all.
 

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Wow! Not good, I'm glad she is OK. I saw a Rav 4 on the side of the road two years ago with a fire under the hood. Between my fire extinguisher and another volunteer that stopped we got it out. I need to go buy a new one for the Patriot . I live in a heavily wooded area with HIGH fire danger and something like this could burn down the entire county:doh:. Please let us know if you find out what caused it. Good luck with the insurance and all.
 

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Oh my goodness. Glad everyone is OK.

Let us know what the Fire Deptartment report says. Eventhough the Patriot burned to the ground they can usually determine where the fire started and the cause.
 

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Wow, that's crazy! I feel bad for you. Thanks for letting us know. I will also be getting a fire extinguisher for my Jeep now.
 

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Bummer, man. Glad she's okay!

Reminds me of when I was about 5-ish, my Mom was at a stop light about a mile from our house in our old Eagle when a guy pointed out that there were flames underneath. He gave her a ride back to our house and my Dad, being a firefighter, made it to the scene and had the fire out before the local FD got there! Needless to say, we never owned an Eagle again, replaced it with the Caravan.

Anywho. That sucks. Get some pics if you can, especially of the engine compartment. And, definitely report it to Jeep - which I'm sure you have. I have an '07 too with about 19k on it. Scarry.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The trouble with carrying a fire extinguisher is that she could have been seriously hurt if she tried to use it. She said that there was only a few min. between the first smoke indication & when she pulled over. Her first thought was to get her stuff out but everything happened too fast to even do that. She just ran back & called 911 & watched it burn from a distance. the fire was so hot it melted the macadam under the car.
 

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The trouble with carrying a fire extinguisher is that she could have been seriously hurt if she tried to use it. She said that there was only a few min. between the first smoke indication & when she pulled over. Her first thought was to get her stuff out but everything happened too fast to even do that. She just ran back & called 911 & watched it burn from a distance. the fire was so hot it melted the macadam under the car.
She did the right thing! I agree with let'er burn once you get the hell out. You never know when the gas will catch.

That said, I've put out a small smoking flame on the alternator connector of my 85 Escort with a leather Engineering jacket.

I've also seen 2 VW camper vans burn to the ground. RIP.


I watched a video of an intentionly set house fire. The firemen lit up paper in a small garbage can next to a couch in a living room, and within 4 minutes the smoke was enough to kill you, covering the top half of the entire room. Scary stuff.
 

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in my 2008 Patriot CRD the electrical harnass was touching and rubbing the engine and caused short-circuit (bad running on low revs); it was repaired in time, so no fire; the Jeep import company was very interested in the pics.....

today one of the warninglights of my 2006 Dodge Caliber (also diesel) lighted up becuase some cable was not connected anymore with a plug....

my dealer said that the newer the mopars are, the better the electric system is wired, so older cars have worse wiring....
 

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Every 66-73 Jeepster I ever had, needed to be rewired. Probably true with CJs of the same era. Not that they would catch fire, but stuff like the starter, would quit working.

Good the hear no one was hurt. (especially burned! that is the worst kind of hurt)

I will be checking my wiring for wear on a regular basis. Maybe adding an extra layer of loom and some more anchors if I find a problem spot.

Thanks for the heads up.
 

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Really glad no one was hurt. I will be sure to check my wires regularly. Hopefully this was just an isolated event.

There is a slight bright side to the fire dept taking so long. At least now you will have to get a whole new car and now have a body shop fix up yours. How scary would it be driving around a car that once caught on fire?
 

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How scary would it be driving around a car that once caught on fire?
IMO, if your car catches fire through no fault of your own, and it's still under warranty, that should constitute a direct replacement, no questions asked, no insurance involved! Too bad customer service isn't first priority for most businesses any more.
 

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Playing with Fire

Ok, I have to chime in being this is my industry....

It's fine to carry a fire extinguisher with you IF you have used that exact type before on LIVE fire. Extinguishers work very well, but only if you know how to use them. I agree with the "get the hell out" approach when it comes to anyone who hasn't fought an engine fire before. Typically by the time you see enough smoke to signal a problem in a newer vehicle the fire is well advanced. There are all kinds of materials that burn really well and release all kinds of toxic ^&$^&&* in a modern car fire. Be prepared for some heat when you open that hood! These cars are not your dad's Nash.

As for the investigation side, don't count on the fire department. For many reasons the only info you will get from them is "undetermined" or "accidental". Fire departments only investigate for the possibility of arson, they do not investigate the exact cause beyond that because of the liability of making such claims. The department may determine the cause internally and not share it, but most likely you will get one of the above answers in the formal report. If you really want to find out what caused the fire have a conversation with your insurance adjuster and find out what they plan to do on their end. Your insurance company should have a protocol for reporting accidental fires to the manufacturer.

Good luck and stay safe.
 

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When cars got more electrical sensors, they got more bizarre problems with bad connections. Often the problem is fixed by taking apart every connector you can find, dabbing the pins with dielectric tune up grease, and putting the connectors back together again. Engine diagnostic codes can help tell you which connections are suspect.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
changed info

OK.... Sorry for all the confusion. I finally got an accurate report from my daughter as to what actually happened to the car. I apologize for not changing the posting info, I was traveling on a computerless fishing trip & I just forgot to do it before I left..She said the fire started in the rear of the car, not the engine as I previously posted. She said she smelled smoke & shortly after saw the flame in the rear of the car. She doesn't smoke & the only thing in the back of the car were 2 lawn chairs. She had taken the baby seat out, & had put her suitcase bag on the back seat. When she saw the smoke she pulled over & called 911 & got clear. She said she didn't have time to get her suitcase out, only her purse.
So far We have heard nothing positive from Jeep. It's too early to say we're getting the runaround but I'm tired of talking to someone in New Delhi for 15 min & then getting transfered to a person who can almost answer my questions. I've been advised to get a lawyer to put some pressure on them & I'll probably get in contact with one of those lemon law laywers. I went on the NHTSA website & found a report of another fire, this one in a 2007 Jeep Compass ( which my wife has) & I could have written it, The only difference is that we only had less than 12,000 mi. on the car & the other car had 27,000mi. ONCE AGAIN I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT POSTING THE ACCURATE INFO SOONER....Ck. out the NHTSA website
 

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Wow, that wouldn't be fun, seeing flames in your rearview... Did she have the windows open? Perhaps a cigarette butt from someone else came in. If not that, did you have any of the electronics options in the back, i.e. subwoofer, lift-gate speakers?
 

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Now that is unusual. Most of us assumed an engine fire mainly because most vehicle fires are driveline related. Very interesting indeed. Is the insurance company treating you right?
 
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