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      05-21-2012, 08:14 PM   #1
akotten
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Drives: 2007 335xi
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Rapid City, SD

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Engine Fire At The Track

I experienced an engine fire this weekend during a driving school in Colorado. I had completed Saturday without issues, and then during the 3rd lap of the first session on Sunday it happened. I saw smoke between me and my instructor, and then fire coming out the side as I turned into a corner. Luckily, both of us got out immediately without any injuries and the corner workers put out the fire within a few minutes. Props to them for a fast response!

So here's what I "think" may have caused it. I'm almost certain it started with a ruptured methanol line, which started a small fire, which then burned through a fuel line, creating the fire I had to jump over to exit the car.

As of right now, all I know is that it burned through a fuel line, melted shut the brake booster hose, wrinkled one of the boost vent hoses, and melted all of the undertrays. The car is not driveable. Also, my methanol lines were seared shut, and one after the pump, had a 5mm hole that looked as if it burst after getting too warm. The main methanol feed line that runs across the valve cover appeared to be the main culprit, but for all I know, I had a fire that started elsewhere and got to the meth lines later.

So, with track season starting up, if any of you run methanol at the track I must advise the following:

- Inspect all lines before and after each session

- Run mixtures of 50/50 or less (This occurred on a 75/25 mix)

- Perhaps look into an alternative material for the methanol feed line


The worst part of this was that I was nearly 700 miles from home. Fortunately I had a friend along to give me a ride home, and a fellow BMW CCA member trailered my car to his house near Denver to await further inspection/repairs.
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