I have caught the ductwork on my ford ranger POS truck not once but twice!
I park under a honey locust tree and the small leaves have an uncanny way of
entering the ductwork via the fresh air intake near the windshield. After
the second time, I put some plastic netting (nylon screen wire I think) to
keep the leaves out. The motor didn't catch the leaves on fire, but the fan
speed control (heater resistor) did. On the ford, basically the speed
control is a open wire loop acting like a resistor (two in my case) that
heats up very hot. Basically, you have a single speed motor and resistors
to get the other speeds. This open resistor (or heater) is located in the
duct work (always air blowing across it when the fan is on) It makes a nice
fire starter especially if you use low fan (more resistance, more heat).
Off the top of my head, I am not sure where the fan speed resistor is on the
spitfire (or even if it has one), but my guess is that it is what started
Pretty exciting, huh?! The first time it happened to me was in morning rush
hour, during construction (no shoulder), and filled the cab up with smoke
fast. Second time it was no big deal, since I knew what was going on. Try
to keep the leaves (needles) out!
After removing the heater motor today and looking at the melted plastic
fan, my suspicion is that the motor didn't start the fire but rather heated
pine needles. The way the fan melted leads me to believe that the motor
was on and spinning when the needles started to burn and then ignited the
fan blades. Is this feasible? Has anyone had a similar experience? There
weren't a lot of pine needles in there so I'm still a little skeptical
about my theory.
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