Hot Week In More Ways Than One -- My Truck Caught On Fire

2019-07-21T19:37:59.000Z Honest Cash

Back on Tuesday I decided to go to Walmart and Lowe's. Walmart for spray paint and hoses for the garden. Lowe's for some PVC pipe and 2x4"s. Well going up the hill from the highway to the shopping plaza I started to smell something. Not unusual on that hill. Everything from wood burning and BBQs from nearby houses to other vehicles burning oil or smoking breaks on the way down. Well apparently this time it was my turn. By the top I was hearing a whining noise and was pretty sure it was coming from my truck. Wasn't too far from Walmart so I continued on. Nearly there I heard a bang and soon after lost my power steering. I figured it was the power steering pump going out and I would just be stuck driving home without it. Finished the last quarter mile or so and notices gray smoke when I would slow down to turn. Parked and popped the hood to see what was going on to be greeted by flames coming out of the alternator. Ran to the store and an employee had already noticed and asked if I wanted him to get an extinguisher. Well of course I did. A few minutes and 2 shots from the extinguisher later the fire was out. Moments later the fire dept showed up. They just gave it the once over and decided to disconnect the battery then couldn't find any tools except for a pair of channel locks so I pulled out my tool set and grabbed a socket wrench and did it myself.

Of course we were now my Mom, me, and the truck were stuck at Walmart. What do you do? Go shopping of course. What the heck I'm there and need paint and hoses. I did call my mechanic first but it went to voice mail. Tried a few more times while walking around but no luck. Finally called a neighbor and she walked over to the garage which is right across the street from us. By the time I got hold of him we had already finished most of the shopping. He could get the truck but didn't have room for both of us so we would need to find a ride. So what to do with the stuff. Well I had seen totes on sale and I needed a few for the garage anyway. So I grabbed a stack of 3 and when we checked out put everything that would fit in one. Put the stack on the front seat of the truck and put the 3 lids on top. Looked like nothing but a tote on the seat. Not something a thief would break in for. The 2 bags that didn't fit I would just carry in whatever ride we found. Well that ride came very fast. I mentioned to my Mom it was either find someone to come get us, get a taxi, or get lucky and find someone that lived near us coming out of the store. By the time I was putting the tote on the seat I was getting yelled at to hurry up we had a ride. So that part worked out.

So we get home, I walk across the street to talk to the mechanic. He has the tow truck in use holding the front end of a light truck off the ground but was nearly finished and would head to get my truck in a bit. Well hours went by and I noticed the hood was up on his tow truck. Went back over to find out it had a dead battery and he had it on the charger. He doesn't do much towing so it had been sitting in the garage for months. Anyway finally at about 10 at night I hear him leave to get the truck. Should take maybe 45 minutes for the round trip and him to hook it up. I'm waiting to get that tote out and put the stuff in my garage. 2 and a half hours go by and nothing. I finally call him. His tow truck broke down with my truck on the back. He had to get another battery and charge it up before he could finish the tow. Finally my truck gets home at about 1:30am. I find out that not only did he break down but had forgot my keys and had to have his girlfriend go to the station and get those to get in my truck. Then on the way home he stopped at a bar for a couple of beers.

Anyway here are some pics of the aftermath.

Apparently what happened was the bearings in the alternator seized up ut the belt was still spinning. This caused the original smoke and the bang when the belt broke. The belt breaking caused the lost of power steering. And finally the fire was caused by a piece of the belt landing in the overheated alternator.

The good news is it should be fixable. Even better news is it might be covered by my insurance. When I called my agent to find out how to get reimbursed for the towing and mentioned that there was a fire she said I have 0 deductible comprehensive. One of the last people in existence with that. Either way the towing will be covered.

It doesn't end there though. I ordered the part Friday and it came in yesterday. Well no it didn't. The box came with the wrong part inside. Ford alternator in a Chevy box. Bar codes and part numbers didn't match. So now I have to get another one ordered Monday.

Just a side note the hoses I went to Walmart for all leak. Well they are supposed to leak as they are soaker hoses but they leak in a way they aren't supposed to which means they don't work as soaker hoses. Hate to see what the trip taking them back will be like.