$2400.00 Spare Tire.... - Nissan Titan Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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$2400.00 Spare Tire....

As I write this post, I’m now home, and my truck is almost 600 miles away in a Nissan dealership….towed there two days ago. There’s a moral to this story...and I’ll give it up front…believe in Murphy’s Law! Also, no matter how much you think you know….you don’t know what you don’t know!

Here’s the deal….My spare tire caught fire! Now, I’m 68 years old and never in my life had I ever heard of a spare tire stowed away in it’s spot catch fire. No one I've talked to since has ever heard of it. I’m not a fan of under-body spare mounts for all the reasons of failed hanging systems, corrosion etc. that everyone is familiar with, but now I will forever be wrapping the exhaust pipe where it humps over the axle….and that’s if I ever carry a spare there again...I am seriously considering a roof mounted carrier just for the spare.

The wife, dog and I were returning to Ohio from Cape May pulling the 30ft. TT and dealing with all the PA road delays, unmarked detours, single track work zones etc. when we were in a single track on I-80 doing the crawl when I noticed a waft of what looked like exhaust smoke in my rear view….I thought it exhaust, which I never have seen before, but still, that was what first came to mind. Now, it was 97 degrees so the air was pumping cold and windows up….so we didn’t smell anything. As soon as we exited the single track I pulled over and the smoke was full boat and the tire was burning where it was closest to the pipe...about 4 inches is the distance for the stock tire size. Had the wife and dog get away while I pulled the fire extinguisher out and it was pure luck that it did the trick and put the fire out. I shot right in through the rear passenger wheel well. Anyone who’s been around burning tires knows they don’t extinguish easily. I dropped the tire and pulled it away from the truck….just in case. I’ll post a pic when I get the truck back.

So...how did I get to 2400.00? After we calmed down and got ourselves put back together and ready to roll on….the truck wouldn’t start. All was normal looking both under the truck bed (other than all the fire extinguisher dust), the dash lit up normal, lights all worked etc. etc.,no CEL, but the engine wouldn’t catch….like a failed fuel pump. Maybe the black and yellow wire was fire damaged..... Called AAA…..and they won’t touch a TT, so that was a separate tow to the dealership, and not for free.

As of right now, the dealership is replacing the entire wire loom between the firewall and the rear bumper. They found 9 fuses blown...so far. Clearly the heat melted the wires and made for shorts that were disastrous. The wire harness was cross shipped, which added a day to the wait….hotel room..with surcharge for having a dog.

Since I have a fairly good background in repair, I worked with the Service Manager to get a plan of repair that was based more on diagnostic repair rather than all on guessing by the tech, since, like I said, I have a decent repair background. Before anyone even had the truck in the bay they were guessing that 1. the battery was dead (yes, after 5 hours of flashers and failed starts, you can kill a battery to the point of needing a charge), 2. the exhaust must have a big rust hole in it, you will need a new exhaust system (no, the exhaust is one year old, installed by me and was coated with corrosion inhibitor and high temp paint by me prior to install).. 3. the rear diff is failing and it got so hot it started the tire on fire ( I have no response to the stupidity of that). When I showed up to get some things from the truck, the windows were down, doors unlocked and the tail gate was closed improperly and was crushing the gasket for the bed tarp and not the right way….and it was sitting in a spot that wasn’t visible from anywhere in the dealership. I wasn’t a happy camper..pun intended.

So, since the gas tank has to be dropped to install the harness, I made sure they would test the fuel pump before rehanging the tank. That way they wouldn’t go bat crazy trying to diagnose between a failed relay vs failed fuel pump blowing a fuse. They also were absolutely certain that the ECU is cooked. I told them to bring in a reman, but I didn’t authorize a blanket install without testing post harness installation. I’m convinced that if an ECU is cooked, you don’t get a normal boot which is evident at the dash when turning the key to ACC, then ON, then Start. You also get a CEL 90% of the time. So, if they don’t have to replace the ECU, subtract about 800.00. But they still have to check the IPDM to diagnose it's condition.

All in all, dealer charges, rental car, hotel, food, new spare tire (and maybe rim!), towing charges, damage to bed liner and effect on resale, days of inconvenience and so on…...It’s a lot cheaper to buy $45 worth of dynawrap and avoid what may be a once in a lifetime problem that only happens to me, or not. Oh, and I had to pull a listing for a rental property until I get the truck back because the keys and garage door openers are in the truck….That’s another $1350 lost for a month of rent. So it' really is a lot more than $2400!

Last edited by Nick Name; 06-14-2017 at 09:49 AM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 11:22 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

Sounds to me like the exhaust pipe rusted out, hot exhaust gasses started melting either the harness or the tire and something caught on fire. How old is the truck? Many have had the exhaust rust through where it jumps over the rear axle, right where your fire started it seems. Sorry about the crappy luck, but glad your safe and got the fire out before the truck burnt to the ground.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 11:33 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

Sorry my state killed your Titan.

Oddly I was under my truck doing shocks and remembered I hadn't dropped my spare, ever. Last weekend I finally did it and to my surprise she dropped right down without any fuss after 12 years stowed. Sure the spare only had 10 psi in it so I filled her back up and re-stowed the spare.

Fishin' is right about the harness in the area of the axle and wire loom. The did pick a few spots on the Titan that shouldn't have electronics and that is one. the other is the BCM module right behinds the fender liner on the passenger's side. Still, I haven't had any issues in my ownership going all the way back to '04.

Good luck getting it sorted out. You just reminded me that I need to put a FE in my bed for such incidents. Cheap insurance

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 11:36 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

Holy Crap - What a story! Sorry to hear about your bad luck!!! I was extremely close to having a similar situation... But my was Negligence in that my tail pipe section of exhaust had rusted off and I didn't fix it for a while. I had melted the plastic shock guard and started to melt into wires... I must of caught it just in time... I re-wrapped the wires in electrical tape and did a full exhaust - headers back from Cajun... Hopefully your insurance will eat some of this cost - if not, might be time to start shopping around
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

Fish'n.....As I said....brand new pipe with corrosion coating and high temp paint applied, by me, one year and 3000 miles ago.... and I'm sure I'd notice a big old rust hole in a truck that doesn't see winter weather.

I did google and found two other reports of spare tire fires.....on tow vehicles. When pulling, the radiator does its job so the gauge barely moves, the trans cooler does its job so the gauge barely moves. What happens is an increase in exhaust gas temperature due to the amount of fuel per stroke of the engine when pulling...especially pulling up hill and the infra red heat emitted from the exhaust pipe is pretty high up in the Farenheits with a tire just 4 inches away from the pipe. Sort of like holding your hand over the charcoal grill.

There's no exhaust gas temperature sensor installed in any gas engine tow vehicle I know of, but monitoring exhaust temp is almost always a system used in current diesel engine designs...up at the head, not at the tail pipe. It's also used in race applications of gas/ethanol/methane designs, but not in the average everyday half ton truck. It's easier for me to put heat shield wrap around that location on the pipe and forget about future problems with wires or anything else.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 12:58 PM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

For what it's worth, I have towing insurance from Good Sam Club. It covers both the trailer and the tow vehicle. I haven't had to use it yet so I don't know how well they'll come through but I've heard good things about their service.

Is it possible that your aftermarket exhaust moved the pipe closer to the tire than the OEM system?

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 03:23 PM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

I've heard of something similar to this before...
. You mentioned you had the OE exhaust, maybe something similar to this? That does suck big ones.


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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

dam Nick, that suck, glad all of you are ok...
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 11:54 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

first off, i'm glad everyone was ok, that was crazy what happened. With a newer exhaust like you say i'm not sure what would of caused the fire.

in my case last summer my exhaust did rust at the flange and melted the wire harness back there. whatever wires got melted did fry my computer and i was dead stick at 60mph with a travel trailer behind me. not a fun feeling. I did have a Christmas tree of lights on the dash though.

i'll be interested in what the root cause ends up being. good luck, glad you all are ok.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 08:01 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

There obviously was a leak in the exhaust.
I wouldn't of fixed it, I would of just traded it in, especially because you probably could us a larger TV like a XD.
Having the proper breakdown insurance comes in handy.
Sorry for your troubles & glad you guys are ok.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 09:07 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

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Originally Posted by AZPRO4X View Post
There obviously was a hole in the exhaust & you got major rust issues.
I wouldn't of fixed it, I would of just traded it in, especially because you probably could us a larger TV like a XD.
Having the proper breakdown insurance comes in handy.
Sorry for your troubles & glad you guys are ok.

I'd be pretty shocked if he had a hole or major rust issues on a year old tailpipe. They salt the hell out of my area in the winter plus I live on the coast an I don't see that kind of issues in a year.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

The tire......the pipe. AZ....as you will notice, no hole, no rust, no BS.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 05:52 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

Hey Nick, i am not a fan of the looks on that aftermarket tailpipe. I have never seen a Titan tailpipe with bends like that in it. I am wondering that the bends maybe off a touch and could be a little too close to the spare. I know the OE pipes are close, but maybe this one was too close. have you ever towed long distance with your T and TT since the exhaust install? I am wondering if the combination of new exhaust, taxing of the powertrain causing excess heat of the exhaust, and high temperatures would have caused the tire to catch. I am assuming that the exhaust pipe and spare were very close.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 06:51 AM
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Re: $2400.00 Spare Tire....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Name View Post
The tire......the pipe. AZ....as you will notice, no hole, no rust, no BS.
Looks like monkey put that pipe together. Also, I wouldn't even think about hooking up a trailer to that rusty mess, everything looks compromised.

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Last edited by AZPRO4X; 06-18-2017 at 06:54 AM.
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