$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.