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Old 21st May 2015, 09:24   #91
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

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Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Sirjee, all of the freeboard isn't for expansion purpose. It will help in fuel movement during the vehicle movement, doesn't purpose the fuel tank which could find a weak point and start leaking.

What figures I have given are of the Swift. It could be more or less for other cars.

Why do you want to help fuel movement during vehicle moment. At least in theory you want fuel to move as little as possible during vehicle movement. That's why you will have things like baffles and such in larger tanks.

Fuel sloshing around is bad for the balance of the car. In practice on our sort of cars it really isn't a problem, but I doubt the reason for this large freeboard is to allow for free movement. Or at least I don't understand the logic behind that.

On the fuel expansion. The volumetric thermal expansion coefficient for your average diesel is 0.00095 1/oC at 20oC. So if you have a 50l tank, you fill it up completely from empty with diesel at 20oC and and ambient temperature of 40oC it will expand 50*(40-20)*0.00095 = 0.9L.

The biggest problem, if you like, with the fuel expansion is that at relatively high temperature you are getting less fuel so to speak for your money, unless the petrol pumps compensates for the actual fuel temperature. In some countries required by law.

Most modern cars have two protection mechanism for pressure. One a general venting mechanism and very often the fuel cap will have a combined vacuum pressure relief valve as well. (true for India as well???)

The idea that a tank will "burst" due to pressure building up as a function of the temperature is remote to start with for all the obvious reasons. Even so, when it does the actual "bursting" isn't so spectacular as the term burst might suggest.

As long as the tank is actually full, the tiniest fracture will immediately relief all pressure. You will get a much more spectacular "burst" if the tank is mostly filled with air and only a little fuel. Its the essential difference on how liquids versus gasses behave. Liquids can't be compressed.

The real concern is a leaking fuel on a hot component, such as an exhaust. Obviously, the various venting system are designed in such a way they will purge the fuel in safe manner.

Cars with modern emission system actually create and maintain vacuum in the fuel tank and part of the fuel system. All parts of keeping hydrocarbon out of the air. The likelihood of you fuel tank imploding is actually considerable more realistic then it bursting! If the tank isn't properly venting, i.e. allowing a little bit of air in, whilst maintaining the vacuum, as the fuel is being withdrawn, it could eventually implode.

Check out the various car / bike manufacturer specific forums and you will find plenty of references to tanks imploding, very few, if any at all, to tanks bursting.

Jeroen
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Old 21st May 2015, 14:59   #92
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post

On the fuel expansion. The volumetric thermal expansion coefficient for your average diesel is 0.00095 1/oC at 20oC. So if you have a 50l tank, you fill it up completely from empty with diesel at 20oC and and ambient temperature of 40oC it will expand 50*(40-20)*0.00095 = 0.9L.
Thanks. Any figures for petrol expansion?

Quote:
The biggest problem, if you like, with the fuel expansion is that at relatively high temperature you are getting less fuel so to speak for your money,...
I have heard about this from someone in the oil industry as well. Somehow I never get time to fill fuel in the night or early mornings. :(
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Old 21st May 2015, 17:06   #93
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

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Originally Posted by S_U_N View Post
Thanks. Any figures for petrol expansion?


I have heard about this from someone in the oil industry as well. Somehow I never get time to fill fuel in the night or early mornings. :(
Actually, I looked at a few websites, at best I can find petroleum, but not petrol. I would think they are not that different, but maybe we have a chemical engineer on the forum.

Yes, filling up at night/early morning is the 'recommened' procedure to avoid this problem, or finding temperature compensated fuel pumps.

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Old 29th May 2015, 02:08   #94
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
Scary to think whether this can get jammed due to a short circuit and not allow manual opening. Must check with MSM people about it's working. If it is possible to disengage central locking before starting out and re-engage while parking the car, it would be nice.
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Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
Secondly, can we make a list of those cars whose doors can't be manually unlocked WITHOUT electrical power?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sac View Post
In the more modern cars, even the latest Tata cars and Hyundai cars, apart from giving mechanical over-rides on all the doors, they have a feature called as "single pull override".

This can come in very handy in panic situations, and may have saved the person in this very very unfortunate event.
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Originally Posted by RSR View Post
The "battery disconnect test" is the acid test for any door locking mechanism, IMHO.
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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
I am yet to do the battery disconnect test suggested by RSR, though the MSM chaps claim the doors will open even when the power is off.
A TRIAL:

Today when there was some work going on my car, I had a chance to disconnect the battery. When I did, I remembered the post by BHPian RSR - The battery disconnection test.

I tried unlocking the car manually using:

1) Lock/Unlock button given on the driver's armrest: Result - Failed!
2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive-dsc03988.jpg

2) Lock/unlock switch on the door pad: Result - Pass!
Name:  marutiswift15.jpg
Views: 1047
Size:  95.0 KB

PS: I have a Swift ZDi.

Inference:

The lock/unlock mechanism on the drivers armrest is electrically controlled whereas the button above the door release lever is mechanically controlled with no link to battery connection.

Now the point is, will the person be able to quickly react and open the door by using that button and escape rather, keep hitting the lock/unlock switch on the door pad.

Passengers in the car having no other choice will use the button on the door pad to escape IMO!
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Old 29th May 2015, 03:24   #95
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
I tried unlocking the car manually using:

1) Lock/Unlock button given on the driver's armrest: Result - Failed!

2) Lock/unlock switch on the door pad: Result - Pass!

PS: I have a Swift ZDi.
Thank you for posting this! It confirms what I've always suspected i.e. the presence of that little knob or lever for locking/unlocking each individual door is a huge boon, and is an indicator of the door locking mechanism being of sound engineering design (as long as it operates the lock mechanically and isn't hampered by a deadlock).

That master lock/unlock button (in your first picture) going dead when there's no power from the battery is only to be expected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Now the point is, will the person be able to quickly react and open the door by using that button and escape rather, keep hitting the lock/unlock switch on the door pad.

Passengers in the car having no other choice will use the button on the door pad to escape IMO!
Absolutely!

In any car with the same mechanism as yours (I guess the V & Z variants of most Maruti Suzukis), getting out of a locked car when the power supply to the central locking system is cut (due to whatever reason) is not difficult at all - just unlock the door mechanically with that little lock/unlock lever on the door pad (or on the window sill) and pull the door handle.

Last edited by RSR : 29th May 2015 at 03:28.
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Old 29th May 2015, 08:39   #96
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Inference:
Now the point is, will the person be able to quickly react and open the door by using that button and escape rather, keep hitting the lock/unlock switch on the door pad.

!
Also, the conclusion and covering note is that if the person can't judge the situation and uses the button instead of the unlock lever, it is better that they don't drive. As simple as that. One should have enough knowledge about the working of the system or the whole car to make the right decisions. Else its better to not drive at all.
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Old 29th May 2015, 09:12   #97
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

I have observed that in some cars, depending on the design of door unlock mechanism, if you pull the door open lever simultaneously as the doors unlock electronically, the door jams. No matter what, it doesn't open untill locked and unlocked again. May be this could be one factor what causes door jams in panic situations.

To see if this happens in your car, try this. Sit inside car. Lock the doors with remote locking. Now, while unlocking doors with electronic switch (remote or physical switch) pull the door open lever by hand. If the timing is right, depending on design, door might jam and will not open.
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Old 29th May 2015, 09:32   #98
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
A TRIAL:

Today when there was some work going on my car, I had a chance to disconnect the battery. When I did,
Thank for that!

My car is a 2009 Alto, so no fancy buttons! Just the old pull type knob in each door. Engine cut off unlocks all doors. If not, pulling the driver door knob unlocks all the doors, but each passenger can open their doors individually if he does not.
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Old 29th May 2015, 09:54   #99
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
The lock/unlock mechanism on the drivers armrest is electrically controlled whereas the button above the door release lever is mechanically controlled with no link to battery connection.
So coming to conclusion from the original event in this thread, the driver should have been able to open the door using the mechanical lock that I had shown in the image.

Also, Sail doesn't have the Electronic switch. It only has those manual pull type lock levers.

Quote:
Now the point is, will the person be able to quickly react and open the door by using that button and escape rather, keep hitting the lock/unlock switch on the door pad.
In the original case, the only way of manually opening the door in a Sail is via the lift type lock lever. So in no way can the driver (who died) would have been confused what to do to unlock the door.

Quote:
Passengers in the car having no other choice will use the button on the door pad to escape IMO!
No, all passenger doors don't have electronic lock/unlock switch. That is present only on the driver door armpad.
The rest of passenger doors get manual lever (pull / lift) lever type door unlock option.
I am talking of all budget cars, probably under 10 lakhs. May be a Merc or a BMW or Audi may have electronic door unlock switches on all the doors, but atleast not a Sail.

It is still very very unclear as to why the person couln't simply lift the manual unlock lever to open the door !! Shocking thing.

The forensic and police reports as usual will point to car mechanicals failure, but I strongly feel that mechanicals (atleast a door unlock lever), cannot fail just like that. Electrical stuff can, but not a rod and spring type mechanical thing. There could be other theories also, which may not have been highlighted, but put the blame on the car to make it a shorter case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
Thank for that!
My car is a 2009 Alto, so no fancy buttons! Just the old pull type knob in each door. Engine cut off unlocks all doors. If not, pulling the driver door knob unlocks all the doors, but each passenger can open their doors individually if he does not.
+1 to that for a Chevrolet Beat, a Spark and a Sail as well. Same process.

Last edited by Soumyajit9 : 29th May 2015 at 09:56.
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Old 29th May 2015, 11:53   #100
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

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Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
Also, the conclusion and covering note is that if the person can't judge the situation and uses the button instead of the unlock lever, it is better that they don't drive. As simple as that. One should have enough knowledge about the working of the system or the whole car to make the right decisions. Else its better to not drive at all.

I think you vastly overrate or overestimate how people react in emergency situations, such as suddenly finding themselves engulfed by flames. We all like to think we keep a cool head and start acting rationally. Truth is, very few people do.

I used to work in the navy, ocean salvage and offshore. I have seen and been involved in some pretty terrifying situation, including fire. You'd think that the pro's would do better in emergency situations. But I've seen people with 20 years offshore experience freeze completely and or panic when faced with a real fire. Few would actually do what needed doing. The vast majority did nothing or the wrong things!

So I suggest you might not be so harsh judging people

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 29th May 2015 at 11:54.
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Old 29th May 2015, 12:04   #101
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

Just caught this thread today. A cousin of mine saw his Scorpio go up in flames a couple of years back. Thought it may be relevant to post his account of the event.

Quote:
I was driving to my office at around 9 am when I smelt some burning and stopped the car and I noticed smoke from behind the dash board from left side. I jumped off and went to the left side and when I opened the door I saw flames below the dashboard. Realizing I won't be able to control the fire I called the fire brigade who arrived within 6 minutes by that time the entire car was up in flames. The fire team put out the fire and their aim was to prevent the fuel tank from catching fire. Then the police came and after talking to me and bystanders they called the FSL team (forensic science) and they concluded it would be an electrical fault. The car is a total loss.
My thinking on this is:
a) The car was a 5 years old Scorpio (supposedly a high end when I bought it). I had done about 120,000 kms in this diesel car.
b) No additional electronic equipments were added by me.
c) The car had never given any problems
d) Why did the entire car go up in flames within 5 minutes - because every single item is made of inflammable plastics inside the cabin. I wish there is a legislation in India for use of flame proof or at least flame retardant plastics like in the west. All Metro coaches use flame proof plastics then why not the same for automobiles.
e) In US, Europe, PVC is totally banned. In India the insulation on electrical wires are PVC. This plastic compound uses oil for compounding and this polymer leaches out oil over a period of time making the insulation brittle. This can lead to bare wire getting exposed leading to short circuit.
If you compare the police fire dept. report of my car fire, with the bus fire in Baroda and another car fire last week in Ahmedabad the sequence of events are identical - fire starting from the dash board - not from engine side, not from fuel/gas tank.
When he got a replacement Scorpio from Mahindra, he specifically had the electronic central locking and remote door unlocking system removed. This was done by Mahindra on the vehicle before it was delivered to him. So now, he uses manual door locking system with central locking.
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Old 29th May 2015, 12:34   #102
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
. You'd think that the pro's would do better in emergency situations. But I've seen people with 20 years offshore experience freeze completely and or panic when faced with a real fire. Few would actually do what needed doing. The vast majority did nothing or the wrong things!

So I suggest you might not be so harsh judging people

Jeroen
Apologies if it was harsh, but if in such an emergency occurs and if a person knowingly uses the wrong switch, like in this case, then it is indeed of no use to have any kind of mechanism, be it electronic or mechanical. I am not expecting a person to:

1. Reach the boot and open an emergency latch
2. Remove the headrest and break open the glass with it.
3. Use a special tool kept in the glove box and break open the glass or cut the seatbelt.
4. Kick the windshield with the legs and get out.

All these sound little complicated. Opening the lock, is the BARE BASIC thing anyone can or should do. If that itself isn't possible, what do you think is the remedy to this problem? Should the cars now get ejector seats to get the occupants out with zero intervention?
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Old 29th May 2015, 13:16   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deetee View Post
I have observed that in some cars, depending on the design of door unlock mechanism, if you pull the door open lever simultaneously as the doors unlock electronically, the door jams. No matter what, it doesn't open untill locked and unlocked again. May be this could be one factor what causes door jams in panic situations.
That happens in the Swift, I have manually pick and unlock to open the doors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
My car is a 2009 Alto, so no fancy buttons! Just the old pull type knob in each door. Engine cut off unlocks all doors. If not, pulling the driver door knob unlocks all the doors, but each passenger can open their doors individually if he does not.
Yes, i have seen feature and this feature what you mentioned is linked to the switch on the drivers armrest.

That switch is sadly electrically controlled. If I'm emergency, one has to manually open each door to jump out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
No, all passenger doors don't have electronic lock/unlock switch. That is present only on the driver door armpad.
The rest of passenger doors get manual lever (pull / lift) lever type door unlock option.
That's what I said sir, I framed the sentence in a different way. That's all.
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Old 29th May 2015, 14:23   #104
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
In the original case, the only way of manually opening the door in a Sail is via the lift type lock lever. So in no way can the driver (who died) would have been confused what to do to unlock the door.

+1 to that for a Chevrolet Beat, a Spark and a Sail as well. Same process.
In that case, I can think of only two possibilities.
  1. A jammed door due to electronic failure which resulted in the door not opening in spite of using the manual unlock buttons.
  2. Driver was already unconscious or dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
If neither, then the driver would have been shell shocked seeing the fire and did not react at all.
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Old 29th May 2015, 23:05   #105
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Default Re: 2-month old Chevrolet Sail Diesel catches fire - Driver burnt alive

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Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
Apologies if it was harsh, but if in such an emergency occurs and if a person knowingly uses the wrong switch, like in this case, then it is indeed of no use to have any kind of mechanism, be it electronic or mechanical. I am not expecting a person to:

1. Reach the boot and open an emergency latch
2. Remove the headrest and break open the glass with it.
3. Use a special tool kept in the glove box and break open the glass or cut the seatbelt.
4. Kick the windshield with the legs and get out.

All these sound little complicated. If that itself isn't possible, what do you think is the remedy to this problem? Should the cars now get ejector seats to get the occupants out with zero intervention?
Again, you are vastly overestimating what are people can/will do when faced with life threatening situation. A person who is in a car will not
Quote:
knowingly uses the wrong switch
but he/she might when in a panic.

Quote:
Opening the lock, is the BARE BASIC thing anyone can or should do.
You would think so would you not? But people don't when facing dire emergencies. People will put on and take off their seat belts without second thoughts, complete routine. But when their car drives into a canal or catches fire, all of sudden they forget they are wearing a seatbelt or just can't undo it anymore.

there is not much you can do, from a design point of view, other then to keep it as simple as possible and hope for the best. Fires are very rare! So is driving into a canal/lake. But I would think that just being able to open the door under all circumstances by just pulling the normal door handle is probably the best way. But in no way its a given, people will actually do so, when in an emergency., such as being engulfed in flames, or driving into water.

Jeroen
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