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Old 13th April 2014, 08:49   #1
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Default 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

Courtesy - Carscoops

A retired couple from Germany was being serenely wafted along by their two-week old silver 2014 Mercedes S Class when the car’s engine compartment spontaneously caught fire. The two were able to pull over and get out safely, immediately aided by the employees of a nearby business as well as bystanders to put out the fire; they managed to do so before the emergency crews arrived.

Evident in the (low-res) photos is the exact location of the flame, which created a big cut in the hood – the part that’s missing doesn’t seem to have been intentionally cut off by the fire crew; it looks like it fused with the strut brace and broke upon opening.

The source is clearly not in the front of the engine bay, and it may very well have started at the very place of the gaping hole. That’s also where most of the smoke seems to come from too.
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Old 13th April 2014, 09:04   #2
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

God almighty!! That's a nasty fire. It would've burned the whole car if it was in India. Appreciate the effort of the people who put out the fire.

The area of the bonnet that has been cut off, is that above the battery?

Last edited by GTO : 14th April 2014 at 15:55. Reason: Typo
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Old 13th April 2014, 12:25   #3
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

Going by the background in the pictures it's apparent that the speed of the car may not have caused the fire. If this had occurred in the autobahn we might have talked about the speed of the car and relevant effects of the same.
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Old 13th April 2014, 18:12   #4
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Let's wait for the official post by mb.
Hope it doesn't become a cover up job like the vento.
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Old 13th April 2014, 21:30   #5
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaizanfan View Post
If this had occurred in the autobahn we might have talked about the speed of the car and relevant effects of the same.
Please do talk, how does speed light up a car?

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Old 13th April 2014, 21:34   #6
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Please do talk, how does speed light up a car?
Jeroen
Hi Jeroen
My abject apologies for butting in... but I think he means the effect of wind fanning the flames....
At least that's what I thought it meant.
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Old 14th April 2014, 08:08   #7
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Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Hi Jeroen
My abject apologies for butting in... but I think he means the effect of wind fanning the flames....
At least that's what I thought it meant.
Well we won't know until he responds, but he says:

Quote:
Going by the background in the pictures it's apparent that the speed of the car may not have caused the fire. If this had occurred in the autobahn we might have talked about the speed of the car and relevant effects of the same
If in this case speed did not cause the fire (first sentence) the suggestion is there, based on the second sentence, that on the autobahn speed would have been a contributing factor. That's at least how I read it. But I could be wrong.

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Old 14th April 2014, 08:47   #8
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

Luckily fire on a car is rare these days. But it does happen.

I had to go through some of my photograph archive to find this one, again a Mercedes, classic one though;

Pretty spectacular. This was in April 2010. I was driving back from Branson to our home in Kansas City when I encountered the below.

Several cars stopped, luckily there was nobody in the car. It had been parked by the side of the road. Case of spontaneous combustion? Usually when that happens it's a short circuit, or fuel leaking on a still hot exhaust or similar.

Anyway, makes for a spectacular sight!

Jeroen
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Old 14th April 2014, 09:40   #9
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I must say, by looking at the condition of the car, its a very quick response by the emergency services as they reached the site and stopped the fire from spreading further.

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Old 14th April 2014, 11:29   #10
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Well we won't know until he responds, but he says:



If in this case speed did not cause the fire (first sentence) the suggestion is there, based on the second sentence, that on the autobahn speed would have been a contributing factor. That's at least how I read it. But I could be wrong.

Jeroen
You're spot on Jeroen in interpreting my message. If an investigator were to look at a scenario where a car is traveling at 200km/hr and catches fire, that would be different than a car going thru a town street at 35km/hr.

As you put it, the contributing factors would differ. Thanks.
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Old 14th April 2014, 11:36   #11
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

With the % increase in electronics in German cars, which are added the past 10 years, is overwhelming. The growth could be 1000% or more. standardizing features like ABS, EBD, ESP, SP, and many other terms, adding hundreds of sensors, dozens of airbags, Multi-information displays which do some *Magical* calculations. Parking assists, hill descents, etc etc.

Adding so many electronics would increase the probability of such one off incidents. In earlier cars, say there are 10 electronic components. Probability of failure of each electronic component is say 0.1. So, the cars overall probability of failure/catching fire is 1%. In modern cars, with thousands of electronics being added every year, its actually surprising to see the failure rate is not going up drastically when compared to electronics additions. Which clearly shows they have tested it properly.

The amount of testing that these Germans have done on their products is amazing. They sell some 60+ K units each year and the accidents which we see is still under normal failure rate. may be 10, 20 or a max 50 catching fire. I am not supporting them, but the growth is drastic, so should the failure rate be. But it was kept under control. But still there are some one off issues.

The product catching fire is something wrong. I hope they really find it and fix it, prior the governments start acting. And they must give the owners a new car with apologies.

Last edited by gemi_kk : 14th April 2014 at 11:38. Reason: one word was wrong.
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Old 14th April 2014, 11:42   #12
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Originally Posted by gemi_kk View Post
And they must give the owners a new car with apologies.
I would call that doing charity-precisely because the OP has not put the cause of the fire or result of the investigation. What if the owner had installed an after-market component that has caused the fire- would the company still be liable to replace the car?
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Old 14th April 2014, 11:48   #13
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

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Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
I would call that doing charity-precisely because the OP has not put the cause of the fire or result of the investigation. What if the owner had installed an after-market component that has caused the fire- would the company still be liable to replace the car?
Sorry for a back to back post.

The first line reads "A retired couple from Germany". and i don't think, they are aware of NOS, and other *Luxury* or racing accessories.
Secondly, A Merc comes with everything. you need not put any thing. Starting from stereo, parking sensors, USB, iphone connectivity etc etc. And i don't think they are really interested in adding aftermarket stuff in a 2 week old car.
So the probability of adding stuff is drastically reduced. But not completely eliminated. Anyways, the company refunds only if there is a mistake from their side. No one pays for others mistakes, except Dads [who pays for sons mistakes ].

Last edited by gemi_kk : 14th April 2014 at 11:49. Reason: improving readability.
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Old 14th April 2014, 13:14   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaizanfan View Post
You're spot on Jeroen in interpreting my message. If an investigator were to look at a scenario where a car is traveling at 200km/hr and catches fire, that would be different than a car going thru a town street at 35km/hr.

As you put it, the contributing factors would differ. Thanks.
They way I read your post as if high speeds are more likely to cause fires then at low speeds. If you believe that, please enlighten us as to how that would be so.

I haven't made up my mind yet, to many variables

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Originally Posted by gemi_kk View Post
Adding so many electronics would increase the probability of such one off incidents.
There is no correlation between installing electronics in a car and subsequently cars catching fire that I'm aware off. I certainly would find it hard to correlate the two for some very simple and obvious reasons. Electronics, such as ECU, BPM etc tend to mounted inside the cabin, underneath the dashboard, under the seat, in the trunk. They always come as "sealed" units.

If they are installed in the engine bay they are typically well protected. Electronics typically have very low power ratings, i.e. they draw low currents. Its extremely unlikely that the surface temperature of an ECU reaches anywhere near a temperature at which something would start burning. Due to its low currents, its very unlikely that you will get big sparks from electronics. So the changes of electronics setting of a fire due to high temperature or fierce sparking is remote at best.

In most cases, car fires are due to fuel, be it petrol and or diesel, leaking onto something very hot. Or an electrical fault and some nearby flammable or combustable parts. There are a few other things like brakes that can get very hot, but as long as there is nothing flammable or combustible in the immediate vicinity you'll have a lot of smoke but no fire.

I do believe we need to wait for the facts, but judging by the pictures I would say this is a classic example of an engine fire. Most likely cause by leaking of petrol or diesel on the hot exhaust or maybe turbo. These days nearly all fuel system are pressurized, so when they develop a leak, the fuel spurts away, partly vaporized depending on the inline pressure. When it hits something hot, it could ignite and you end up with your Mercedes looking like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gemi_kk View Post
In earlier cars, say there are 10 electronic components. Probability of failure of each electronic component is say 0.1. So, the cars overall probability of failure/catching fire is 1%. In modern cars, with thousands of electronics being added every year, its actually surprising to see the failure rate is not going up drastically when compared to electronics additions. Which clearly shows they have tested it properly.
If your calculation would be correct, on a system with 1000 electronic components we would have a 100% chance of a fire. So, tell how come we don't see a continuous stream of cars, planes, TV's going up in smoke? Because your calculation is wrong.

Testing does not increase or decrease the statistical chance of anything going wonky. You can test to your hearts content, but until you find the root cause of a problem and change the design or process, everything remains the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gemi_kk View Post
The product catching fire is something wrong. I hope they really find it and fix it, prior the governments start acting. And they must give the owners a new car with apologies.
I suggest we wait for the facts first. Or we could go the American way and sue Mercedes right away.

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Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Do you know the couple in question?
Let's wait for more light on the cause of the fire.
Or perhaps you know who they are- so you can tell us more.
I agree, lets not jump to conclusions, unless there are more facts to add to what is known currently.

Jeroen

Last edited by GTO : 14th April 2014 at 15:59. Reason: Absolutely no need to be rude on Team-BHP
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Old 14th April 2014, 13:41   #15
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Default re: 2014 Mercedes S-Class catches fire, Totaled!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post

In most cases, car fires are due to fuel, be it petrol and or diesel, leaking onto something very hot. Or an electrical fault and some nearby flammable or combustable parts. There are a few other things like brakes that can get very hot, but as long as there is nothing flammable or combustible in the immediate vicinity you'll have a lot of smoke but no fire.


Jeroen
Very true. Which is why standard workshop practice is to clamp fuel lines and disconnecting the battery as a safety practice, whenever the car needs some work.
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