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Wow, almost lost the Cougar tonight. I had just finished replacing the water pump which was quite a chore in itself and while I was at it replaced the plugs and put a new flame thrower coil. Started it up (with a jump due to a weak battery) and let it run for a while when after about 5 minutes the engine just shut down. I looked around the engine compartment to see if I could see anything and all looked fine so I tried to start it up again but nothing but cranking. Thought it could be poor ignition so I checked the coil but still nothing. One more crank and boom!:flamer: A nice fireball shot out of the carb!:uhoh:

I tried to smother the flames but they just kept burning under the towel!:confused: Went to grab the extinguisher and couldn't find it. Oh my God!:realshk:

Sent the wife next door for an extinguisher while I kept at trying to smother the flames. Lucked out and finally got it smothered out by the time the neighbor arrived (he didn't even have one at his house!). No damage but I learned my lesson. New extinguisher is now mounted in clear view in the garage. Next chore will be to pull the carb and do a rebuild. Could this be a stuck float? I had been driving the car for a while before the water pump failure. I guess I'm just finding out all of the fun times when you get a car that has pretty much sat for 30 years!:)
 

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Since you just changed a few things its hard to say for sure but I'd be looking more at the ignition than the carb. I would guess the ignition stopped working for some reason. You cranked the engine over trying to diagnose the problem loading up the intake with fuel. Then on the next crank the ignition decides to fire the plugs at the wrong time igniting the fuel in the intake. Normally if you get a pop back that causes an internal carb fire the best way to put it out is to crank the engine. The only time this does not apply is if the needle and seat are stuck as you would be just feeding the fire.

Bill
 

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Keep the right type extinguisher handy at all time - especially in the car. A halon one is best since it won't leave a mess when done. Like Bill says next time crank it over the minute you see flames and don't hit the pedal! They make little hats you can put over the crab to keep the dirt out, but they will also help to smother it GLAD it turned out ok! PHEWWW
 

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man I hear ya. I remember when I brought my racecar back to the area where I grew up (I lived near Pittsburgh for a bunch of years and built my drag car there), I was renting a house with a buddy of mine (single days), and had the family over to check out the new digs and also to wow them by showing off the car in the garage and give everyone a thrill by starting it up in all it's open-header glory.

Ended up giving them a fireworks display with the same scenario- hood was off, car was having trouble starting and at one point I had the atom-bomb fireball shoot out of the already tall carb. Gave a whole bunch of non-car people quite a show, although not the type of show I wanted to give. Think I ran out of battery cranking power before I could get it to start. No damage except my pride...

Kevin

Kevin
 

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Great topic. Glad your ride is fine. I started riding with a fire extinguished in the back seat floor area just a few weeks ago. Been getting some ribbin' from people about it. It is just there for precaution. It is a regular fire extinguisher. I am looking on ebay for halon fire extinguishers. They are expensive. Like 170-180.00 expensive. Is this the cheapest place to get one. If I had to use one I'd rather have one that is going to make less of a mess.

Thanks.
 

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Yes we should have a fire extinguisher in all our cars but for sure in our cats as they are not easily replaced. BTW a CO2 fire extinguisher works great without the mess. They are heavy and bulky but you can usually get a used one for under $50 from a fire extinguisher service company. I got a serviced 5 pounder for $25 a few years ago. Nice thing about CO2 fire extinguishers is they can be used more than once without a refill as long as you don't use it up the first time.

Bill
 

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Usually, you can suck the fire back down into the intake, just by continuing to turn the motor over, rather than just letting the fuel burn out of the carb..
Fire extinguishers are always a good thing to have in the car, and in the shop...
 

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Waaaaaaay back in 1988, when I was working at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, CA, I pulled into a parking spot at work while it was still dark. All of a sudden the steering wheel was hard to turn and flames shot out from under the hood. I shut off the ignition and kind of panicked trying to get my seat belt off. I ran to the trunk, took my car cover out and went to open the hood to try to put out the flames. The only thing still burning was my hood insulation. Turns out my power steering pressure hose sprung a leak and sprayed a fine mist of power steering fluid directly onto the exhaust manifold. Now I carry a fire extinguisher and wrap the power steering lines with several layers of foil wrapped by a length of heater hose that's zipped tied in several places. This keeps the direct heat off the power steering lines and will keep the lines from spraying a fine mist if they ever do rupture again.
 

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I remember when I started carrying a fire extinguisher in my car. I was commuting home one night and passed a guy on the side of the road whose car was smoking nicely from under the hood while he sat and watched. I thought "man, if I had a fire extinguisher I might be able to actually help him out! ...and man, I dont' ever want to be in that position, watching my car burn down."

I've had a fire extinguisher behind my passenger seat ever since. Never had to use it though (knocks on wood).
 
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