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1997 Range Rover 4.0 SE
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I honestly don't know what to do anymore, latest mechanic said that he's looking for a short block as the knocking sounds like it could be a wrist pin or a sleeve is what he said and that it would be fine to drive it as is for a while til he found a short block... except now the whole front end is melted, and the engine literally caught fire, was driving it and noticed the temperature gauge was in the red and immediately pulled to the side of the highway and watched as my Rover went up in flames... what the hell could have caused this? I plan on going after the mechanic who said it was fine to drive it after telling me what he thinks is the source of the knocking. Please help me with any advice, it is much appreciated.
287038
 

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You've had to experience some sort of a fuel leak to get to this conclusion. Sorry to see a P38 in a situation like this.
 

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1997 Range Rover 4.0 SE
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Also probably worth noting, the Rover was just in for an oil change at a damned Midas, and the "mechanic" there spilt oil all over the top of the engine and I also looked underneath the vehicle and noticed oil everywhere, including running down the side of the oil filter casing. Now all we can do is wait for the ICBC investigation to find out the cause of the fire, my partner heard a loud bang, pop and the cabin filled with thick smoke within a matter of seconds and then flames shooting out, he had no choice but to actually jump out of the vehicle as it rolled to the side of the road. The photo of the front end gone says it all, in shock still and we're going after whoever caused this. My partner spent $10K+ in fixing his beautiful Rover and we can't believe it's gone...
 

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Fuel, oil, brake fluid and even anti freeze will all ignite if they get hot enough. Overheating engine, burst hose and anti freeze sprayed over a very hot engine could have started it and would have given you the pop too? Once it started the oil all over the engine will have gone up too. Maybe they will get to the bottom of what caused it but even if they don't, I hope your insurance will be able to do something for you. If they are anything like UK insurance companies, be prepared for a fight as they would offer book value and not take into account the money you have spent on it.

Very sorry after all the work you have put in too but it could be a blessing in disguise. You can replace it and hopefully the replacement won't have the problems this one gave you.
 

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1999 P38 vogue
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146 Posts
At a quick guess I'd say if oil soaked into exhaust heat shield that ignited burning wires causing electronic shorts leading to more fire --- I seem to remember wasn't this the same vehicle I said had possible slipped liner 🤔 and needed major engine repair
 

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1997 Range Rover 4.0 SE
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
@Richard_G insurance here in British Columbia does the same thing of offering fair market value, we have to wait til the investigation is done, but with the oil streaks down the oil filter housing after Midas did the oil change and the mechanic even spilt oil all over the top of the engine, hopefully they'll get to the bottom of this. My partner thinks it could be a blessing in disguise and that everything happens for a reason; he wants to get another 97 Range Rover since he loves his old one, and @Symes this is the same vehicle you thought could have a slipped liner, oddly enough the last actual mechanic (who was a service manager at the Land Rover here in Vancouver) to take a look at the source of the knocking said it could be either a wrist pin or possible slipped liner, couldn't tell without taking engine out and that he was going to look for a short block, guess that won't be needed now anymore.
 

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1999 P38 vogue
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146 Posts
Hope you get a satisfactory response thru insurance company and as you already know don't get 1st P38 you see ---- find a well looked after one otherwise take mechanic classes ---- P38 not a friend to people when not cared for 🙄 At least no one injured ---- am sure there's a P38 out there waiting for you 👍😎
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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492 Posts
a friend of mine nearly lost his rover after washing the engine, a piece of the lining on the firewall socked with degreaser and oil fell off and landed on his cat. by the time he got home he could smell something, opened the bonnet and the piece of insulation was on fire. he said if he walked away he would have lost it
sorry for the loss.
 

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Glad no-one hurt and your partner walked away. If things happen for a reason maybe the message is to try a different car :)
I've just made a mental note to cover up those bits of fraying heat shield under my bonnet/ car body
 
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1997 Range Rover 4.0 SE
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
So nearly after a month, we've replaced the Rover with a 2006 Supercharged L322, so far so good we hope. Fire investigator wants to know if the HVAC pump was replaced along with the engine or if it's original. Now we're wondering how could they have determined the fire's point of origin to the HVAC pump, and furthermore; would that be plausible for the HVAC pump to cause the fire? Looking for thoughts and opinions please and as always, much appreciated.
 

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I assume you mean the air conditioning compressor? If so, did the air con work? If it didn't it's always possible that someone had shorted the connection to the pressure switch (or the switch had failed but they normally fail open ciscuit not short circuit) so it was running when there was insufficient refrigerant in the system. Can't think of any other way it would get hot enough to start a fire.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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i would tell them to have another guess the hot spot looks to be between the fusebox and the firewall. if it started on the other side the other side would have more damage than the left side? IMHO
ask them to show you how they came up with that answer?
 

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1997 Range Rover 4.0 SE
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Discussion Starter #15
We think the fire investigator is fishing for a cause, so definitely asking him to check again, and how exactly he came up with that, and @Richard_G the fire investigator said exactly the HVAC pump. And the air conditioning never worked but the mechanic recharged the refrigerant so not sure. After some research it seems the area of origin has to be on the passenger side between the fuse box and fire wall. Thoughts?
 

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That really sucks, you find the L322 a real joy to drive and easier to turn than a P38, hope you did not go into detail with ICBC about your engine issue, otherwise they will try to lower the price.
 

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1997 Range Rover 4.0 SE
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
So it seems that they're saying they know there was a problem with the HVAC, I have no clue then as to what caused it, even they don't know still...ugh.
 

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The pop could have been the rubber section of the fuel line on the the bulkhead, which might have perished, but shhhh! For your claim purposes, I'd be proposing that it was oil-soaked bulkhead insulation or oil in the heatshields dripping onto the exhaust. If the fuel line had burst under pressure, I would expect a much more Molotov outcome.
 

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1997 Range Rover 4.0 SE
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
So the fire investigation report yielded results, 0% at fault and turned out it was the bottom hose leading from the thermostat leaked and everything behind it got scorched, the hose burst and once it did there was no stopping it. Thoughts?
 

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MY02 Vogue
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I don't have experience of a P38 fire but I certainly do with a near-new Disco D2, caused by coolant. Turns out coolant is flammable, very much so in the right circumstances.

The D2 was being driven up a steep fire trail (appropriate) as I was standing watching. I saw flames licking underneath, on the exhaust system. I couldn't beleive my eyes, thinking I must be seeing things, but then black smoke started billowing out of the grille. All sort of waving and shouting at the driver to shut down and get the hell out of there. Didn't have a fire extinguisher, and wasn't game to lift bonnet (and possibly give more oxygen for the fire). Luckily it extingushed itself fairly quickly, but did a lot of damage in the engine bay. Land Rover deemed the cause was a coolant leak at the throttle body warmer connection hose (I don't think the GEMS engine had this feature but the Thor did). Always carry a fire extinguisher now.
 
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