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  1. #1

    My 07 Challenger Caught Fire

    I just got back home from being towed in after catching fire while riding.

    It's our first trip out this summer, new baby and all, just getting the chance. We left the dock, it seemed to be acting funny. Would hit 6-7k rpms but only doing about 10mph. I thought it'd kick in any minute. It wasn't. I killed the motor. Gave it a second, then tried to start her back up. (This is about maybe 1000 feet from the docks. Not like I was running on it for any sort of distance.) When I tried starting it back up, I noticed white smoke billowing from the vents over the battery compartment. Leaned over that seat to see the smoke and melted my hand when I touch the battery compartment cover. It was hot. I immediately told everyone to jump off the boat, as this is dangerously close to the gas tank/lines. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and sprayed it in through the vents. We let it sit about 10-20 minutes to make sure the fire was out (while we had safely swam ashore). Then I went back to look at the damage. It obviously wasn't starting back up so I started the claims process and got a tow back. I'm back at the house now and these are the pics of the damage. I didn't post any of the actual engine compartment because (other than the residual fire extinguisher powder) it looks fine. All the damage is in the battery compartment. Any clue as to what happened? I of course had insurance and am going that route, but until that gets taken care of, I'd love to know you guys' input.

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  2. #2

    Filed a claim with Progressive. The rep wanted the name/phone#/mailing address/email address of everyone on board. She also wanted the name and number of witnesses. I was like lady, I was trying to keep my boat from going up in flames, I didn't think to ask the witnesses (surrounding boaters) for contact info. Anyhow, they wanted me to take it to my local dealer and the claims adjuster is going to meet me there in 2 days. While I'm fine with them fixing my boat, I'm concerned about it getting fixed correctly. The guys at the dealership looked stunned when I opened the battery compartment for them. Like so stunned I lost a little faith in their ability to bring it back to running order.

    Should I be concerned about one of the party's involved cheaping-out and it not getting fixed properly or am I overly concerned?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    any updates?

  4. #4
    2005 Challenger 180
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Yeah anything?

  5. #5
    Looking at your pictures it appears that your battery was the point of failure...simply shorting itself out over heating and started a fire. I have heard of similar problems occurring in the automotive world with batteries.

    What brand battery was it?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Lexington, Ky
    If they total it out, I would be interested in buying a parts from you. Hope everything works out Good for you in the end with your insurance, and most of all glad you and your family got out safe!! Let us know what ends up happening!

  7. #7
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Elephant Butte New Mexico
    doubtful this will rate a total loss given the book value of the boat. Typical electrical bay fire..not going to be easy to root out the cause, but the first thing I'd check are the starter solenoids ( assuming the electrical box survived) I've seen those short, keep the starter engaged, which eventually burns the starter down, and the batteries with it. might also explain the crummy running performance off the dock.

    good move evacuating the boat by the way <salute>

  8. #8
    Jeepster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Quebec, Canada
    Nope on the starter is located on the front of the engine, not in the battery tray location, also the starter wire is still looking good on the pictures, so i would really doubt it started this way.

    My guess would be on a defective rectifier that ignited the plastic airbox, then the fire caught on at the big rotating cut-out switch, and the plastic airbox melted down on the battery.
    Chasing down the inital ignition point....i don't see it completely on the picture, but the battery itself does not look melted like it ignited in the first place....but that could also be the fault (the battery) then the fire would have caught higher (plastic airbox, and the burning both the rectifier box and the cut-off switch.

    One thing for sure....both the evacuation of the boat + the fire extincter calls were very good, not having done this the entire boat would have burned (and maybe even exploded too).

    Glad to see all the family is ok, again you took the good calls on this emergency situation.

    I think the dealer might have been more suprised to see that, that might explain his reaction, we do not see often recent jetboat engine it may have surprised him a bit.

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