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Alternator Fires. The Vehicle Fire Reporter. Lee S. Cole & Associates. Volume 1, Spring 1997.

Abstract: While most vehicle fires are the result of flammable liquids found in vehicles, there are also other causes. A malfunction in the alternator, the device that produces electric current, is another vehicle fire cause. There has been a recent investigation of alternators manufactured by Ford. This article provides facts and information from the Ford investigation.

In one instance, the driver smelled smoke and discovered a fire underneath the hood of his Ford Aerostar. After the Fire Company extinguished the fire, investigators determined that the wiring at the plug connector melted and caused high resistance overload. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there are 75 fires allegedly caused by the Ford Alternator. Ford uses a plug connector and not the conventional attachment. Investigators think that this plug connector develops high resistance over time and becomes even more dangerous when it is removed and reconnected. Currently Ford and the NHTSA are conducting further investigations into Ford alternators.

Another cause of alternator fires involves repairs. When an alternator is replaced, the connector should be examined. If the connector is not in good connection, it should be replaced as well. A damaged connector can cause wire melting and subsequently cause a fire. The replacement alternator must also be the correct one for the vehicle. A 75 amp alternator cannot replace a 65 amp alternator. The additional output can cause melting and a fire. The article lists other safety precautions to take regarding alternator repairs.

For more information, contact:
Lee S. Cole and Associates at 1-800-828-3550

 
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