EDIT Please Read First EDIT
I want to make the purposes of this post clear. Itís partly for fun,
thatís the part where I tell you about how stupid I was by setting
myself/car on fire with poor judgement when using my torch. Itís
mostly for information about GM fuel lines...
1) I set myself, my car, and everything within 4 feet of the driverís
rear fenderwell on fire completely because I was in a hurry and didnít
take time to look carefully at everything nearby when I was using the
torch. Thatís the funny part! (Being on fire is only funny LATER,
after youíre no longer on fire!!! )
2) Mostly though, what I really want to know is, why does my car (í95
Z28 M6) have plastic fuel lines that light up like bottle rockets??? I
never had any problems with my TPI setup that used a steel/rubber high
pressure line combination... The plastic lines seem to be incredibly
weak, and you could problably twist or pinch one in half if you
tried... (Which I will try after I get new ones installed...)
If you donít enjoy reading about othersí self-confessed stupidity,
and/or you donít know why GM uses plastic fuel lines, please move on
if you only want to condescend or argue with your reply.
Itís a really good story, heck, when is a dude being on fire ever NOT
a good story???
EDIT Please Read First EDIT
The whole story is below... I certainly should have been more careful,
yada yada yada...
But hereís what worries me... My TPI had steel lines everywhere, and
only a few places where flex was necessary did it have heavy rubber
high pressure line. This seemed to be a great plan, and it worked
great in not only 3rd Gens, but in the 4x4 I swapped the TPI into and
abused for 7 years on the trails.
I learned yesterday that GM decided that 4th Gens should have
paper-thin, highly flammable plastic fuel lines in the most vulnerable
locations possible, like under the hood where they cross the gap above
the exhaust manifold and in the rear where the main feed line runs
from the tank to the fuel filter...
What in all that is Holy??? The majority of the lines are metal, but
the most vulnerable areas are made out of straws???
Iím tempted to replace everything with steel and high pressure braided
rubber, or even braided stainless steel. Now that Iíve had reason to
inspect the plastic lines carefully, I canít see them holding up to
even a minor pinch or a nick from a sharp tool, an accidental poorly
placed knee or foot, etc.
Whatís up with this? Anybody want to share a similar opinion or
explain to me what kind of exotic and space age technology has been
created in these paper thin plastic lines that somehow makes them
better than steel?
There has to be some reason (not necessarily a good one...) that one
of the three lines coming out of the tank is plastic while the other
two are metal... The vapor line is metal!!!
The local dealership wanted $101 for the íassemblyí of lines, whatever
that includes. Jason Cromer has them on the way for $55 plus shipping.
After I test the old lines, Iíll be selling large bendy straws with
rubber bands to use as clamps, all at a greatly reduced price from
what the local dealership will want. Iíll even clear coat the assembly
in order to give it some sort of vague flame retardance.
This Damned Immortality is Going to get Me Killed Someday...
Started the day off with a real bang. Had high hopes of getting the
Camaro running today.
Had a couple of exhaust studs that I needed to heat with the torch, as
well as a couple of brake fittings before I could make any more
progress. Fired up the torch, and got busy on that first big brake
fitting inside the driverís side rear fender well. Car up on jacks and
wheels off. Boy standing safely nearby for ítorchingí.
So Iím almost ready to pull the heat on the fitting and a nearby wire
loom starts to melt and smoke. I figure it can take one or two more
seconds, after all it has one of those corrugated plastic tubes over
Then, all hell broke loose! The next thing I know, the entire inner
fender well, my arm, and the ground under the car were all on fire.
Being on fire really sucks. I quickly realized that there was fuel
spraying out of the íwire loomí about 4 feet and wasnít showing any
signs of stopping soon.
Now, I have to break from the story to tell you a little about myself.
Iíve been around a while, pretty much seen and done it all, and I
canít remember the last time that something frightened, startled,
excited, or in any other way got my heart pumping faster than it pumps
when Iím asleep. Being on fire is no exception.
Any person with any amount of sense at all would have grabbed the Boy
and ran for dear life. The car is insured, itís replaceable, and at
this point Iíd be in pretty good shape if it got hauled off and
insurance had to buy me another one anyway... But like I said, that
would be a person with any real sense, or a person with a ífight or
flightí instinct. I have neither.
I did have the sense to turn the torch off and toss it in the shrubs
nearby, and as I wrapped my arm in my shirt to put it out, I told the
Boy to run. I then sat there and watched the fire to determine the
best way put it out. Still spraying fuel which was still creating a
I quickly saw that the fuel line was very close to the tank, and
if/when it ran out of fuel it might very well allow a flame backdraft
into the tank and íshaboom!í, weíd once again test my immortality. I
looked the other way down the fuel line and realized that this was the
very same line that I had tried to siphon fuel out of last weekend,
and couldnít get a drop from. So there wasnít much fuel in there. So I
pulled my shirt off and wrapped it around the fuel line, tucking it in
tightly between the car and the line. This stopped the gusher, but the
inner fender well and the ground under the tank and line were still on
fire. And I now was naked from the waste up.
I ran to the other side of the car and grabbed all the rags I had
laying around, and returned to find that I had to use them to wrap
around my now gas-soaked shirt, since it was now on fire although it
was stopping the fuel from spraying everywhere. I put the ground fire
out by kicking the gravel away, and most of the fender well had burned
itself out by now with no more gusher to feed it.
I then sat there surveying the mess, realizing that I could very well
have blown the whole thing to smitherines, and wondered yet again why
I hadnít just let the thing burn. Iím not THAT sentimental about
vehicles. Normally I have several fire extinguishers at-the-ready in
the garage, but unfortunately this is a driveway project, so I was
Damage appeared to be limited to the one PLASTIC fuel line that had
burned, the plastic corrugated tubing that was hiding it, the pelt on
my arm, and my t-shirt. Also some cardboard that I was laying on.
About then the Boy came running out of the house with Mom, yelling,
"Dadís on Fire, Dadís on Fire!", and Mom could still see the
lingering smoke, although I was clearly no longer on fire. Pissed off
and waiting to make sure no new fires sprung up, but no longer on
The Wife saw the look of disgust on my face, looked at the mess of
burnt cardboard and rags on the ground, and said, "Set it back on
fire and come in for lunch." Then walked back in the house. The Boy
stayed outside to work with me, but asked, "Are you done burning
things now Dad?"
Ahhh... Fatherís Day. What a better way to spend the day...
Keep a fire extinguisher strapped to your torch.
Immortality doesnít make it any less painful to be on fire.
If the entire underside of your fenderwell is on fire, and is being
fed by a steady streaming spray of fuel, have the damn good sense to
run for your freakiní life!
At least í95 and newer GM vehicles donít use high pressure rubber
fuel line anymore. They use very thin-walled and highly flammable
plastic fuel line!!! It looks exactly like a really big plastic vacuum
line. (You know the kind of plastic line that always got brittle under
your hood and you had to replace it with rubber...)
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