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Old 04-11-2011, 07:32 PM   #1
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Jeep caught on fire :(

Long story short, I was working on replacing my battery cables today and stupidly shorted them out. Fearing being electrocuted after attempting to disconnect the cables I stopped trying and ran for my extinguisher once the flames caught. It didn't do much because the flames were back within a minute or two. 10 minutes later the fire trucks arrived to douse the 3 foot flames and they disconnected the battery. Luckily no one was hurt during the whole incident.

I've called my insurance company (Geico) and filed the claim. I'll be receiving a call sometime tomorrow from an appraiser. I'm assuming the PCM is toast, alternator looked fried, air box is melted, passenger side brake line was severed from the heat and it superheated all the way to the MC melting anything it touched in its path, the brake light turned blue! My question is what should I be expecting to happen? I feel like there's nearly not enough damage to claim it as totaled. Do insurance companies cut you a check to bring it to a shop once the damage is appraised? Can you pick your own shop to bring it to? I'm worried once it does get fixed I'll have endless electrical issues I'm not the kind of person to bring it to a shop, I've done ALL of my own work and no offense to mechanics but I don't trust anyone else working on my baby

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Old 04-11-2011, 07:44 PM   #2
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Major bummer! I feel ya though. In a way i guess. I don't like dealing with battery cables. I've been zapped a few times. I tend to handle my battery cables like they were VX gas pearls.

Hope you get back on the road soon. I have no advice to offer as far as all the other stuff goes. Good luck.

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Old 04-11-2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear that happened, thats a bummer

Don't take this the wrong way.... i mean nothing bad by it - but I do find it a little funny that you are nervous to take your jeep to a shop to have it fixed, despite the fact that you are the one that started 'your baby' on fire

Like i said, i mean that in the most lighthearted way possible, please dont take it the wrong way. In any case, I hope you are able to get your problems resolved quickly and are back on the road (trails?) soon
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:54 PM   #4
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I'm not sure about cutting you a check. I do know that you can take it to any shop that you want tho. That is your right. Don't let them try to tell you different.
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:05 PM   #5
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Take the - battery cable off first, then it is NEARLY impossible to short something out. I have never been shocked by 12 volts, I've seen a lot of sparks when I didn't undo the - cable, but never shocked. Hope you get everything taken care of soon.
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:20 PM   #6
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When working on a car you should always take the negitive battery cable off the battery and leave it off till you are done. This avoids any misshaps!
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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They will usually give you a check for what they think the damage is worth. Try to do your homework on what the repairs should cost. It isn't unusual to have an adjuster give you a low ball quote getting his pricing from internet junk yards.
+1 on disco the battery before you start.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:32 PM   #8
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I had wired the entire positive side first, with no negative cables even connected. My mistake is that I had forgotten to bolt down the alternator/fuse cable and it snapped loose and shorted to the frame AFTER I had the chassis ground connected :-(

What's it feel like getting zapped by a car battery? I just finished putting on my new 1AWG cables and I know they could easily sustain a 200amp continuous load so my first thoughts in my head was safety for myself over my Jeep (almost sad to say but it's very true haha)

I do take offense to the statement about me bringing it elsewhere. Have you ever stripped a bolt or broken something by accident? I have and I've learned each time, hell it's part of owning, modding and maintaining your own rig. I see MANY a thread on this forum about people and their mishaps, whether it's from working on their own rig or things that happened offroad. Now I need to worry about having my electrical worked on (maybe even half assed by some mechanic I don't know because I'm new to the area) and then handed off to me to worry about. Honestly I'd rather get a check and do it all myself if I had the proper space to do so.

This all being said, does anyone know any reputable mechanics in CT (preferably near the Hartford area) worth looking into for repairs?
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:47 PM   #9
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Gett zapped doesn't tickle... that's for sure. Have you ever tried to find a wall outlet at night using your fingers as a guide to the holes only to realize the you were still touching there metal prongs, and this numbness goes through your body, like you can't move, and out your toes... yeah something like that. In my case, and a few other times, it was cause I had a wrench in my hand and it mad contact with the frame and positive teminal and then pop! It makes your hand squeeze the wrench but the shock you receive makes you fall back and it's over. But it sure scares the hell out of you.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:49 PM   #10
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Btw, don't take offense. I think he was trying to lighten up the situation for you. Gotta be able to atvleast laugh it off. Yeah it sucks, but no one was hurt and its not a total loss. It'll make for a good story later down the road. Plus, that's a perfect example of irony if I ever saw one. Laugh it off, it'll all be good
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:56 PM   #11
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Btw, don't take offense. I think he was trying to lighten up the situation for you. Gotta be able to atvleast laugh it off. Yeah it sucks, but no one was hurt and its not a total loss. It'll make for a good story later down the road. Plus, that's a perfect example of irony if I ever saw one. Laugh it off, it'll all be good
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:12 PM   #12
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I am in the insurance business and can enlighten you. Each company operates a little differently. Generally, they will want you to take it to a shop to get the repairs. By law, you can choose the shop of your choice. They want repairs done at a certified shop to assure that this type of loss will not happen again which will cause them to pay out on a claim for the same reason. The company will not normally total the vehicle unless they determine that the repairs cost more (or close to it) than the vehicle is worth. If they do total it, you can choose to settle and keep the vehicle but the amount of money you will receive will be less. This will also cause the vehicle to have a salvaged title. In reality though, just express your concerns with the adjuster who is working your claim. I hope this helps.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:14 PM   #13
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Thanks a lot TJ Mike that helped a bunch. I just need to find a shop around my area now and all will be well
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:14 PM   #14
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2002 maybe totaled.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:17 PM   #15
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I checked the bluebook and it sits around 6600 in good condition. What kind of costs would I be looking at for a new PCM, some harnesses, brake line, battery cables and maybe fender amongst other things
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:20 PM   #16
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That sucks... on the topic of being electrocuted by your battery, I've been studying a little to get my amateur radio license and one of the questions for it is, "Which is a commonly accepted value for the lowest voltage that can cause a dangerous electrical shock?" The answer is 30 volts.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:21 PM   #17
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Isn't current the killer though?
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:24 PM   #18
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^ this thread reminded me to ask if anyone on here knows a good terminal cover that i could put on my battery to prevent corrosion/water contact/ possible hand to metal contact.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:28 PM   #19
Knows a couple things...

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Sorry for what happened today, that's too bad. But in the future, never fear being electrocuted by the battery. It only puts out 12 volts and you can't even feel 12 volts. Touch the - and + posts with both hands, trust me, and you'll be pleasantly surprised that it's a non-event. 12 volts won't hurt you. Really.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:40 PM   #20
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having dealt with geico on 2 claims I can say I was happy with the process both times. good luck
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:48 PM   #21
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been hit with a jolt a couple times myself but was wet out both times/ that being said it will get your attention but is low voltage so doesn't have the amps behind it due to your bodys resistance,also been zapped by a welder(22 volts)hurts too
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:06 AM   #22
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I had to deal with the battery on my friends 97 about a year ago, there was an emergency and there was so much mud we couldn't make out the positive and negitive charges, luckily we guessed right.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:28 AM   #23
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Sorry for what happened. It's good that nobody was injured, but...

What type of insurance pays a claim filed for owner negligence?
I think you would be lucky if Geico paid anything at all.

Maybe it is time to take 'your baby' to someone else.

Feel free to take offense.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:19 AM   #24
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I'm hoping Geico does? Can anyone comment? I have full coverage
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:30 AM   #25
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I didn't think it was the voltage that kills you. It's the amperage.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:38 AM   #26
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So how exactly did you short out the battery cables while replacing them, you started at the other end of the battery and worked your way back with the battery connected?
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:59 AM   #27
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its not the volts, its the amps that kills. if you grab a spark plug wire when the car is running, it will numb your arm to the elbow, if you grab the battery poles when not running, nada.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:01 AM   #28
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oh, a footnote, think about a stun gun. 50,000 or more volts to stun a person, so 12 volts isnt really an issue. a home outlet is 110, but the saving grace is its alternating current so it cant grab you like in the movies. a car is constant current but a low amount and neglible when not running.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:08 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randy and teri
its not the volts, its the amps that kills. if you grab a spark plug wire when the car is running, it will numb your arm to the elbow, if you grab the battery poles when not running, nada.
Quote:
Originally Posted by randy and teri
oh, a footnote, think about a stun gun. 50,000 or more volts to stun a person, so 12 volts isnt really an issue. a home outlet is 110, but the saving grace is its alternating current so it cant grab you like in the movies. a car is constant current but a low amount and neglible when not running.
Exactly what I was thinking. Amps, not volts that kills. One time I did what a poster before me mentioned and found a power outlet in the dark with my fingers on the prongs. Not fun at all lol.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:13 AM   #30
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I've read on multiple occasions that 1amp of current through the right part of your body can kill. There was a chary with different breakdowns. Now what voltage that applies to I'm not sure.

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