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Health, Safety and Accident Issues. Discussion on health & safety issues that effect the lawn care, landscaping, tree care, power washing, snow plowing and other trades. Talks of accidents that have occurred and how they could have been prevented. OSHA rules.

My SCAG Tiget cub burst into FLAMES today!!


Health, Safety and Accident Issues.

Discussion on health & safety issues that effect the lawn care, landscaping, tree care, power washing, snow plowing and other trades. Talks of accidents that have occurred and how they could have been prevented. OSHA rules.
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  #11  
Old 05-31-2009, 10:48 PM
SuperiorPower
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I understand what you are saying about the investment and now, nothing.... $6,500 is a lot of money to watch it burn up. I hope Scag makes it right with you. Like you said, heck, you could have been in or near your house and garage.

As far as the vacuum operated part, I think that would work. The other thing would be have an electronic fuel solenoid at the gas tank, similar to what is already being used by many manufacturers on the carburetor. For example, on carbs, when the engine is shut off, the solenoid stops fuel flow into the venturi thus effectively shutting the engine off even if the ignition part does not shut the engine off. Now this is not effective if the carburetor float is leaking and running gas over into the venturi. This solenoid is currently used basically as an "anti-dieseling" solenoid to eliminate the problems that some engines had with continuing to run (aka, dieseling) even after the spark was interrupted. I see no reason why a similar solenoid could not be used at the gas tank. Granted, the design would have to be right otherwise it could leak or break there and be no better despite the solenoid.

BTW, as far as a replacement mower, I would consider the Hustler line if you decide to not reinvest in Scag.

Just hang in there and just let us know what happens.
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  #12  
Old 06-01-2009, 06:19 AM
kb9nvh kb9nvh is offline
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I can see where and electronic solenoid would work but the engine key would have to be turned off for the positive shut off. The idea of the vacuum shut of is that if the engine stops running for whatever reason, then fuel is stopped from flowing. In my case, since apparently a fuel line came loose, when the engine stopped running it would have been nice for the fuel to stop dumping as well. Maybe it would have gone out on its own once the initial gasoline had burned off?


I'll be contacting my insurance and SCAG again today to find out where I stand.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperiorPower View Post
I understand what you are saying about the investment and now, nothing.... $6,500 is a lot of money to watch it burn up. I hope Scag makes it right with you. Like you said, heck, you could have been in or near your house and garage.

As far as the vacuum operated part, I think that would work. The other thing would be have an electronic fuel solenoid at the gas tank, similar to what is already being used by many manufacturers on the carburetor. For example, on carbs, when the engine is shut off, the solenoid stops fuel flow into the venturi thus effectively shutting the engine off even if the ignition part does not shut the engine off. Now this is not effective if the carburetor float is leaking and running gas over into the venturi. This solenoid is currently used basically as an "anti-dieseling" solenoid to eliminate the problems that some engines had with continuing to run (aka, dieseling) even after the spark was interrupted. I see no reason why a similar solenoid could not be used at the gas tank. Granted, the design would have to be right otherwise it could leak or break there and be no better despite the solenoid.

BTW, as far as a replacement mower, I would consider the Hustler line if you decide to not reinvest in Scag.

Just hang in there and just let us know what happens.
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2009, 07:34 AM
SuperiorPower
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Originally Posted by kb9nvh View Post
I can see where and electronic solenoid would work but the engine key would have to be turned off for the positive shut off.

I'll be contacting my insurance and SCAG again today to find out where I stand.
Actually, no. Just like the lights on some mowers operate only when the engine is running because it is based on the alternator. The solenoid would only activate when the engine is running and creating an electrical current. Or better yet, it could be activated by a seat safety switch which would be activated only if the operator is sitting on the mower seat. I personally would rather use an electronic than a vacuum operated mechanism since vacuum lines can, and will, get leaks and would thus become defective just because of old age and would be difficult and expensive to diagnose. I personally believe that an electronic system would be more stable.

However, with all of this being said, this would likely add an easy several $100 to the cost of a mower (and also a lot of headache). And I am not sure how effective it would be. When you think about it, the fuel line comes off the engine and starts dumping fuel where ever, which causes a fire. What is going to cause the engine to shut off? The primarily reason for the engine to shut off is if the key is turned off or the engine runs out of fuel. Unfortunately the engine does not shut off as soon as the fuel stops entering the carburetor (and thank goodness for this!!). Let me tell you, the engine can run for a short while (up to 30 seconds or more) just on the fuel that is still in the carburetor and as long as the engine is running, whether vacuum operated or electronic via the alternator, we are in the same boat. Even if the mower had a vacuum or electronic fuel shut off at the gas tank that shuts off as soon as the engine shuts off, just remember, it will not shut off until the carburetor runs out of fuel which by that time can be too late. By now the fire can have burned the fuel line back to the fuel tank. Today, most fuel tanks are plastic and by the time the engine shuts off the fire can have burned the fuel line back to the gas tank and have melted the gas tank and then all the gas in the tank is on fire. At this point no safety system is effective.

Plus, most mowers today have a fuel pump (almost invariably, they are mounted to the engine and are vacuum operated) and as long as the engine is running, it will continue to pump fuel, unless of course the fuel line is disconnected between the engine and the fuel pump. Absent a fuel pump, we are looking at a gravity flow fuel supply system that will continue dumping fuel onto the problem until there is no more fuel.

Let us know what you find out,
Eli
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  #14  
Old 06-01-2009, 01:25 PM
kb9nvh kb9nvh is offline
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Well, I'm sure there are multiple scenarios that could be worked out and the cheapest one that fixes the problem would be the one that gets used.
I know on my 1981 Honda silverwing they used a vacuum operated pet**** at the tank. No engine runny/No gas flowy. You are right that eventually the lines will crack and a vacuum leak will result...But thats the case with every rubber hose on the thing.

The main idea is to stop gas flowing by gravity if a catastrophic fuel line leak somehow occurs.

Here's how my fire played out....
1) smell of raw gas (assume fuel line failure here)
2) 5 or 10 seconds later engine stalls (remaining fuel from carb exhausted)
3) 20 or 30 seconds later engine area explodes in flames. (fuel running from broken line runs from down around engine and flows off back engine deck (gravity) and hits hot muffler...flames travel back to fuel source.

If fuel had cut off when the engine had stopped the fire would have either not occurred or maybe self extinguished.

Also, If you look at my photos you will see that the plastic tanks did not melt where the gas was in contact with the inside of the tank...The tanks melted on the tops, where there was no gas in contact with the plastic, and then the gas fumes burned from those holes once they melted open. I had two nearly full tanks of gas. When the fire was put out 35 minutes later the tanks still had gas in them and maybe still half full. (for 20 of those minutes the firemen were spraying copious amounts of water over the whole mower but the flames would not go out until a dry chemical extinguisher was used.
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  #15  
Old 06-01-2009, 05:24 PM
kb9nvh kb9nvh is offline
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SCAG contacted me today...They want to work WITH my insurance company to an equitable solution. (whatever that means for me).

Fair to me would be if I end up with a 60 hour equivalent tiger cub back or better and out no deductible.
I told my insurance company about the past recall on this type of mower and that I felt SCAG should replace this due to the type of failure it was. I could have been seriously hurt and SCAG has the responsibility to produce a safe product and liability for the consequences of a mishap.
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  #16  
Old 06-01-2009, 06:26 PM
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Hopefully everything will work out with Scag. It would be nice if they chose to give you a new one, plus some accessories due to the danger to you and the inconvenience.

You are right about the safety issue. You know it does not matter how good or how perfect a safety device is, if it is not installed then it is no good. A crummy device that is installed would be better than a perfect one that is not installed. Perhaps you could work with Scag to incorporate a safety valve on future models?

Let us know what happens in the coming days.

Good luck,
Eli
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  #17  
Old 06-03-2009, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
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This does make me wonder if there are more mowers out there catching on fire like this and we just don't know about it.
Steve,


They are all over youtube, I was looking for videos of ztr's and "my tiger cub on fire" was showing up..
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  #18  
Old 06-03-2009, 12:51 AM
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That is amazing!
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  #19  
Old 06-03-2009, 01:24 AM
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Glad you didnt get hurt. I know one thing for sure, this has made me check my fuel line and it was cracked.It had to be replaced.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
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  #20  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:21 PM
kb9nvh kb9nvh is offline
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To close out the SCAG part of this thread..SCAG has made its final decision.
They are willing to sell me a tiger cat for 6200 + tx. I'm guessing that's about 800 less than what most folks can get one for...Unfortunately, the price still puts me out 1K of insurance deductible.

So, SCAG has made a minor gesture towards helping me but nothing close to replacing the mower.

So, since I have to pay minimum 1K, and insurance will pay "replacement value" I'll be buying up and into a different brand.

I'll have the old 48" deck probably still good to sell as well as most of the front parts of the mower...could be that drive motors are good too but will have to take a look.

Thanks everyone for following this thread. I consider the matter closed but would invite anyone to continue to post their experiences with SCAG or any other mower that may have an potential fatal flaw. I've been chastised, in another forum, for not keeping up with my preventative maintenance (although I have met or exceeded whats listed in the manual).

When its your business or your life on the line I think it prudent to do more and now I know that both are at risk and that the manufacture wont do much to back you up.
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