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-   -   Electrical burning, heavy smoke w/ 3yr old grandson sleeping in AI (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f240/electrical-burning-heavy-smoke-w-3yr-old-grandson-sleeping-in-ai-182891.html)

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 03:14 PM

Electrical burning, heavy smoke w/ 3yr old grandson sleeping in AI
 
I am posting this not to ask for help in troubleshooting this problem. So please save any hypothesis on what the cause may be. As I always appreciate advice and help and ideas, it will not help at this stage. I have already done as much troubleshooting and problem mitigation, but not to repair the problem. I troubleshot to mitigate the issue from getting worse and to be sure that there are no hidden flames or small embers inside the electrical compartment that could ignite a full-blown fire. That could've burned down the AI or my daughter's house right next to it. I also needed to make sure I could drive the unit back from GJ, CO to LV, NV (550 miles) without risking my family even more during the return trip. I am already in contact with local Las Vegas, NV dealer and AS Jackson Center. This is now in their hands to fix.

I am posting my experience to make the AI owner's aware of this in case it happens to them. Here are some general details of how it happened. I will not be publishing certain aspects of the problem due to potential legal actions I am considering taking. In a previous thread (I forget which), I had mentioned that I am in a select 'club' of MB owners who had sued MB and won against MB. INTERBLOG commented that she would've had to be really peeved-off to sue MB. Well, this situation has put me in that "really peeved-off" condition to consider suing for only the 2nd time in my life. It is not going to take too much more of a nudging from dealer or AS to push me over the edge. So I have placed dealer and AS on notice that they have 1-shot to fix this right. Then all hell breaks loose.

Details if you want to read on:
1. AI parked 3ft. from house & porch.
2. Hooked up AI to shore power to run A/C.
3. Grandson was still asleep, strapped in his carseat.
4. Side slider door partially closed to keep A/C cold air in while allowing me to hear grandson.
5. Family was gathered around house, porch, and right next to side slider door.
6. After 15-20 mins, noticed A/C did not kick in (glad now I have gotten to know the loud A/C noise).
7. Wanted to check why no A/C & also if interior was getting too warm for grandson.
8. When I open slider door, to my horror, I saw thick smoke coming out of the electrical compartment underrneath the R/S rear jump seat and smelled the strong irritant odor of PCB burning (not wood, not paper, not insulation, not organic). Anyone who has worked with PCB for 40 yrs. knows this distinctive burning smell.
9. Immediately removed grandson and took him to safety .
10. Unplugged from shore power.
11. Turned off battery disconnect switch near slider door.
12. Turned off main battery disconnect next to house fuse box.
13. Turned off all breakers.
14. Turned off LPG switch.
15. Turned off chassis battery disconnect.
16. Opened all doors & windows to air out, screens on, left open 24hrs.
17. This entire time - smoke detector, CO2 detector never activated.

18-30. Will not disclose these many extra but necessary steps that I took inside & exterior of AI in order to make sure there are no lingering fires, flames, embers inside that could potentially re-ignite and burn down the AI or the structures next to it.

31-40. Will not disclose these next steps either, but after being satisfied with 18-30, took more steps to make sure the problem was isolated to house side and AI chassis is functioning & is drivable so I can bring to dealer asap.

41. Contacted dealer. Due to previous negative experience with my local dealer (on what was a minor problem), I am very hesitant to have them work on this much more risky side of the house. But service manager has given me some very 'personal' assurances that it will be handled well and that he & I will be involved every step of the way. I will even have a pre-repair meeting with him, shop foreman, and their electrical expert to discuss the game plan and for me to lay down on the table my expectations of them. Did not sugar-coat the fact that I am now in "Zero Tolerance" mode.

42. Contacted AS Jackson Center. Discussed everything from Steps 1-41. Again - Did not sugar-coat the fact that I am now in "Zero Tolerance" mode. All options are available to me, going to dealers further away or going all the way to Jackson Center, if that is what it takes to make me happy. Will also have separate discussion on why detectors did not go off, and possible alternate and/or redundant locations when the time comes. But for now priority is finding/fixing source of burning/smoke. Regardless, those detectors are getting yanked regardless of whether they still test ok or not. Will be sent to Jackson Center for analysis. Jackson Center assures me the entire troubleshooting, repair, and testing process will be controlled by them. I insisted that I am not confident letting the local techs make any decisions. I want ALL decisions to be done by the factory. They agreed 100%. Happy with response from AS.

Both the dealer and AS know they are lucky to have dodged a potentially catastrophic property damage problem (thanks to my due diligence in not letting the thing just burn to the ground) AND a huge liability for personal injury or death.

Every major trip to date (3) has been interrupted by a problem with AI. The first 2 were just minor/annoyances, though still cut short our trip. But a life threatening safety issue raises things to a different level now.
I am not a happy camper right now!

Titus 06-13-2018 03:28 PM

To the extent possible could you advise/speculate on whether/not this issue might be somehow related to later (post 2013) model years? I have read about an SB164 solenoid that is a band-aid for some other problem. I don't have that solenoid. PM me if you'd rather.

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Titus (Post 2114422)
To the extent possible could you advise/speculate on whether/not this issue might be somehow related to later (post 2013) model years? I have read about an SB164 solenoid that is a band-aid for some other problem. I don't have that solenoid. PM me if you'd rather.

Not sure if related. Problem is I was able to see the smoke but can not (and would not) want to troubleshoot when smoke was coming out, for obvious reasons. And when things are shut-off and I can safely check on any small lingering flames, melting, source of smoke, I am unable to find any visual clues of burnt or melted damage. I have looked it over from many angles from the top and bottom panel removed as far forward as it will go (without having to resort to removing all the breakers) and still no luck on source. Smoke seems to clearly come from slightly below Magnum inverter. But doesn't mean it wasn't coming from Magnum. Smoke has a way of snaking around tight spots, so could be an optical illusion. And since my intent was NOT to repair, but to mitigate further problems, I was only checking for absence of further problems rather than spend time to fix the problem.

Pahaska 06-13-2018 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Titus (Post 2114422)
I have read about an SB164 solenoid that is a band-aid for some other problem. I don't have that solenoid. PM me if you'd rather.

The SB164 solenoid was a poor quick fix for AI in the 2014-2015 range. It is not present in later models; a second disconnect switch replaced it.

My SB164 solenoid is long gone. I replaced it with a manual battery switch early on.

wachuko 06-13-2018 03:48 PM

Alex, very sorry to read this. Glad grandson and family are okay.

Please, do share more once the legal aspects and resolution has been addressed. And this I ask only for awareness and ability to avoid such a situation.

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pahaska (Post 2114429)
The SB164 solenoid was a poor quick fix for AI in the 2014-2015 range. It is not present in later models; a second disconnect switch replaced it.

My SB164 solenoid is long gone. I replaced it with a manual battery switch early on.

Ahh, good to know. Learn something new every day. And I can confirm there is a 2nd disconnect switch once I opened up the entire compartment.

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 04:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2114431)
Alex, very sorry to read this. Glad grandson and family are okay.

Please, do share more once the legal aspects and resolution has been addressed. And this I ask only for awareness and ability to avoid such a situation.

WACHUKO - Thanks, and I will share more once the air clears (definitely no pun intended). From a practical standpoint, even after they yank the existing smoke & CO2 detectors and replace with brand new ones, I am pushing for redundant ones installed near the mesh venting above the electrical compartment. AS already knows this and so far, no resistance to my idea. So, it's just a matter of finding the right absolute closest location.

Mansderm161 06-13-2018 04:11 PM

Interesting. I have a 2018 I bought in December. We had a pretty cold winter so before I winterized I bought a little ceramic space heater and ran it periodically along with shore power heat. One day when I went out to check and I smelled something burning and it smelled really hot. My first thought was space heater but after I unplugged it, I heard a motor running under the rear seat and the smell was coming from that area. I looked under the seat and could hear the motor sound but but not locate what was running. I turned off shore heat...it kept running. It did not stop till I disconned shore power. It has not done it again, but I havent really used any heat since. I have appointment coming up in JC and plan to ask what it was and to check it out.

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mansderm161 (Post 2114440)
Interesting. I have a 2018 I bought in December. We had a pretty cold winter so before I winterized I bought a little ceramic space heater and ran it periodically along with shore power heat. One day when I went out to check and I smelled something burning and it smelled really hot. My first thought was space heater but after I unplugged it, I heard a motor running under the rear seat and the smell was coming from that area. I looked under the seat and could hear the motor sound but but not locate what was running. I turned off shore heat...it kept running. It did not stop till I disconned shore power. It has not done it again, but I havent really used any heat since. I have appointment coming up in JC and plan to ask what it was and to check it out.

Pretty sure the Magnum MM Series inverters are fan cooled. Probably what you hearing.

rowiebowie 06-13-2018 04:25 PM

Wow, how scary. Glad your diligence paid off listening and watching and your grandson is ok.

I get frustrated when minor things going wrong or break, but mine is a used '2012, and the problems you and others have on new models make my woes seem really insignificant. However, come to think of it, that's not a good thing.

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 04:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rowiebowie (Post 2114447)
Wow, how scary. Glad your diligence paid off listening and watching and your grandson is ok.


I get frustrated with minor things going wrong or break, but mine is a used '2012, and the problems you and others have make my woes seem really insignificant. However, come to think of it, that's not a good thing.

ROWIEBOWIE - Thank you, my biggest take-away with this is even if the Sprinter chassis is not running, I will never leave any of my family members alone in the AI, especially if they are children and/or asleep, even if just outside the side sliding door

Lily&Me 06-13-2018 04:59 PM

How absolutely terrifying this must have been.

So glad you were nearby and grandson is okay.

Maggie

wachuko 06-13-2018 05:01 PM

What sucks is that we buy these to enjoy and relax... not to have to be worried about someone's life being at risk while using it for its intended purpose.

Even after all is fixed, pretty sure it will leave a bad taste (and smell) in you...

I will shut up and keep looking for updates when those can be shared.

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lily&Me (Post 2114461)
How absolutely terrifying this must have been.

So glad you were nearby and grandson is okay.

Maggie

MAGGIE - Thank you. Nothing near what you just went through and are still dealing with. Good to read news going in positive direction, especially Lily's condition. Machines are replaceable. Our children are not (I refer to my dog Belle as my granddog)

Boxster1971 06-13-2018 05:17 PM

Alex - what a scary incident. Glad no one was hurt and damage limited. Do all Interstate owners a favor and file an incident report with NHTSA once you have more details on what happened.

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

This is the stuff for a possible recall.

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 05:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2114464)
What sucks is that we buy these to enjoy and relax... not to have to be worried about someone's life being at risk while using it for its intended purpose.

Even after all is fixed, pretty sure it will leave a bad taste (and smell) in you...

I will shut up and keep looking for updates when those can be shared.

Exactly. Which is why I need (for my sanity) to push them hard past the repair it to "minimum standard" mentality. At the first sign of push back or resistance, I go from 'Zero Tolerance mode' to 'Attack mode'.

PS: Enjoy the talks with you, even the mindless/wandering types :D Helps me relieve the stress. Feel free to shout out if/when you feel like it. I do not mind at all.

Lotus54 06-13-2018 05:23 PM

If my grandson was asleep inside and that happened to me- it would have scared me so much Iím not sure Iíve ever do that again.

I Hope they can find a definitive issue and know it is solved. Good on redundant detectors- they are certainly cheap.

good luck on a proper diagnosis and repair. Sounds like all Airstream and nothing to do with MB at this point.

Mark

FlyFishinRVr 06-13-2018 05:26 PM

Hey Alex. Iím on business travel and just saw this. VERY glad everyone is ok. Thatís the number one outcome. The rest will work itself out and for that I wish you the best. [emoji106]

One clarification Iíd like to make for peeps is in regards to the SB164 solenoid. I have an early Ď17 coach (Ď16 build) and I have that solenoid. So the madness didnít end with the Ď15 model year as someone else posted. [emoji53]

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boxster1971 (Post 2114473)
Alex - what a scary incident. Glad no one was hurt and damage limited. Do all Interstate owners a favor and file an incident report with NHTSA once you have more details on what happened.

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

This is the stuff for a possible recall.

MIKE - Thank you. Yes, this is on my list as soon as I get more details, and suggested fix. In my current state of mind, the dealer and AS are not getting off easy. My intent is to give them every opportunity to volunteer to do things right by me. Without specifying the details, they have already done a few of those. With regards to NHTSA report, when the time comes to discuss, I will give them the opportunity to do it voluntarily (which would be clean for them) or the back-door way (which would be messy for them).

Alex AVI 06-13-2018 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lotus54 (Post 2114477)
If my grandson was asleep inside and that happened to me- it would have scared me so much Iím not sure Iíve ever do that again.

I Hope they can find a definitive issue and know it is solved. Good on redundant detectors- they are certainly cheap.

good luck on a proper diagnosis and repair. Sounds like all Airstream and nothing to do with MB at this point.

Mark

MARK - Thank you. Yes, from my vantage point, definitely AS and nothing to do with MB. Gosh, I would not want to go through another 2 yr. lawsuit with MB again. They never settle even if their fault, so I was happy to push them to defeat. :D


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