Equipment Fire Prevention: Systems Checklist

Fuel Systems:

  • Fuel Tanks – check around the entire tank for leaks or seepage.
  • Fuel Lines – check for leaks, cracks, and sharp kinks. Individual cylinder/injector feed lines that restrict fuel can restrict proper fuel volumes and starve that cylinder, creating substantially more heat in the engine compartment.
  • Fuel Pumps – check the fittings, especially the compression ring couplings, for cracks and leaks.
  • Fuel Injectors – check the feeder lines. Line tees that are braised easily crack, especially when we adjust connections.
  • Pressure Regulators and Electronic Metering Systems – always check for proper function. Excessive internal pressures can create leaks and other problems.
  • Fuel Feedback Systems and Fuel Reclamation/Vapor Collection Systems – these systems are not pressurized, but vapors can create an extremely volatile situation.
    Transmission and Power Steering Systems:
  • Fluids – transmission and power steering fluids are flammable, so be sure to handle them with care, especially around the filler tubes. Also check for venting system seepage and for transmission case/power steering cylinder/line leakage that can create fuel for fires.

Engine Area:

  • Oil Leaks – cause sticky surfaces where dust and debris can accumulate, creating fuel for fires. A fire is just waiting to happen. Leaks will occur in a variety of areas on an engine, including any gasket or seal area, breather tubes, and oil lines. Check the engine compartment frequently, and correct any problems as soon as possible.
  • Radiant Heat – especially in engine compartments with cooling fans. When equipment is turned off, the cooling fans automatically shut down, and radiant heat rises dramatically. Also, vapors from oil breathers, batteries, etc., can accumulate during this time. Radiant heat can contribute to spontaneous combustion or other types of ignition and start a fire long after the operator has gone home.

Braking Systems:

  • Be sure to check for friction-type heat buildup and brake fluid leaks, especially on older machines that do not have internal braking systems.

Exhaust Systems:

  • Manifold and Piping Systems – check for debris, proper routing, and holes within the system.
  • Be aware that it is possible that catalytic converters may be installed on diesel engines within the next five years. If so, they will create another extreme heat source that we’ll need to deal with.

Electrical Systems:

  • Routing – be sure proper protection is provided in all areas where wires need to go around, alongside, or through the machine framework.
  • Connections and Resistance – resistance creates heat, and anything that interrupts or suppresses current flow creates resistance. Block connectors, wire that is too small, corrosion, and bad connections all create resistance.
  • Shorting – be sure all circuits are fused properly. Check your circuitry for bare or broken wires, bad connections, etc. One of the biggest problems is associated with installing additional equipment and direct-wiring it, such as radios, window fans, etc.
  • Switches – be sure they are able to handle the voltage and amperage. Always use in-line fuses.

Hydraulic Systems:

  • Leaks – the biggest problem with hydraulic systems. Hydraulic oil accumulation is much too common, and oil can follow machine framework and get into areas that are hard to access for cleaning. Check for leaks daily and repair them immediately.
  • Be sure all hoses are long enough for their applications. Hoses will shorten when internal hydraulic pressure is applied, so always allow ample length of hose.
  • So, how are you doing in your efforts to prevent fires on your equipment?