The $100k fire
Hi all. I've owned two Cummins-powered pickups, an '05 2500, and a 2015 3500 Mega Cab dually. Guess which one burned to the ground earlier this month, along with a brand new 5th wheel toy hauler i was pulling? Yep, the newer one. I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar situation.
It began when i was starting up a 5% grade on I-84 in eastern Oregon. I had a gradual loss of power over apx 1 mile. My speed dropped from 50mph to less than 20 mph. Equipped with the Aisin auto, i had had no trouble maintaining 50mph while pulling trailers of a similar weight (12k lbs) on that grade in the past. I used the shoulder until i reached the first available exit about 3 miles away. Just before reaching the exit, the check engine light came on along with a message indicating service DPF, see dealer, so i suspected that was why my power was down.
As i came to a stop at the bottom of the offramp, i heard a loud bang, followed by the release of pressure, loud like a locomotive releasing steam, for at least 10 seconds. I could hear the ticking and pinging of hot metal under the passenger floorboard. I pulled to the side and shut off the engine. A brownish, chunky liquid was pouring out onto the snow-covered road. Just after shutting it off, smoke began pouring into the cab and engine compartment. About 10 seconds later i saw flames emerging from under the front of the cab.
I only had time to get my dog, wallet, and phone out before the smoke became overwhelming. I had no chance to separate my trailer from the truck to save it from the fire. It took more than 30 mins for the fire department to arrive. By then the truck and 3/4 of the trailer were destroyed.
My truck was past warranty with over 100k miles on it, but was 100% stock, no deletes or mods. The DPF system had never been serviced in the 17 months i owned the truck. It always regened properly and had half a tank of DEF in it when it caught fire. The check engine light and service DPF message had never come on at any other time except just prior to the fire. It was a cold, snowy day (20F) and the engine and tranny were running at normal temp, even after i lost power. There were no signs of a catastrophic failure looming. At worst i thought i was going to have to tow it to a dealer to get the DPF serviced.
Now i'm dealing with my insurance's fire investigator to rule out arson before i can settle the claim. I want to know if anything like this has happened to fellow Cummins owners with the stock DEF/DPF system intact. Thanks in advance for your input.