Help - How to avoid pachy fire accident? - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Help - How to avoid pachy fire accident?

Hi, I have the 2018 pachy Ltd bought in Nov 2018. I am just a layman who.paid almost 50k for this van and all these posts about the fire accident scares the **** out of me to drive and take my family out. I have couple of questions and request all to help.
1) How can I ensure that my car will not get into a fire accident? Any standard recalls that needs to be done. I noticed something about u73 and u94 I guess. What should I ask the dealer to check so that I will have peace of mind. A step by step instruction will help people like me who dont have much automotive knowledge.
2) I will be out of country for a month. What preventive measures can i take to ensure there will be no fire accident. Should I even park in my garage or park it outside? Also what should I do so that I can come back and start the car without any issues, like unplugging batteries etc.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 01:03 AM
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This is not answering your questions, but there's nothing you can do to ensure your car will not burn. According to FEMA there's about 170,000 car fires every year in the US. There are about 270 million registered vehicles, so that means there's roughly about 1 in 1000 chance that your car will burn in any given year. (This is why it's ridiculous that there's big news when a Tesla burns...)

Is the Pacifica more or less likely to burn than the average vehicle? Who knows, there are a small number of them out there so I'd think it would be hard to get reliable statistics. If there are obvious design flaws that have been determined to cause a fire risk, that's one thing, but in that case I bet NHTSA would be all over it. I wouldn't be more worried about a fire in the Pacifica than in any other car. (Not to mention the obvious fact that if you're going to worry about anything car-related it should be the risk of having an accident. There are 6 million of those every year, and 2 million people receive permanent injuries every years, so that's presents a much higher risk than the car catching fire.)
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by lutorm View Post
This is not answering your questions, but there's nothing you can do to ensure your car will not burn. According to FEMA there's about 170,000 car fires every year in the US. There are about 270 million registered vehicles, so that means there's roughly about 1 in 1000 chance that your car will burn in any given year. (This is why it's ridiculous that there's big news when a Tesla burns...)

Is the Pacifica more or less likely to burn than the average vehicle? Who knows, there are a small number of them out there so I'd think it would be hard to get reliable statistics. If there are obvious design flaws that have been determined to cause a fire risk, that's one thing, but in that case I bet NHTSA would be all over it. I wouldn't be more worried about a fire in the Pacifica than in any other car. (Not to mention the obvious fact that if you're going to worry about anything car-related it should be the risk of having an accident. There are 6 million of those every year, and 2 million people receive permanent injuries every years, so that's presents a much higher risk than the car catching fire.)
I think there is a difference in the gas card burning and the battery fires we have seen so far. If I am outdoor and there are warning signs such as smoke, dash alarms, then I have time to pull over and get out of the car.

If my car is parked at home inside my garage while I'm sleeping in a bedroom above that garage, I have a very high risk of house fire.

In both the cases we have seen, people were lucky that their vanss were parked outside (maybe it's only vans parked outside and charging are at risk, who knows). I don't buy the argument comparing these fires to gas fires. The risks and surprise element are completely different.

I'm disappointed that Chrysler has not acknowledged if they have ongoing investigation and has not provided regular updates or even a date when they will have some update on this issue. I was really close to getting a van this summer but going to stay away until the root cause of the fires is identified and fixed.

Last edited by WaileaKid; 06-21-2019 at 10:17 AM.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by WaileaKid View Post
If my car is parked at home inside my garage while I'm sleeping in a bedroom above that garage, I have a very high risk of house fire.
Where can I find those statistics?

Using the previously mentioned 170k fires per year, i googled how many houses in US and found census data that says there's 127mil. So if every fire happened within a built in garage like yours, and all result in a house fire, then that's a .13% chance (someone check my math). Of course not all houses have garages like yours, or a garage at all, and not all fires are within garages, and not all result in a house fire, but close enough to see how absurdly low a risk it is.

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by WaileaKid View Post
I think there is a difference in the gas card burning and the battery fires we have seen so far. If I am outdoor and there are warning signs such as smoke, dash alarms, then I have time to pull over and get out of the car.

If my car is parked at home inside my garage while I'm sleeping in a bedroom above that garage, I have a very high risk of house fire.

In both the cases we have seen, people were lucky that their vanss were parked outside (maybe it's only vans parked outside and charging are at risk, who knows). I don't buy the argument comparing these fires to gas fires. The risks and surprise element are completely different.

I'm disappointed that Chrysler has not acknowledged if they have ongoing investigation and has not provided regular updates or even a date when they will have some update on this issue. I was really close to getting a van this summer but going to stay away until the root cause of the fires is identified and fixed.
Dont kid yourself man.. ICE cars burn when theyre parked no differently!

But to dwell on it makes no sense - you have a better chance of killing your family driving through an intersection.

Cars are NOT safe! Period.

Put in the due diligence and be aware of the dangers and the risk to life are manageable. Park outside if your truly afraid.

Edit - i just looked up the Residential electrical fire statistics - even if you do park outside your not avoiding any chance of your house catching fire. Electricity is the real problem.. any electric part that shorts will burn.

Listen to your instincts.. But phobias are not healthy. Fear spreads rampant on the internet.. dont get sucked into the hype man your you’ll have a tinfoil hat in no time.



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Last edited by m0ebius604; 06-21-2019 at 01:15 PM.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 01:02 PM
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One practical tip is to leave the HV battery charged to 40% when you are parked for a month. It will greatly reduce the risk of battery fire and extend the battery life.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by lokeshpurush View Post
Hi, I have the 2018 pachy Ltd bought in Nov 2018. I am just a layman who.paid almost 50k for this van and all these posts about the fire accident scares the **** out of me to drive and take my family out. I have couple of questions and request all to help.
1) How can I ensure that my car will not get into a fire accident? Any standard recalls that needs to be done. I noticed something about u73 and u94 I guess. What should I ask the dealer to check so that I will have peace of mind. A step by step instruction will help people like me who dont have much automotive knowledge.
2) I will be out of country for a month. What preventive measures can i take to ensure there will be no fire accident. Should I even park in my garage or park it outside? Also what should I do so that I can come back and start the car without any issues, like unplugging batteries etc.
Please do not fear new technology. Just have a healthy respect for it. If anything, fear stupid humans that misuse it.
Statistics are often misleading. So are news worthy (sensational impact) statements and images. It is not just how often something goes wrong that is important, it is also how bad it goes wrong when it does. And as has been pointed out, you get a biased view of reality in any forum where confusion and dissatisfaction are more often reported than happy campers.
Examples:
Flying safety statistics vs. plane crash reports and images.
Arificial Intelligence (AI) statistical reliability vs. stupid, racist, sexist, bigoted internet AI bots and AI programs that are already in use (or should I say misuse) today by our justice and medical establishments.
The fact is that your safety is mostly in your hands. As others have said, you will never be “SAFE”. But you can be “SAFER” by the actions and decisions you make, greatly influencing your chances of living a full and satisfying life. Your asking those questions is the right step.
My 2 cents:
I have owned my Pachy for 8 months and 10k miles and love it. It has not been without problems, but it has had no major issues. It has had fewer and less severe problems than my two new Hondas (Civic and Fit models), but it has not been as problem free as my Toyota Previas.

1 gallon of gasoline has roughly twice the stored energy of a fully charged Pachy motive battery module. However, a Lithium battery fire is different. Either can be explosive or lethal. I will not say more or less dangerous in either case. All car fires are potential killers. If there is smoke or indications of a fire, get out and get away. FYI, a typical 12V car battery has about 1/16th the stored energy of the Pachy motive battery.

Read your owner’s manual, especially the parts about how to charge, what to do and what not to do. For examples, no extension cords, and use a dedicated circuit to plug into. This means there is only one outlet or one hardwired charger on that circuit breaker. If you are wondering why, just plug your EVSE charger that came with the vehicle in and charge the vehicle. After about 10 minutes of charging, feel the charge cable anywhere along its length. It will be warm. Now imagine how hot a poor connection in one of the daisy chained outlets in your house will get. Each outlet along the chain has at least 4 connections. Charging is not like plugging in a hair dryer. The current is higher and is continuous for 10 – 12 hrs on the class 1 charger that comes with the car.

Use a class 2 charger at 12A. This is a great compromise between the charge time and connector/wiring stress. It is equal to or has less stress on the connections and wiring than the class 1 charger because it results in the same current level (heating) in the wires and connections, but charges for less than half the time. The high current class 2 charger (requiring a 30A circuit) has much higher connector and wiring current (heating), but has a 2 to 3 hour charge time. I don’t need that super quick charge time. If it was an EV with 5 to 10 times the battery capacity, I might need it to be able to charge in one night, but not with my Pachy. 5 hours is plenty fast.

Don’t use public chargers. It’s like using a community tooth brush. The wear on the contacts is much higher and they are not cared for like your own charger. Besides, it’s usually cheaper to use gas than pay for the high electricity costs they charge. There have been cases where the public charger contacts overheated from lack of proper maintenance, welding the plastic housing of the charge wand to the car receptacle.

Keep your charge port and connector wand clean and free of water and dirt. It is a good practice to look into the wand and vehicle port connectors prior to each hook up. You wouldn't allow dirt and water into your gas tank, so don't allow crud into your charge circuit.

If you are seeing the “service charging system” message on occasion, or if your 12V battery is the original battery that came in the vehicle and the vehicle sat on the lot for more than 4 months, or even if you are just seeing battery voltages on the dash info display routinely at or above 14.6V, replace it with a new 12V battery. Use only the AGM type H6 and connect up the battery vent just like the original 12V battery was hooked up. Most auto parts stores and Walmart stock this battery.
Don’t run heavy load accessories in the car for long periods without the car ON. This can drain the 12V battery. And dead or dying 12V batteries may be linked to “scrambled brains” in your Pachy that result in weird behavior and perhaps propagated failures that are otherwise inexplicable.

I park my car outside, but I live in south Texas. So consider that the Pachy may be a magnet to small nest-building animals especially in cold climates due to the heating systems that may come on to keep the motive battery from getting too cold. Any car is a magnet but the Pachy may be more so. So perhaps a detached garage that has rodent poison/deterent in it would be best to limit the likelihood that a rodent will build a tinder box into your Pachy, and may limit the damage if a fire does occur.

For storage that lasts weeks, I would follow @stop-eject ’s advice and leave a decent charge on the motive battery so that it may periodically charge the 12v battery. FYI, the 12V battery is the vehicles main electronics “startup” battery. If it dies, the car is dead and cannot start up.

For very long term storage (months, for any type of car with a low voltage startup battery), I have hooked up a 12V float charger plugged into a standard household light timer that is plugged into std AC. Setting the timer to 1 to 2 hrs per day is sufficient to keep the battery charged and healthy almost indefinitely. The float charger (13.5 to 13.8V regulated) can be hooked up to the 12V post under the hood and any convenient vehicle ground metal. Make sure the hood is closed without pinching the wires.

Again, this is not advice that will keep you “SAFE”. It is advice that experience says may keep you “Safer”
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It's NOT Rocket Science!!!!
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 07:44 PM
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I don't want to trivialize fire danger, though. I wouldn't worry about car fires, you have plenty of time to pull over and get everyone out, but house fires happen for many reasons. I've been in a (very small) house fire and it was not fun at all, you quickly see absolutely nothing because of the.smoke. I'd consider smoke alarms a must in any house you sleep in, regardless of whether it has a parked battery car in it or not...
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 06:13 PM
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A couple of comments, as this has been on my mind (I was the OP on the second fire).

First off, there have been only 2 reported fires of this kind, and there are approximately 13800 of Pachy sold. This is such a small sample that it's impossible to extrapolate the risk. We could go another 5 years and not hear about another. So I would just take some reasonable precautions (like the other posters), and keep an eye out in case there's other incidents.

So what to do to mitigate the risk? Just to make sure people understand the sequence of events and timing in my incident:
- Car is seen smoking from camera across the street at around 6:35 AM. It could've been smoking longer.
- Car exploded at 6:48 AM, blowing out the side glass windows. Battery fire ensued.
- Sometime within the 3-5 minutes, the gas tank added fuel to the fire. That's when things got really hot.

Based on this, having a smoke alarm in the garage seems like a good precaution. The there was at least 13 minutes between when we can see the smoke from a camera across the street and when the van went up. A smoke alarm might have gone off a good 10-15 minutes before that, maybe more. The smoke alarm would've given the fire department a lot of time to get there before anything bad happened.

If the car is smoking, open the garage doors if you can safely, but do not approach the car. If it explodes like mine, it would be fatal to be in it or next to it.

With any lithium battery vehicle, it's a good idea to have a class D fire extinguisher available (the type that can be used for lithium battery fires). After the car went up, the battery fire was first. If we could've slowed that down or contained it, the gas tank wouldn't have ruptured and the fire would've been well contained.

I'm also not sure that I would compare this to a normal car fire; car fires usually occur when you're driving or have been (very) recently driving. You have time to pull over and get out. The type of fire we're talking about here happened in the middle of the night in one case, the early morning in the other case, many hours after we left the vehicles. I don't think I've heard of a car fire that happened when the car is dead cold (the video above showed it had been stopped for maybe 5 minutes). So the risk profile is a bit different.

Again, I don't want people to freak out; a smoke alarm will go a (very) long way towards mitigating the risk. And the risk may very well be minuscule. We won't really know until FCA and the NHTSA determine a probable root cause.

Last edited by Bsmith; 06-22-2019 at 06:17 PM.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 07:15 PM
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Unplug your charging cable when it's done charging. That's a similarity in both cases. I just noticed how hot my charging cable terminals got when it just finished charging.


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