Listen up, crewmen and mechanics!
Fires in the M113A3 engine compartment are happening way too often. And many of them are preventable.
Most of these fires are possibly caused by fan tower and turbo failures, exhaust manifold leaks and fluid leaks in the hull. Preventive maintenance helps you avoid most of these problems.
Here are the most common causes of engine compartment fires and how you can prevent them:
Overheating/Fan Tower Failures
An overheating engine is the first giveaway that your carrier’s fan tower is failing. Keep a close eye on the engine temperature gauge. The normal operating range is between 190 and 230 degrees. If the temperature goes above 230 degrees, shut down the vehicle and then follow the troubleshooting procedures in TM 9-2350-277-10 (Mar 12, w/Ch 1, Dec 13). If necessary, call a mechanic.
The fan tower commonly fails when the fan tower gear box seals go bad and the gear oil leaks outs. The -10 TM says to inspect the oil level once a month. But it’s a good idea to check it more often, especially if you’re operating your M113A3 every day.
Have maintenance investigate any gear box leaks right away because the gear box only holds 18 ounces of oil. With so little oil, it doesn’t take long to run dry, even with just a small leak.
Mechanics, if the right angle drive within the vane axial cooling fan goes bad, don’t repair it. Instead, turn it in as unserviceable and get a new one.
Turbo failures happen when the turbo oil line becomes brittle and worn, causing a leak. The lack of oil to the turbo allows it to run dry, creating extreme friction. That can cause a fire in a hurry!
Using a flashlight, look closely underneath the intake tube for any sign of oil near the turbo. Pay special attention to the exhaust tube for unusual changes in exhaust color or sparks. Either can indicate turbo failure.
Exhaust manifolds can rust out over time. This allows hot exhaust gases to ignite oil and fuel lines, wiring harnesses or fluids in the hull. Remove the exhaust shields during annual services to inspect the manifolds for rust or leaks. Replace torn or frayed exhaust shields. Also, replace shields if they’ve become saturated with fluid.
Be sure to practice crew emergency drills in case a fire does break out during operations.