There are far too many Stryker fires happening across the fleet. Damage done just since 2013 has added up to really big bucks!
- 100- The number of Stryker fires reported.
- $32 million - 10 fires were catastrophic, at a cost of $3.2 million per vehicle.
- $20.7 million – 90 vehicles suffered non-catastrophic damage at an average cost of $230K per vehicle
- $52.7 million in total damage!
Stryker fires have caused millions of dollars in damages (courtesy photo)
Let’s look at a few things that could help prevent fires from happening:
Automatic Fire Suppression System (AFES)
Your Stryker’s automatic fire extinguishing system (AFES) is a vital part of preventing, or at least reducing, fires. Here are some tips to keep AFES doing its job:
1. The AFES control electronic panel (CEP) is located in the driver’s instrument panel. The CEP is your biggest friend in reducing a fire in your Stryker.
AFES control electronic panel (CEP) critical to fighting fires
Note to new operators: The bright red safety covers on the CEP are NOT the engine start switch. They are used only when the engine compartment has a fire.
After you power on your Stryker, ensure you look at the CEP to verify there are no red indicator lights. If there are, notify a maintainer so they can resolve the issue. Ensure that the anti-pilferage seals, NSN 5340-21-914-7337, are good on the red switch covers on the CEP. The seals are the tiny copper wires wrapped though the switch cover.
Note to maintainers: If there is a sensor fault, wipe all three glass eyes on the sensor with a damp cloth. Then push the reset button on the ECP to clear the fault. If it continues to show a sensor fault, continue with troubleshooting as outlined in the IETM.
2. If you have to replace the AFES bottles, follow the proper removal and installation procedures to prevent injuries. Take note of the following NSNs:
- Engine bottle, NSN 4210-01-503-1522
- Crew bottle, NSN 4210-01-600-8571.
3. Know where your portable fire extinguisher is located. Make sure it’s accessible, serviceable and not buried in a box, bag or CONEX.
Note: If AFES doesn’t automatically activate during a fire, manually discharge the engine and troop compartment bottles by flipping the red switch covers on the AFES-CEP panel and engage the switches. Follow the vehicle emergency evacuation procedures in the TM. Also, be sure to do crew emergency procedure rehearsals on a routine basis to prepare for the real thing.
4. Know the AFES warning signs. If your Stryker starts to make a loud, annoying beeping sound, what should you do? Don’t just reach over and silence the annunciator panel. It’s trying to tell you something is wrong.
More Fire Prevention Tips
1. Following the PMCS as outlined in the TM will help locate potential problems or hazards that could ignite a fire. A great example is seeing petroleum products at the bottom of the engine compartment while doing your inspection. This can literally add fuel to the fire. So follow each step in your PMCS.
2. Always watch your oil levels to monitor for leaks. If your engine is out of oil, it will not run. However, if your transfer case is out of oil it may heat up and lead to a fire. So be sure that your vehicle hull is drained of petroleum products. Check out this PS magazine article for tips on preventing Stryker water intrusion:
3. Stop, look and listen to the warnings. Figure out what’s wrong. Is it low air pressure? Check to see if the parking brake is engaged when you shift into gear. Is there a red engine indicated on the annunciator panel? Any one of these things could lead to a fire.
4. Did you know that you can leave the parking brake engaged, put the Stryker in gear, accelerate and it will move? As a result, the parking brake will turn cherry red, melt the hydraulic lines and catch the petroleum products in the hull on fire. So open your eyes and ears and don’t just hit the “easy button.”
5. Pulling the full up power pack (FUPP) during services is a great time to take advantage of an open engine compartment. Clean and inspect it, making sure you get all the petroleum cleaned up. Look for leaks and get them repaired.
Clean and inspect engine bay after removing full up power pack (FUPP)
Once the FUPP is installed again, ensure the exhaust clamps are installed properly on the exhaust elbow.
Make sure exhaust is connected to elbow
6. Perform an annual exhaust inspection. Oil-soaked exhaust blankets combined with holes in the exhaust muffler, ripped straps and missing buckles is a fire waiting to happen.
7. When was the last time you checked your batteries and cables? Some fires stem from loose cable connections. So open those battery box covers and check the battery clamps and connections like it says in TB 9-6140-252-13 (Jan 12).
8. When adding fluids to your Stryker, be careful not to spill any.
9. Inspect the engine preheat relay for loose connections on the terminals. If they’re loose, this creates heat and results in melted cables that can cause an engine fire.
10. One last thing. Make sure your flat bottom Stryker isn’t riding low in the rear. This can cause the tires to rub on the hull. Tire fires are very hard to put out.
Remember: Only you can prevent Stryker fires!