Fire FIRE!! The Yamaha F-100 Deathtrap

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This FROM: MadDog

One of my dive buddies (Val Jerram) and I were scouting out a dive site for the Faded Glory Dive Crew on Saturday morning (a couple of weeks ago). Just as we had finished discussing the strong smell of fuel (overfilled the tank again), I turned to ask her, “What else can go wrong?” Well, it’s probably always a mistake to ask that question, but I forgot that.

Just then the motor (a ten year old Yamaha 100HP 4-stroke) began sputtering. I shut it off immediately. Looking behind, I saw what appeared to be steam. I said, “Must have picked up a plastic bag.” Val said, “NO! IT’S ON FIRE!” Just then, I also smelled the smoke. I stepped back to lift the hood and saw, to my utter terror, that the whole plastic panel in the front that covers the electronics and spark suppressor area was on fire. Bright orange flames were licking up the panel and black smoke was now billowing up.

Not having a fire extinguisher (bad, bad boy), I grabbed a big funnel, stuck my thumb in the tiny end, and began scooping up ocean water and throwing it on the burning plastic. Yeah, sure . . . salt water is just what you want to throw all over your electronics.

The fire being extinguished, it was time to either try to start the engine or call for a tow. Being predisposed against embarrassing tows back to port, I gave the ignition a try. Amazingly, the engine started, though it ran very rough.

This photo looks into the fire-damaged area.

The area of the fire on the Yamaha F-100

This photo shows two of the many damaged parts. The part on the left (the voltage regulator) is the one that started the fire. The part on the right is the ‘power pack’.

Some of the parts damaged in the Yamaha F-100 fire

As a bonus, fire was sucked into one of the carbies. Now the motor runs okay at idle (after balancing the heck out of the carbies) and okay at high speed, but there’s a 1200 to 2400 RPM ‘three cylinder’ range that ruins your day every time you hear it. Forget trolling! Oh, well, I don’t like to fish anyway. Drift dives are miserable now for the boat driver.

If you have a Yamaha F-100 (other models also??), I’d recommend that you check your battery charge voltage regularly. An unusually high charging voltage seems to be the first indication of trouble. The first time (that’s right, this is the second charred regulator – the first one just did not catch fire) this happened, my first indication of something fishy was when the battery charge voltage went up to about 16-17 volts. When the unit stopped charging altogether and I removed it, I noticed that the plastic potting material on the back was well toasted. This time I figured I would just wait until it gave up the ghost before replacing it (new batteries are cheaper than new regulators here). BAD THINKING! BAD, BAD BOY! This time I got a boat fire for my trouble.

You know that tingly feeling . . . the one that comes right before you could swear your body is turning to stone? That’s what I felt when, as I watched the flames dancing, I noticed I could still smell the strong, sweet perfume of petrol floating on the bilge water two feet below the fire.

Boating fans: How many rules did I bust? (Oh, by the way, other than floatie toys, we had no persnoal flotation devices aboard.)

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5 Responses to “Fire FIRE!! The Yamaha F-100 Deathtrap”

  1. Not Trapped in a Hotel Fire in Hamilton | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] smoking and generally trying to out-quip each other. When we were told that jerk had tripped the fire alarm, the most vicious remark that I heard came from a laughing woman who asked, “When you […]

  2. Roger Says:

    Had the same voltage regulator fire!!!! Whats up with that!,, I was in Sitka Sound Alaska, 2miles out and black smoke started pouring out with flames ,my crew mate grabbed my bucket of fish and dumped it on the yamaha 90. got the fire out but had $1000 damage. Yamaha knocked $100 off the cost of a new regulator. Very big of them!

  3. MadDog Says:

    Yes, Roger, Yamaha was very nice to bless you with $100 when you had to replace a regulator that regularly catches on fire. How sweet of them. Our stories are so similar that it would be comical if it weren’t for the hazards involved. My motor never ran right after that. One of the carbies had sucked in some flames and had to be replaced. Of course, they sent the wrong carb! I traded it off for a new Suxuki 140 4-stroke. More power on about 66% of the fuel consumption.

    I sure wouldn’t want to be stuck out at sea where you are and have to wait for a tow. At least here I wouldn’t freeze.

  4. Angryant Says:

    Not sure how old this article is but I just had this happen to me. The Yamaha dealer said it was due to using maintenance free batteries. Were any of you guys using maintenance free batteries. Just trying to work out a common factor.

  5. MadDog Says:

    Amy, there is no such thing as a maintenance free anything in PNG, so that one doesn’t fly. I suppose it is possible, but I think it’s a load of you-know-what. Is the dealer telling you that Yamaha makes a motor that’s incompatible with maintenance free batteries. I bet Yamaha would be interested in hearing about that.