Fire is generally not something you want to see in your engine bay. It turns out internal combustion engines prefer to keep the combustion internal and start to misfire and shake violently when a fire is slowly eating their spark plug wires. I came to this realization after putting (read: watching while Mauricio did it) a new distributor in my 1990 Foxbody Mustang on Sunday afternoon.
As my friend and mechanical wizard Mauricio was cranking my car trying to start it after the new distributor, I saw a good bit of smoke coming from what I thought was the oil breather. I, in my infinite wisdom, ignored this, thinking maybe the Fox was just clearing some gunk out after not being started in over a week. I was wrong. After a few minutes of cranking and then another few minutes of revving the piss out of her, I decided to inspect the faulty breather. I was greeted by orange flames licking their way up the side of the valve cover. Oops.
We quickly dumped some water on the fire and managed to put it out before it spread to important things, like the fuel lines. After the fire was out, I had time to make some important reflections. Namely that I should probably get a heat shield and a fire extinguisher. Life is never boring when you own a Foxbody.