If you’re a very big fan of Jeep Wranglers, particularly the Rubicon model, and you think you might suffer if you were to watch one burn to the ground, you may want to avert your eyes.
Casey Kaiser runs a YouTube channel of his offroad adventures called Coyote Works. It’s filled with lots of pleasant enough footage of Kaiser driving, camping, and chatting with offroad enthusiasts, and his 2013 Wrangler is as much the star of the series as he is.
His most episode is really something else.
There he is, cruising around eastern Oregon, near a place called the Glass Buttes, giving the viewer a lesson in historic and pre-historic archaeology of the area, when, at about the 13-minute mark of the video, his Jeep suddenly catches fire.
A practiced vlogger (is that still a term?), once Kaiser realizes his Jeep will be burning to a crisp and there’s nothing he can do about it, he scavenges what he can and sets up his phone to film the destruction.
It’s strangely calming. I would also have erupted into flames, just out of sheer rage, had my sweet overlanding rig began to burn and burn and burn in the desert, a long way from anywhere. Kaiser seems resigned. Zen-like in his acceptance.
How the fire began is a total mystery. Kaiser says there were no warning lights, his temp gauge was normal, he didn’t smell anything odd, either. He simply shut the motor down to open a closed gate, when smoke began billowing from the hood. Dry grasses wedged against red hot exhaust? Random fuel line rupture? Inexplicable Jeep-ness? Who knows.
There are lessons here. Kaiser had his gear so well organized he was able to quickly pull out the expensive, important bits, and the camping gear that he used to pass the night. He had a fire extinguisher, which, admittedly was useless, but still, he had one and he employed it. He was able to pass his GPS coordinates to a friend who was able to rescue him the next day. I guess if you’re going to deal with your rig turning to ash in the desert, that’s how to do it.
The charmingly strange video is below. If you want to skip to the fiery parts, roughly 13 minutes will get you there.