Lotus Elan

Fire Extinguisher......

PostPost by: Grizzly » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:19 pm

Hi all.

I'm just thinking about permanently installing my Fire Extinguishers on my 2 seater and was interested to hear what other people had done?

My current set up is 2kg co2 in the boot between the strut towers and a 1kg co2 behind each seat, it did occur to me Co2 isn't ideal for fuel fires but at the same time i don't want to spray powder everywhere if i have a minor fire..... SO i'm thinking keep the two 1kg Co2 Extinguisher's behind the seats but fit a 2kg powder in the boot instead of the Co2? Would you think that covers all bases?

Don't want to come across paranoid but i can't think of much worse than having a minor fire and having to just standing there watch the car burn due to lack of adequate fire protection.
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PostPost by: kpcseven » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:27 pm

Last I looked into it, which was 4 or 5 years ago at least, halogen is the way to go. It was the spec for aviation. Much more expensive but as you said, peace of mind.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:38 pm

Do you mean Halon? Might be wrong but i thought it was banned in the EU?
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:44 pm

There are EU and US compliant Halon substitutes.

3M makes FE36 and Novec 1230. They both extinguish fire by chemically breaking the chain reaction of combustion, similar to Halon.

Here is an example of extinguishers.
http://spatechnique.com/store/itemDetail.cfm?prodID=959&catID=32

Permanent systems:
http://spatechnique.com/store/itemList.cfm?catID=1

SPA is a very reputable UK based company. No affiliation other then a satisfied customer.

Another resource and excellent products:
https://safecraft.com/
Safecraft builds systems for motorsports, collector car owners, commercial and military aviation. Again, no affiliation other than satisfied customer.

There are also AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) equipment. They are excellent products as long as you understand they will not extinguish a pressure fed fire. They are most suitable for extinguishing fires of pooled fuel. They cover the pool with foam and suppress the vapors.

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Dan
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:12 pm

Use of Halon was restricted under the Montreal Protocol though there are still some hi profile users that have an exemption (pretty sure I still have one in the garage!).

image.png and


Basically you need to remove one or more of the elements of the triangle to extinguish a fire.

CO2 replaces oxygen and also has a cooling effect but dissipates quite quickly.
Dry powder separates the fuel and the oxygen.

Problem with CO2 is you can get reignition if there is sufficient fuel and heat once it dissipates.
Problem with dry powder is it's messy and a pain to clean and can be a problem getting it exactly where you need it.

Biggest problem is that 1kg extinguishers last a matter of seconds and you have to be good or lucky to get it right. Personally I'd choose powder over CO2 - multiples of extinguishers are no bad thing but I reckon 2kg is a minimum. A fire blanket is no bad thing either.
Steve

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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:49 pm

elanfan1 wrote:Use of Halon was restricted under the Montreal Protocol though there are still some hi profile users that have an exemption (pretty sure I still have one in the garage!).

image.png


Basically you need to remove one or more of the elements of the triangle to extinguish a fire.

CO2 replaces oxygen and also has a cooling effect but dissipates quite quickly.
Dry powder separates the fuel and the oxygen.

Problem with CO2 is you can get reignition if there is sufficient fuel and heat once it dissipates.
Problem with dry powder is it's messy and a pain to clean and can be a problem getting it exactly where you need it.

Biggest problem is that 1kg extinguishers last a matter of seconds and you have to be good or lucky to get it right. Personally I'd choose powder over CO2 - multiples of extinguishers are no bad thing but I reckon 2kg is a minimum. A fire blanket is no bad thing either.


Steve,
Well said.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:22 am

Thanks for that guys :wink:

I've had a look round to see whats about and it would seem FE 36 is product being used as a Halon clean replacement, having no knowledge at all on the subject would it be an upgrade on the co2? also i've read the Powder tends to be corrosive and often causes as much damage as the fire they are used on.... Is that correct?? (i get the feeling it's the Nuclear option)
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:50 am

Chris,

I'm not totally up to date on extinguishers as I've been retired over 6 years and new stuff is coming out all the time. No longer have a professional interest or need to know on such things. With a gaseous extinguisher you are always going to have the issue of the gas escaping. The Elan is particularly poor for this there being huge gaps either side of the engine and open to the floor. If the area remains hot post fire and you've still got fuel leaking reignition is a strong possibility (probably just when you've used the last of your extinguisher).

If you had a fire blanket that you could deploy without endangering yourself (watch the videos - essentially tuck your fingers and arms in drop in front of you and deploy away from the body/head) that would reduce available oxygen very quickly and still leave you an intact extinguisher to deal with any other hotspots.

As to corrosion or toxicity I'd be more worried about the stuff the burnt wiring and resin leaves behind more so than the dry powder. Surely your body shop has educated the staff about the risks surrounding burnt cars or if not they should. Some very serious injuries (possibly even deaths) have resulted from not being aware of those dangers. Dry powder is basically baking powder - I can't see that being particularly corrosive though I could easily be wrong.

I'm sure you could find some damaged car parts and safely ignite then extinguish and see how easy it is to clean off. Think my view would be I'd rather still have a car post fire with a lot of cleaning to do than potentially lose a car to a reignition.

Just my 2pworth.
Steve

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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:54 am

Steve,

Only anecdotal evidence, but I have used both dry chemical and Halon extinguishers on my Elan. Dry chem worked as expected and left a mess, but saved my car. It did not cause corrosion. I washed it off the engine bay and scrubbed it with scotchbrite and soap to remove it where it had partly melted to hot surfaces. Then I dried everything thoroughly and repainted before rust could start. The cause was a set of foam trumpet air filters that accumulated fuel vapors that lit when I started the car and had a carb backfire.

I used the Halon extinguisher when the fuel pump suction fitting came loose and pulled out of the pump housing. I had just filled the tank. It was a big "FOOM" and flames. The 1kg halon extinguisher put it out quickly with two shots, one under the car under the fuel pump and the other between the carbs and head as the residual fuel burned.

I have used both AFFF and Halon 1301 on a race car. They both work. Both were big fires, the AFFF was in the boot and some entry into the driver's bay of a Porsche 911. I don't know what caused the fire, other than a fuel leak. I was a pit lane marshall at the time.

The Halon was used in a Formula Ford. The screws holding the carb together were inadvertently left loose, allowing the Weber DGV carb bowl to overfill and spill. The fumes ignited from the hot header. The driver activated the onboard system. It put the fire out and saved the driver from burns. There was a fair amount of damage to the back of the car and fiberglass bodywork. However, we had the car back together for the race later that afternoon.
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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:31 am

I`ve told it before but a few years ago, on the Silvretta, at a coffee stop, the engine bay of a GT40, a real one, burst into flames as he was queuing for his time out. The couple tumbled out quickly and the driver was reaching back in for his extinguisher. I grabbed our 2kg powder one from behind the Elan seat, raced over and squirted it through the cooling apertures and the fire went out instantly. He gingerly opened the rear clam shell and asked me to be ready, in English though he was Czech. The fire was out and the engine was a little dusty.
We left on our time a few minutes later and I never heard from him again, though there were only 4 English crews on the event.
No reward, no new extinguisher, no spare coffee to replace the spilt one, not even a thankyou, and I`m still waiting for my George Medal.
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PostPost by: billwill » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:37 am

Yes, I never got a thank you or money for a replacement when I used my extinguisher to help a lorry driver put out a fire on his gearbox, despite giving him my visiting card.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:59 am

Steve,

Believe it or not we are told not to bother trying to put out fires, sound the alarm and head to the nearest fire assembly point..... i guess the H&S guide lines (it's Burning car v's enclosed space and unlikely to have a respirator on). That said there are Co2 / Powder Fire Extinguishers and Blankets everywhere throughout the building and i like to think our guys have a level of common sense. Nowadays it's very rare to handle burnt cars but when we do it's more about our PPE than how the fire was put out :)

Thing is during my +2 ownership i've only ever had one incidence of fire (fuel leaked into the air box and was ignited by what i presume was the coil underneath), i was VERY fortunate to stop right out side a Pet shop who's owner ran out with a Fire Extinguisher and put it out...... believe it or not it took the paint of the bottom of the airbox and there was some smoke damage around the edge of the bonnet but that was about it (very very lucky) you are right though last thing going through my mind as i saw the smoke was 'best not use a powder Fire Extinguisher a it will be a pain to clean up after' :lol: (btw i did replace the Fire Extinguisher and bought the guy a nice single malt too)

This is what i want to avoid, note it turned into a fuel fire and how much effort the Fire guys require to get it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhg0J0arv6M (btw thats a guy from the Rx7 club who was in a convoy of 30 cars when he noticed smoke...... Guess a Fire Extinguisher add's too much weight as no one had one) If your having a really S**t day one thing you can count on is some one filming it on their phone.......
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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:36 am

Just remembered I had another "experience" around 1976 ish. We`d bought a 6 month old Scirrocco cheaply, for ?2200, I think, and insured it for ?2400. Just after filling with fuel, worryingly, and 3 weeks into ownership, smoke started curling up from the fuse box/relay area under the glove box. The battery was under the bonnet and the bonnet release was right by the fuse box. I raced into a taxi office to ask for the fire brigade to be rung but she thought I was joking.
Meanwhile, the wipers started going as things melted then the starter motor started churning. Luckily the car wasn`t in gear, then, from a garage nearby, a chap with just a water extinguisher rushed out and put the fire out quite easily.
The car didn`t look bad, the dashboard trim and roof lining were a mess, the windscreen was cracked, and I could see the car being off the road for weeks. Really it would`ve suited me if more had been destroyed and the car written off. Then the fire brigade arrived and just trashed the car, ripping out everything to make sure the fire was out, quite rightly. Consequently the car was written off and the insurance paid out ?200 more than I`d paid for the car. Ooer ! I don`t remember buying the chap a new extinguisher.
Jim
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PostPost by: pcarew » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:30 pm

I have a 67 S3SE FHC and Halon saved my car.

Back in 1988, I was having the car worked on at a garage in Kent (no longer around). They had a racing Elan in at the time and I spotted a Halon bottle installation under the bonnet. After chatting with the Garage owner, it sounded like a good idea and I asked to have one installed in my Elan.

Well, when all of the work was done and I got my car back, I was driving with some friends following me up the M1. We were in stop and go traffic due to road works. The traffic cleared and as I put my foot on the accelerator to get going again, there was a loud 'Poof' and flames shot out from around the bonnet. Under pure reaction my left hand went for the ignition switch and my right hand went for the extinguisher pull handle on the dash. The fire went straight out....the extinguisher did its job admirably.

My friends that were traveling in a car directly behind us said that they saw a big ball of flame shoot down underneath the car, hit the road and roll up the sides. They were horrified.

When the AA road side assistance came, the culprit was found to be a leaky fuel line / carb. connection. (Having the Twin Cam High Tension ignition system sit directly below the carbs. is a crazy design, but that discussion is for another day :-) )

The AA tightened up the connection and washed the carbs. down with water. On restart the engine started up normally. The only damage was to the horn. After inspection, the AA declared the car fit and we carried on with our travels that day.

Needless to say, but I view the Halon extinguisher was the cheapest 'insurance' I have ever bought.

I still have and drive the car today (brought it with me when I moved to America).
Paul Carew
Austin,Texas,USA

1967 Lotus Elan S3SE Right Hand Drive, FHC 36/7152 BOO 758F
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:24 pm

Rang a few places today to try and get a Halon Fire extinguisher but seems they stopped making/selling them in 2006 (Europe) so even if some one had an old stock one it would be out of date... so i'm told (not that it would bother me if it was full)

I was told halon was so good as it doesn't disperse as fast as Co2, so allegedly you need less Halon to do the same job as Co2 (Again so i'm told)

All that said the few places i spoke to all said Powder is the way to go in a car.
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