Lotus Elan

On board fire extinguisher

PostPost by: robertverhey » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:03 am

Been doing a bit of a trawl through the forum for postings about on-board fire extinguisher systems.

Reason being that today I started up the elan after many months, and the floats in the webers must have stayed stuck down in the empty float chambers. Consequently the (electric) fuel pump just kept pumping and pumping at full speed with a flood of petrol coming out of the airbox and onto the distriutor below. Potential nightmare.

It seems from previous postings that time is of the absolute essence when a fire starts under the bonnet, and an extra second or two trying to get a stuck (or melted) bonnet release to free up can add significanly to the damage. Hence my interest in an under-bonnet system.

But whoa those prices! I did find one that looks like it might be reasonable value on demon tweeks http://www.demon-tweeks.co.uk/motorspor ... uisher-kit

Does anyone have any experience fitting this sort of system, or another system?

Robert
robertverhey
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 781
Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPost by: billwill » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:57 pm

I did have one when the extinguishing fluid was Halon or CO2, but fears for the ozone layer banned that and my pressure tank was not suitable for water based extinguishants, so it is no longer fitted.

I had it under the knees of the passenger, with a wire-pull 'trigger' next to my left knee mounted on the side of the drivers footwell. Copper pipes directed the extinguishing fluid.

Nowadays I just have an 8" long portable extinguisher, loose.
Last edited by billwill on Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bill Williams

36/6725 S3 Coupe OGU108E Yellow over Black.
billwill
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 4721
Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Location: London UK

PostPost by: david g » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:23 pm

BILL 're your loose extinguisher I can only retort in the time honored fashion. USE STRONGER ELASTIC, David
david g
First Gear
First Gear
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 26 Jul 2011

PostPost by: Bud English » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:01 pm

Not the extinguisher advice you're seeking but... I was the proud (?) owner of a new Chevy Vega at an earlier stage in life. It had a start routine that included running the electric pump on the starter circuit then switching over to a relay that was powered through the oil pressure switch. If you don't have oil pressure you don't have fuel after you let off the starter. I found out about it by inadvertently knocking the oil pressure sender wire off during my first oil change on the car, but that's a story for another forum/day.

A stuck float would have shut off the fuel pump when the motor quit. Any other loss of oil pressure would do the same when the carbs run dry. Not bad insurance and a very simple circuit to add.
Bud
1970 +2S Fed
"Every Lotus that an owner modifies makes yours worth that much more." - You're welcome!
User avatar
Bud English
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 933
Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Location: Winnemucca, NV, USA

PostPost by: twincamman » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:03 pm

Robert --it is possible to use an ordinary a fff [ aquified form filling foam /[ and make it a remote unit . You need a good metal extinguisher mount a truck front release for the hood cable with a hefty 't' handle as you will be pulling it with gusto when needed and an extinguisher available from any extinguisher company [over here any how] , drill a small hole on the handles top and bottom and thread the cable through it attatch the cable to a barrel fastener so the handle squeezes shut when pulled . I use that and an master off switch from any race shop to stop all the electrics when turned -cheaper than the 600 dollar systems sold by race shoppes -since most fires are in the engine compartment mount the extinguisher there securely pointed at the carbs and fuel pump...
Last edited by twincamman on Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
User avatar
twincamman
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2953
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Location: Niagara falls [slowly I turned]

PostPost by: bcmc33 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:29 pm

robertverhey wrote:Been doing a bit of a trawl through the forum for postings about on-board fire extinguisher systems.

Reason being that today I started up the elan after many months, and the floats in the webers must have stayed stuck down in the empty float chambers. Consequently the (electric) fuel pump just kept pumping and pumping at full speed with a flood of petrol coming out of the airbox and onto the distriutor below. Potential nightmare.

It seems from previous postings that time is of the absolute essence when a fire starts under the bonnet, and an extra second or two trying to get a stuck (or melted) bonnet release to free up can add significanly to the damage. Hence my interest in an under-bonnet system.

But whoa those prices! I did find one that looks like it might be reasonable value on demon tweeks http://www.demon-tweeks.co.uk/motorspor ... uisher-kit

Does anyone have any experience fitting this sort of system, or another system?

Robert

This is the best picture I have of my extinguisher bottle location.
Petrol Tank 2.jpg and

The trigger is attached to the steering column under the steering wheel, and the extinguishing locations are beside the inlet ports in the engine bay and behind the dash.
Brian Clarke
(1972 Sprint 5 EFI)

Growing old is mandatory..........Growing up is optional
User avatar
bcmc33
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1847
Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Location: Aldridge, West Midlands, UK.

PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:41 pm

Brian - is that a halon set up you have there? Just going by the green labelling. These should really be withdrawn but the reality is that if they stop a fire a lot less hydrocarbons are released into the atmosphere from the extinguisher than would be from the fire acting on all that plastic.

2 big mistakes people make with fires in Elans would be: 1. opening the bonnet as it lets in a lot of oxygen to feed the fire (if you can get it under bonnet via the front grille first you may prevent a flare up upon opening the bonnet) and secondly having too small an extinguisher. You may not realise how little time you have to effectively use it before it runs out (sometimes only 30 seconds - and less than that on those joke 1kg ones) and it has also been proven most extingishant is actually wasted in an emergency situation so it is vital to use it effectively.

Be careful what type of extinguisher you choose - most will do a job to a greater or lesser extent but some will leave a dreadful mess afterwards (though you may not care if it saves your car).

CO2 is probably the cleanest and possibly the best for squirting up through the front grille to knock down the flames. Another issue is it can appear you have extinguished the fire via the grille and then it flares up when you open the bonnet and let the oxygen in. If you can think clearly in such a traumatic event it would be best to try to leave the CO2 under the bonnet to prevent a reignition so if you are fairly sure the fire is out leave the bonnet closed for a while and go and find another extinguisher first.

AFFF (Aquaeous Film Forming Foam) is designed for 'flammables' fires and great if you can get it directly on the fire to smother it. It will leave a considerable amount of clean up to do.

Dry Powder again probably better directly on the fire than up through the grille but should have a knock down effect too. Very messy particularly when it gets in behing the dash. It also gets in your throat and lungs and in me certainly causes a severe coughing fit. I believe it is harmless though as it is effectively baking powder.

Halon is technically unavailable now (Montreal Protocol).

Water could spread a 'flammables' fire though if there is nothing else use it.

Water mist could be an effective fixed system on a car but I have no idea if such systems are available for vehicles and how expensive they might be.

and having had an Elan burn out on me I am aware of the irony in this post (as I'm sure I'll be reminded!).
Steve

Silence is Guildern; Duct Tape is Silver
User avatar
elanfan1
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2093
Joined: 13 Jan 2004
Location: Cardiff in Welsh Wales

PostPost by: 512BB » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:02 pm

Well, okay Steve, I will remind you.

Post up the pics, you took some didn't you? Its a cold day, we all need warming up.

And think of the payout you got...............set you up for life!

Leslie
512BB
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 884
Joined: 24 Jan 2008
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:06 pm

Burgeroff you!
Steve

Silence is Guildern; Duct Tape is Silver
User avatar
elanfan1
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2093
Joined: 13 Jan 2004
Location: Cardiff in Welsh Wales

PostPost by: robertverhey » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:05 am

Thanks all excellent advice, will rig something up in due course using the plumbing and piping bits available from demon tweaks and a suitable locally sourced extinguisher with a threaded outlet that I can attach the plumbing to. One outlet under bonnet near carbs and one up behind dash.

Robert
robertverhey
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 781
Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:00 am

It was mentioned in passing though I think it bears shouting...ADD A MASTER SWITCH YOU CAN REACH FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT!!! It costs little and may be the most effective way to stop the pump from pumping before the fuel catches fire saving the cleaning of a mess.

I also speak from experience as the victim of a fire An unfused lead to the right headlight that rubbed on the radiator shell long enough to wear through then shorted to a degree that the cable welded itself to the radiator creating enough heat to melt the fuel line to the Webers. I was unable to cut the power as the circuit was not fused and I couldn't pull a lead off the battery though I tried mightily. $20,000 later (No insurance :oops: ) I have an extinguisher, master switch and a new wiring harness with eight fuses and seven relays - including the headlights :roll:
Ross Robbins
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 493
Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPost by: bloodknock » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:17 pm

Just a simple question from a simple chap....why not use an automatic unit in the engine bay?? Or does it just get too hot in there?
Many years ago I had Lotus Cortina which I had to extensively rebuild. I made the error of fitting an un constrained plastic clutch hydraulic hose. Just pulling into a carpark in St Ives Cornwall when copius ammounts of smoke billowed out of the bonnet area I opened the bonnet to see that the clutch hose had come into contact with the exhaust and was "burning", so I stood on the wing inners and peed on it. I was totally unaware of other holiday makers around me, and in fact the the "burning" was in reality masses of smoke from fluid on the exhaust. I was not however going to risk my pride and joy burning to a cinder particularly since I had putso much effort into rebuilding it. There was much hilarity from the male content of the holiday makers when it was realised there was no risk to life or limb, mind you, the girlfriend at the time was puce wjth embarrasment.
Shortly thereafter i bought my first fire extinguisher! And fitted a less fractious braided hose, well restrained.
I've got a deadline, at 73, I want to finish it before I die!
User avatar
bloodknock
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 588
Joined: 04 Jun 2012
Location: Colwyn Bay, North Wales

PostPost by: twincamman » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:55 am

welllll you really dont want to be sitting in a cloud of Halon makes you sick I researched this in my racer days and the only reason for Halon usage still is it would cost too much for the US Navy and Army to change over . Although halon wont damage computer parts when your car is on fire that is not a consideration . Use aquified form filling foam it washes off with water after the event . plumb it with flexable plastic tube of the correct diameter keep the bottle in the trunk or cabin and point the distribuition end at the carb and fuel pump use a 5 pound bottle ---or buy the whole unit from a race shop or aircraft supplier then you know it will work ------ed
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
User avatar
twincamman
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2953
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Location: Niagara falls [slowly I turned]

PostPost by: StressCraxx » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:20 am

"Top PostPost by: Ross Robbins ? Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:00 pm
It was mentioned in passing though I think it bears shouting...ADD A MASTER SWITCH YOU CAN REACH FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT!!! It costs little and may be the most effective way to stop the pump from pumping before the fuel catches fire saving the cleaning of a mess."

Ross, That's the best advice ever posted on this forum.

Halon will extinguish a pressure fed fire. However its also very unpleasant if you breathe the fumes. Halon 1301 is not as toxic.

AFFF will not extinguish a pressure fed fire, such as a dribbling fuel line or a punctured fuel tank. AFFF will extinguish a pool of burning fuel. We used AFFF in the oil refinery for pool fires only. The foam displaces the vapor on the fuel surface and extinguishes the fire. We used water and dry chem for pressure fed fires.

DuPont FE36 is the environmental friendly gas for permanently installed systems. http://www2.dupont.com/FE/en_US/products/fe36.html#.Uszm17SQNc8

I have a Safecraft system in my Formula Ford. One nozzle in the engine bay aimed at the carb and valve cover, another nozzle in the drivers bay because I use the fuel cell as a seat backrest.

The owner of the company is a PE. He builds systems for military and commercial aviation as well.

https://safecraft.com/motorsports.php

The usual disclaimers apply.
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
User avatar
StressCraxx
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1031
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California

PostPost by: oldchieft » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:49 am

Hi all
This is the damage that happened in 30 seconds or less.

A fuel line fitting had not been tightened and the leakage fell on the distributor.

IMG_0085.jpg
fire damage
IMG_0085.jpg (76.45 KiB) Viewed 1401 times


IMG_0086.jpg
fire damage.
IMG_0086.jpg (75.18 KiB) Viewed 1401 times


The car (a Morgan) was right next to a water hose that was turned on, it was lucky.

If your car goes on fire you will have damage, no mater how good the extinguishing system is.

Jon the Chief
oldchieft
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 402
Joined: 17 Sep 2013
Location: Near Wolverhampton
Next

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests