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Putting out an engine fire
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RCB
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 3:24 pm    Post subject: Putting out an engine fire Reply with quote

OK, so I replaced my older style extinguishers and replaced them with two 5lb. units from Smokesign.com. FREE SHIPPING!!!! was one reason I went with them. Also comes with a wall mount bracket N/C.
Question is.......if I have an engine fire, whats the best way to access the engine ? Time will be of the essense so should I go through the liscense plate door or the side vents or the engine hatch ?
I also ordered a pair of those above the elbow fire gloves from an Amazon online company since Im sure what ever Im gonna touch will be rather hot.
Playing the devils advocate here, and I hope never to have to use the extinguisher on my vehicle or anyone elses but I would like to be prepared just in case.
Thankx for the advice all
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allsierra123
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im not sure I would open the hatch that may keep the fire out of the cab. I think I would try going through the license plate or something else maybe.
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wbx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the consensus seems to be that you don't open the emgine lid because the fire then gets a LOT more air and gets out of control. From underneath or through the license plate are better.

It kind of makes me want to remove those protective tins to give easy fire-extinguisher access underneath.

-Damon
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RCB
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankx for the replys..I thought the drop down liscense plate door would be the best way to access a fire. wbx.............it seems that the tin would actually act as a retardant and keep the fire local so it could be accessed through the liscense plate drop down door. Could you explain your rerasoning behind this ?
Im not intending to start a qurrel but I would like to know all angles in case a fire rears its ugly head
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FNGRUVN
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reading your post while I let my Westy air-out the gas fumes. I was just about to drive it to the gas station and I started smelling gas really bad. I shut it off and walked around to the back to investigate. There was a huge puddle of gas under the engine. The short section of hose that leaves the cold start valve ruptured. I replaced all the fuel lines a couple of years ago when I rebuilt the engine. The van has just been sitting in my garage ever since while I finished going through the rest of the van. I would have really been bummed to have an engine fire just as I'm getting this four year project done. I think I'll be getting a fire extinguisher tomorrow.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wbx wrote:
It kind of makes me want to remove those protective tins to give easy fire-extinguisher access underneath.


The protective tins will reduce the airflow to the engine. Removing them will help to make the fire burn quicker...

Andrew
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RCB
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This particular extinguisher is supposed to suppress a fire in a 700 square foot area. Once I get the extinguisher Im off to the 12th Street Station for an explaination on just exactly it should work.
From what I remember its good for a 12 second full blast "squirt" but just like Sgt. Friday, I want to know "just the facts".
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wbx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe taking the tins off isn't the best idea, but i'd be surprised if they are airtight enough to make a big difference in how much air can get to the flames.
Maybe it would be good to put an access hole in there instead so you can just squirt the extinguisher into a more closed volume, without opening the license plate (HOT!)?
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Alan Brase
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many years back, I bought my 80 Westy after an engine fire. I talked to the previous owner and he told me how it happened: He was just backing out of the driveway early in the morning on his way to work. Got into the street and it killed, would not restart. By the time he realized it was on fire, the garbage truck driver was running up with the fire extinguisher. a blast into the license plate door stopped the fire. The damage was not bad. One little burn on the cover of the cushion above the engine. All other damage was under the cover. (Gotta love those steel covers!)
When I got it, I put on new wires hoses, distributor, engine seal, and repainted the engine tin and compartment. The air cleaner was deformed, but worked fine for several years till I found a better one.
BTW, it is about the earliest known Vanagon Westy.
Al
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hiram6
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the license plate door idea is very comparable to what most sailboats have. One of my past boats had an inboard 4 cylinder Atomic4 engine mounted in an engine compartment inside the cabin. If there's an engine fire, the last thing you'd want to do is suddenly give it a load of oxygen as fuel, so the engine compartment had a small port to fire the extinguisher into the closed compartment.


Here's a link to a site selling the marine port.


http://www.marineeast.com/a_sch/sch_det.asp?cid=13&pid=13_01

I think our license plate door would work much the same way, although I wish there were an easy way to add this port the the engine compartment somewhere on my Westy.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<The protective tins will reduce the airflow to the engine. Removing them will help to make the fire burn quicker...>>

I don't really think removing the lower sheet metal from under the Van is going to be breaking any air tight seal to the engine room.

In a gas fire situation it won't make much difference anyhow--it's gonna burn faster than your going to be able to get to it anyway.

Knock the fire down through the licence plate door, and then I'd flip up the engine compartment hatch to finish the job.

This is where Halon really shines--
It'll knock the hell outa the fire --right now--so the chances of a flare up after you think the fire is out is nil.

Damn the green people--it's my fire, and my ride.
I'm going to get it out as fast as possible.

Plus, there's no extinquisher mess to clean up afterwards--
A big bonus.
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Last edited by Terry Kay on Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kind of hose did you use here? Make sure all the hoses between the fuel pump and the pressure regulator are FI rated hoses, including everything in the fuel rail. Regular fuel line may claim handle up to 200 psi, but it will not work in your fuel system!!!


FNGRUVN wrote:
I'm reading your post while I let my Westy air-out the gas fumes. I was just about to drive it to the gas station and I started smelling gas really bad. I shut it off and walked around to the back to investigate. There was a huge puddle of gas under the engine. The short section of hose that leaves the cold start valve ruptured. I replaced all the fuel lines a couple of years ago when I rebuilt the engine. The van has just been sitting in my garage ever since while I finished going through the rest of the van. I would have really been bummed to have an engine fire just as I'm getting this four year project done. I think I'll be getting a fire extinguisher tomorrow.
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devesvws
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just a reminder. there are different types of fire extinguishers for different types of fires. being a trucker our extinguisher must be in reach at all times when driving its the law
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tclark
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:

This is where Halon really shines--
It'll knock the hell outa the fire --right now--so the chances of a flare up after you think the fire is out is nil.

Damn the green people--it's my fire, and my ride.
.


keep both happy 3M Novec
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Novec1230/Home/
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zerotofifty
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:29 pm    Post subject: fire Reply with quote

my 86 vanagon engine bay fuel hoses rotted and leaked, big pool of gas on ground when engine stalled, no fire, replaced hoses

best bet is to prevnet fire, check/change the hoses, theyare all 20+ years old now mainly.

like the licsence plate idea, and yes halon is the bestest, but dry chem is cheaper, make sure youcan afford one big enough, what bitch to fighta fire and run out! been there, done that, total loss (non-VW truck) had jusk enough to stop fire on my other VW (bug motor pipe slipped out of carb, big gas leak,a dn fire)


best bet is a fuel cut off switch, that electrically cut off flow at the tank in case of line failureat turn of switch on dash, then solid mount halon bottle to discharge in engine bay, activate by cable pull on dash.!
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tikibus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seeing first hand of what a engine fire can do on a Bay within 20 sec's is scary. As luck would have it another Bay was right behind ( comin' in to Westies at Watkins '07). Thank goodness the attentive person did the right thing and kept a very cool head, kept the fire from really hurting the Bay.

The graphic that Devesvws posted is important for all of us. Either our Homes and Vehicles depend on a cool head and knowing what to do.

* if driving on fuel lines that are original to the engine or year of make, I'll make the plea to replace now* Even more so the plastic Y that sits between fire wall ( tranny) to engine bay. Replace with new part only.

Removing tin, etc., etc. won't do squat. Removing the tin just gives splash up from tire more of a chance to do more damage.
Replacing with correct fuel lines and clamps ( even the Fuel Rails too!) means POM.
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Waldemar Sikorski
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not come up with a custom design?
One extinguisher stationary, feeding two nozzles in the bay, remotely operated from the cabin area with a mechanical backup. Second one as originally intended.
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RCB
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well TK's too busy making stainless steel mufflers and pipes so whos available?
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Alan Brase
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose that race cars at some level have to have installed fire systems, so I suppose places like Summit racing might be suppliers?
But the biggest part is AWARENESS and we are already there. Now that we are there, we just fix the threats, then get a portable fire extinguisher " just in case".
Just in case for me has been able to put out 2 fires in other peoples's cars. Never needed it for my own!
And, I want my fuel lines to not leak anyway. New fuel lines cost less than even 1 tank of gas these days.
Al
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Projects: 67 sunroof bug, 67 Porsche 912 Targa, 70 Westy
Dec 1955 Single Cab pickup WANT 15" BUS RIMS dated 8/55, thru 12/55
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80 P27 Westy JUL 1979, 3rd oldest known US
83 1.6TD Vanagon, 87 Wolfie Westy daily driver, swap meet home
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waldemar Sikorski wrote:
Why not come up with a custom design?
One extinguisher stationary, feeding two nozzles in the bay, remotely operated from the cabin area with a mechanical backup. Second one as originally intended.



Here is the system that I am planning on using (when I get around to it):

http://www.firecharger.com/index.html

It is a AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) type system. I have talked to the Firecharger people about hazardous cleanup fees should I discharge the system in a populated area (for example) and whether the chemicals involved are corrosive. I have been told that this is the same foam recipe that the fire departments use on a daily basis, just on a smaller scale. When asked what the scene of a discharge would look like, I was told that it looks mostly like water with some slight foaming after the fact. Supposedly corrosion is not much of a problem if the area (mainly bare metals) is hosed off with water within a week of discharge. The bottles are completely owner rechargable.

The only downside to this system (that I could find besides the clean-up) is that it is water based, so if a user lives in a colder climate, it might not be the best choice. Although it does get cold enough to freeze here in Seattle, it is generally not that cold. The bottle placement would be under the rear seat (where it has also been insulated) where I'm pretty confident that it will never see freezing temps.

For colder climates, FireBottle sells a similar manually operated remote system that is Halon based.

http://www.hrpworld.net/index.cfm?form_prod_id=294,587_735&action=product

I have placed a call to FireBottle about the Halon phase-out and have been told that the newer systems use FE-241 which is still compliant.

Another interesting product is The Stinger made by Sea-Fire. It is an automaticlly discharged system that uses thin tube that mounted in the engine compartment. This tube ruptures at 175 F discharging it's FM-200 based agent. Kind of spendy though.

http://www.go2marine.com/product.do?no=100420F&WT.mc_id=gb1
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