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DD581B8C-679A-4546-8D08-8F306989ED15Passed this woeful tableau on my way home yesterday.

I know that Blazecut and other fire-suppression systems have been discussed here at length — I think I’m heading toward installing one myself.

Anyone here ever rescued by a hands-free fire-putter-outer?  Tell us about it.

If you’ve never heard of Blazecut, here’s one of their short videos...

https://youtu.be/Kswau1mGBE8

"We've come this far -- let's not ruin it by thinking."  – Clint Eastwood 

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  • DD581B8C-679A-4546-8D08-8F306989ED15
Last edited by Cory McCloskey
Original Post

@Cory McCloskey

Cory, I am on a VW forum. It is no secret that early Bugs and Buses/Vanagons are susceptible to engine fires for a number of reason (faulty fuel filters, fuel lines, oil leaks). Many owners of earlier VW bugs and Buses/Vanagons have installed Blazecut extinguishers on their vehicles as a precaution for this reason.

Early extinguishing or suppressing of a fire (particularly in early VWs) is a key element in minimizing vehicle damage.

I'm guessing that those more expert than I will chime in with more knowledgeable and expert information than I can provide. @Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly is not a fan of the Blazecut because it isn't UL Certified so it hasn't been tested to their standards. They have sold thousands if not tens of thousands of units and many of our members have them installed.

I had a carb fire several years ago due to a clogged idle jet. One of our SOC firefighters @Rusty S put the fire out with his handheld Halon fire extinguisher and saved the day.

@Robert M posted:

Jim Kelly is not a fan of the Blazecut because it isn't UL Certified so it hasn't been tested to their standards. They have sold thousands if not tens of thousands of units and many of our members have them installed.

I had a carb fire several years ago due to a clogged idle jet. One of our SOC firefighters @Rusty S put the fire out with his handheld Halon fire extinguisher and saved the day.

Wow! @Rusty S to the rescue!

It's much worse with a fiberglass vehicle.  The resin is like fire starter once it catches!  A good (at least 10#) hand held ought to be readily available in every vehicle.  Problem with hand held is you have to open the hot engine lid with your bare hands plus that lets more air in and the fire flare up.

Rear toastburn 5

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  • Rear toast
  • burn 5

@Cory McCloskey I have two Blazecuts installed.  One is hung off of the firewall just in front of the fan shroud and below the hinge mounts and is long enough (3'?) to curve around past the sides around the carburetors by 6" - 8" or so - All of my fuel delivery is behind the shroud, fuel pump in the car nose.  I hung it with insulated electrical clamps to the firewall, one end is exposed a little more because that end has the pressure gauge in it.

The other Blazecut is another 3 footer wrapped around my BN-2 gas heater up in the nose of the car.  It's the 3/4" white hose attached to the wall of the frunk below.   Used the same insulated electrical clamps to hold it in place and bent it to the confines of the battery well.

final install

IIRC, Blazecut tubes are normally 6' and 9' long.  If you can find the space for a six footer, then go for it - Just wrap it all around the whole engine compartment and find a way to glue it to the inside of the body in back - clamps on the front and sides will support most of the weight and no big deal if it overlaps.  If you need a shorter one (not listed on their website) then contact Blazecut to see if they'll pop one or two out (it'll be the same price as a 6').

Be aware that these tubes don't like to bend much.  The best to hope for is a 6"-ish radius in the corners.

https://www.cbperformance.com/product-p/blazecut.htm

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  • final install
Last edited by Gordon Nichols

I had one carb fire well going down the road, by the time you process what's going on get the car stopped get out of the car, fumble to grab the fire extinguisher then with the fire extinguisher in one hand and you're trying to open the deck lid release with the other and somehow managed to pry open the decklid that's now on fire it's an interesting scenario and you don't have much time I was lucky damage was confined to the right carburetor fuel line and a little bit of the underside of the deck lid

Last edited by Alan Merklin

I had one car fire well going down the road, by the time you process what's going on get the car stopped get out of the car, fumble to grab the fire extinguisher then with the fire Stinger sure one here and you're trying to open the deck lid release with the other and somehow managed to pry open the decklid that's on fire it's an interesting scenario and you don't have much time I was lucky damage was confined to the right carburetor fuel line and a little bit of the underside of the deck lid and that was because a highway dept truck showed up on the nick of time with a large extinguisher

I had one car fire well going down the road, by the time you process what's going on get the car stopped get out of the car, fumble to grab the fire extinguisher then with the fire Stinger sure one here and you're trying to open the deck lid release with the other and somehow managed to pry open the decklid that's on fire it's an interesting scenario and you don't have much time I was lucky damage was confined to the right carburetor fuel line and a little bit of the underside of the deck lid and that was because a highway dept truck showed up on the nick of time with a large extinguisher

I've almost done the flaming car trick in my 914 a couple of times. Fuel injected fuel lines are under high pressure. When they crack, they shoot out a fine mist of fuel perfect for ignition. 

I installed a 9 footer in my Spyder. I figured more is better.

https://www.speedsterowners.co...my-blaze-cut-install

I also carry a fire extinguisher right by the drivers seat. If the Blaze-cut is activated, it'll probably suffocate the engine too. That'll be my first sign. There would be no way in hell to undo both straps and get the clamshell open to use the fire extinguisher in time, but I might be able to spray it into the carb vents on each side or the grill. The grill on a Spyder is not obstructed like in the Speedster. The Blaze-cut might buy me some time. Hopefully I'll never find out.

I was kicking around the idea of having a fire extinguisher plumbed to a sprinkler type system in the engine bay. I was thinking, the extinguisher could be triggered from the cockpit and still be removed to suppress a fire elsewhere if needed. 

 

@Carlos G posted:

 

I was kicking around the idea of having a fire extinguisher plumbed to a sprinkler type system in the engine bay. I was thinking, the extinguisher could be triggered from the cockpit and still be removed to suppress a fire elsewhere if needed. 

This is one of the coolest things Mango Smoothy (Paul) did with his car-- a homemade fire suppression system using a standard extinguisher. His was really, really trick.

I don't know why everyone says the handheld extinguisher doesn't do any good. My car started running like crap and I could see the flames coming out of the engine lid so I stopped and Troy opened up the engine lid. Rusty ran over with his extinguisher and put it out. There was no sudden flame up because the lid was opened and even the fire extinguisher were in my car and clamps we would have had time to put it out.

Do I think this is the same scenario every time? No. However anecdotal it may be not every engine fire is the same as any other fire. Besides, if my car burned to the ground I'd cash the insurance check and build another one. That's why the car is insured. 

We did a group buy on 5 lb. systems from Safecraft back in the mid-2000s on Spyderclub.com. I believe they were $325 shipped. I didn't think that was too expensive for the safety added. The system uses a cable pull to activate, and empties the bottle. The bottle appears to be a standard aluminum CO2 bottle, but filled to a much lower pressure with Halon. Today Halotron is used because it doesn't trash the ozone layer like Halon did. 

I attempted to get it refilled(with Halotron instead) but my local place wouldn't/couldn't. I'll probably have to buy a new system for the new car.

I aimed one jet at my gas heater under the dash. There were two more jets, one at each carb up high under the clamshell, which should blanket the entire compartment with the Halon, hopefully snuffing it out.

The system was supplied with aluminum tubing, which was somewhat easy to work with and keep from kinking. I think it was 3/8" or so thin tubing.

I've seen modern racecar systems in the pits at Lime Rock using plastic tubing today. That makes me wonder why anyone would use plastic?

@Robert M posted:

I don't know why everyone says the handheld extinguisher doesn't do any good. My car started running like crap and I could see the flames coming out of the engine lid so I stopped and Troy opened up the engine lid. Rusty ran over with his extinguisher and put it out. There was no sudden flame up because the lid was opened and even the fire extinguisher were in my car and clamps we would have had time to put it out.

Do I think this is the same scenario every time? No. However anecdotal it may be, not every engine fire is the same as any other fire. Besides, if my car burned to the ground I'd cash the insurance check and build another one. That's why the car is insured. 

Truer words were never spoken.

Apocryphal anecdotes are the order of the day in most car-guy circles. As an example, I cannot tell you how many times (in 40 years of playing with cars) I've heard about plastic fuel filters in the engine compartment practically guaranteeing an engine fire. To hear guys tell it, one may as well wander out to the garage and throw a lighter in the gas tank.

But every engine fire I've seen or heard about (especially in a speedster) has been from a backfire which lights the paper air-filter on fire. An ignition problem will do that. A plugged idle jet will do that. But a plastic fuel filter, properly installed, will not (and cannot) do that.

To avoid the plastic filters, I've seen some guys install multi-piece glass fuel filter bowls instead-- relying on several gaskets and thumb-screws in an effort to keep the dreaded plastic filter out of there. It's like lighting the living room couch on fire because everybody keeps telling you chimney fires are dangerous.

Danny's right, of course--  hard piped lines are better than rubber, but there are a lot of fitting points where a barbed fitting and rubber hose (and clamp) is 20x less expensive, and 99% as good (under normal conditions). Get good rubber, change it every so often, and it'll be just fine. Install plastic fuel filters properly (with clamps), change them regularly, and they'll be fine too.

I have half a mind to install a couple of them, just to watch guys flip out. I already carry a "do nothing" 5 lb fire extinguisher, so I may as well tick the other boxes as well.

Last edited by Stan Galat

That's where mine is too (under the tank, up front)-- but my car almost burned to the ground regardless. I change my rubber regularly, have good clamps on every hose, and am hard-piped in most places.

In my case, it was a loose ignition module that caused a bad backfire that had a fire going in the 1/2 carb. I'm no insurance actuary, but I'd venture a guess that in these cars, the backfire situation I describe is the cause of more than half the cars burning. I'd venture that a plastic fuel filter melting in half and spraying the engine with fuel isn't the cause of 1/10 as many. Everybody bangs on those little filters, then uses 30 year old cloth-covered fuel line because it looks cool. 

Just use common sense. Clamp your rubber lines. Replace them every few years, fix plugged idle jets and loose ignition modules as they arise. If your car starts running badly, stop and get out to determine you aren't becoming a rolling campfire.

Nothing is 100% fool-proof, and nothing short of a full Halon system is going to be 100% effective. Not a 5 lb or 20 lb hand-held, not a short piece of PEX with a fire retardant inside. That said, I'd still not ever roll one of these without at least something available, however unhandy. Having one is no guarantee you won't lose the car, but not having one is just asking for it.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Greg installed a 3/8" steel line down the center of my Spyder. It has a threaded end in the back, I installed a threaded brass T, and ran hard lines up each side, screw-in metal filter on each end. Just a short length of new German braided hose to each carb, secured with spring hose clamps. 

Up front, I used a compression fitting on the hard line to a hose bib. I guess I could have just flared it a little. Short piece of hose to the pump, even shorter to the metal can filter, and then one more piece of hose to the tank. All secured with those spring hose clamps(NAPA) I mentioned.

Minimal rubber hose, maximum metal line, no plastic, no glass, and good clamps that do not damage the hose. Change the hose every 5 or 10 years and you're good.

Even with all that, the fire system is the way to go. Snuff it out before you even get out of the driver's seat. Seconds matter.......

Last edited by DannyP
@Pepespeed posted:

Five years ago after a fire that totaled my VS, I installed an automatic system from Safecraft on my newly acquired Beck.

It was a bit more than $600, but worth it. 

 

I have one of these Safecraft extinguishers that I took off my previous Speedster, but I have yet to figure out how to install in my IM6.  There is not as much room back there with the 911 engine...

I never had a fire in my original IM but on my Subie IM, one day I was doing an oil change and had the lid open, I started the engine and the lid was open I see the gaz line hose suddenly and it is coming off the filter and leaking and spraying gaz all over, of course it runs over or rather near the exhaust, so needless to say I cut the engine, stopped the flow and now I check all those clamps religiously... you know every Sunday. 

I've been looking around a little, researching fire bottle systems. There are a lot of options for extinguishing agents.

That $400 option is a foam system, which can do a lot of damage to electrical and mechanical components, and isn't easy to clean up. Not to mention you don't want foam near your lungs, so a no-no in the cabin.

Dry chemical is OK, most just vacuum up, but again if you don't manually remove it all it can corrode and degrade components. Not good for lungs either.

Halon(and Halotron) leave no residue at all, but may be carcinogenic.

The last one, and one of the most expensive, is Novec 1230(and FM200, almost identical). Clean agent, no residue, and no documented ill effects to eyes, skin, and lungs. 

That same $400 system but with Novec 1230 is $700. I think that would be my choice.

These systems are available in metric sizes: 2.25 kg is 4.95 pounds, 3 kg is 6.6 pounds($800 for the above system with larger 3 kg tank). Some sanctioning bodies have a 5 lb. minimum hence the very slightly larger 3 kg size, as they won't let you slide for 0.05 pounds.

2.25 kg:

 http://www.lifelinefire.com/zero360fia225kgnovec1230firemarshalsystem.aspx

3.0 kg:

 http://www.lifeline-fire.com/z...1230firemarshal.aspx

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