The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,519 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to put one in my elise rather than just an extinguisher. I just do track days so there's no "requirement", but after hearing so many fire stories I figure it's worth the trouble and weight. Questions:

1. What's the best type / capacity / model? Saferacer uses foam, but i thought halon was the suppressant of choice :shrug: They also have 2 sizes http://www.saferacer.com/auto-racing-parts/fire-systems/?cat=58&tagarray=40

2. WHere would be the best place for the nozzles. Most fires I've heard of on our cars eminate from the exhaust.

3. Is it wise to aim nozzles at the driver and if so where should they aim?

4. Am I going overboard? Is it more versatile / better to have a hand held unit instead? My fear is that the fire starts somewhere where there is no nozzle so then your SOL? What if I'm stuck in the car with only a handheld? I suppose a track mate would bail me out with their extinguisher. hmmm.:confused:

TiA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,311 Posts
There is no compromising safety.

A fire safety system is very much something that can help on or off the track. The difference in size will have more to do with the length of time the extinguishing material can be dispensed. That length of time should be enough for the passengers to escape from the car. Most sanctioning bodies require at least a 2 lb bottle, with some requiring a 5 lb bottle.

At a minimum 3 nozzles are needed. One for the cockpit and 2 for the engine bay. Put the engine bay nozzles as high as possible or at least above the engine.

In the cockpit put the nozzle below shoulder level, preferrable away from the face. Usually you'll the cockpit nozzle under the dash. This is done to keep the gas low so you can see and to keep you from inhaling the gas.

I'm certain if you do a web search you can find some recommended locations for the nozzles.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,297 Posts
Are you already wearing a Nomex bunny suit? If not, let's back up a second here...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,519 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
No bunny suit. I'm more interested in stopping the fire at the source so the car survives. I assume if that works then a fire suit is secondary importance. Basically, what's going through my mind is that rather than just get an extinguisher, get a built in system. Cost is close enough, work is a lot more but no biggy and the benefit is much greater.

I saw Safecraft's units. They look pretty good, but I'm confused which one to get of the three choices.

http://www.safecraft.com/MinstalledExtinguisher.asp
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,478 Posts
No bunny suit. I'm more interested in stopping the fire at the source so the car survives. I assume if that works then a fire suit is secondary importance. Basically, what's going through my mind is that rather than just get an extinguisher, get a built in system. Cost is close enough, work is a lot more but no biggy and the benefit is much greater.

I saw Safecraft's units. They look pretty good, but I'm confused which one to get of the three choices.

http://www.safecraft.com/MinstalledExtinguisher.asp
you really need to rethink your thinking here.

$0.02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
When you have and wear a COMPLETE set of safety gear as per NASA or SCCA including a HANS or equivalant, SFI or FIA Harness, then you can worry about the very small risk of fire as opposed to a shunt into the wall.

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
I agree with what these other gents are telling you. Don't put the cart before the horse. If you are thinking of a full fire suppression system then I have to assume you are also thinking of more than just daily street use.

Al B.
Team LOST
#13 FF
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,297 Posts
No bunny suit. I'm more interested in stopping the fire at the source so the car survives. I assume if that works then a fire suit is secondary importance. Basically, what's going through my mind is that rather than just get an extinguisher, get a built in system. Cost is close enough, work is a lot more but no biggy and the benefit is much greater.

I saw Safecraft's units. They look pretty good, but I'm confused which one to get of the three choices.

http://www.safecraft.com/MinstalledExtinguisher.asp
IMHO, you should worry about protecting yourself first, so I'd start with at least the basics: suit & gloves (go full tilt with undies, socks, shoes, balaclava, etc. if you like). There's a reason this gear is worn.

Google Tetsuya Ota... it may just change your mind.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
Forget about the car. If you'll going to be thinking about pulling that red handle, believe me, you'll want Nomex on. The suppression systems are designed just to buy you, the driver, more time to get out, not to save the car.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,476 Posts
There is no such thing as too much safety, as safety is a personal decision based on your views on risk. That being said, there is a logical way to approach safety gear and that is to consider the odds of it happening vs. the level of injury. For just about any car on the track, the item with the highest odds of happening is a crash. A crash, without the right gear, can also have dire consequences. I personally tackled this first.

Fire would be next on my list, as it has a lower chance of happening than a crash, but the same dire consequences. As fire goes, the first line of defense is your clothes. A suppression system, is secondary. In general, suppression system requires that you be conscious to activate it. If you are involved in a wreck which causes the fire and you are not conscience, then you must rely on passive things to protect you until the corner worker or fire team can respond. Even if you are conscience, if you are on fire without the right gear, you will be in excruciating pain and like others have said, seaching for the button will be the last thing on your mind. Plus you will be frantically trying to release your seat belts and get the door open to get out. At the SCCA racing school pointed out to us, your best weapon against a fire is not the 2 or 5 lb bottle in your car, it is the 10+lb bottle and corner workers at the nearest corner station. IF at all possible, stop near a corner station rather than bailing in between. They will make sure to first, get you out of the car, and second, try to put out the fire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Why Not?

If I may, let's put aside the other safety considerations for now and focus on the question of a fire suppression system. I think with R'Elise Me has a good idea here. What's the downside, little less trunk space, a few hundred bucks?
Track days do not usually have corner workers at all stations, sometimes only at very few stations. A full system could save your car. For a one time and relatively small investment fire protection for your car is greatly increased for You and your car. I have been thinking about adding a system myself. If I can give up the trunk space of my daily driver, I think I will.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Maybe that's the way they do it in the desert but around here they cover just about every station. There's a bit more to hit.
Last PCA DE event I ran at Lime Rock the drivers were still working the corner stations between sessions, but that's not the point. The point is You are as likely to have a fire at a track day as You would be at a race and there are generally less emergency people on hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,476 Posts
I think a fire suppression system is a great idea, but if you are depending on it for your first and only line of defense against fire you got your priorities out of order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,519 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks for all the safety advise guys, I agree with your POV, but I think you're missing MY point and the point of this thread. I'm not against fire suits, in fact I've been looking into them as well. I do wear nomex gloves and shoes, but track days are hot and 95% of us don't wear firesuits. Call it stupid, but that's life. Maybe an unecessarily short one, but life nonetheless. I don't have a set of priorities regarding fire safety at the moment, I just thought I should have an extinguisher so I figured why not do it right.

I will say that I know of three people who have lost their Lotuses on tracks to fire and zero who have lost their cars or even injured themselves in a collision. This last weekend I witnessed a failed oem cat that nearly burned an Elise down so that would have been #4. So I beleive my move toward a fire suppression system is well founded and I agree that it ultimately should be part of a more complete approach which incl all the (hot)gear.

So getting back to the subject - which system to get...

I spoke with Don at Safecraft http://www.saferacer.com at length today. He's got a lot to offer and this is what seemed to be the best system and the one I think I should get unless one of you has better advise.

A 3 lb Halon 1301 cable operated system with two nozzles aimed above the engine and one below the dash. I'd locate the cable pull in the dash within easy reach from the window. Canister behind passenger seat or in trunk so tubes will be short and easy to run.
Option A: A second 1 lb Halon automatic system aimed at the exhaust system which seems to be the instigator of most fires I've heard of. It's an unusual choice of nozzle locations, but it seems to be a prudent one for our cars. The nozzle is directly attached to the canister so it would have to be bolted in the exhaust bay which may be unfeasible.

Option B: Fully automatic 3 nozzle on 3 lb bottle with a manual cable pull which I'm seriously considering. The only reason I wouldn't is because the sensor nozzle hose is always pressurized so they tend to leak more. You also have to specify the hose length for the sensor nozzle which means I have to do more homework - not a big deal I suppose, but location of the bottle must be known prior to ordering and that may or may not pan out when the unit arrives and all the unforeseen details rear their ugly heads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,297 Posts
I think with R'Elise Me has a good idea here. What's the downside, little less trunk space, a few hundred bucks?
Trunk space?
:huh:

Thanks for all the safety advise guys, I agree with your POV, but I think you're missing MY point and the point of this thread. I'm not against fire suits, in fact I've been looking into them as well. I do wear nomex gloves and shoes, but track days are hot and 95% of us don't wear firesuits. Call it stupid, but that's life. Maybe an unecessarily short one, but life nonetheless. I don't have a set of priorities regarding fire safety at the moment, I just thought I should have an extinguisher so I figured why not do it right.
It's required for open lapping at my home track although I'm aware that very few HPDEs do. Yes, it hits >105F here and we're wearing Nomex. It's still cooler than the adiabatic rule of thumb, ~1950F.
:wave:

I will say that I know of three people who have lost their Lotuses on tracks to fire and zero who have lost their cars or even injured themselves in a collision. This last weekend I witnessed a failed oem cat that nearly burned an Elise down so that would have been #4. So I beleive my move toward a fire suppression system is well founded and I agree that it ultimately should be part of a more complete approach which incl all the (hot)gear.

So getting back to the subject - which system to get...

I spoke with Don at Safecraft http://www.saferacer.com at length today. He's got a lot to offer and this is what seemed to be the best system and the one I think I should get unless one of you has better advise.
Please go by more than what a sinlge vendor tells you. Research, research, research. While people here may offer great advice, it may be nothing more than a drunk guy at the next table butting his way into your conversation... including me.

I like what I've seen from Safecraft, but I still wouldn't take their word as gospel. Of course, if you look at the theist/atheist thread you'll see I'm generally a skeptic.
:)

As an example: I've seen installed systems in competition cars which did not have fireproof lines to the nozzles!!! How the F they got through tech. escapes me.
-eek-

Best of luck with it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
891 Posts
Personally, I was looking into this as well as my car almost caught fire due to a sheared exhaust bolt. I like your first link as an option. The 5 liter tank, although big, looks like it would do the trick and isn't much more expensive. Also it says that cleanup requires only water and the recharge is easy. It comes with 4 nozzles so you can put 1 in the cabin, 2 in the engine bay and 1 in the exhaust area. The safecraft systems are nice but the automatic feature scares me as sensors do fail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,478 Posts
a unnoticed, uninspected cat that fails badly is going to burn the car to the ground regardless of the number of fire nozzles in the cabin and engine bay. the car is going to burn from the outside in.

putting one in the exhaust area, as you mention, may very well be impossible or impractical, especially since you're probably not going to know there's a fire until the body has begun to burn.

my final word... if my car is on fire and the options are (A) grab the door handle and attempt to operate (because i've got a nomex glove on) and scramble out or (B) reach across the cabin (away from the exit) and pull the fire system control, then attempt to operate the door handle, i'm going with A.

good luck with you decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
I don't know much about this subject but if you were already going to drop a few hundred on a fire extinguisher why not go $375 for the supression system as long as you are willing to take the time to install it correctly.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top