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How much halon do I need?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Ricambi America, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
    Sponsor Owner

    After reading that thread about the burned 355 in California, I'm wondering: how big of a Halon extinguisher do I need in a 348? The car might be on the track 3 times a year, and driven hard for 5,000 miles per year.

    -Daniel
     
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  3. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
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    Steven
    2.5 lbs is MINIMUM for track events. You could always opt for higher.
     
  4. markcF355

    markcF355 F1 Rookie
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    Jun 6, 2004
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    How much insurance do you have? :)
     
  5. markcF355

    markcF355 F1 Rookie
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    I think Steven is right. 2.5 lbs seems to be the standard.
     
  6. ClydeM

    ClydeM F1 Veteran
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    Nov 4, 2003
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    Clyde E. McMurdy
    FYI
    No affiliation, yada yada......do a Froogle.com for Halon extinguisher.
    I came up with:
    SmokeSign.com 2.5lb Red Halon Extinguisher for $89.
    I pulled off the std. ext. sticker, slapped a $2.00 Ferrari shield on it and voila' Matches wonderfully. I still have to build a Charness Harness for it, but for now it sits behind the passenger seat.
     
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  8. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    May 29, 2001
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    I keep a 2.5lb Halon in the passenger compartment, and a 5lb Halon in the trunk, where the engine is in the 328. So I figure I can fight my way to the 5 pounder in the trunk and if the fire is not out yet, finish it with the big one. ;)
     
  9. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

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    FYI: 2.5 lbs Halon installed ...
     
  10. NC348

    NC348 Karting

    Feb 18, 2003
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    Houston, TX
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    James I. Movich
    Steve, do you have the mounting bracket that fits to the seat mounting bolts?
    like the setup. did you fabricate?

    Mark...why is my ex wife on your avatar???.....LOL!
     
  11. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

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    Yes, it bolts on to the seat mounting. Did not make it, search the Fchat archives as it was purchased from a friend of an Fchatter ($80 or so). Looks, fits, and works great! All i had to do was drill holes for the fire extinguisher's bracket and that was it :)
     
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  13. pma1010

    pma1010 F1 Rookie

    Jul 21, 2002
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    Philip
    While I applaud the efforts here, I wonder if they're directionally correct and may lead to a false sense of security. And, yes, I realize the FCA and other organizers want a fire extinguisher in the car for track events.

    Let me state at the outset, I have not been in a car fire and therefore not needed to put one out. However, like many of you, I have seen horrendous pictures and have formed the impression that once it ignites, it goes up really quickly and burns furiously. In his Ferrari tuning book, Allen Bishop indicates that the heat from a gasoline engine fire is enormous (doesn't it burn at 1200 degrees or thereabouts) and will melt carburettors et al if it takes hold. And, I presume while carbs produce great sounds, they are also far more likely to produce great flames too!

    So what to do? My guess is prevention is worth 100x the amount of "cure". Good (new, correctly rated) fuel hoses, fuel tanks that are checked for integrity and sealed as needed for road and most likely a fuel cell for the track. I have done the first two, not the latter. Oh, and a good set of nomex (suit/underwear/gloves/shoes). My second guess, is most of us are similarly positioned.

    Turning to "cure", maybe some that have been involved in car fires can comment on when they occur ("random" versus "(off track) events" versus "impact"). My guess is putting the thing out as fast (and completely) as possible is the goal for minimum damage to self and car.

    If a fire does start, just before you jump out of the thing, I am told the first thing to do is to turn off the ignition. Using a halon extinguisher (or any other agent that displaces air) will quell the fire but, with the ignition still on, it risks re-starting (hence the kill switch in "race" cars which can be operated both from within and from outside the car). Second, assuming I am physically able if it has been an "event" or "impact" driven fire, I hope I have the presence of mind (and quite possibly the b***s) to grab the extinguisher, pull the trunk release, exit the car, pull the safety pin and raising the engine deck lid (which, as it likely increases air to the fire, will cause it to flare), and squirting the extinguisher at the presumed base of the fire. This strikes me as difficult and time consuming in a moment of crisis.

    I did the seat mounted stuff for my first year of track events in the 308. I then talked to a couple of people that had been involved in automotive fires. One in particular, indicated the only form of fire extinguisher she'd think about is a system that's "plumbed" into the car and has a trigger (mechanical or electrical) discharge. It convinced me.

    I found I could add a system with minimal "invasiveness" into the car, and had I been more thoughtful, I could have located the fire bottle outside the passenger compartment (I put it in front of the passenger seat, it could probably go into the trunk with appropriately heat shielded cables). I located the "arm" switch in the ashtray (which can be closed off away from the prying fingers of my children) and the "deploy" button was mounted in the (removed) cigar lighter hole. One hole was drilled in the fiberglass firewall to route the aluminum tube through to the engine compartment (which then has nozzles pointed to each tank and one to the base of the carbs). Four (small) holes were drilled through the fiberglass to hold the bottle in place on the floor. All the above holes can be patched quite easily should the system be removed and the car returned to stock condition.

    Is this overkill? I think it depends on your view, usage and experience. At one of our track days earlier this year one driver skated off the track into the in-field ruts. He had to be pulled out by the tow truck. Luckily no damage was done. However, the car was burried up to the axles on the RHS of the car. It could have easily flipped. The master tech as the track was surprised it didn't. Could this has started a fire? Who knows, but it sure seems more likely. Well, the rest doesn't bear thinking about.

    So, what's the collective experience out there on this on?
    Philip
     
  14. chrismorse

    chrismorse Formula 3

    Feb 16, 2004
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    way north california
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    chris morse
    I've been directly involved in two fires and seen som really bad ones.

    My old MGA, (first car), had a float bowl vibrate off of the SU carb and the electric fuel pumps (2) proceeded to spew gas on the exhaust manifold. Just as the car started to run badly, i saw smoke and pulled over quickly, jumped out opened the back trunk, grabbed my trusty 2 and 3/4 pound dry chemical extinguisher, popped the front hood and CAREFULLY opened the hood to hose out the fire. Blistered hood paint, fuel system and some wiring probably cost $600 to fix, (1966 dollars).

    As I pulled up to a job site 20 years later, i noticed a small fire under one of my employee's truck as he was trying to get it started, ( he had been doing "carb work" the night before. I grabbed a 5 pound dry chemical fire extinguisher from inside my truck and had him just pop open the hood while i hosed the engine in short bursts of powder. We did this 5 or 6 times because the engine was so hot the fire kept re-igniting the pool of gas in the valley of the v-8 engine. Finally extinguisher empty, (a very helpless feeling), I yelled to him to go back into the jopb site and get a bucket of water. The ****** finally put it out. the truck was a total.

    Lessons learned:

    1) Do something to put the fire out AS SOON AS POSSIBLE otherwise it will be so hot it will reignite. Thirty seconds or a minuteof fire may turn your pride and joy into a total.

    2) Bigger is better. Halon is a lot cleaner but I still like the 5 pound dry extinguisher.

    3) Have it at hand so you can do #1 above.

    4) As mentioned in many earlier posts - replace those old fuel lines BEFORE they leak.


    Some other thoughts:

    Have the extinguisher serviced as recommended. I have come across a few bottles that had lost their charge.

    Inspect them regularly, I had a pin fall out of a n extinguisher in the back of my campershell with a bunch of tools in it- boy did i feel stupid rolling down the road with a cloud of white rolling out of the back. Having the pin get knocked out while in a ferrari would not be nice.

    hth,
     
  15. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
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    GREAT INFO GUYS!

    Agreed, redoing fuel lines makes sense!!! Hell, redo ALL coolant lines too!!! Especially those of us with DECADES OLD cars!!! FYI: Considered plumbing in a system... but i gave in to a simple solution. Perhaps if i had to deal with carbs verses FI... Seems rare to see an FI 308 on fire... and hope to never see it.
     
  16. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
    Sponsor Owner

    Steven -

    You're right -- in theory a FI/cat-less car shouldn't be so apt to burn. Nevertheless, I just bought 2.5 lbs of halon. God-willing, I'll never need it on my car -- but I locally run with a bunch of carb'd 308's, and I'd gladly "pull-the-pin" to save one of theirs.

    Thanks for the info!


    -Daniel
     

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