The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rusty rocket, May 6, 2020.
I was doing some contract work for a business when the their fire extinguisher service came in to inspect, stamp service date tag or replace extinguishers. He said as long as the pressure gauge reads good the dry chemical extinguishers never go bad even though they are required by law to be changed out after a certain amount of time. He did say that the chemical powder tends to settle in the bottom of the tank and that the extinguishers should be rotated upside down back and forth every now and then to loosen the powder up. Have no idea how true that may be but sounds reasonable. I do it for the extinguishers in my shop when I think about it.
When we drove around in our 1958 Impala, we had a small fire extinguisher in the trunk. We never planned on using it as we hoped the Impala was going to be trouble free… It was trouble free for all of the modifications we did to it over the years, until we sold it 8 years later. We put the extinguisher in the trunk “just for emergencies.” We had none.
But, with that in mind, during our 1940 Willys Coupe build, we installed one next to the driver’s side bucket seat for quick access, just in case. The quick release and in our hands was one quick move, which we both practiced. It was handy and did not take up much room. As the passenger side was full of a Moon Aluminum Tank and attached pump. At the time most Gas Coupes and Sedan racers had the Moon gas tank inside of the cab, so the pressure pump could be used prior to each race.
Moon Tank and pump
The Moon System worked well and we were happy, including the back-up fire extinguisher next to the driver’s seat. It was security for all gas coupes and sedans in this competitive class. Little did we know that it all depends on what kind of fire and how powerful it is, as to the limits of the fire extinguisher.
We had been racing the 671 powered SBC, 1940 Willys Coupe for several months with the fire extinguisher still unused, sitting by the driver. But, in our final race to the C/Gas Coupe Class finals in August of 1960, the need for a fire extinguisher was necessary. My brother was far out in front of the class champion and was about to win the race, when all H@!! exploded. The clutch blew, the scattershield was in pieces, scattered all over the place, the parts blew up the Moon Tank and the gas fed fire was now the main enemy. All this was going through my brother’s mind as he reached for the extinguisher and started to spray the big fire inside the Willys, going through the traps.
He told me later that the fire extinguisher was no match for the gasoline on fire and decided to jump out of the car. The racers on the return road were witnesses to this “horrendous explosion” (their words) and resulting fire. As powerful as the normal fire extinguisher is/was for normal small fires, it was overcome and empty on this gas fueled fire inside of the Willys Coupe. The racers said my brother jumped out as the Willys Coupe whizzed by going approximately 60 mph. That is normal freeway speed here is So Cal. No head injuries as he rolled over and over like a cut down log going down a hill.
To make matters worse, there were a lot of empty cylinders laying around after being spent, trying to put out the burning Willys Coupe. All of the nearby racers and safety crews were using their extinguishers to no avail. I emptied two large ones and they did little. Finally, our crew chief, Atts Ono, stayed with the burning Willys and no other extinguishers were used as they just let it burn itself out. The drag strip closed early due to the Willys still on fire. By then I was at the hospital visiting my brother.
The fire extinguishers give everyone a sense of security, but that is good for the soul. It will depend on how large and powerful the fire in the hot rod is at the time, so be prepared. Our 2nd 40 Ford Sedan Delivery had one behind the bucket seats, that satisfied my wife.
me too, 27 years
My dad gave me one to put in my first car almost 40 years ago, and I have them in all cars. I've never needed to use one for my own car, but I have a couple of times for other cars and once for a BBQ fire.
They're not there for looks.
Of course I do , LOOK at my avitar...Haha
Chrome one by the shifter.
Yes. Because back in the 1970s I was driving my 29 roadster down the alley behind my parents house when I noticed the back of my car was on fire. I jumped out of my car, looked at the flames and then started running towards home. I got about 50 feet when I realized that hey, that's my roadster! I then ran back to the car and then a lady with a hose with running water asked if I wanted to use it- which I did. So now I carry a fire extinguisher in both my old cars.
I have one in each of my cars but I'd only carry one if something that shouldn't be is on fire.
I worked 35 years on Liquid Propane and High Pressure Natural Gas Pipelines , so fire protection is a must
Last year at the NSRA nats, a guy came in and had a trans cooler line break and hit the exhaust. When the fire started, he jumped out with his extinguisher. It wasn't enough. 3 or 4 guys who were watching ran up with their's and put the fire out. This was at the entrance with hundreds of people watching. The other guys did the right thing with no regard to cost. I saw the car owner thank each one of them but I saw no money change hands. Good guys.
a quality fire extinguisher can be recharged fairly cheaply
Tip them upside down, sideways, upright and everything in between and rap the housing all over with a rubber mallet and shake it up etc., is the way I heard it. Want the dry chemical loose, or "sifted" like flour, kinda.
If it settles and clumps in the tank, only a small portion or maybe half of the total dry chemical inside will dispense in an emergency.
I carry a small dry chem extinguisher in my coupe. I actually had to use it once. Yea, it made a mess, but at least I still had a car I could clean up. My fire happened to be electrical The small extinguisher kept the flame level down enough we could get to the battery and kill the power, then the extinguisher put the fire out. It was a pretty exciting 5 minutes or so!
Every spring I get the "new" extinguisher out and thump it with the rubber mallet for about 10 minutes as I flip it around.
Over the 25 years I ran my welding shop, I used 3 or 4 fire extinguishers to put fires out inside of cars, sparks can go crazy places. I always had a small spray water bottle with me when I weld inside a car, but if that water bottle doesn't put the fire out in 30 seconds, I will get the fire extinguisher out and use it.
My 1st job at the gas station, on the busy street in front of the station I watched 3 or 4 cars burn to the ground. My bosses attitude was if you needed his extinguisher to get the people out, use his extinguisher, but once the people are out, let it burn. According to him, the 3-4 fire extinguishers he had there wouldn't put a fire in a car out, once the wiring started to burn. As soon as we saw a car on fire, we called the fire department, then made sure the people were out. Then we all waited until the fire department arrived. I didn't believe my boss until one day a car caught on fire and the guy at the KFC next door ran out with 3 big fire extinguishers like we had. Between him and the guy that owned the car used up all 3 and didn't even faze the fire. Then we all stood and watched it burn until the fire department came and put the fire out.
The purpose of a fire extinguisher is to be able to get people safely out of harms way. Then, if your able to put the fire out, lucky you. My experience tells me you have about 30 seconds to maybe up to a minute to get the fire out before the odds are the car is toast. Gene
A concours show I attended with cars and motorcycles the fire extinguisher had to be beside the left front tire with the cars and to on the left side of the front tire on the motorcycles. No extinguisher... you were escorted off the property.
I don't always but I think it's a great idea! There's been lots of neat old cars lost to fire.
Fire Extinguishers are a great idea if they are easily accessible and securely mounted.
Many of oval tracks have changed the rules so fire extinguisher no longer mandatory because of how many of them were being mounted.
Too often the fire extinguisher were breaking loose in impacts hurting and some times killing the driver!
The other thing to keep in mind is how far your body will stretch during an impact drivers were also being hurt alot of head injuries because of the fire extinguisher being mounted high too close to the drivers head.
The human body stretches an ineradicable amount in an impact, things that seem impossible too reach belted in the seat suddenly are very close in a crash.
After hitting the inside wall at Daytona Jeff Gordon hurt his hand/arm hitting the dash almost 2"-3" away from what his arm could normally reach just sitting in the car.
I am not saying not to carry one, just make sure you mount it safely and don't make a bigger problem then a fire!
I learned many years ago as a grasshopper.
You will rarely need a fire extinguisher, but when you need one, you need one REAL BAD.
I carry one in my avatar and also have two large extinguishers in my shop. Back when I was flying there was always one in my airplane. One morning while starting the airplane, it backfired through the carburetor. Normally you would keep cranking the engine to draw any flame back into the engine. Unfortunately, just then the battery went dead land smoke started coming from the cowling. I grabbed the extinguisher and discharged it into the cowling. The fire was quickly extinguished with just minor scorching to the paint.
In my 37 Ford. Quick-release within easy release; I wouldn't be without one.
Always in the hotrod, never in the newer driver. Guess which one burned to the ground?
We had upgraded all ours at work (phone exchange) to Halotron simply because of the mess that the chemical powder ones make.
Also, the chemical powder ones suffer from OH GOD WHY WON'T IT STOP until they're spent, making even more of a mess. That's one thing they don't say on the label...
Glad the fireman took time to post a selfie.
got one in the 38 in front of the bench seat behind the floor shifter,gotta check the ABC rating after reading this thread
Mine's under the seat, out of sight so it stays there. It's in the white rag on the right. JW
2 in the shop, 1 in each of the cars
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