6122 SS300 Race and Fire Recap

MTPyle

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Like so many other teams have said before us, it didn't end the way we hoped

Short story- We were running the strongest we have ever ran and then all hell broke loose. At RM140 the trans started to get hot and at RM227 trans fluid got on headers and ignited, the truck caught on fire. The boys got out fast and only had one minor burn. They worked hard to save the truck which they did. My sons Connor 23 and Carson 16 had the emergency experience that we all fear and it turned out OK.

Long Story

During qualifying the trans got a little hotter than normal and was making a noise which sounded like it was coming from the trans pump. We decided to swap with our fresh back up trans. The team worked hard the night before the race in the parking lot. We fired up the truck and the new trans was making the same sound. We could not figure it out but didn't have time to do much about it. It was almost midnight.

Myself and my Co Dog Scotty Dogg (yes thats two G's LOL) started the race. i was nervous that the trans issue was going to end our race early. But it was holding up well and we were moving. We went by a few trucks early that had issues and we were in clear air. We got into a grove and felt good. By pit 3 it was clear we were running on a good pace with the top guys. This was the first time we were running this fast compared to the fast guys. at RM90 Racingtrax showed us in 3rd on time. We later found out two other top teams were not showing on the tracker. But we were in 5th on course and 4-5th on time which was great.

At RM140 the trans got hot and would not cool down. We had to go very slow to get it to cool and once I got back on it it got hot again. So I knew something was not right.

At RM149 Pit 4 Scotty and I got out and Connor and Carson got it. I told Connor about the temp issue and to watch it. I was supposed to help fuel and forgot so that put our team scrambling while I was talking to Connor. Its crazy how dumb you can be after getting out of a race truck. LOL

Connor and Carson took off and we were still in good position. I think we lost two spots on course while we were doing our long pit.

About 8 miles from the pit the trans got hot and started slipping really bad. It was dumping fluid out the vent. Connor would let it cool down and then go again. They stopped and put more fluid in and that helped. But they could not run fast without it getting hot. So our day turned into survival and just finish. Connor and Carson did great limping the truck around the course at 30mph. At Pit 6 I came up with the idea to put a tube through the metal panels into the trans dips stick so they can add fluid without taking the hood off. Yeah I know what you are thinking LOL and your right, bad idea.

Connor found the truck would run the best at 5000 rpm so he kept it there. Problem was at 5000rpm the exhaust was getting hot. Not sure if the heat melted the tube we put in or there was just fluid on the header wrap from us spilling while filling it up.

They were doing about 50 mph when my Son Carson noticed there was a fire at his feet. Connor stopped the truck as fast as he could. While they were still rolling they tried to pull the fire supression but it did not work. They also turned off the battery and shut everything down which made for a scary and eery moment. I dont think we every thought about a fire at night like this.

They finally stopped and got out in record time. During testing for this race we practiced getting in and out of the truck in full dress. during this practice both boys cut their time in half of getting out. We had no idea how important these seconds would become.

Connor went to the back and pulled the pin on the fire extinguisher mount. the metal ring came out of the pin and the pin was stuck in the mount. Carson went to get the tool box out to get some tools. Connor wrestled with the mount for what seemed like an hour and finally got it off. He got the fire out pretty fast but it had spread. They were right in the middle of the race track at night with no power or lights so they climbed up a hill to get out of the way and to try and warn other trucks with their phone flashlights. The racing Trax unit for burned and was not working.

While clear of the truck they looked back and saw the fire had started again. So Connor ran back and tried to get the cockpit extinguisher out. The pin also jammed and would not come out. We were not having good luck with fire suppression and mounts. Connor had to rip the mount off the bar that was held on with hose clamps. All of this while leaning into the truck that was on fire. He got it off the bar and put the rest of the fire out. He was not going to let our truck burn down.

They spent over 2 hours waiting to get extracted from the course. We have an Iridium Go permatly mounted in the truck which has battieries, it survived the fire. So as long as they were within the wifi range of the truck it kept working and they could text us. They tried to call but we had used all our voice time and forgot to call and pay for more. LOL but the texting worked. They had a hand held radio that we keep in the truck, glad we did as that was the only way to talk to BITD. They were in a canyon so they could not talk with our radios to our pits.

Carson ended up with a minor burn on his foot which was where the fire started. both boys had Sparco fire shoes and fire socks. So they were properly protected and it worked. If Carson would have been in normal shoes he could have lost his foot. The time it took to come to a full stop was a very long time while your looking at your feet in fire.

Now back to the trans issues. I was pretty upset at our trans guy. I figured he messed up both pumps and caused the problem. I called another trans guy on monday to get quotes on him doing the rebuilds. When I told this guy what happened his first response was we got the cooler lines on backwards. I was like OMG he might be right. During the past prep we broke a fitting on the trans for the cooler lines. the Fittings were Red and Blue and coordinated with the hoses. We could not find the red and blue ones locally but could get the black ones. We thought no big deal. We put the black ones on the trans and when we put the trans in we got the hoses backwards.

So in the end it was a simple mistake on our part to hook them up backwards and not catch that when we swapped trans. I feel bad that I thought our trans guy was to blame when it was our fault all along. We have never had a trans issue and I don't know why I rushed to blame our guy.

So we learned a lot this race. Off-road racing is a very steep learning curve with huge consequences. Which is why we love it. Glad we learned some hard lessons and only lost money, points, time, and anything worse. Very proud of my boys for how they handled this emergency. its when the crap hits the fan that you see who you really are.

We will come back stronger and even more prepared. Cant wait for V2R and to make some improvements on 6122. Thanks to all of our partners and sponsors for helping us get back on the dirt. We have a lot of work to do

Mike

below are some pics of the after math and a cool video of us hitting the power line jump

SS300 6122 Powerline




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LAPoliceGear.com

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Thanks for the great post. Could you please tell us what failed with the fire suppression system in detail ?

I have found that the pins for fire extinguisher mounts freeze up or rust in place all the time. I use the Drake brand mounts now across the board. One time the 5 LBS extinguisher broke the Drake mount in half but outside of that they survive well and never seem to jam up.

On other thing I have learned about fire extinguishers is that the powder in them can become compress and stuck at the bottom of the bottom from lots of off-road use. Both my RZR 2.5 LBS bottles had this problem. You can pick them up and shake them and get some sensation of powder moving around in the unit. If you don't you might want to get it checked and recharged. I have to do this about once a year.
 

drofmij

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Thanks for the great post. Could you please tell us what failed with the fire suppression system in detail ?

I have found that the pins for fire extinguisher mounts freeze up or rust in place all the time. I use the Drake brand mounts now across the board. One time the 5 LBS extinguisher broke the Drake mount in half but outside of that they survive well and never seem to jam up.

On other thing I have learned about fire extinguishers is that the powder in them can become compress and stuck at the bottom of the bottom from lots of off-road use. Both my RZR 2.5 LBS bottles had this problem. You can pick them up and shake them and get some sensation of powder moving around in the unit. If you don't you might want to get it checked and recharged. I have to do this about once a year.
Take a rubber mallet and turn them upside down and smack them, You will will hear it when it dislodges. I do all of mine right before the race.
 

MTPyle

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The extinguisher worked once we got them off the truck. The issue was the pin was jammed.

We are adding to lube them in our pre race check list.

Mike
 

MTPyle

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Here are the Powerline Jump videos, one at full speed and then a sweet SloMo
 

MTPyle

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Just looked at Carson’s safety gear for the first time. They look pretty good. His foot was red, blistered, and swollen on the outside of his left foot. Like a really bad sun burn. Actually expected the shoes to look worse after seeing his foot the night of the race.

So I guess they did their job but the heat was still pretty intense. Have never seen fire suits or shoes after a fire so didn’t know what to expect.

Here are pics of the shoe and the suit.
 

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Honda48X

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Sounds like the boys did a great job. Practicing to get out is so critical. When the poop hits the fan then all that practice pays off. We have our Firefighters do drills all the time and that comes in handy when you need it. Agree with the post on using a rubber mallet. I would do that each time before you go out whether that is going out for a pre-run or a race. All the bouncing will compact the powder. The pics look pretty bad. The key is they cut the power from the battery and quickly escaped. GREAT JOB!

23 years old and 16 years old. From this point forward they have learned and now have some wisdom around having a fire and practicing on getting out safely and quickly.
 

Bro_Gill

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Remember, while the melting temp or discoloration temp of the material the shoes and suit are made out of might be 700-800 or even 1200 degrees, it only takes a couple seconds at 150 degrees to have superficial skin damage through that material. Glad the kids are OK and the damage isn't a total. I heard a race truck burned down at the MORE race yesterday.
 

jon coleman

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thats one thing i did on my jeep was to deflect& shield the header and exhaust from ps & fuel line fail in eng compartment after the1733 js.at parker.headers love to burn things, ive heard lottsa storys on them.my buddy owns a muffler shop and me gave me all this cool oem type shielding material, ugly but it was cooler.gladd everyone safe.i ditched those clipps, i use a cotter pin, bend slightly just enough to hold tight for the ride until needed, never hopefully...
 

jon coleman

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another tip, mighta posted allready, in the military we practiced egress blind folded, smoke does that at time of emergency, do a egress, find extinguisher, ect all blind folded, it is a booger, but it Will help in an emergency.
 

MTPyle

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Good idea. Thanks

Mike
 

Desert Son

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Mike, I Enjoyed your honesty about the trans situation, helped me self reflect on my own flaws when it comes top " jumping to conclusions ". Great write up. Thank God the boys were okay...…. Fire is no joke.
 

MTPyle

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DS,

Thanks.

David just got the tracker back and it works. LOL that's pretty cool as it was crispy. I asked Connor if it was working after the fire and he said it was. I had thought it wasn't working when he said they had to go warn vehicles up course. I asked why if the broke down was working did he need to go back and warn people. He said not sure but he thinks most drivers are idiots and don't pay attention. LOL He said guys were going by really fast and not slowing down. I think its just everyone is drunk on race mode. Haha

Mike
 

51rcr

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Just ordered 4, great design and a good guy.
and i think a great price, especially at current price. Definitely worth the money difference compared to what else is available. If you havent seen them in person before you will be impressed. I need to order some more and definitely at the current price. I should share with a picture and not just a link
 
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