Pressurized fueling accident (Crickets...)

Myshot

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Why is the sound of crickets on this devastating explosion of an "American Tanks" "Pressure Pro". I thank God that no one was killed and there was no fire. I feel bad for the crew member that was seriously injured.
These fueling systems are NOT engineered pressure vessels. When the team I Volunteer to support decided to go this direction because of the time advantage they provide I had the opportunity to look closely at them. I am no an engineer, but have worked in the power plant and chemical processing industry my entire adult life. I saw flaws the day they arrived and brought them up to Vince the owner of American Tanks. He confirmed they are NOT ASME or API certified tanks and it cost too much money to get them certified.
But he tried to reassure me they were "tested" in his shop. and he uses "Aircraft" welders fabricating them. ( Look up that certification) I inspected the regulators that control the CO2 and the were NOT rated for fuel service. His response was that they were CO2, not taking into account the life of that tank in the shop, there are fuel vapors able to get into the regulator. I did not run any calculations on the safety relief valve, but in the real world, there are two safeties on a system that with full pressure from the supply they relieve ALL the gas without going 6% over pressure set point of the safety. That is suppose to protect the pressure vessel from a regulator failure.
The next most glaring flaw is the cylinder, a normally very strong system, however they cut a channel in the cylinder to allow for a sight glass ruining the integrity of the cylinder. Look at the failure and it appears to me the failure initiated in the middle base on what I see in the photo.

I know everyone likes to be fast and you do things to keep up and stay competitive with all the other teams, but at what cost to our sport. The next one that fails, and they will, may have catastrophic ramifications of fire and death. Look at your main pit and how many people are close to those bombs...

At the same time I brought these issues to Vince, based on his answers, I then sent a letter to SCORE detailing what I have written here. More crickets... Then out of the blue, you had to have "Training" and report the training to SCORE"

I wish the poor crew member a speedy recovery.
And maybe SCORE will get the picture why no other racing organization allows pressurized fueling.
 

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Charlietuna

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Actually, it's been discussed pretty heavily on another post. By most accounts, the incident was at least partially blamed on the team tampering with the pressure relief system so as to get fuel to flow faster.

I have no comment on the safety of the system as built because I don't know enough about it, just pointing out what's been said here at RDC.
 

Baja Bryan

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Any details on what went wrong or caused the explosion? Imagine if the fuel had caught fire.. My biggest fear is fire.
 

michael.gonzalez

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Any details on what went wrong or caused the explosion? Imagine if the fuel had caught fire.. My biggest fear is fire.
From what I have gathered:
- Pressure relief valve was disabled by Race Team in an attempt to gain an advantage
- System was NOT monitored during pressurization leading to a significant overpressure event aka explosion

Seems 100% preventable
- DON'T disable safety features
- ALWAYS monitor tank during pressurization.
 

tapeworm

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From what I have gathered:
- Pressure relief valve was disabled by Race Team in an attempt to gain an advantage
- System was NOT monitored during pressurization leading to a significant overpressure event aka explosion

Seems 100% preventable
- DON'T disable safety features
- ALWAYS monitor tank during pressurization.
If in fact this was 100% preventable, then why are pressurized systems banned in almost all other forms of Motorsports? Without an accident review team, how can we really determine the cause or prevent ability of this incident.
I’m sorry, but this is way more scary than fire. Knowing that at any given time you pressurize this system it is a bomb that is able to go off at any moment is way scarier than fire.
This incident is being blamed on a modification do e by the team, but the company selling the product isn’t even selling a certified system.
If this incident happened in America there would be a very large lawsuit involved that could affect desert racing and fueling practices currently in place.
 

MAC56

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I raised the same concerns to BITD when just a limited number of these systems were in use and I was asked by Casey to look into the system. To me the system also includes the drybreak components.
I have a letter from Bob Ayres the founder of Redhead that expresses his concern that under no circumstances Should his system be used with more that 12 ft of head pressure. (5.2 psi )
then I talked to Vince from American tank/ pressurepro , his statement was that his system when used properly causes the Redhead Not to see any pressure at all since it is connected and disconnected with the gas off.
However the problem is the flow rate caused by more than 5.2 psi causes an o- ring in the Redhead to become dislocated and prevents the valve from closing And results In a serious hazard. All other racing series restrict the flow rate.
Much to my dismay Casey felt that if he outlawed these systems those teams would not race his events so he would only inspect the systems and the teams bore the ultimate responsibility for their systems.
These systems are not safely designed and should not be in our sport as any true fault / failure analysis exposes multiple flaws with respect to safety redundancy and error recovery.
My business is to design and build complex process equipment used to manufacture semiconductors and other high purity devices. We have to meet the most stringent standards.
I think the people who have these systems need to independently review risk vs reward, do you want to be the cause of severe injuries or a death? Do you want to be the catalyst for the end of the sport?
Improve your systems make them better.
 

stephenrjking

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I think the people who have these systems need to independently review risk vs reward, do you want to be the cause of severe injuries or a death? Do you want to be the catalyst for the end of the sport?
Improve your systems make them better.
This sounds like it’s overhyping the problem.

But it’s not.

Once the catastrophe happens you can no longer control the tide of the negativity and bad publicity.

No, it might not “end” the sport. But it could harm it in a huge way. Right now teams and sanctioning bodies can control such harm by taking steps to prevent damage. Once a disaster happens, you don’t have that control anymore.

Worldwide sponsorship brands can leave. Government bodies that issue permits can refuse to do so. Legislatures can start legislating rules (do you trust the government of either Mexico or the USA to be wise and balanced in passing laws that affect off road racing? Do you trust judges to make the right call? Neither do I. Don’t put them in a position to do so).

If safety is in question, answer it.

Or someone will die and then other people will answer for you.
 

Glen Greer

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Hopefully all involved have insurance? How do personal injury law suits work in Mexico. We all know how they work in USA. Suggest speaking to your agent and attorney who draft your teams waiver policies.
 

MTPyle

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Then we should get rid of inflatable tires, fuel all together, and nothing else with pressure.

there is pressure is many things in racing. The fuel rail on my engine is 1700psi OH no 🤦‍♂️

I have researched this system and the most recent accident and the system is still safe.

if I drive my car over the double yellow and head on into another vehicle should we ban vehicles? Obviously not. This accident was the same. They defeated a safety system and messed up when filling. Two mistakes that cost them.

These systems are safe and if used properly 100% safe. There has not been one failure while operating in the design envelope.

and no it’s not been crickets about this subject. Lots of discussion and asking hard questions.

Mike
 

MTPyle

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For my own curiosity Who is the OP? Myshot, who are you?

My name is Michael Pyle, I like to know who is behind these inflammatory post.
 

dan200

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I spoke with some peeps who were nearby the incident. Not involved.

They said that the pressure gauge wasn't working so they were guessing on the pressure when they were setting up the PP.

I DO NOT KNOW IF THE PEOPLE WHO SAID THIS KNOW FOR SURE. ITS JUST WHAT THEY TOLD ME. IT MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE.
 

michael.gonzalez

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If the pressure gauge wasn't working, the equipment should be "red-tagged" and not used.
Replacing the faulty pressure gauge with a working one would also suffice.

Regardless, the relief valve was tampered with.
Had the relief valve functioned as designed, an overpressure situation would not have occurred. (no explosion)

It was NOT the gauge's fault or the tank's fault IMO.
100% user error
 

9rocky

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I have thought about using fuel towers (gravity feed, not pressure pros) on our team, especially after we put a 100 gallon fuel cell in our class 1 a couple of years ago. The other owner, my wife Shelby, said "no effing way are we using fuel towers". Her point is that we have seen way too many accidents with just the gravity feed towers. She feels that we do not have enough certainty in the safety of the towers, or that we will always have properly trained people on the valve following proper procedures. We have made the cognizant decision to stay with dump cans. We could do 80 plus gallons in under 2 minutes. We decided that since this is a hobby for us and our volunteers and we all have to go to work on Mondays, that we would stick with dump cans. I am glad our other owner stuck to her guns, because if something happened to someone on our team, we would never forgive ourselves.
 

calstyl2

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My understanding is the operator had no training or experience with the system, thought the pressure relief valve had failed as the they filled it(it was at the correct relief pressure) so they zip tied it closed. It ruptured at 60psi
Pressure Pro is doing a retrofit to eliminate the possibility that it can over pressure again.
 

MTPyle

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Dump cans have their safety concerns and so do fuel towers. I Believe if the PP is used correctly it is safe.

how do they know it blew at 60psi when the gauge was broke?

the tanks are tested to 100psi

We have had hours of training and education on our system and process. We do not let anyone that has not been checked out get near the system.

interesting that the gauge failed. Ours is sticky and we have to tap it. Vince said it will break in. We just went and got a new one that’s larger and more accurate.

we build pressure very slow and make sure we don’t go past our set point. So far we have not ran higher than 10psi and that was pretty fast.

we also put the seems away from the operator. I knew that if it was going to fail it would be on that side. But I also do not put my body in front of a tire when filling it with air.

Mike
 

Tipracer

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Well a strange first post, I’ll take it at face value. Bob it took you 45 min to type that out..I don’t know your motives but as was discussed pretty thoroughly in the other thread it was very evident that the operating procedures were not adhered to(dump cans/towers have also had their fair share of issues)... I feel terribly for the team member that got hurt but it unfortunately was avoidable, if the pressure gauge was not working as we are being told and the the pressure valve was disabled some way then the decision to continue to use it was poor at best... it is an opportunity to improve and address protocols.
Just my opinion
 
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GBRACER

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if you fu k with the bull you get the horn!!! Play on the edge and things will go wrong sad to hear that someone got injured from it, these are high level teams that know better it cracks me up, over pressure a fuel rig to gain seconds then go on the coarse and miss a few VCP's and loose a few positions glad the poor guy is in hospital for saving 10 seconds. Almost all the top teams got tagged for VCP penalties. Go put 150 psi in a tire and see what happens!!!! Where's PETE!!!!!!/.
 

Myshot

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From what I have gathered:
- Pressure relief valve was disabled by Race Team in an attempt to gain an advantage
- System was NOT monitored during pressurization leading to a significant overpressure event aka explosion

Seems 100% preventable
- DON'T disable safety features
- ALWAYS monitor tank during pressurization.
The only way to disable the safety valves on our pressure pro is to remove it. Putting a wire tie on the handle does nothing.
Bottom line these "garage built" bombs are dangerous.
 

Myshot

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For my own curiosity Who is the OP? Myshot, who are you?

My name is Michael Pyle, I like to know who is behind these inflammatory post.
I am a volunteer for a trophy truck team, I have been involved in racing off road my entire life. Both driving and volunteering. I worked the an industry where things like "engineering"matter with the same life and death potential. Look at the cylinder...It has a notch cut out for a sight glass. These are not inflammatory statements they are FACTS.
I know there is a lot of support for pressurized fueling but this accident WILL happen again due to the construction of the tank, You can certainly build a safe pressure vessel to accomplish the task but these are dangerous.
Post your e mail and I will be glad to meet you for a beer and discuss the flaws in the pressure pro.
 
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