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Safecraft auto fire suppression system failure

Tony Riggs

Active Member
I want to start this thread with finding out if there has been any known Safecraft failures out there? Please respond to me either thru this thread or privately.

I have had two car fires, the first one had the Safecraft system fail to trigger. The fire was extinguished immediately by my pit crew but not so soon that the system should still have triggered. The second one burned for 29 seconds. After the second fire the system had supposedly activated as the sensor was triggered and the cylinder gauge showed it was empty. There was NO fire suppression whatsoever even though the system had supposedly activated. I have both fires on video, the first video was stopped as soon as the fire was ignited but the system was not activated. The second video clearly shows no suppression.

My question is, what happened to the system? Was the content of the cylinder not good? inadequate amount? I always do a complete safety check of the car before every race and the cylinder showed full with a good sensor.

I would love to speak to Safecraft regarding this issue but my previous dealings with them proved impossible to get a response....maybe because I was trying to collect contingency? LOL That's a whole different story.

Either way, I was blown off by them so I am going to this forum to see if this has been a problem with anyone else. There are a lot of car fires out there and it would be interesting to get some data on if these cars had any fire suppression systems. Thanks
 

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Wendell #527

Well-Known Member
I have one and it worked perfect the one and only time I used it. Are you looking to fix the problem or are you just asking for ammo to sue them with?
 

Tony Riggs

Active Member
If I was suing I wouldn’t be on this thread. That’s what attorneys get $500 an hour for. No one was hurt and the car only had some minor damage that can be repaired, so no I’m not suing anyone.

I’m trying to find out about failures to make a decision on what system actually works and/or works the best. Since my life actually might depend on it i think it’s a worthwhile discussion.
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
You keep speaking of the 'sensor' to activate the extinguisher. If you are referring to a heat link that will burn through and release extinguishing agent, from the looks of your fire, it probably did not get hot enough to activate unless it is located below the skid plate of the car. You guys spilled fuel on the ground and it ignited as it poured over something hot in the rear drive train area. It was a ground fire. The sensor probably didn't hit the required heat needed to activate. Why didn't someone reach in a pull the manual extinguisher handle? Second thing is, how come no one was standing by with an extinguisher as you were fueling? Third thing is, how come no one knows how to properly use an extinguisher?

Check the heat link for activation to see if the system even discharged. I would not rely on the gauge as the best way to tell if it worked or not. Pull the bottle and have it weighted and a pressure check done. My guess is the company will do this for free if it is their system. Also, make sure the system is not damaged, like a kinked hard line or clogged heads.
 

Tony Riggs

Active Member
You keep speaking of the 'sensor' to activate the extinguisher. If you are referring to a heat link that will burn through and release extinguishing agent, from the looks of your fire, it probably did not get hot enough to activate unless it is located below the skid plate of the car. You guys spilled fuel on the ground and it ignited as it poured over something hot in the rear drive train area. It was a ground fire. The sensor probably didn't hit the required heat needed to activate. Why didn't someone reach in a pull the manual extinguisher handle? Second thing is, how come no one was standing by with an extinguisher as you were fueling? Third thing is, how come no one knows how to properly use an extinguisher?

Check the heat link for activation to see if the system even discharged. I would not rely on the gauge as the best way to tell if it worked or not. Pull the bottle and have it weighted and a pressure check done. My guess is the company will do this for free if it is their system. Also, make sure the system is not damaged, like a kinked hard line or clogged heads.
Thanks for the response Bro_Gill. I use the terminology that Safecraft uses in their description of the product. Sensor is what they use but sounds like heat link works also.

The fire was directly on the engine, the turbo to be exact, which puts the fire directly underneath the sensor. Fuel spilled out of the end of the tube on the dump can and splashed onto the engine. The fire on the ground is probably whatever fuel spilled off the engine. I believe the intense heat of the turbo probably evaporated the liquid fuel pretty quick which is why the initial big flame up (fumes I’m guessing) went down pretty quick. It definitely got hot enough. Like i said, the sensor was activated and the canister is empty.

My pit crews actions or lack of are not in question here, the malfunction of the fire suppression system is. We are not a professional pit crew however, the one guy who’s arm actually caught on fire was able to put the fire out on himself then had the presence of mind to run over and help the other guy who was struggling to get the pin out of the extinguisher. He took that and put the fire out.

Hind sight is 20/20 and in an emergency people react the best they can. I consider them heroes for putting the fire out like they did. No one was hurt and there was no serious damage.
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Well, here's the deal. I was a firefighter for 32 years. I know a little about this stuff. The senor, if it is right by your turbo, which produces a lot of heat, would probably have a pretty high temp release number or it would be popping off just from normal use. Here are some things I would need to know- Where are your nozzles located? Most 2 nozzle systems have 1 in the passenger compartment and one near the fuel source. If that is how yours are set up, then the nozzles aren't in the area of the fire, so they would not be effective for the location of the fire you had. When these systems activate, they do not flood the entire area with extinguishing agent, they are directed to perform a specific task. The nozzle near the fuel cell is to prevent a catastrophic fire at the fuel source, the second nozzle is designed to create some additional time for the occupants to get out of the car. The system is limited due to size and weight limitations. I have said this many times in the past, these things are not fire engines with 500 gallons of water and 2-3 firefighters in protective equipment who will fight the fire, they are designed to buy some time for the occupants to get out with no to minimal injuries.

And yes, your guys should all be trained, at least by reading a little, about how to use a fire extinguisher. In my years, I have seen everything from pull the pin and throw the extinguisher at the fire to standing 30 feet back from the fire and emptying the extinguisher into the clean air while looking away from the fire. Neither worked! Learn P.A.S.S. (Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the flames, Squeeze the trigger, Sweep the extinguishing agent across the fuel bed) and have an extinguisher easily accessible and ready for use. You should also be using a larger extinguisher than that when fueling. If you have the bodies available, someone should be on the extinguisher when fueling.

Hope the guy who caught on fire didn't suffer any burns. FWIW, flame resistant materials like 100% cotton, Leather, etc... are cheap insurance layers with gloves and long sleeves preventing injuries when fire flashes like that. Simple one layer fire suits or even flame resistant rated coveralls are also not that expensive. If you can afford to race, you probably can spend a little bit more on some safety gear for the guys who are helping you race.
 

Hurleygo3

Active Member
If the nozzle was placed too close to the turbo. It could've deployed without you even knowing. Than when an actual fire happened the system was already empty.
 

Sheaco

Well-Known Member
My pit crews actions or lack of are not in question here, the malfunction of the fire suppression system is.
Your right the fish rots from the head down.

You don’t even know what you don’t know, pull your head out of your arse before you get somebody dead.
 

Shoyrtt

Well-Known Member
Fix the pit crew issues first. A suppression system would not have helped with this sort of fuel fire.
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Tony Riggs

Active Member
If the nozzle was placed too close to the turbo. It could've deployed without you even knowing. Than when an actual fire happened the system was already empty.
Yep that could be possible but I would think probably not after 6,500 race miles and it never went off before? Anything is possible though.
 

Tony Riggs

Active Member
Fix the pit crew issues first. A suppression system would not have helped with this sort of fuel fire.
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Ya we will work on that, thanks for the advice.

And what happens if the car rolls over and catches on fire with no one around? Should I wait for my highly trained pit crew to show up? Exactly what type of fire would be best for a suppression system? If you can elaborate I would love to hear it. If you can find some kind of literature or research that indicates the type of fires these are not recommended for let me know and I will be sure to not have that kind of fire.

A racer installs a fire suppression system for exactly this kind of fire. As Bro_Gill implied, they are for suppression not always extinguishing a fire, any fire. I understand they might just be able to buy you enough time to escape and not burn to death, however when they do not function at all your choices are limited.

The purpose of this thread was to try and find out if anyone else has had this problem or not and what type of suppression system you are using. All the armchair quarterbacks should go upstairs from the basement and check and see why your mom keeps yelling at you to get off the computer.
 

Robin Hood

Well-Known Member
I have two 10 lb systems installed. One for the occupants and one for the motor, trans area. It has been a while since I did the research but my personal opinion is that a foam system is better for the drive-train components, and a Halo system might be better for the occupants. The big problem with any system and whether it is or will be effective is where you place the heads and where the fire actually starts. Then throw in the fact that the heads you strategically place on top of things are not necessarily on top after an accident. A 5lb 2 head system is not enough.

I would like to think that these systems will save my investment but in reality if my co-driver and I walk away then they did their job.
 

Tony Riggs

Active Member
I have two 10 lb systems installed. One for the occupants and one for the motor, trans area. It has been a while since I did the research but my personal opinion is that a foam system is better for the drive-train components, and a Halo system might be better for the occupants. The big problem with any system and whether it is or will be effective is where you place the heads and where the fire actually starts. Then throw in the fact that the heads you strategically place on top of things are not necessarily on top after an accident. A 5lb 2 head system is not enough.

I would like to think that these systems will save my investment but in reality if my co-driver and I walk away then they did their job.
Copy that, great information. This car only had a single head in the engine compartment, the new car being built will definitely have a 2 head system. Been searching around and I don't think I would do another Safecraft so what brand are you using?

I want to get feedback on what's been working and not working. Right after this fire after the 1000 I came across an article here on race desert about 2 guys that had been burned badly in a car fire and decided to make it a priority now to start the search.
 

SMS81

Well-Known Member
Mine failed in a test 3 weeks ago. In a newly purchased, used race car, I wanted to perform a safety test before I race. I am no fire suppression expert. Although the gauge on the bottle read fully charged, I believe the age of my system (18 months) was most likely the contributing factor. When the bottle was activated, nothing but compressed air was expelled, no fire retardant. I was actually going to contact safecraft and discuss the test and remedy any issue that may have been present by improper installation, usage, time, bad bottle etc. In no means am I trying to knock safecraft or its products, but if there are other people that have had problems with these systems, safecraft and consumers need to know why they may have had a failure. Safety is always priority 1. I will be contacting safecraft, they are the experts and I am sure they will let me know the reasons mine failed.
 
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Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Reality is, you probably need to service the system after every race. Not because the system is bad, but because of the type of abuse desert racing applies to it. From silt and dust entering ports to the thin wall tubing they use that can easily be smashed to prevent proper movement of the extinguishing agent. They need an inspection. For tips on making a good system, keep the runs from the bottle to the nozzles as short as possible. If given a choice, use a larger size tube (diameter) to supply the heads. As far as auto vs. manual activation, I would prefer manual as there are plenty of ways for an auto system to activate without fire in a desert car. Place the manual activation button/pull within easy access of both driver and passenger and anyone who would come up from outside to help.

As to the system you have in your current ride, if it is a single nozzle system and it is in the engine compartment area, and auto activation, you probably had an activation caused by high temps during your race that you weren't aware of. And, not attacking you, but having it only in the engine compartment, you were doing it wrong. These things are not designed to put out fires, they are designed to by the occupants time to get out. If you only have one nozzle, it should be between you and the fuel cell. Other than name and type of extinguishing agent chosen by the purchaser, these systems are all very similar in design and operation. One thing you should know, Halon is an air dispersing agent as well as a chemical reaction inhibitor. While use in an open car like a SxS probably wouldn't harm you, the agent does displace oxygen and is not recommended for occupied spaces prior to use. I have always preferred a wetting agent when it comes to auto applications because it cools the surfaces while extinguishing the fire. Halon will stop the current flames, but after, if surfaces are still hot, any remaining fuel vapors will reignite.
 

WhiteYota

Well-Known Member
I have a lifeline 2000 4L system in my truck. It has 4 heads, I have two at the engine and two in the cab. It has a two year tag on it before it needs to get recertified. Manual pull only for this one

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 

Tony Riggs

Active Member
Mine failed in a test 3 weeks ago. In a newly purchased, used race car, I wanted to perform a safety test before I race. I am no fire suppression expert. Although the gauge on the bottle read fully charged, I believe the age of my system (18 months) was most likely the contributing factor. When the bottle was activated, nothing but compressed air was expelled, no fire retardant. I was actually going to contact safecraft and discuss the test and remedy any issue that may have been present by improper installation, usage, time, bad bottle etc. In no means am I trying to knock safecraft or its products, but if there are other people that have had problems with these systems, safecraft and consumers need to know why they may have had a failure. Safety is always priority 1. I will be contacting safecraft, they are the experts and I am sure they will let me know the reasons mine failed.
Interesting, finally some good data, thanks. I have never heard of anyone setting theirs off for an actual real life test, kudos to you and great idea. I think the cost to recharge the system versus knowing it works is a good idea. However, it is difficult for the average racer to produce a real world scenario and real world effects without burning your car. I think you might have come as close as possible by just setting it off.

Good luck in dealing with Safecraft. The last time I tried to contact them they completely and deliberately blew me off. Hence the reason I’m here on this forum trying to get feedback on others experiences with different suppression systems and if theirs works or not. Take what they say with a grain of salt as well, they have a brand to protect and probably won’t be freely admitting any fault with their product ;-)

This last fire really scared the crap out of me so I’m on a mission to find the most reliable system out there. Real world testimony from other racers is a great place to start so thanks for the input.
 
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