Fire and plastic cars

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Fire and plastic cars

Postby sideways » Sun 09.09.2018, 22:54

Does anyone carry a fire extinguisher aboard their fine M100?

Or aboard any of their cars. No, I am not selling fire extinguishers, just curious...or do M100s not burn as well as previous Lotus products?

Just changed my avatar to reflect what a burny Lotus looks like - about 20 minutes from start to fine ash.

Couple of before and after shots for comparison.

before.jpg

After.jpg
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby simonbuk » Sun 09.09.2018, 23:17

No, but i don't carry scuba equipment, parachute, hazzmat suit, Faraday cage, fire resistant overalls either :wink:

Is there anymore chance of a fire happening in an M100 than any other ?
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Sun 09.09.2018, 23:25

As I have never heard any complaints about the M100 spouting spurious fuel leaks and the engine is not buried in a compartment with no room for heat to escape, It isn't a high priority for me.

I know a LOT of fiberglass cars have problems with heat and burning, but from what I see, Lotus was very careful to avoid those issues when they designed the M100.

If I was racing and had compromised the design for more power, I would run with a fire system, but not for everyday street use.

Did you ever figure out what failed to cause that much instant destruction?
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby alan e » Sun 09.09.2018, 23:26

I have in my car a Lotus fire extinguisher and it looks like is been in the car from new so i am sure it wont work but it looks the part.
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby sideways » Sun 09.09.2018, 23:29

simonbuk wrote:No, but i don't carry scuba equipment, parachute, hazzmat suit, Faraday cage, fire resistant overalls either :wink:

Is there anymore chance of a fire happening in an M100 than any other ?


No idea, all I know is that previous Lotus SUPPORTED combustion better than metal cars, as I said, it took circa 20 minutes for my prized possession of 4.6 days to go from poseurmobile to pyre. :D
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby sideways » Sun 09.09.2018, 23:51

Brit-Car-Nut wrote:As I have never heard any complaints about the M100 spouting spurious fuel leaks and the engine is not buried in a compartment with no room for heat to escape, It isn't a high priority for me.

I know a LOT of fiberglass cars have problems with heat and burning, but from what I see, Lotus was very careful to avoid those issues when they designed the M100.

If I was racing and had compromised the design for more power, I would run with a fire system, but not for everyday street use.

Did you ever figure out what failed to cause that much instant destruction?


Yes, the banjo nut twixt the Dellortos actually split (so the insurance company tell me - and they showed me the offending item so I took their word for it - and their money!!!) and leaked the fuel, in copious amounts, onto the block which is cleverly leaned over at 45 degrees or so and which has lots of casting webs with areas for the fuel to sit in until it reaches the flash point, then Whoommph...

Interesting thing is that since the Esprit engine is behind you and if you are travelling sufficiently fast - which I was - you have no visual indication of what is happening, no sounds, no smells.

It wasn't until the engine started doing the hiccups and I pulled over - after much downshifting and throttle blipping, thinking(?) that it was possibly just some naughty bits in the gas which needed to be expelled/expunged - that the smoke became evident to my spousal unit - who remarked that she smelled smoke.

Exit the duo stage right and left to watch the fire, just wish I had had marshmallows with me.
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Mon 10.09.2018, 02:58

I am happy to hear that you both were not hurt in the disaster. I am fully and personally aware of what happens when you get severely burned or in my case dragged under a car for .7 miles running at speed before spending 4+ months being patched up and re-skinned. Every car I have worked on/with since has been thoroughly checked to make sure all fuel lines are in good shape and properly secure.
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby Saltire » Mon 10.09.2018, 03:41

I’ve always carried a proper fire extinguisher in all my cars. Fortunately, I’ve only needed to use it once: improperly tightened (by the dealer) oil filler on the TVR. Saw wisps of smoke, opened bonnet a crack and let fly. Not sure it would have caught, but not taking any chances.

Made a right mess of the under bonnet area :?
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby dapinky » Mon 10.09.2018, 11:16

Being the consumate pessimist, I carry all sorts of things in all my cars (tools, spare parts, blankets, water bottles, FIRE EXTINGUISHER, First Aid kit, warning Triangles etc).....

I never seem to need any of these things for myself, but have had occassion to find them useful for other people in the past.

As for the origin of this thread, whilst the M100 is made of (mainly) combustible material, apart from the actual fuel tank and associated gubbins, all the (likely) ignition sources are in front of the driver and should be seen quite quickly. Also, modern fittings are less likely to leak than a carburrettor system.

The typical size of a fire extinguisher to keep in a car is not going to do anything to put out an established blaze (fibreglass on fire carries an awful lot of latent heat) - but it may help to give you enough time to get out of a burning vehicle - - - once you stop moving, the flames are likely to increase rapidly due to air movements.

Of course, this is only any good if the extinguisher is at hand, and you know how to operate it - no good if you have to find it in the boot and read the instructions (mine sits in the gap behind the drivers seat and the centre console).

It may also help to 'push back' flames from elsewhere - but again, it won't do anything other than buy you half a minute (which should be enough to get occupants out of danger).

Like John says, you can't beat a good plumbed-in system, but it isn't necessary for a road car (I used to swear by Halon, until they banned it!).
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby Saltire » Mon 10.09.2018, 14:10

dapinky wrote:. . . mine sits in the gap behind the drivers seat and the centre console.


Mine is screwed to the top of the speaker box behind the passenger seat. That way, I can easily reach it if I’m one-up and something untoward happens :shock:
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby Bern » Mon 10.09.2018, 18:22

Perhaps I should keep some potatoes wrapped in tin foil in the car, just in case?
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby sideways » Mon 10.09.2018, 19:43

I don't carry one myself and probably never will, the question was more whimsy than anything else.

Did you know that gas tanks do not necessarily explode, the ones on that Esprit shot flames about 15 feet in the air, more of a whoosh than anything else.

Tires do explode however. :D
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby dapinky » Mon 10.09.2018, 19:49

The worst thing (for which I mean 'most harmful') from a vehicle fire (assuming you aren't trapped inside a burning car) is the residue from burning polymer rubbers. Things like the serpentine belts, timing belt, engine seals etc - they release hydroflouric acid which oozes out of the rubber and just sits there, waiting for flesh to infect. It is a nasty creeping substance which eats flesh and destroys bone and can only be erradicated by amputation. :shock:
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby HJ2 » Mon 10.09.2018, 21:54

dapinky wrote:The worst thing (for which I mean 'most harmful') from a vehicle fire (assuming you aren't trapped inside a burning car) is the residue from burning polymer rubbers. Things like the serpentine belts, timing belt, engine seals etc - they release hydroflouric acid which oozes out of the rubber and just sits there, waiting for flesh to infect. It is a nasty creeping substance which eats flesh and destroys bone and can only be erradicated by amputation. :shock:


That sounds a bit like the movie ‘alien’ :shock:
I carry a Halon extinguisher behind the passenger seat where I can reach it. Not for me, but perhaps for another poor bugger with a burning Esprit or Elan or TVR for all that matter.

Thanks for the quick lesson on hazardous substances after a fire!
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby sideways » Mon 10.09.2018, 23:24

HJ2 wrote:
dapinky wrote:The worst thing (for which I mean 'most harmful') from a vehicle fire (assuming you aren't trapped inside a burning car) is the residue from burning polymer rubbers. Things like the serpentine belts, timing belt, engine seals etc - they release hydroflouric acid which oozes out of the rubber and just sits there, waiting for flesh to infect. It is a nasty creeping substance which eats flesh and destroys bone and can only be erradicated by amputation. :shock:


That sounds a bit like the movie ‘alien’ :shock:
I carry a Halon extinguisher behind the passenger seat where I can reach it. Not for me, but perhaps for another poor bugger with a burning Esprit or Elan or TVR for all that matter.

Thanks for the quick lesson on hazardous substances after a fire!


I vaguely remember from my time in your fine country (1972-1975, NATO posting) that fire extinguishers were mandatory there?

I did help(?) put out a fire in a VW Westphalia somewhere between Brunssum and Maastricht one time...though based on the condition of the VW BEFORE the fire I think the extinguisher was worth more.
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Re: Fire and plastic cars

Postby dapinky » Tue 11.09.2018, 10:09

HJ2 wrote:I carry a Halon extinguisher behind the passenger seat where I can reach it.........


A real one or a 'pretend' modern one?

Since the Montreal agreement, Halon prduction has been baned, and had to be removed from general use by the end of 2003.....

..... that said, aircraft still carry it ('coz they can buy it from somewhere not signed up to the agreement, and I suppose that safety of 300+ people outweighs ozone damage.

I remember when the change ocurred and we had hundreds, or possibly thousands, of green canisters at work which needed de-commisioning..... many got rehomed :wink:

The plumbed-in system in my triumph was Halon, and I had to convert it to a CO2 system (still have the Halon cylinder somewhere). Until they actually make it illegal to own, I will be keeping it at hand when working on anything which may include electrical or liquid fires (Having first hand experience of how well they put out burning petrol/oil mix soaked into clothing).

I'm not allowed to carry it in the car (unless I'm taking it to the council tip for recycling), but at least my home is well fire-protected.
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