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Prevented a disaster.


Guest frazer51

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Guest frazer51

We, my wife and I have been driving and showing our blue 1959 Ford retractable for the last 36 years with the small red fire extinguisher laying on the front floor. Well yesterday while returning home from a local show with my wife driving the blue 1959 Skyliner she noticed that the car had stopped running so she drifted to the side of the road, which is busy US Route 40. She started to open the hood when she noticed flames in the motor compartment. She quickly got the red fire extinguisher from the floor , pulled the pin and put out the fire. As for myself I was in our Red and White Retract 1/2 mile up the road waiting and wondering where she was and why she wasn't behind me. I finally went back only to find out that she had things under control and had gather a small audience. I suspected a stuck float valve and after tapping the carburetor I got the car started and drove it home. The wife wanted no parts of the blue car after what happened so we traded for the ride home. I guess i will need to repaint the hood and change some plug wires, it could have been a lot worst. So in closing I want to say that make sure that you carry a fire extinguisher in all cars within quick reach. I have been a member of the AACA since 1973 and I know that they require you to have one at the shows, an excellent idea. John

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I wish every member of the AACA could see this.

I think that you should send the story and the fire photos to West and see if he would have the space to include them and your story in The Automobile.

We still have too many members that think, "It won't happen to me, it will happen to somebody else". Well, that day your wife was somebody else's "somebody else". Luckily she knew what to do and how to do it and had what she needed to save that beautiful car.

A friend of ours had this happen as he was leaving our Region's car show many years ago. The car was new to him and he just forgot to put an extinquisher in before he left home. The car backfired through the paper aire filter which then caught fire. Luckily for him we had an extinguisher in our RV and he used that to put the fire out and was able to drive the car home. Probably about the same amount of damage to his car as what happened to your car.

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I think this would be a good time for you to do a very thorough investigation of the carburetor especially in view of all the comments and experience some of us have had with reformulated fuel. Your wife is a very smart and cool under pressure. A great partner you've got there. This also happened to a friend who wasn''t quite as fast as your good lady driving a just finished frame off on a 59 Tri-Power Pontiac Catalina. Seems he had used a neoprene or similar type of material used for the needle tip (needle & seat) . The material dissolved and fuel pourded out on the manifold and the engine fan blew this back to the distributor and up she went. The hood was so hot it buckled in half. Just the job on a $6,000.00 paint job, and who knows how much into the engine.

Don

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ALTERNATELY:

I have been a long-time proponent of HALON FIRE EXTINGUISHERS.

They leave no residue to have to clean up or to damage components and finish. If your engine ingests halon, no damage will be done internally.

They are a bit more expensive, but think about how much your car is worth (and your family too).

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Marty,

I was under the impression halon extinguishers were banned except for very specific cases where exceptions have been granted, such as large computer installations wheere they will not damage the electronic equipment.

I agree halon is by far the best if you can get it. I worked many years in the chemical industry and we had fire extinguisher training annually. In the old days when we had halon exinguishers it was amazing how much more effective they were. I have an old one I carry with me -- I hope it still works if I ever need it.

Don

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Frazer51, great save of a beautiful car.

In about 1989, I was driving my 1929 Studebaker Commander along a country road. I was followed by a friend of mine with his 1930 Buick business coupe. My friend had a fully restored show car; mine was a well maintained original. At one point I noticed my friend flashing his lights and beeping his horn at me, so I pulled over onto the shoulder of the country road, which was nothing but dried out grass. My friend came running up to my car with his fire extinguisher and started to put out the fire under my car – both the car and the grass were now on fire. I was not aware that my car was on fire; my friend saw the smoke and flames under the car. I had pulled over onto the shoulder in dry grass not knowing that I had a fire onboard and in the back seat of my car I had my wife and two young daughters. It was a dangerous situation for which I was not prepared – I did not have a fire extinguisher in my car. Since that near disaster I have always carried a fire extinguisher in all of my cars.

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Guest Art Griffin

Well, a fire extinguisher is a valuable item, for sure! A fellow was driving down a main road that passes my little side street, when I saw his car pull onto the shoulder and stop. Smoke was coming from under the hood. I grabbed the fire extinguisher from my car, and after he opened his hood, I was able to put out the fire belching from his carburetor and fuel line. His car was saved, thanks to my little red fire extinguisher! WOW!

Art Griffin

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I also agree on the importance of an extinguisher. Several years ago, at our regional Mustang Club show, a participant entered with a freshly restored Pantera. Upon entering the show field, we noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment. By the time the driver got out, flames were visible. Several of us had extinguishers, and we were able to get the fire out. Without them, I can only imaginge the outcome. I carry one at all times in my antique car.

John...love your blue 59 retractable. We had one in the early 60s, same color as yours, but without continental kit. Dad traded it on a new 64 Country Squire when 4th child came.

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The first car my Dad restored was a 29 Franklin limo back in the 60's. After many hours of work the car was nearly done and we ventured out for a first outing to a local fair/ show. As Dad drove the stately Franklin down the local roadway he happened to glance down at the floor board. The not yet carpeted floor had a small opening near the gas pedal where Dad clearly got a view of orange flames under his feet. The fire was put out by scooping up road mix from the shoulder of the roadway and throwing it on the flames to smoother the fire.

Needless to say another vehicle has never gone down the road without at least one fire extinguisher mounted and ready. I actually prefer two in different locations in the car. This allows more options when something might happen. One extinguisher may not do the job should the fire get a jump on the owner.

They are cheap insurance for sure.

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Mark,

You are correct. We also carry at least two (2) extinguishers, and not the minimal teentsy-weentsy size either -- minimum 10 Lb, and preferably 20 Lb.

It is just extra insurance, and as the son of a Firefighter, I cannot imaging not planning for the worst potential. Dad rode the tailboard of a 700 Series American LaFrance Pumper in 1947 in Linden, NJ, ultimately became Captain, and then was being promoted to Deputy Chief when he was seriously injured in the line of duty.

Hope to see you at Hershey - CG-32, and the Grey '15 Buick Touring in Class 15.

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I have received inquiries about halon - some dealing with it not being available.

One of the sources you can easily find on-line is H3R Clean Agents.

Their website is H3R Clean Agents | Buy & Sell Halons, Halon 1211, Halon 1301, HFCs

While the old halon 1301 is no longer being manufactured, it is not necessary to remove existing systems, and portable halon 1211 can be purchased.

Halguard fire extinguishers can be found from Autosport Catalog at autosportcatalog.com

These are substantially more expensive that conventional extinguishers, but cleaning up dry chemical from your engine compartment is much worse.

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Guest windjamer
:( Twenty years ago I bought a VW camper used but in like new condition. The people I bought it from done a quick tune up befor I picked it up and left the clamp off the fuel line at the carburator. When I picked it up my grand doughter and grand son where with me and wanted to ride back home with me. I put the boy in the front and buckled him in.He reached down and pulled the belt as tight as he could. My grand doughter was in the back and befor we left the drive she started to set the table for make believe lunch. About 10 or 12 miles down the road I smelled gas and started to lose power. This is on a 2 lane country road with no stores or homes in sight. I pulled to the shoulder and got out as my doughter in a car behind me came running up. DAD YOUR ON FIRE!:eek: My son-in-law opened the engine hatch and started to scope dirt from the ditch. I ran back to the front and grabed my g/doughter out of the vech. The seatbelt would not release and my g/son had pulled it so tight I could not get him out. I had no knife to cut the belt and you can not brake them. Someone had stoped and kept yelling to get out its going to blow, I screamed at him Cant you see this Child? Flames where inside by now and as a last resort I yanked my g/son out of the belt witch brused and skined his legs near to his ankles.I held him and ran about 20 yards and turned to see the tank explode.It lifted the rear of that vech at least 3 feet in the air. We watched as the camper burned to a shell. I now carry a razor knife on my keychain and a extinguester in the car.
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About 1950 I was riding with my dad as he delivered mail in a 1931 Model A Ford pickup. It had a manifold heater and a cap in the floorboard to open that in theory let heat enter the cab of the truck. As we approached a mailbox I happened to look down at the floor and saw orange flames past the partially open cap. I told dad that I saw fire and he wanted to know where. He got stopped and used a shovel he carried in the truck to scoop up dirt and put the fire out. Apparently the carburetor malfunctioned and gas spilled out of the carb onto the manifold.

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