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Old 07 January 2009, 11:23   #11
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Going off the subject slightly I would guess most fires are electrical related & that real petrol fires are rarer ? If you look at car fires I think you will find most are electrical - take away the source - ie the electricity & cool it & it 'shoulld' go out .

Goodpoint on the outboard vents - they are a bugger to get to at the best of times ! Let alone if they are on fire !
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Old 07 January 2009, 11:59   #12
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Actually, most engine fires I've seen on cars/bikes are from either fuel (spitbacks from a faulty ignition system,gunk in float needles causing spillage from overflows etc) or contamination on the engine (oil and brake fluid spillages etc).

An outboard shouldn't get hot enough to ignite anything under the cover unless there's a major cooling failure,stray sparks and a fuel leak or (as happened to Neil McCrirrick recently) a major mechanical failure.
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Old 07 January 2009, 12:22   #13
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Mine was a small fire that I was lucky enough to be able to blow out, you get the idea of how small now, due to something as yet to be determined, making a hole in the carb manifold, which I guess ignited the fuel and luckily quickly went out. When I opened the cowling the rubber on the manifold was still burning as was the cowling.

Top tips though are

Never open the cowling if you think there is a fire, it will make it worse.

Coast guard recommended fire extinguisher through the air intake, which does make sense, but I agree how practical is that, and would you want to lean over an engine you thought was on fire?

I think the best bet would be to remove the fuel line, have a fire extinguisher on board and sit with your eye on your engine, form the opposite end of your boat waiting for the coast guard to come.

When they arrive, if the flames have not burned through the cowling and allowed you to use your extinguisher, (if safe to do so), pass it to them and ask them to trot off round the back of your engine and spray in the inlet.

They will be towing you home, so I guess they will want to be assured your safe to tow before they do!
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Old 07 January 2009, 12:37   #14
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Quote:
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I think the best bet would be to remove the fuel line

Personally, I won't be going anywhere near a fuel line if the engine's on fire let alone remove it
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Old 07 January 2009, 12:46   #15
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Personally, I won't be going anywhere near a fuel line if the engine's on fire let alone remove it
I doubt disconnecting it from the tank end of a remote tank or shutting it off on a fuel tap would do more harm than good. I don't think I'd want to remove the engine connector though.
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Old 07 January 2009, 12:54   #16
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I doubt disconnecting it from the tank end of a remote tank or shutting it off on a fuel tap would do more harm than good. I don't think I'd want to remove the engine connector though.
Nos...I guess where I'm at is if something can go wrong to allow an engine to catch fire, something else might go wrong with fuel connectors too. Shit happens. If you're on fire in a confined space would you want to mess with an accelerant? Would you're time not be better spent trying to exclude the oxygen rather than the fuel?

Like in all these things it's all a matter of the circumstances at the time. Hopefully, this debate will educate us all in taking the right steps, although there's probably no one-size-fits-all
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Old 07 January 2009, 12:57   #17
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I dont see why throwing water at it would be so bad I wouldnt aim to disconnect a fuel line so quick either, spilled fuel is a much greater recipe for disaster when theres naked flames about. Either way, I'd keep the engine and back end of the boat well doused. Many wont carry a bucket or such things but someone will have a boot or something which would work just as well ,or a pump bailer which you could use in reverse, to pump water at it from the sea
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Old 07 January 2009, 13:12   #18
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................ been there ! Explosion and fire

Water does not work ( in these .... particular circumstances anyway)

A pal's Optimax decided to have a fuel leak (so we found out afterwards) - it started fine at the slip, he motored out and then the engine died; he then tried to re-start 3 or 4 times (pumping high pressure fuel into the bottom cowl) then > boom a real explosion
It blew off the rear lock assembly and bounced the cowling on its mounts, flames minating from the intake and down the leg- a brave (?)crew member pulled off the cowling and then threw several buckets of sea water over the block. This did nothing but waft the flames which then reappeared. He had no fire extinguisher having removed it previously, but fortunately, being near a pontoon with other RIbs around ( I was making a couragous exit out to sea with mine !) one kind soul motored over and with two blasts of his powder extinguisher all was well !
- my mate was still searching for the extinguisher under his seat not realising he didn't have one when Mr Hero with extinguisher appeared !

Since then we have both re-invested in extinguishers and mounted them so they are easily accessible
Jeff
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Old 07 January 2009, 13:14   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leapy View Post
Nos...I guess where I'm at is if something can go wrong to allow an engine to catch fire, something else might go wrong with fuel connectors too. Shit happens. If you're on fire in a confined space would you want to mess with an accelerant? Would you're time not be better spent trying to exclude the oxygen rather than the fuel?

Like in all these things it's all a matter of the circumstances at the time. Hopefully, this debate will educate us all in taking the right steps, although there's probably no one-size-fits-all
That's a fair comment I guess. Personally I'd be trying to disconnect the tanks at some point so I could throw them overboard if I couldn't put the engine out though.

There's very little under a cowl to burn apart from fuel and 2 stroke/engine oil-so hopefully nothing that would necessitate jumping overboard once the electrics are isolated.
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Old 07 January 2009, 14:18   #20
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Funny how the fire brigade always manage to put burning cars out with plain water..........

The best thing to use has been banned - a Halon extinguisher. The green ones that you used to see on every public service vehicle.

It literally smothered the fire - a 1kg Halon was better than a 10kg CO2 and much better in the open air.

Personally I carry 2x 2l foam extinguishers - I won't go near dry powder - it will wreck any engine. I know I have seen a few that have been destroyed by the stuff.

I always carry a load of 2L bottles of drinking water with me in the car - i have put out a burning motorbike using them and they saved my Alfa once. The brake fluid resevoir blew off and the brake fluid went all over the exhaust manifold. There was loads of flame. Only had the car 3 days. I lifted the bonnet from the side and started chucking loads of water onto the flames. I also had to pour water down the insulation on the bonnet as that had caught as well.

I still don't know what caused the brake fluid resevoir to blow off - the only lasting damage was 1 wire which needed a bit of tape around it. I still have the car and it did me another 150,000 miles no problems at all.
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