The biggest cause of this is the high-pressure fuel lines that can rupture or leak and then you have fuel coming out at a high rate of speed that can come out as a vapor. If that hits the heat of the exhaust system that could be currently purging the emissions system, poof! Fire erupts and in an RV or coach WILL spread VERY quickly.
So we have done a few fire tips here in the past like Adding Smoke Detectors to the Cargo Bay, Suggest using FOAM extinguishers, and sadly, an RV fire that where we helped save a dog. So with all that in mind, I have wanted for a long time to add a automatic foam fire suppression system to the coach. Why now? Well we did just have a high pressure relief value go bad (no leak thankfully) and that got us thinking of the high pressure fuel line leak we DID have with our old coach. Engine lights lit up that there was an issue. So we pulled over and was shocked to discover the entire engine covered in fuel to the point that even the tow car was wet with fuel past the windshield! So again… why now? Well, because I was reminded of it from our friends Jim and Beverly.
What had stopped me in the past was I was told that there was not enough room in the compartment to put in a system as it could go off based on the engine heat, seeing that there is not a lot of room. (Yeah, no kidding that there is no room,) In fact, when we first got this coach we did have it looked at by a guy in the RV industry that sells these systems. He had the installer he uses come over and take a look when we were at the FMCA Indio Rally. He said it would be very hard to do.
Well, after it was put back into my mind I thought… Hummm… What’s so hard? After some research into the various systems, I was NOT concerned over them going off due to engine heat, as the heads need to reach 286 degrees to deploy. 286 degrees is A LOT of heat to the point where you really would need a flame to make that happen in an area that has moving air. So, in other words, an actual fire in the compartment.
So I set out to make an easy install of it so that others could also do it if they wanted. Now understand, this is how I did in for our 2014 Tiffin Allegro Bus 45LP. However if you own a 2013 or newer Phaeton or Allegro Bus, there is a good chance the mounting would be the same. There is also a good chance that it would be an easy install for other coaches as well.
Now I say easy. Buy that I mean, I in no way wanted to mount the heads in a way that would require me to remove the engine hatch to get to it and then work upside down dropping things along the way. So I needed a plan, a simple plan and so I came up with one after looking it over.
I have NO IDEA why someone has not come up with this idea before. If they had, I surely have not seen it and even the installer, who does these all the time, did not even think of it. That being, a simple aluminum C channel or angle to make a mount that could hold the head and fasten into the back end of the coach. Based on how the coach rear engine compartment is laid out, I only needed the supports to be about 10 or 11 inches long. As such, not a lot of “lever” force to worry about. And the heads are very light. Very. So again, we are not talking about a lot of weight.
So here you have it. With some parts from a Lowes or Home Depot, you too can install a fire suppression system for that “just in case” moment that may never happen but you would be glad you had one if it ever did.
First we needed to mount the tank and on the Allegro Bus it has the PERFECT spot.
Then setup the foam canister with the needed line connections.
Now with the 286-degree heads attached to the mounting bracket you made, it is as easy as connecting the lines to the heads, and sliding it back into place. Once you check and recheck the position, mount it to the back wall.
There are also smaller systems but for these larger coach engines, you surely want the 4 liter dual head. There are smaller ones for like the generator and even one for the battery compartment that uses Halon.
Now remember, mileage will greatly very as to how you may install one if you so choose for your coach. This is in no way a how to that will cover every coach. It is meant as a way to show you a way you maybe could mount the heads that would surely make it much easier to install if you can use a slide back bracket.
Now have we gone overboard doing this? I would have to think that some of you will say “Yup you have!”. So sure, this might be over the top to install such a system. But considering we did have a cracked high pressure fuel line that could have ended badly, and then on this coach a high pressure relief valve fail, to us $500 is something that makes us feel better. And the way that I installed it, it would be easy to remove and put into another coach when/if that time comes.
So do with this information, as you will. It was not meant to scare you. It was meant to show you that such systems do exist. And get this…you can purchase it off Amazon!
Company Link: http://www.firefightmarine.com/ffproducts/
I did a quick video talking about it…
Thanks. This is great! (And please share what’s up with your shirt and the hands-thru-the-sleeves deal. That looks kinda great too.) Cheers!
The shirt is a Kuhl shirt that is an outdoor company.The thumb slots to keep the sleeves pulled down. Also help when putting on outer shells so again your sleeves do up up into the jacket. http://www.kuhl.com/
This is a great idea and a long needed one, can not believe that the coach builders have not included this. I have seen several coaches with fire roaring out of the engine compartment and coaches melted down from the rear forward and it happens unbelievably fast.
Why do you have the valve in off position?
I had just got done installing it when we did the video. So it had not been turned on as of yet. (It was mentioned at the end of the video that I knew it. :))
I turned off the video too soon ????. Great job!
I too thought this was a good idea when MAC the FIRE GUY presented the idea at a Rally in Goshen, IN over two years ago. He has been selling a prefab kit for a few years. I bought and installed his system in 2014. We rest easier knowing it’s there.
Yup, good info. Just wish he, as a reseller, did not charge so much for the same gear from the same manufacturer.
What size aluminum C-channel did you use? Can’t guesstimate using the pics of the extinguisher system.
It was 2″ wide. It was actually from an old pull out awning arm. ;)
I might add,it is a good practice to scan your Gage’s every 15 seconds as well your mirrors. The smoke you see may be a tire or from the engine on fire. Sorry we can’t be with you at Quartzsite , we are in California for a week or two visiting Peggy’s cousin than we will be going to Scenic Az. to visit my Brother. Than back to WV before we are snowed in.
Is it also a good idea for a gas coach? I don’t believe gas coaches catch on fire as diesel engines can.
Actually, gas can ignite much easier than diesel. I would think it would be a good idea for any coach if it has room for the heads.
That was a very ingenious solution to the space issue.
You mention the battery compartment. Is this just the engine batteries or should we include the house batteries and does anyone have a video for the generator area and what size extinguisher in that area or am I over killing it.
It would usually refer to the house batteries in this case. As far as the generator goes, we do not use it enough to worry about it nor have I personally ever heard of anyone that had a generator fire. (Not that it could not happen.)
you might consider doing something in the way of travel limiters for the tank. It looks like there might be a limit on the outboard side (not sure, can’t see) but obviously nothing on the inboard end.
Drifting in or out, or rotating, could damage the line. Moving far enough to slip out of one of those straps could be a big problem. Just because it hasn’t moved yet, doesn’t mean it never will. Things age and wear and flex.
Is there some sort of line length limit for those tanks? I would be inclined to run lines to the battery area, and perhaps heaters and stove. Maybe electrical distribution/battery charger area?
I am new to the RV world. Looking at the engine compartment fire suppression system it is a good idea. I did not see any comment about reducing ones insurance cost. I would think there are shared benefits with the insurance companies.
I am not aware of any such insurance benefit nor have I heard of one. You would want to check with your insurance provider.
Innovative! How did you attach the channel bracket to the coach. Are those sheet metal screws? Is that an off the shelf l-bracket?
It is just a U channel of aluminum and an L bracket. Not much to it really. I just then screwed the head on to the end, slid in into place and popped in some wood screws as it was going into wood to hold it in place. In my case to get to the middle sides of the engine it was 11″ and 12″ back from where I was going to attach. So you surely want to figure that part out. It made the install SUPER EASY for this coach and others like it at least.
I would imagine mine will be pretty much the same as we have a 2017 Allegro Bus 45. Wood above the engine bay (yikes). What is on the other side? How long a screw was necessary?
Yup…Simple install in the same location. Where you see the head mounted is the back of the closet foot step up area all the way back in the closet. I used 2.5″ screws if I remember as you need to go through, press agains , some insulation. The tank will come with straps and mount right the the square steal. I put on the bottom of the straps straps and pre-drilled. Then I put the tank in and held it with one hand as I figure out the bend and hole to use for the upper and marked it. Removed tank and drilled again doing the closet strap only. Put the tank in with the first strap and then that will hold so you can do the back one. Be sure it is snug. I can do an install in about 30 mins if I already made the two brackets. So it is not that bad.
what is the cost and who can install in salem area oregon
The link to them was right in the blog post. As far as installing one in that area, I would not really know I am sorry to say.
Is there any way to monitor if it deploys? Some sort of contact that could be used to trivy an audible alarm?
They do have a system that has that yes. But I think seeing the tow car with foam on it would also give it away.
Product links are broke. Do you have link that works. Thanks for a great blog.
Looms like they are off Amazon…I will update the post…But here they are… http://www.firefightmarine.com/ffproducts/