One-Hour Wonder: Installing A Safecraft UTV Automatic Fire Suppression System

    Burn Out

    Matt EmeryPhotographer, Writer

    Welcome to another One-Hour Wonder, where the install is so easy that it literally only takes about an hour to do. This month’s edition is one that’s close to our heart: increasing our odds of survival.

    There’s really only one aspect about engaging in motorized fun that scares us, and that’s the potential for fire. They say you need air, fuel and spark to produce a flame, but we don’t want to be a major part of that fuel equation, thank you very much. We’ve heard the one about Mickey Thompson’s car catching alight due to spilled fuel during a pit stop. The one where the Mickster just hit the throttle and got the car up to such a speed that the fire was blown out due to the wind rushing by. Some people swear it’s a true story. We hope so because it’s a great story. But, because gasoline fires burn anywhere between 1600-2200 degrees Fahrenheit, we’d rather take a little more scientific tact in regards to fire suppression.

    A fire suppression system, whether it’s activated manually by hitting the big red button or automatically, is a very good idea for any high-performance vehicle and may be mandatory by some race organizations. Even though they should be in every vehicle, sometimes a hand-held fire extinguisher isn’t nearly handy enough and if the fire is in the engine compartment, you may not even know you’re on fire until you find your backside is getting toasty. In such a case an automatic system like this one from Safecraft is not just a good idea, but one that could save your…ah, investment. A SxS is expensive, and unless you’re making payments, you may or may not have insurance against fire damage.

    This particular system, which Safecraft calls their UTV Automatically Activated System, seems to have been designed with the Polaris RZR in mind, but you can find Safecraft fire suppression systems installed in vehicles ranging from NHRA to NASA. In fact, Safecraft is the largest manufacturer of motorsport fire suppression system in the United States.

    Being an automatic system, it operates much like the “sprinkler” system found in homes and offices. That is, in the nozzle, which Safecraft calls a Thermal Sensor, there is a plug, called the Thermal Bulb holding back the retardant. When the temperature hits 286-degrees, the bulb melts and allows the retardant, in this case 3M Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid, to spew forth. The end of the Thermal Sensor is designed to disperse the flow of Novec so that it envelopes the engine compartment.

    The retardant is held in a 3lb. aluminum bottle, which is easily mounted to the roll-cage cross-member thanks to the supplied billet aluminum brackets. There is a valve and pressure gauge at the top of the bottle and it’s connected to the thermal sensor with a 21-inch length of braided Stainless line. Safecraft claims the thermal sensor is rugged enough for racing conditions and since there is another port in the manifold, a second nozzle system can be run.

    The Safecraft UTV Automatically Activated System is a simple yet effective system that also happens to be as easy an install as you’re likely to find. That’s why it’s this months One-Hour Wonder.