fitting a fire suppression system in your VW Camper, do it once do it right

Fire protection for a VW camper

As VW Aircooled Works were based a few hours drive away from me, I decided to head up later at night and find a place to park up overnight so that I could be with Peter and his team first thing in the morning so they could crack on with the install. For my long term peace of mind, I had decided to go for the full belt and braces approach for the fire protection for my vintage VW bus. I wanted to make sure everything was made as safe as possible, don’t think I could deal with the heartache of another engine bay fire!

combined fuel tank cut off solenoid and fuel filter
combined fuel tank cut off solenoid and fuel filter

No fire without fuel – fit a fuel tank cut off solenoid

From my previous tragic engine bay fire experience, it was pretty clear to see that one critical aspect was preventing fuel in the tank escaping the tank to further fuel the fire! Therefore I opted to get one of VW Aircooled Works combined fuel tank cut off solenoid and fuel filters fitted (outside of the engine bay for added protection!). Then if the fire system is activated, the solenoid is automatically activated and shuts, closing the fuel tank and preventing any fuel leaking out. This system means that if the fuel hose is damaged the petrol will remain safe and secure in the tank, preventing more fuel being added to the fire.

Kunifer (copper-nickel alloy) pipe hard fuel lines run where ever possible for extra protection
Kunifer (copper-nickel alloy) pipe hard fuel lines run where ever possible for extra protection

Fuel hoses often cause fires

So many times when you see an air-cooled vehicle fire, the first thought is the fuel hoses. Often overlooked they can be damaged, cracked or perished inside the outer braided cloth or metal sleeving. Modern fuel also has a greatly increased ethanol content in it, which is not good for the lifespan of poor quality rubber hoses. The correct grade and quality need to be used.

Whilst looking at this, it seemed a good time to actually reduce the amount of rubber tubing used in the first place. It did not need to be flexible in all areas. So looking at the passage of the fuel from the tank to the engine bay, changes were made. As well as changing any flexible fuel pipes to VW Aircooled Works 100% Bio-fuel ‘Fit and Forget’ hose that is impermeable to ethanol. This is suitable for use with petrol up to 100% biofuel, so in future, if the level of biofuel used within petrol is increased, the fuel hose will not require changing!

In addition, I also had hard Kunifer fuel lines fitted to go through the tinware instead of using the flexible fuel hose. This prevents the hose from being chaffed and rubbed which can shorten the life span of the fuel hose and cause crack and leaks.

VW Aircooled Works clean gas automatic engine bay fire suppression system
VW Aircooled Works clean gas automatic engine bay fire suppression system

Automatic fire extinguisher always on hand

Then to the main item, the VW Aircooled Works clean gas automatic engine bay fire suppression system that gets fitted within the engine bay itself. The system is neatly and discreetly fitted through the upper engine bay/parcel shelf with a one-piece bracket…

discreet and neat fixing of the engine bay fire suppression system
discreet and neat fixing of the engine bay fire suppression system

It comes complete with a pressure gauge to monitor its 240psi, 360º dispersal system, plus I opted to get the deluxe audible alarm and LED fitted in the cab area. That way, every time I turn the ignition key, I have a green light come on to let me know the system is active.

engine bay fire suppression system pressure gauge (240psi, 360º dispersal)
engine bay fire suppression system pressure gauge (240psi, 360º dispersal)

Peace of mind

All fitted and protected! Hopefully, however, I hope it never gets used! Having personally experienced an engine fire where I lost everything, I would not want to go through it ever again!

VW Aircooled Works fire suppression system, hopefully it will never be used!
VW Aircooled Works fire suppression system, hopefully, it will never be used!

A big thanks to Peter and all at VW Aircooled Works for fitting the system. A really friendly and knowledgable guy, who has real attention to detail and who goes above and beyond in making sure all is up to standard and things are good with your camper before you drive away!

As well as getting the fire suppression system fitted, there were a few other little bits I had asked to get sorted at the same time as well, part 2 to follow…

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