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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am voicing a very public concern for the upcoming Wild West rally and other rallies held in dry conditions. After the first stage (a 1 minute jaunt through the farm field) at Ojibwe, we pulled into our service area for our quick first service. When I left, we noticed that the thick double layer tarp had a 1 sq. foot hole melted through and the grass underneath it was burned away by my catalytic converter. I do NOT want to be responsible for starting a forest fire. Unfortunately, I think it is only a matter of time until we do. If I can start a fire after being on the gas for a minute, I know things get a lot hotter after a 20 miler.

For the record, I am using a Car Sound/Magnaflow 93500 series cat with 2.5" inlet/outlet in good condition.

By rally rules insisting I run the cat, can I be held liable and imprisoned if my car starts a forest fire? Would SCCA be liable? Car Sound/Magnaflow?

I am being serious here.
 

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don't cut
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Cars without catalytic convertors also have the potential to start fires. I have been involved with one grass fire started by an RX7 with no cat and not running hard. I have also seen the grass scorched by the families 1961 Dodge back many years ago. But yes it is true that the convertors get hotter than without, removing them will not eliminate the danger.
As to your question about liability, I suspect but don't know that this would be covered by the event liability insurance.
Richard
 

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Fires started while rallying mean that we probably won't get to use those roads (or roads owned by that landowner) again.

Yes, exhaust systems get hot. By this I'm not just saying the cat, I mean the whole thing. Mom and I worked the end of the practice stage at OT, and the cars kept turning around in the grass instead of the wide spot in the road (relatively speaking, a wide spot); we always went with fire extinguisher and shovel to check the grass, and found it to be crispy and blackened after the cars turned around there. Which is why we made it so the cars later in the day Wednesday and all day Thursday had to turn around in the wash, instead of in the grass.

The cars weren't in the grass much, or for that long; definitely not in the grass up to the cat, just the end of the exhaust.

We can only do whatever it is we can to minimize our effect on the roads and the forests; being extra careful where we park and for how long we let our engines idle, not smoking outside of our cars, keeping a sharp eye out (and nose as well!) for any sign of fire, and quick reporting of such.


Since a few rallies have no choice on the calendar but to run during fire season, we're going to have the potential for fire. If we could run all rallies during the early summer, spring, and winter, we'd be set! :)

Just my $0.02 drachmas.... :)

KT
 

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>Cars without catalytic convertors also have the potential to
>start fires. I have been involved with one grass fire
>started by an RX7 with no cat and not running hard. I have
>also seen the grass scorched by the families 1961 Dodge back
>many years ago. But yes it is true that the convertors get
>hotter than without, removing them will not eliminate the
>danger.
>As to your question about liability, I suspect but don't
>know that this would be covered by the event liability
>insurance.
>Richard
Jezzzzuz Richard, minimizing or deflecting this makes me wonder what you're trying to do.

I'll try to explain the problem in clearer terms.

Agreed, all human activity for the last 60,000 years or so has carried with it a risk for fire.

Since the advent of cars, the danger has increased.

Lurch is from Michigan where they have trees.
And I think he likes those trees.

I am from Washington where we have LOTs of trees.
I know I like all those trees.

You are from Texas where there are no trees, just scrub.

While cars present a danger, our masters at SCCA MANDATING something which IN ITS NORMAL MODE OF OPERATION GREATLY INCREASES THAT DANGER, AND ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING ELSE, seems misguided at best:
ESPECIALLY IN CLASSES WHICH ALLOW ENGINE AND FUELING MODIFICATIONS WHICH DRIVE TEMPURATURE UP EVEN HIGHER DUE TO UNBURNED HC (HYDRO CARBONS AKA FUEL) LIGHTING OFF IN THE CAT.

So Lurch is worried about if he burns down substantial parts of OUR woods out here will he get a bill in the mail for something which is er Brilliantly concieved.

It would be a loss if the woods burned down in Washington.

It would be a loss if the woods burned down in Michigan.

I think it would be hard to tell the difference if Texas burned down.

The change in wording from last years wording to this years word is troubling.
Clearly it is a buncha Hooey as we all have gotten the word both officially and Oafish-ally that 1 degree temp was taken as "functioning" and what's the tolerance: 1 degree, + or - 1 degree?


This is politics and mandates of the most smelly sort.
And the obvious consequences of subsequent events should, it would seem, be obvious without saying.

Who makes up this stuff anyway?






John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
>But yes it is true that the convertors get
>hotter than without, removing them will not eliminate the
>danger.

Richard,

I think I can say this without insulting you or anyone from the state of Texas, but I do feel similar to JV in they way you are reasoning this.

It is as if I said:
"A one-year old child should not ride a bike without training wheels as they will likely hurt themselves."

To which you reply:
"Yes, but my child hurt himself even WITH training wheels at one-year of age."

So? Does that mean that I might as well remove the training wheels because, either way, he still might get hurt? Might as well make good and sure he takes a tumble, eh?

No, not having cats will not REMOVE the danger. But since they are several times hotter than the exhaust pipe would be normally, and given the air space between the average rally car and the ground, I would reason that they are MANY times more likely to start a fire than without.

Just as a one year old child is much more likely to get hurt without training wheels on his bike.

By the way, I didn't have time to buy a new tarp. If you see me at Wild West, come and check it out. Its pretty impressive for just running hard for a minute and parking for 5 minutes.

Cheers,
Lurch
 

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don't cut
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Lurch,
What I was trying to say is that removing the cats will not remove the danger. We still need to consider how to control the problem of heat from exhausts. To use your analogy, the problem is not a toddler riding with training wheels but rather a toddler riding in the middle of traffic.

I know of no case where the forest service requires removal of cats for off road vehicles. They do require approved spark arresting mufflers/exhaust systems. There have been cases of the forest service citing 4 wheelers for not having the approved exhaust. This tends to make me think that the anti-lag systems that shoot flame out the back would be considered more hazardous than cats. But I am guessing only.

Should you think I am trying to say cats are good, I am not. But aren't they installed on WRC cars these days? And aren't they required by the FIA homologation papers for most cars in Group N? If this is correct, then there may be some way of controlling the danger and keeping the appearance of being environmentally friendly. I know you have been doing research into this and I appreciate your technical knowledge.

As to your original quesions, should you start a fire, with or with out a cat, the liability insurance should cover you. As to criminal charges, I can't think of why this would be a possibility. But I am an engineer, not a lawyer.

As for JVL, he is anticipating the immense loss of knowledge that I will suffer should I manage to get elected to the national board of directors from Area 7.
Richard
 

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Answered my own question...

If it is fixed directly onto the manifold, the catalyst may be replaced with a conical part of the same length and with the same inlet and outlet diameters.
After this part, the exhaust will be free with a tube diameter no greater than that of the outlet from the catalyst.
If the catalytic converter is an integral part of the exhaust manifold, it is possible to remove only the internal part of the catalytic converter.


From the FIA web site. Thus proving that they like catalytic convertors just as much as Lurch does.

Richard
 

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RE: Answered my own question...

AHHH couldn't you just add a heat shield under the car with about a 3/4 inch air gap between it and the convertor???

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here we go again :)

You brought up FIA. Here is the "list."

http://www.fia.com/regle/Reg_tec/listesTech/Liste-8-Cata.pdf

Here is one from the list available at Ralliart.
http://www.ralliart.de/en/shop/seareadzub.jsp?min=0&carid=63&zsuchen=catalyser

The price has come down...to a cool $690.00 US + shipping and applicable tariffs and taxes from Germany for this GN model. This seems to be the norm for price on these things, though some run well over $1,000.00. Haven't found the price on a WRCar homologated unit, yet, but I'm guessing it is more than these GN models.

Yes, a few of the guys in the US run these. The rest of us are running regular cats until something better becomes available (I have been working on a company to produce a special rallycat, and they have tested, but no product until next year at earliest...we will see).

I cannot speak to how restrictive the HJS and other homologated cats are, nor how hot they get in a rally car. I don't know how much they "clean the air" if any at all. I will not be buying one (or two...gotta have a spare, y'know). I know that there are cats available in this country that are not as durable, are not TOO restrictive, and get freakin' hot...hot enough certainly to start fires from 8" above the ground.

That is what I know. Fact is, European (true FIA) and American rallying are apples and oranges (still). We (US) feel the need to put cost controls in for the big teams to keep them from running away from each other with gearboxes and diffs. Cats aren't a big deal cuz they are "only" seven hundred or a thousand dollars. I think this is another case where a "deviation" is in order...at least until a reasonable economic/technological balance is achieved...which MAY be as soon as next year...or may not.

I feel better about releasing a rally's worth of hydrocarbons to the atmosphere than burning down a couple thousand acres. But that's just me.

Edit--I want to quell rumors that this is a horsepower issue for me. I am getting nearly the same dyno numbers after extensive tuning with my cat as I can get without. I would gladly sacrifice a small percentage of HP if the greater public, US rallying, or the environment were getting a reasonable benefit. However, I think all of these parties are seeing very little benefit at a SUBSTANTIAL risk...the risk of forest fire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
RE: Answered my own question...

> AHHH couldn't you just add a heat shield under the car with
>about a 3/4 inch air gap between it and the convertor???
>
Not without extensive tunnel modification. You see, I need an airgap between the cat and my car so IT doesn't burn down, either.

Don't think GN allows tunnel mods, eh?

Edit--sorry, I just re-read your post and my response really doesn't address it well. I already have an airgap, then a heat shield, then another air gap then the cat. The issue at hand is the proximity of the converter to the ground, not just the car. Is this clearer?

Apologies,
Eric
 

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RE: Answered my own question...

> AHHH couldn't you just add a heat shield under the car with
>about a 3/4 inch air gap between it and the convertor???

What about ceramic coating?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
RE: Answered my own question...

>What about ceramic coating?

On the car or the cat? The cat needs to bleed off that heat. You'll meltdown if you hold it in. Never thought of ceramic coating the car. That's an interesting idea.
 

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RE: Here we go again :)

Shouldn't we all also remember that in order to operate any vehicle on a public roadway in the US, the Federal government mandates that the entire emissions system be intact. This includes the catalytic converter if so equiped when originally manufactured. The addition or removal as a deviation from the originally designed system is considered a federal offense. It seems only reasonable to me that the rule book require the competitors to meet the bare minimum of the federal statute in this matter. To do otherwise would invite an untold number of issues, especially for events who depend on the grace and cooperation of public forestry departments for the use of the roads.

Is this a great reason? maybe not, but its a real reason.

Brad Odegard
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
RE: Here we go again :)

Brad, the same statute also states that it is ILLEGAL to remove a properly functioning catalytic converter from a vehicle. We already broke the law. Throw us all in jail. I am certain that EVERY late-nineties-to-present rally car had a properly functioning cat on it when it was removed.

Also, you said it yourself:
"...the Federal government mandates that the entire emissions system be intact..."

How many cars have the original charcoal cannister and fuel tank vent system. Everything with a fuel cell I would say does not. It is all part of the "entire emissions system."

No. Given the choice of looking the other way on whether the car has a cat, and burning down a portion of the United States, I choose option one.
 

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RE: Here we go again :)

>>
>How many cars have the original charcoal cannister and fuel
>tank vent system. Everything with a fuel cell I would say
>does not. It is all part of the "entire emissions system."
>

So is the ECU. So is the turbo (wouldn't a restrictor, technically, be emissions illegal?). So are the gear ratios in the transmission and differential, for that matter.



An interesting point was brought up earlier... exhausts are hot even without a cat. An RX-7 fire was cited, which is a bit of a low blow since rotaries and glowing exhaust go hand in hand (and decent converters that withstand rotaries cost - surprise! - $2500 or so, and the $59 parts store specials last as little as five *miles* on the street) but the point made was that fires can occur even when there are no cats, so the risk isn't much different with cats vs. without.

I'd like to make a similar analogy of a similar ridiculousness. Roll cages and harnesses should no longer be mandatory. After all, a crash could cause serious injury or death even if you have a rollcage, so the risk isn't that much different. Plus, when you install the harness, you must remove the factory seatbelt. There aren't any DOT-spec 5, 6, or 7 point harnesses, and you would be breaking federal law by removing the OEM seatbelts. You could even be ticketed in many areas for driving without seatbelts (the harnesses could be piano wire and rubberbands in the law's eyes) when on transit. Even worse, people are removing the airbags from rally cars (which is legal) and later, SELLING the cars with no airbags (which if I am not mistaken is a federal offense).
 

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LAWS SCHMAWS! Changing a thermostat is ILLEGAL!!!

>Shouldn't we all also remember that in order to operate any
>vehicle on a public roadway in the US, the Federal
>government mandates that the entire emissions system be
>intact. This includes the catalytic converter if so equiped
>when originally manufactured. The addition or removal as a
>deviation from the originally designed system is considered
>a federal offense.
shouldn't we leave legislative function to the US EPA, and perhaps remember that the Feds regulate NEW CAR SALES, or should we perhap incorporate the entire CFR42 (Code of federal regualions chapters about motor vehicvles)(as far as i can remember, YOU look it up,)



It seems only reasonable to me that the
>rule book require the competitors to meet the bare minimum
>of the federal statute in this matter.

Why the bare minimum?
Why pick and choose?
ANYTHING which deviate from the way the car originally was run on its EPA "combined urban cycle" certification test is ILLEGAL, and that includes thermostat, the thermo switch for the electric fan, all ducting and all those weird thing tht look like Japanese sex-toys on the intakes, tire overall diameter, all gear ratios.

You open the door to destroying the sport with endless litigation.
Again for the final time for all your folks thrashing around defending a pointlessly dangerous mandate

WHICH NOW IS BEING DEFENDED FOR PURE OBSTINACY AND TO SAVE FACE WHICH IS SO OFTEN THE CASE WITH SCCA

IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PRDOOD, THE PRBOARD, OR SCCA TO DUPLICATE LEGISLATION OR MAKE REFERENCE TO NARROWLY SELECTED PORTIONS OF FEDERAL OR STATE LAWS.
It is er overstepping the madate and they have no authority to enforce, so it is pointless to refer to law.

Imean what are they going to do, call the cops on Higgins?

ENOUGH OF THIS LAW CRAP, _EVERYTHING WE DO IS UNDER EXEMPTION FROM THE NORMAL LAWS.

s.
>
>Is this a great reason? maybe not, but its a real reason.
No it is constantly repeated half truth selectively applied, to quote that man of few words Boris Badanoff "It's Hooooey!"
>
>Brad Odegard

Again I state the main reason now is SCCA trying to save face and not back down after yet one more poorly thought out "Brilliant" idea cooked up without any thought and dropped from above.

And Brad, do you understand that the three way cat works only whren the stociometric ratio of HC/CO/CO2 is within a very very narrow band and a variation on one leads to huge swings in the others?
So allowing any mods to compression, camshafts, fuel quantity, boost rev limit and the things _wont_ work SO THERE IS EITHER NO POINT TO REQUIRING A CAT or maybe there is NO POINT TO ALLOWING _ANY_ MODS??

Do you understand the three way cat fiunction?





John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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RE: Here we go again :)

Not to be the one to say it but...... DJ Safety has D.O.T. legal and certified, SFI approved harnesses. Yes, they are the only one's on the planet that have gone this far in doing so.

And speaking of the D.O.T., does anyone realize if you alter (even add) any safety feature or strengthen (i.e. seam weld, sub-frame connectors, roll cage) a "street legal" car the D.O.T. says that the vehicle now has been deamed "Not approved for street use." If you do so, they want a "copy" of that car for crash testing to "approve" it. Just pray that you don't run into and hurt or kill anyone on a public transit. During any "competition" on public roads, the D.O.T. can be called in to help with an investigation. You will lose your case. It has happened! Check with the D.O.T. if you think I'm full of it.

Jim
 

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puuuuuuulleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaasssssseeeeee!

Not full of it just mistaken, DOT regulates NEW CARS SOLD in USA.

John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Anyways...

Look, I didn't mean to reignite (pun) an argument about cats. There are some folks that think that if we are quiet, there must not be any issue. I just put up the original post to say I STARTED A FIRE WITH MY CAR AT OJIBWE. I only ran hard for one minute, and my engine was OFF when I started said fire. Therefore I feel there is still an issue.

My question is how liable am I if I start a wildfire? I will continue to research this question to see if it is worth my own liability risk to continue rallying.
 
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