Fire Breathers - a Flame Spewing Exhaust System
These cars are HOT - Literally. Make your hotrod live up to its name with a flame spewing exhaust system that is sure to get you noticed out on the open road. All it takes is simple mod and a little help from the Big Schwag.
Male: Afraid of a little fire scarecrow? Then change the channel because flames are back folks so
we’re firing up the carbecue and killing few marshmallows along the way. Now you might not
want to try this at home. But for you folks who want to make your hot rod a little hotter, we’ll
teach you step by step how to turn a normal exhaust pipe into a fire breather. So keep that
water standing by. I’m fired up folks for road rage.
Hi folks, to Big Schwag, another episode of road rage coming up right now, what are we learning
about Schwag where are you? We’re in Camarillo California, the home of the state loony bin
but we’re not here to get crazy. We’re here to learn about flame throwers. Now flames and
hotrods go together like the schwag and giant turkey legs. And with today’s technology, you’ll
get guys shooting flames 100 feet in the air. But this stuff’s on the extreme edge of car culture
so I’m not going to recommend it for the average weekend cruiser. But I know a lot of folks out
there that do want to spin a little exhaust fire the old fashioned way so to learn how you can
turn up the heat, the schwag is going to pay a visit to the man, the myth, Brian Allen. The fire
Male: Ladies and gentlemen, Brian Allen, now, we’re in Camarillo California Brian. This place is not
known in my opinion for cars, it’s known for the state mental hospital and here you are, you’ve
got your own shop out here, what’s going on?
Brian: There’s a lot of hotrod stuff going on in Ventura County.
Male: Brian’s been making the hotrod flame kits for 12 years at his show hotwire nostalgia. Before
that he worked in the film industry wiring up pyrotechnics so this man knows how to make
things go boom. Okay folks, time to meet our flamethrowers to be. Victim one, Mike Gates,
you can just call him Gator. Mike’s had a lot of hotrods over the years but he’s never breathed
fire until now.
Male: Putting flames on it is just going to be just make it twice as much fun.
Male: Now, Mike’s installing one of Brian’s $75 hotwire kits on his 31 model A coupe. This is my kind
of ride folks. Open roof and a little rough around the edges.
Male: You’ve got more of a ratroddish car here.
Male: I prefer hotrad to ratrod.
Male: Very hotrod.
Male: The schwag’s only been here five minutes and I’m already offending people. But come on, it
looks like you could stick your foot right through the hole and stop like Fred Flintstone. If it’s not
ratroddish, I’m not sure what it is. I just hope he doesn’t catch this thing on fire.
Male: It’s made of wood right there.
Male: Now our next victim has a slightly more polished ride. Check out this sweet canary yellow 36
Ford five window coupe. Ventura California native Wayne Rhodes spent four years building it.
Now, he wants to turn up the heat.
Male: I want to be able to throw the flames at car shows when we take them so it can draw an
audience around the car and everybody can see it.
Male: Can you put flamethrowers on any car and put it on a Rolls Royce if I wanted to?
Male: You can't put them on a car with a catalytic converter. Pretty much, there are ways around it
but basically, they’re for carbureted cars with no catalytic converters.
Male: Okay folks, Brian’s pretty much broken this down into a three step process. In just a few hours,
we’ll be roasting marshmallows.
Male: Step one in mounting flamethrowers, you take your bung, you mount it inside the exhaust pipe
which will then hold your spark plug which will ignite the gas to produce flame.
Male: Okay, let’s get rolling folks. The first thing we have to do is drill a hole right here into the top of
the tailpipe. Now, if you’re not a welder, I strongly recommend you get this done at a muffler
shop. What they’ll do is weld the bung into the pipe right down there and then the sparkplug
fits right down into it. There you go folks.
Male: Alright, we’re done with step one, I can see we’ve got our bungs in there welded. We’ve got our
sparkplugs screwed on so what do we do from here Brian.
Male: Next thing is mounting all the components. We have two coils, one for each pipe, we’ll mount
these in the trunk depending on the car. On Wayne’s car, we mounted them under the fender.
On this car, it’s more convenient to mount them in the trunk and we have a control box. This is
what actually makes everything work. It will be mounted back here in the trunk and then
Wayne’s we’re also mounting it in the trunk and we have a switch to mount on the dashboard
which controls the whole system and once everything’s mounted, we go on to step three which
is wiring it.
Male: Okay now each car will have one of Brian’s hot boxes and two coils, one for each tailpipe. Now
the hot wire hotbox basically pulses the current, fooling the coils into thinking they’re getting AC
power. This lets the coils turn 12 volts into 25000, hence the spark. Now Wayne’s car is a little
more finished so they’re going to try to hide the hotbox. Gator’s not worried too much about
hiding anything but remember, shh, it’s not a ratrod. Now while these guys mount the
hotboxes, I want to show you a flamethrower that I do not suggest building at home.
This fire breather is the brain child of John Saragardi from Oakland California.
Male: It’s heated out front, we’re going to hurt somebody.
Male: The base vehicle is a – Canadian meter made car built in Sacramento. By adding propane tanks,
a plenum tank and a vortex chamber blaster, the meter made has been transformed into the
Male: The SS alpha fox is for my wife. She’s foxy and they had a camp with the planet of the hoochies.
I don’t know if you notice the logo on the door there. Planet of the hoochies so a bunch of
hoochies got together and named it the SS alpha fox.
Male: Now, this hoochie mama flame blaster is wired to a control box. The two green buttons are for
up and down. The red button in the middle, for fire. Now, there’s also a fire jet that shoots
flames out the back. Hey, just make sure you check behind you first. After entering the plenum
chamber, the liquid propane needs a few seconds to reload.
Male: So you can see it’s kind of starting to freeze up here. That’s because it’s converting fusing
energy from the outside to convert from liquid to gas. That’s how a refrigerator works and
we’re thinking of putting a little beer cozy on this so I can keep my beer cold while we’re
shooting out fire.
Male: So there we are, talking to John about law enforcement issues when lo and behold, it turns out
they really don’t like the fire shooting backwards towards the crowd, go figure. As Johnny
Saragardi deals with Johnny Law, let’s check back in on our boys.
Male: It looks like Wayne is mounting some kind of wires. What’s he doing here?
Male: He’s making up sparkplug cables that run between the coils that we mounted in the back to the
spark plugs that are mounted into the exhaust system.
Male: And then we’re going to have a shut off switch. Why can't we be running the car and still
Male: Because there’s no gas to burn. That’s how the system works. It shuts down your ignition, your
engine’s running on momentum. At the same time it’s running on momentum, it’s pumping raw
gas out the exhaust pipes. The control box takes over, fires the sparkplugs, you light the gas,
you get flames.
Male: So the guys have the coils and hotboxes mounted. Soon, they’ll have to run the wires up to the
front. Remember how Gator got mad when I called his hotrod a ratrod? Guess what we found,
when they were pulling up the seats to lay the wiring?
Male: I said ratrod, you said no hotrod and now it looks like there’s a partially decomposed rat
underneath the seat. I knew this was a ratrod.
Male: Okay folks, we’re closing in on flames.
Male: Now, you’re going to start messing with the ignition.
Male: We’re going to disconnect the ignition so that we can bypass it with the flamethrower switch.
Male: So now, with the flamethrower switch, right as you push it, it will cut the ignition of the car, hit
and activate the sparkplug.
Male: That’s exactly how it works. When you hit the button, it bypasses the ignition and reverts the
power to the flamethrower box.
Male: So we’re going to have flames shortly.
Male: One important thing here folks. Disconnect the battery so you don’t catch anything on fire
working on the ignition. You see, we want fire. We just want it on our terms. Now the hotwire
kit doesn’t necessarily guarantee a certain size to your fire. It can be anywhere between a foot
to 6 feet depending on the size of the engine, the carburetion, the fuel octane, the heat of the
exhaust pipe and so on and so on.
Male: This thing will probably shoot really good flames because it’s got a short exhaust system which
means the pipes will get very hot. It has no mufflers and it’s got a very powerful motor with big
Male: But first, we need to make sure we get good spark. Let’s check Gator first.
Male: Perfect. You did have a great spark.
Male: Okay, Gator’s rolling. But over on Wayne’s car, we’re getting a little gremlin. The spark is only
working on the driver’s side.
Male: The coils are bad or something is not grounded right or something.
Male: Something is rotting in Denmark.
Male: While the guys try to troubleshoot their nonsparking spark, I want to jump over to the east coast
for a minute and introduce you to the king of fire. Dangerous Dave.
Male: You think it’s hot today? Wait till you feel the heat from the fire.
Male: Now dangerous Dave doesn’t brag about being the king of fire. He’s happy just shooting flames
with his crew and putting on a show for the crowd. Of course being top dog, people are always
looking to knock you off.
Male: Once in a while I get to Florida, I get challenged down there. I didn’t want to do it but the guy
insisted on it so I did it and he never even shook my hand. He just turned around and walked
away. He shot about 30 foot in the air and I shot a good 100 foot in the air.
Male: Dave’s a member of Flames R Us, a car club specializing in cool cars and big fire. Now these guys
aren’t doing this with some kind of crazy Canadian meter made, no. these are classic hotrods
with serious paint jobs. You’ve got your 61 Buick Electra four door, a 61 Ford galaxy starliner
and let’s not forget Dee Wilson in her hot 72 Buick Riviera boattail.
Female: I’m playing with fire which I said I would never ever do. You know that word never, it always
come back to hit you in the face.
Male: Now, the club runs a lot of different cars but the flame systems are pretty much the same folks.
It’s basically a two stage process.
Male: In this three gallon fuel cell, we have Coleman fuel. That’s pumped out with 125 psi Mercedes
Benz fuel pump through a furnace nozzle. It’s stuck back in the pipe, sprays it out past two
sparkplugs in each pipe which are ignited by 1 kd ignition box for each sparkplug.
Male: Now, that gives him his starter fire. Think of this as a pilot light because we’re not done folks.
Over here in this purple tank, you’ve got a two to one kerosene Coleman lantern fuel mix that’s
pressurized with liquid nitrogen between 200 and 500 psi depending on the system.
Male: Then our pressurized fuel will blow up through this nozzle and through the starter fire which will
ignite it, then you have your big fire.
Male: Big fire is right. But it’s actually the starter fire that’s the one you have to worry about. The big
flame blasts at an angle away from your car. The starter flame boils behind the car. So to
protect those paint jobs, the club uses bracket mounted stainless steel plates. They also use
Male: NASCAR uses 200 miles an hour duct tape and we use the 2500 degree duct tape.
Male: Now Dangerous Dave and the Flames R Us folks tell us that later on, they’re going to do a wall of
fire. That we’ll have to see but first, let’s head back to check on our boys.
Male: You’re hitting the button? We’re still not getting anything.
Male: I’m the guy who knows anything. Bikes and cars, you can get everything built and when it
comes to the last moment with the wiring, something always goes wrong.
Male: Brian thinks the problem may be in the coils. Alright, we don’t have fire yet and I’m getting
hungry. Time to run a line to the positive end of the coil that we know is working. Alright, here
Male: Yes, we’ve got tons of spark, it’s beautiful.
Male: Turns out, Wayne had a short in one of the coils.
Male: Mike bought new coils. Wayne used used coils.
Male: They were having problems with the wiring and they couldn’t get spark down to the sparkplug
so the flame doctor, the fire guru, Brian Allen comes over with his tackle box and he’s look at
this, how do you figure this out I don’t know but he did.
Male: We have spark. Everything’s looking good. You’ve got nice blue flame. Blue spark down there.
Male: The last thing to do is we’ve got to start the cars, hit the buttons and just make sure it kills the
ignition. If that happens, then we know everything is as it should be and we’ll be getting flames,
we will have fire.
Male: Once again, we’ll have fire.
Male: Alright folks. We’re in the home stretch but now, Brian’s having an issue getting Wayne’s switch
to cut the engine. Back to the spaghetti ball. Alright Wayne, what’s the deal with the flames
Male: Want a marshmallow.
Male: No thanks.
Male: Okay. I wasn’t going to give him one anyways.
Male: Turns out it wasn’t Wayne’s fault after all. The culprit, color coding confusion up at the dash.
Male: And I had picked the wrong one because there was two purple wires.
Male: Remember folks, no shortcuts, even when you’re the fire doctor. Always color code your wires
and now the time has arrived.
Male: Okay, you’re basically going to rev it up. You’ll hit about 3000 rpms, you’ll hit the button, floor
the gas. Then you’ll hear the flames and when the motor starts to slow down, you let off on
Male: Okay folks, here we go.
Male: It takes a little practice like I said.
Male: Nothing broke, then it’s a success.
Male: I think we better let Dr. hotwire show us how it’s done. What a show off. Okay but today won't
be complete until I roast some marshmallows. That’s what I’m talking about, burn baby burn.
Yes. Nothing like raw gasoline smores.
Male: Not much of that marshmallow left. I don’t think I’m going to eat that but wow. You come eat
it with all that gas on it. Nutty people in Camarillo. You see what I’m saying? You see why the
state nuthouse was here? We learned that you could do this on a good cheap budget. You can
put flamethrowers on anything and why not, it’s road rage, you should do that and since we’ve
got the cars here, and we still have got a little sunlight, we’re going to go out for a little ride and
scare the local town’s people.
Male: And while we do that, I’ll send you back to Pennsylvania for the grand finale. Flames R Us and
their wall of fire. Holy cow, ladies and gents, you’re not going to get a marshmallow near that.
Our cameramen can feel the heat from across the field. So one last burning question, in the
field of fire, how high can be go? With Dangerous Dave and the Flames R Us crew, it would
appear that the sky is the limit.
Fire Breathers - a Flame Spewing Exhaust System
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