CNG Vehicles

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  #1  
Old 02-27-12, 12:44 PM
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CNG Vehicles

Just wondering if anyone here has ever installed their own natural gas conversion on their car. I've heard its possible and with Obama blocking the Keystone Pipeline from Canada and doing nothing to lower prices this summer is looking like a good opportunity to run natural gas.
 
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Old 02-27-12, 02:32 PM
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Andersen Windows and their trucking company (Dart Transportation) switched over semi trucks over to compressed natural gas when they got a chain of coop stations (Cenex) along I94 to install facilities. Andersen's main plant is about 5 miles off I94, that goes east of Chicago and west to the Pacific coast

They expect a savings of up to $25,000 annually per truck over diesel according to an article in the paper.

There was no mention whether the fueling facilities would be compatible with smaller vehicles, since few details were given.

Dick
 
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Old 02-27-12, 06:48 PM
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wow that's a huge savings. I would expect a ton of other companies will follow suit if those type of savings are true.
 
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Old 02-27-12, 08:00 PM
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You must have a good complex of refueling stations.

Apparently, Andersen and Dart with many trucks had enough "clout" to get one co-op fuel supplier to add facilities along I94, since that is a pretty heavy east-west trucking route across the northern U.S.

Dick
 
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Old 02-28-12, 06:48 AM
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One thing to note with compressed fuels is that they are not really cold weather friendly.

There are a number of propane fueled taxi cabs and other inner city vehicles in southern Ontario, but when compressed gas gets cold, it will loose it's preasure and sometimes turn to a liquid. Burn efficiancy is also lost.
I could not run a propane or other compressed fuel system during the winter months where I live (~350km North West of Toronto Ontario, Canada).

On topic of the transports... I can see the savings. Diesel is no cheap these days ($1.30 per leter here) and some of those transports get the fuel millage of a drag racer.
 
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Old 08-02-12, 02:51 PM
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Sorry if I'm resurrecting a dead thread but I thought I'd toss out a couple of additional details for light duty CNG.

EPA recently approved a slew of new "Clean Conversion Certifications" for CNG passenger cars and some trucks. I won't get into the mind numbing details about Useful Life, but the result is that there are many new conversion kits that can legally be installed (except in California / )

CNG doesn't have the cold weather problems that Northern Mike experienced with propane. Natural gas simply has a much higher vapor pressure than propane even at -40 F.

However, I can't recommend installing the CNG tanks yourself. I know this is DIY forum and I'm a big DIYer, but I can tell you this. No CNG vehicle tank has failed in the US in the last 20 years that wasn't the result of a bad installation or because it was never inspected after a crash. Tanks fail when they aren't mounted properly, fuel lines aren't strain-relieved, etc. Do the install right and CNG is arguably safer than gasoline. Do it wrong and you could kill someone.
 
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Old 08-02-12, 03:22 PM
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CNG is being transported from the Gulf area to the New England area because of the economics, but usually for large users, but distribution systems will come.

dick
 
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Old 08-14-12, 07:55 PM
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About 15 years ago when there was a big push on CNG, the transit authority here bought all their annual replacement buses for a couple of years equipped from the factory for CNG. They were great at first, but a couple years later it was announced they were going back to diesel because of excessively high maintenance costs. IIRC, CNG engines are spark ignition engines and don't have the lifespan of a compression ignition diesel engine. That was what the article I read stated from what I remember.
 
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Old 08-15-12, 04:28 AM
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25 yrs ago I worked for an outfit in fla that had two 3 ton GMC trucks with 454 cid gas engine. They were converted to propane, preformed well and saved the company a good bit of money on fuel. It was important to plan your routes and make sure you had enough propane to last the day [a tank normally lasted 2 days] They also tried converting the spray pumps [16hp Kolers] to propane but never could get them to run properly so they were converted back to gasoline.
 
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Old 08-15-12, 05:54 AM
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Sparky31415,
If you could can find some links, post up the information.
I'd be interested to see how these systems work and if there has been any cold weather testing.

The big problem with alternate fuels in my area is their operating temperature as well as their storage tempurature requirements.
Diesel vehicles for example, are a pain to start and most of the time, need to be plugged in (block heaters) when sitting for a few hours (over night). Even small modern diesels (like my dad's Jetta TDI) doesn't like the cold weather (even plugged in).

Definately interested to learn more. I commute almost exactly 100miles (160km for us Canadians) to and from work, 5 days a week.
 
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Old 03-25-13, 06:54 AM
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Northern Mike,

I live in utah and drive a CNG vehicle. This most recent winter we were frequenting the -20 deg F regularly. I didn't experience any issues with either of my vehicles running on the CNG. One of them is an aspirated system and it runs a little sluggish off the start for a min or two when it was that cold. The other system i have is an injected system and it waits till the coolant reaches a certain operating temp as the coolant heats the regulator before it switches over to run on cng. There were a couple mornings where it needed to warm up for 10-15 mins before it would switch but when it reached temp it ran great in the cold. CNG isn't as bad or isn't affected as adversely with the cold as LPG is. I haven't been in the -40 deg F weather so i can't say for that cold but for -20s they both ran fine.

Hope this helps.

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Old 03-26-13, 11:23 PM
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I haven't done it myself. Did some checking though... IIRC the throttle/carburetor manifold can tend to stick up and not let the hood close. The big money is actually spent on the tank. And the compressor, if you don't already have one.

I experienced a CNG shuttle bus at the Albuquerque airport a few times. On a long hill on a hot day the bus slowed to such a crawl I though the driver was going to ask us to get out and push. I agree with the posters who say CNG works fine in the winter but also say: not if it's real hot outside.

puttster
 
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Old 03-26-13, 11:38 PM
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What year of vehicle are you thinking of converting. Car or truck? do you have the space for the tank. they can take up some significant space and if it in a car they will pretty much consume your entire trunk. On the topic of summer heat and the bus, it was probably simply due to the load on the motor. not that the gas was having problems...its not as explosive as conventional gasoline or diesel so under heavy loads like a bus load of people it will struggle. On a smaller car or truck when pulling hills or a load it won't be as noticeable.
 
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Old 03-26-13, 11:42 PM
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I don't think you mentioned it but do you have local stations you can use or access for the natural gas? Were you considering a home filling station? What was your plan on that front? I don't think the home filling stations are worth the cost. they are a ton of money up front and it would take a lot of driving to recover the invested cost of the equipment. If you have pumps locally you can access within a reasonable distance or enroute to your destinations then it is completely worth the conversion.
 
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Old 04-02-13, 06:41 AM
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CNG Vehicles

Definitely, IF someone is really interested and looking for conversion, he should first make sure about the availability of CNG at some reasonable distance and cost also. otherwise it will only increase the cost and might damage the reliability of vehicle.
 

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Old 06-26-13, 07:17 PM
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Plenty of used factory installed CNG vehicles out there, why even try to make one yourself? Way too much work and money that you will never get back.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 02:17 PM
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Please don't confuse CNG with Propane (Also Known as Autogas) CNG is at 3600 PSI and is still a gas at that pressure at an ambient temp down to minus 200 degrees, Propane is a liquid at 300 PSI at 70 degrees F. When CNG gets cold, nothing happens, as it does not turn to liquid unless it's below -230 degrees at 3600 PSI, which is NOT going to happen. And the fuel regulator is warmed by radiator water, the vehicle will start on gasoline, and as soon as the radiator water is hot, switch over to CNG. CNG is used in busses, in many cities with very cold climates, propane, no so much.
 

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Old 02-10-14, 02:25 PM
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I find it amusing that people posting here act like reliable, relatively inexpensive, CNG conversions are rocket science or something, this must be why the United States is DEAD LAST in CNG adoption. You can purchase a high quality European CNG conversion for most MPFI vehicles for about $1200 to $1600. You will also need a good CNG tank which costs between $800 and $4000, depending on size and type, and about $400 for a fill valve, shut off valve, check valve, and High pressure filter. Once done you will have a bi-fuel vehicle, and you can drive what you want, for as little as 50 cents a gallon.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 02:28 PM
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If you want to drive a full sized Ford, Chevy or Dodge truck, then yes, but not everyone does.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 02:42 PM
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Check your local gas company, they often have incentives, and so can your state, EERE: Alternative Fuels Data Center Home Page will tell you, Then there is the Federal government, which offers a $2000 Tax rebate for a home compressor, and as for huge up front costs, we recommend financing at low interest with no down payment financing, so a 1 GGE per hour will run $89 before rebates, and a 2.2 GGE (which will do 2 vehicles at once) will be $199 per month. Considering you just eliminated your gasoline costs, thats a bargain. Natural Gas Conversion Systems - CNG Training School | CNG Kits, Tanks
 
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