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View Full Version : Another "interesting" conversion {unsafe cylinder mount}



mecklen
10-23-2008, 03:10 PM
I just filled up at the Jordan District pumps (1:30pm) and pulled up next to a black four-door Ford F-250. Of course I said hello and looked at his setup. He had the cng tank mounted diagonally in the bed of his truck, no visible restraining straps or anything, no protective covering. I asked who did his conversion and he said he'd gotten the tank in Phoenix and done it himself. He said the tank only had a few years left on it.

I told him the safety and emissions check stations were now looking for non-epa conversions and he might have trouble. His response was that he'd called the state agency and they didn't have any problem with it when he'd done the conversion. He even has a Clean Air plate, A127B.

I mentioned the lack of mounting hardware and he said it was mounted on plates attached to the truck bed. He even has a child's car seat in the truck. He expressed some of the same anti-epa sentiments I've heard here and I dropped the whole subject.

I quietly winced and wished him good luck.

larrycng
10-23-2008, 03:46 PM
That is scary. I would drop a license number and desrciption to the local Fire Marsahall and maybe the local SMOG people. I hope he doesn't actually transport a child, in the vehicle.

From my prespective the EPA takes a back seat on the is one, this is a safety issue (based on NFPA 52). The EPA can have what remains.

Larrycng

Lancer Automotive Group
10-23-2008, 03:59 PM
Actually from my meeting this week it looks like the State Highway Patrol is taking the lead on safety here in Utah so if any one gets a license number report it. We donít want to see any fatalities due to CNG here in Utah.

CNG MOTORS
10-23-2008, 04:23 PM
I don't like EPA just like everyone else, but that's just stupid. Could you image what that tank will do in an accident, wouldn't take much to shear the valve off and now you have a 300 lb. land torpedo

CNG Utah
10-24-2008, 11:44 AM
I saw something just like that at the SLC airport last week. There was a nice Dodge 2500 Crew Cab filling up. He finished just as I was pulling in; I got out of the car just as he was leaving and I saw the same diagonal tank in the bed without any visible mounting hardware. He was pulling a trailer and I didn't think to look at his license plate anyways, but maybe someone else will in the future. I cringed just thinking about what would happen to that tank in an accident.

Lancer Automotive Group
10-25-2008, 12:02 PM
Filling our EPA Certified Ford at the Questar on 200S in Salt Lake beside me was a Toyota Corolla (Bi-Fuel) owner stated he had it converted in Layton; the check engine light stays on. Toyota will not look because of the conversions. When ask how he was going to pass safety and emissions he became upset and left. Is any one ever going to crack down on these one kit fits all shops.

John Mitton
10-25-2008, 09:16 PM
We need a contact at the State Fire Marshall to report these unsafe situations. CNGLO has been looking into this, if you read this post do you have a contact for us?

karlhafen
10-25-2008, 11:51 PM
I have a couple of thoughts on this. I am a Utah state safety inspector and a cylinder inspector. I do NOT do

conversions.

Of the cars that I see that have been converted in the last year or so, the non-EPA installs out number the EPA

installs probably 20 to 1. While most of these conversions are likely illegal, the law is not 100% clear in every

case nor is it universally accepted.

I think that safety is the most important thing and we need to be proactive about it. The EPA has no control over

bungie corded cylinders. The State fire marshall probably has too small of staff to do much. I think the answer is

to make it a part of the annual state safety inspection.

I think adding the following two lines to the inspection manual would solve 99% of the safety issues.

1. Check for cylinder inspection label, reject if missing or expired, advise if expiration date is less than one year

away

2.Check high pressure lines. Reject if not firmly supported, reject if rigid lines are not constructed of seamless

steel, reject if lines are not protected from abrasion, reject if lines are too tight to allow for normal flexing of

the vehicle.

John Mitton
10-26-2008, 08:23 PM
Karl,
Some wording on cylinders must be installed using rigid brackets, etc.?

Yroc
10-26-2008, 09:33 PM
One thing you are all overlooking is that this tank could have been an end mount tank, meaning that it mounts on the ends and would not have any belly brackets visible. I have had some of these tanks installed and that is they are built to be mounted.

Meklen,
You say you mentioned the mounting and he said it was done with plates, seems to be the correct way to do it and would be up to NFPA52 standards. I think you are all jumping all over this with way too many assumptions, why not assume he's done it correctly like he told you??

karlhafen
10-26-2008, 09:52 PM
The cylinder inspection should cover mounting brackets, prd and shields.

I can also see how relying on the cylinder inspection label could create a dangerous loop hole. Extra tanks that are added after the tank inspection would slip past. I guess the answer to that (for the state safety inspector) would be to when a tank appears to have been added post conversion requiring the owner to produce the cng cylinder inspection form listing the serial numbers of the tank(s).

larrycng
10-26-2008, 10:56 PM
Hi guys;

Cylinders being installed after the initial installation, especially if they are used cylinders, are not covered in NFPA -52, but they are covered in CGA C-6.4 sect 7.2. A new inspection label is required. If the cylinder doesn't have a current inspection label it should be identified as level 2 damage. A new cylinder would be good for the first 3 years of it life. However, the installation is still in question.

I agree that cylinders with less than 1 year before inspection should be reinspected. The inspection dates would then correlate with the vehicle safety inspection and registration.

As for the mounting system Yroc described, call "neck mount" is used by some manufacturers (SCI and Dynetek are 2). I have only seen them in transit bus application on roof mounting. The only neck mounts I have seen use Type 3 cylinders. The aluminum liner is extended during the forming process and machined to accept this type of mounting system. One end of the cylinder, usually the valve end is clamped tight into the neck mount bracket. The other end is allowed to "Float" in the other bracket to compensate for thermal expansion. These cylinders are usually long cylinders. (see attached picture Dynetek).

Personally I see no reason to use a neck mount in a light duty vehicle application. Also personally, I would classify any tank mounted at each end that was not specifically designed for neck mounting is a safety hazard and therefore should be classified as level 2. NFPA 52 -6.3.6 states "the fuel supply container weight shall not be supported by outlet valves, manifolds, or other fuel connection."

I hope this helps. I've seen only one try at neck mounting on a cylinder that was not designed for it and it was pathetic.

Larrycng

Yroc
10-27-2008, 12:19 AM
Yes, there are a butt-load of Dynetek neck mount tanks here in UT. I bought 5 from a guy who had over 50 in a warehouse and these are the ones being mounted diagonally in the beds of trucks. I had mine installed by a certified tank inspector and we added PRD's to both ends as required by some newer standard. We only put them in longbed trucks as they would fit lengthwise and we also built solid covers over them...

What you should really look for if you see these tanks is if they even have 1 PRD. I saw atleast 10 installed WITHOUT PRDS!!! We had a heck of a time finding PRD's that would work, but we did, and made them safe. I think a tank without a PRD would be atleast as dangerous as an unmounted tank if not more dangerous.

CNGLO
10-27-2008, 01:08 AM
We need a contact at the State Fire Marshall to report these unsafe situations. CNGLO has been looking into this, if you read this post do you have a contact for us?

I don't have any more information than I sent you last week via email. I'll follow up on Monday.

mecklen
10-27-2008, 01:19 PM
You say you mentioned the mounting and he said it was done with plates, seems to be the correct way to do it and would be up to NFPA52 standards. I think you are all jumping all over this with way too many assumptions, why not assume he's done it correctly like he told you??

Because it is easy to say you've done a job right, and very difficult to actually do it. This guy did not indicate any professional certification or training, and did not indicate that he had had his work inspected by a professional.

I'm an engineer (not automotive or mechanical) and I see lots of folks in my business who are simply not well trained in engineering. I know first hand how people (even smart people) claim correct implementations and are unable to deliver them.

But you're right in that I could be wrong about this person and their work. The odds seem against it, though.

larrycng
10-28-2008, 07:48 PM
I checked with my sources at Dynetek. As long as the cylinder is mounted in accordance with Dynetek instructions, includeng the proper locating of the mounting blocks in relation to the cylinders length to allow for expansion things should be ok. The plate that was mentioned, should be of sufficient thickness that when mounted to the vehicle it does not allow for flexing of the cyllinder, and of course the whole mounting system needs to meets all specifications of NFPA 52 including the movement limitation of 1/2 inch when subjected to an impact of 8 times the mass of a fully loaded cylinder.

There should of course been a shield to protect the cylinder from physical or UV damage.

There was another post on the site about Dynetek cylinders for sale. My source indicates that they probably came out of Toronto transit, and the post would indicate that. The cylinders had llittle use but have a few year on them. I wonder how many years remain.

With proper mounting, those long tanks would go good in an 8 ft. pickup bed -- if you didn't need the load space.

Larrycng

Yroc
10-28-2008, 09:23 PM
Larry, we were putting them in long bed work trucks and I had some that had an expiration of 2021 and they were VERY clean apperance wise. Someone just listed 20 more here on this site...

Gaz Guy
10-29-2008, 02:43 PM
The two attached pictures clearly show neck mounted tanks. These are totally legal and in fact are the preferred mounting system for almost all of the roof mounted CNG systems on transit buses. How they are attached to the chassis is another issue. If they are bolted through the bed using nothing more than backing plates or fender washers, they will become ballistic in a severe crash. Make sure whoever does the installations has a track record that can be verified, such as the list that John posted.

larrycng
10-29-2008, 03:53 PM
Hi Dave;

In some specifications I read a long time ago, it required at least 7 or 9 sq inches of back up washer surface area on that particular manufacturer's cylinder brackets when they mounted to body sheet metal. I also believe the requirement was 3/16 inch or 1/4 inch for the thickness of washer -- not the cheap hardware store washers.

Does Luxfer have any such guidelines for cylinder installation? If so, they might prove to be helpful suggestions to individuals doing cylinder installations.

Thanks for your input

Larrycng

CraziFuzzy
10-30-2008, 03:06 AM
My suggestion would be to use metal plates that attached to the bed-bolts, and then the cylinder mounts attached to it. Body sheet metal, even that in a truck bed, is simply not firm enough, and even with large washers, can actually rip in an accident. There is no real structural strength in the tuck bed, and mounting the the main bed bolts is the only real way to attach the cylinder to the trucks frame.

Yroc
10-30-2008, 07:04 PM
Yes, we used large metal plates under the bed connected to ATLEAST 16" of solid C-Channel that mounted to the tank. 16" gives much more stability than the smaller 6" ones we were seeing installed by the seller.

larrycng
10-30-2008, 08:29 PM
This is starting to sound good (and safe). Can you up load picture

thanks
Larrycng

dbd
11-06-2008, 05:12 PM
Yes, we used large metal plates under the bed connected to ATLEAST 16" of solid C-Channel that mounted to the tank. 16" gives much more stability than the smaller 6" ones we were seeing installed by the seller.

The problem with all of the dynatec tanks that you see people have here in utah, that supposedly came out of busses, is all the ones I have seen are not are not legal in the US. The tanks are not NGV2 certified to run in NGV and they are not DOT to transport them. Not saying they are not safe tanks built to high standards, they are just technically not legal. I guess that is why they are propular with non-epa kits.

Yroc
11-06-2008, 07:52 PM
The problem with all of the dynatec tanks that you see people have here in utah, that supposedly came out of busses, is all the ones I have seen are not are not legal in the US. The tanks are not NGV2 certified to run in NGV and they are not DOT to transport them. Not saying they are not safe tanks built to high standards, they are just technically not legal. I guess that is why they are propular with non-epa kits.

True, I did just recently learn about this, but was totally unaware when I had them installed, I also had a certified tank inspector install them, so I just assumed all was good. Just goes to show how much CNG stuff is floating around out there.

BTW, how did these get into the US if they are not certified for use here? Most I've found have come from AZ, how'd they end up there??

larrycng
11-06-2008, 09:33 PM
Yroc,

Before you tear anything apart, check the label on the tanks, if they meet Canadian B-51 standard, if so, they are ok for use on vehicles in the U.S. Wip out your NFPA 52 and look at section. 4.4.4. sub paragraph 3 (the 2006) edition). Does it say on the label that the cylinder is not legal for use in the US?

Can you send me picture of the lable with the serial number of the cylinder, I can check with Dynetek, or you can.

No body cares that were used on buses as long as the label is compliant with NFPA 52, and that includs the mounting system, what is the problem?

Larrycng

dbd
11-07-2008, 10:03 AM
Yroc,

Before you tear anything apart, check the label on the tanks, if they meet Canadian B-51 standard, if so, they are ok for use on vehicles in the U.S. Wip out your NFPA 52 and look at section. 4.4.4. sub paragraph 3 (the 2006) edition). Does it say on the label that the cylinder is not legal for use in the US?

Can you send me picture of the lable with the serial number of the cylinder, I can check with Dynetek, or you can.

No body cares that were used on buses as long as the label is compliant with NFPA 52, and that includs the mounting system, what is the problem?

Larrycng

I thought that is why there is so many of them out dyntec tanks out there that are not damaged and still have a good expiration date. The tanks were pulled out to be replaced with NGV2 certified tanks. Why else would there be hundreds of tanks that are supposedly still "legal" in the US being sold for hundreds of dollars when the same tank that is NGV2 and DOT certiified are thousands?

John Mitton
11-07-2008, 10:24 AM
Just be especially careful as the Canadian cylinders are generally rated to 3000 psi. Ensure a P30 fill neck is installed not a P36.

dbd
11-09-2008, 10:12 AM
Just be especially careful as the Canadian cylinders are generally rated to 3000 psi. Ensure a P30 fill neck is installed not a P36.

You are right. All the ones I have seen are also only rated to 3.000 psi but that does not stop people from filling them to 3600 psi.

Franz
11-09-2008, 11:03 AM
If someone installs a P36 fill receptacle on a 3000 psig certified system, they are in violation of numerous safety codes. If the filling station has a 3000 psig system jacked up to 3600 psig, they are open to numerous liability issues if a problem were to develop.

Overpressure is indeed a problem. A P30 fill connection will fit and fill on a P36 receptacle but although a P36 fill connection will fit on a P30, fuel will not dispense due to a safety interlock device which is internal to the connector.

Franz

cnghal
11-09-2008, 11:23 AM
All,
These "legal" Dynatek cylinders came from Toronto Transit buses that where converted back to diesel and not "upgraded", since the US is the only country that uses 3,600psi.
The entire system was decommissioned a couple of years ago and auctioned off.
The system, which included, at it's time of installation the most advanced transit fill system in the world, capable of fueling the 80gge buses with 60 gges in three minutes with full temperature compensation using on vehicle temperature sensing. Even thier defueling system was impressive. An IMW skid system with storage and dispenser equal to most Clean Energy stations here in the states.
So, like most of the used equipment out there, someone else's short sightedness, in turn feeds our innovation.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
BTW, we still have 20 left that are good till 2017 or 2018.

Yroc
11-09-2008, 03:07 PM
All mine had P30 nozzles installed, FYI.