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Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

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  • Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

    Does anyone know of a LEGAL conversion kit? Given the recent EPA rule changes, I thought we might see such systems start being offered. The only LEGAL conversions that I know of are done by EPA certified conversion shops that cater to fleet operators. Is there something preventing legal conversion kits to be available to DIYers or ordinary auto mechanics? Does the certification go beyond the materials - like the person doing the install must be certified in some respect? Is the certification cost on the system itself still too high to make such a thing practical?
    02 GX

  • #2
    Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

    The big question is: Are you trained?

    The EPA breaks vehicles into 3 tiers. 2012 -2010 (current year being 2011 and either year around it) require certified kits. 2009 - 2001 requires OBDll compliant kits and proof of passing the emissions test. I understand that a scanner can do that. I may be wrong and some one will correct me if so. Tier 3 is all the old vehicles and those past their useful life. (more than 10 years or 100,000 miles) They must pass a tail pipe emissions test.

    Certified kits can only be purchased with a manufacturers training certificate number.

    I am not a mechanic so this is just my interpretation. Hit the post if I'm wrong folks.

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    • #3
      Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

      I think as a practical matter that only 'tier 1' of Amfuel's three groups is actually available. Older OBDII kits are no longer EPA certified and even if they were the companies that made them probably won't sell them to anybody (they're the same companies that make and install the new kits, no incentive to sell old kits even if they could). I don't think EPA has any procedure for an individual get their 'blessing' on a converted 'past useful life' car. Does anyone do that testing?
      02 GX
      01 GX
      03 Crown Vic
      06 GX
      Home Fueler

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      • #4
        Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

        I personally doubt you will see anything available for a few years. The Obamanation passed over 600 new rules in July... they want to control everything that goes on in the USA; we now need to obtain permission to even attempt anything new or innovative, and imho, that has killed any possibility of cheap conversion kits. Im all for setting safety standards, but I feel epa certifications and limiting installation and parts availability to a small number of overcharging "specialists" does not add much value or future expansion potential.

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        • #5
          Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

          These crazy rules go back before Obama. The current admin didn't need to do anything -- the small volume manufacturers already had a monopoly on conversions. Cheap, proven kits are available but if you live in a state with a smog check program they will fail a car with a kit.
          02 GX
          01 GX
          03 Crown Vic
          06 GX
          Home Fueler

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          • #6
            Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

            20 years in CNG training and conversion have given a little insite. Even if there is and EPA approved "do it yourself" kit, I would submit that they need to be tested for proper operation after they are installed (emission dyne and OBD II). No matter how good the "kit" is, there is still the "Human factor" and this is where Murphy's Law kicks in. It could be a problem with the kit, a problem the vehicle engine and/or computer system, or just a "dumb" mistake by the installer (and we have all made them -- and will again).

            This just covers the engine, I don't thing I have to go into the remainder of the system installation.

            Larrycng
            Last edited by larrycng; 08-05-2011, 09:09 AM. Reason: old age

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            • #7
              Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

              No argument that it is a good idea to test after installing a kit, but who does that? EPA has taken it's authority to prevent 'tampering' with emission control systems as license to prevent any modifications unless hundreds of thousands of $$$ of testing has been done.
              02 GX
              01 GX
              03 Crown Vic
              06 GX
              Home Fueler

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                Originally posted by larrycng View Post
                ............. No matter how good the "kit" is, there is still the "Human factor" and this is where Murphy's Law kicks in.

                Larrycng
                Hey don't drag me into this :0)
                sigpichttp://WWW.CNGMOTORS.COM
                SAVE TIME. SAVE MONEY. SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT.

                2003 Hummer H2 bi-fuel
                2000 GMC Yukon XL bi-fuel
                1999 International 4700 dual-fuel
                2007 Chevy Avalanche bi-fuel

                FMQ2-36 Fuelmaker w/ 24 GGE cascade

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                • #9
                  Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                  Originally posted by CNG MOTORS View Post
                  Hey don't drag me into this :0)
                  I didn't know you were Irish

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                  • #10
                    Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                    Who is to say what is legal and what is not. I can buy a kit that was used in an EPA certified system a few years ago but the certification is now expires, as Larry said who installs a system and how it is tuned is important also the tank and high pressure fittings should follow NFPA52 standards. Whether or not the system is tuned correctly goes to the "tampering" question, if the emission standards are maintained after the conversion then there is no tampering. Any system EPA certified or not can have problems, all systems will have running problems. I feel that it is the EPA's responsibility to prove if a person is tampering, it should not be assumed that non EPA-certified is synonymous with "tampering". By the way can anyone show me a valid example where an individual of company has been fined those alleged $1000's for any "illegal" conversion by the EPA? If not why all the fuss???
                    Last edited by younkin; 08-06-2011, 12:23 AM.
                    Jim Younkin
                    www.younkincng.com

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                    • #11
                      Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                      Great discussion - surprised the elites have not shut you guys down. Keep the discussion going because the only way CNG vehicles will grow significantly is the constant push for reasonableness.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                        I promise I am not trying to stir the pot, I only want to understand the legal limits and understand why kits are not available.

                        From the posts so far, I have not heard of any reason why a legal "kit" CAN NOT be made available. Perhaps the guys who are getting their systems EPA certified *CHOOSE* not to provide a "kit" to consumers, but that does not necessarily mean they are not allowed to! Unless as part of the certification, that the EPA requires the installation be done specifically by the installer who was originally certified.... does anyone know if that's true?

                        Is there any other reason which keeps a converted vehicle from being legal, besides the EPA regulations? Younkin says below "should follow NFPA52", but is that an actual legal requirement somehow?
                        02 GX

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                        • #13
                          Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                          Originally posted by rodney_kranz View Post
                          I promise I am not trying to stir the pot, I only want to understand the legal limits and understand why kits are not available.

                          From the posts so far, I have not heard of any reason why a legal "kit" CAN NOT be made available. Perhaps the guys who are getting their systems EPA certified *CHOOSE* not to provide a "kit" to consumers, but that does not necessarily mean they are not allowed to! Unless as part of the certification, that the EPA requires the installation be done specifically by the installer who was originally certified.... does anyone know if that's true?

                          Is there any other reason which keeps a converted vehicle from being legal, besides the EPA regulations? Younkin says below "should follow NFPA52", but is that an actual legal requirement somehow?
                          I am not sure on the EPA requirements on who can perform the installation on an EPA certified kit. Maybe John Mitton can answer that. I do know that due to the liability involved with the installation of these kits, most (if not all) US kit manufacturers require the installer to be trained by them and certified by them to install their kits. The training by the kit manufacturers is heavily guided by NFPA - 52. They will only sale kits to those who are certified by them. As far as legal requirement of installations following NFPA - 52, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the one who is the arm of the law on this. There are two states that have some type of inspection required for NGVs, these are California and Utah. I cannot speak for California, but Utah has a requirement that an NGV must pass its CNG inspection in accordance with DOT FMVSS304 and CGA C-6.4. These inspections include the installation of all high pressure components to ensure that they are installed in accordance with NFPA-52.
                          Jared.
                          Mountain Green, Utah
                          2003 CNG Cavalier
                          2003 CNG Silverado 2500HD

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                          • #14
                            Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                            Originally posted by joe_kan View Post
                            Great discussion - surprised the elites have not shut you guys down. Keep the discussion going because the only way CNG vehicles will grow significantly is the constant push for reasonableness.
                            Now that's funny. Where else but here would you think of someone as an "elite" because they drive a ten year old Chevy Cavalier?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Does a LEGAL DIY Conversion Kit Exist?

                              The following relates to new vehicle fuel conversions, "new" being defined as current model year minus two, so today this means OEM model year 2011, 2010 and 2009.

                              Cconversion companies are "Manufacturers" from a Clean Air Act standpoint. One required part of the application is an attestation that the modifications to the vehicle meet all ANSI and FMVSS safety standards (note FMVSS carries the weight of federal law, ANSI is the automotive industry standards body, NFPA-52 carries the weight of law in some states such as OK, TX, CA and UT, others might also apply).

                              When a Manufacturer sends an upfit system to a third party he runs the risk that the third party screws up with unsafe additional components or practices, potentially putting his status with EPA in jeopardy. So care is taken to train these facilities and periodically review vehicles produced. For example, BAF is one of the largest Manufacturers, who has all but eliminated most of their third party upfit partners in favor of shipping everything via its Dallas facility. IMPCO's policy is to provide training onsite as well as at the Oklahoma Comm College, with kits being shipped only to those who have passed training with a site visit being the final hurdle.
                              http://www.occc.edu/automotive/FuelInfo.html

                              As for older vehicles, EPA has relaxed the requirements such that a formal application as Manufacturer is not required, just a notification online with a spreadsheet. I don't play in that world but others here in the online community probably do.

                              Finally, there are legal requirements and then there is industry practice. Most tank suppliers have used the EPA / CARB hurdle as a surrogate for ensuring their product ends up on the hands of folks who are well trained in dealing with 3600 psi fuel systems. Ditto for regulator suppliers too. Texas and Oklahoma have licensing procedures for shops and technicians, so selling into these states is a simpler process, as there is some assurance that expertise is there.

                              Now, as for CNGchat policy we simply require that the forum not be used to further illegal or unsafe practices. So this tread is great because we are discussing the legal and safety challenges facing DIY mechanics while not posting how to obtain items which have not met regulatory standards. I hope that some out there will go thru the new relaxed EPA path and post their experiences and offering the system to others here as well.

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