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Please Help - Ford CNG Regulator

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  • Please Help - Ford CNG Regulator

    I took my 2000 Bi-fuel truck to a local Ford dealer because the truck would start on CNG with the green light on but it would hesistate trying to turn off. I knew that enough fuel wasnt coming in.

    The Ford dealer called me last Tuesday and said that there was a leak from the fuel injectors and they need to be tighten up. I told him are you sure that will fix the problem and he said "Yes". He said the charge would be $825. So I said go ahead and do it.

    Last Friday I got a call and he said I have some bad news, the CNG regulator is bad. I told him you said it was only a leak at the fuel injectors and he said we had to first fix that and then we found out about the link in the fuel regulator.

    My question to all does that make any sense? I thought the CNG goes through the CNG tanks through the regulator then through the injectors to the engine. IF they notice a leak they first should have detect the leak from the regulator first.

    I want your opinion in this and what should I do. The CNG regulator is about $1200 plus whatever the labor is going to be.

  • #2
    Re: Please Help

    Hesitate when you TAKE off? If so, check for a leak (crack) in the intake boot. I think that is what it is called. I had a car that would do that and in reverse. It could be agravated if a motor mount is broken causing more twisting. Ford dealer service has always scared me. I ended up in an out of town one once in a work truck. It cost me dearly to get out of there.


    • #3
      Re: Please Help - Ford CNG Regulator

      I have a 1998 Bifuel Ford E350 15 passenger van 60K Miles with the following problems.

      1. Service Engine light soon was on when on CNG, but not Gasoline
      2. GFI light was blinking
      3. Hesitation
      4. Rough Idling
      5. Stalling during idle.
      6. Engine Knocking or valve clicking sound during rapid acceleration while running on gasoline only. I have tried several tanks of 91 octane with no change.

      I have spent a bunch of money fixing different problems and I am not done yet. I will tell you what was done and the results so far. I took the van to Go Natural CNG formerly Sno-Motion. Their initial diagnosis was that the regulator was bad because it was not outputting the correct pressure. They can test this. Price $1200.00. My response - order it up and get it fixed. In addition because the plugs and packs were still original, they recommended a tune up. This includes changing the plugs and the packs, flushing the CNG lines and changing the coalescent filter.
      In the process of performing the tune-up they performed a smoke test and discovered some leaks in the vacuum hoses and the seals. My response - Getter done. After the plugs, coil packs, seals and some vacuum hoses were replaced problems 1 - 6 persisted. The van did start more quickly on CNG and had better acceleration when it would accelerate, but it was still having problems. The service engine light was pulling a bad O2 sensor so that was replaced too, but the service engine light was still lit and there was a high voltage from the compuvalve code. At this point I received some good news and bad news. 1. Good news, your regulator was not bad after all. They retested the regulator after the tune-up and it was okay. Somehow the vacuum imbalance caused by the leaky seals and vacuum hoses was causing a pressure imbalance that was messing up the regulator? I am not sure if the compuvalve controls the regulator based on input from the vacuum pressure input from the engine. Anyway, I am very pleased with the work that Go Natural CNG performed. IMHO they deserve high praise for not charging me for the regulator, because, they could have replaced it, or not replaced it for that matter, and charged me anyways. 2. The bad news: your compuvalve is bad. They came to this conclusion by running all of the tests to check for a bad compuvalve. They even consulted with Champion Ford to arrive at this diagnosis. They told me that to be 100% absolutely sure that I should take it to Champion Ford, because they have a tool to test for sure. I took the van to Champion and the diagnosis was the same - bad compuvalve. Price $3100.00 for the compuvavle and 150.00 for the diagnosis. FYI Champion Ford's diagnosis fee is now $250.00. I was only charged 150.00 because they diagnosed it quick.
      Now that my van requires the most expensive compuvalve in the history of CNG; I can only surmise that a $3100.00 compuvalve is constructed of platinum, titanium, iridium, diamond plating (real diamonds of course) and carbon fiber. For this price I expect a life time warranty overnight shipping a GFI signature edition model, personally signed by the founder and CEO of GFI. That is the construction of a 3100.00 compuvalve. Why else would they want the old one back?

      I had nothing to lose, except for more money, so I decided I was either going to break open the compuvalve myself and clean it with a bunch of Isopropyl Alcohol, or let Brandon 801-637-4570 with CNG Technologies of Utah clean it for $200.00. Because there is usually a learning curve doing something the first time, and I did not want to further damage my broken 3100.00 compuvalve. I decided to pay to have Brandon do it because he has more experience.
      The compuvalve was cleaned and the van is supposed to be running great. They found oil clogging one of the internal valves. The service engine light is still on but the hesitation and rough idle are supposed to be eliminated. I have been so busy trying to find a job that I have not had time to pick up the van. If these problems are eliminated, then I am taking the van back to Go Natural CNG so they can Hard reset the service engine code away. Removing the battery cable and performing a soft reset did not clear the service engine light.

      I hope this helps someone or explains how possibly a regulator could be bad along with a lot of other stuff. The difficult thing about fixing CNG vehicles is that the systems are interrelated and all they can do is fix one problem and then move on and address the next symptom. I would have the dealership run a smoke test on your truck, fix any leaks, and then re-test the regulator.

      NOTE: Every time I have my vehicles in for service I pick the mechanics brains, asking every question I have ever wanted to know about maintaining my CNG vehicle. This is how I have learned the proper procedure for flushing CNG lines, cleaning injectors, and changing the coalescent filter. When I asked about the knocking engine sound - #6 on the list. Champion ford told me to run some Injector cleaner through the gasoline side. I have the injector cleaner in the tank but have not run the van on gasoline enough to have the desired impact.


      • #4
        Re: Please Help - Ford CNG Regulator

        Hi NGXV -
        Just a short THANK YOU for sharing your problems with your bi-fuel. I'm going thru a steep learning curve on CNG and what it might be like to own and operate one here in NC where the CNG infrastructure is not yet in place. I have a 1999 E350 11 passenger gasoline van that we use for all kinds of stuff, but at today's gas prices. From what I read so far, either I'll have to buy a used bi-fuel or buy a new vehicle and have it legally converted to bi-fuel. And then I'll be on my own here in Raleigh for service problems like you describe.

        btw - did they change all your plugs and coil packs at 60k? That's a little soon unless the 98 model didn't use platinum plugs from the factory. Ours had to be changed at 95k due to one coil pack going bad - otherwise it would have just been a plug change at the service manual recommended 100k.

        Do CNG vehicles eat plugs or other things quicker than gasoline vehicles?

        Thanks, jpgart


        • #5
          Re: Please Help - Ford CNG Regulator

          Turns out that Brandon’s cleaning did not fix the compuvalve. To be fair, after describing my problems, he said that he did not think his cleaning would fix the compuvalve. I figured $200.00 was better than $3100.00 for the compuvalve, so it was worth a shot. No such luck, my compuvalve is still broken.

          To answer your question, the spark plugs, coil packs, and o-rings, or injector seals were replaced at 60K. All of the 5 of the ford CNG vehicles I have owned acted like they could have used spark plugs around 60K. From what I have been told by the CNG mechanics, it is good to replace the plugs around 60K. 1. CNG is 130 octane, so it needs as much spark as possible. 2. CNG burns hotter so from my understanding this wears the plugs faster. If you are having problems starting the vehicle in the cold, and your vehicle has 60K or more miles and you do not know when the plugs were last changed, this is a good place to start.

          The number one key to keeping your CNG vehicle running smooth is to prevent excessive, or carryover oil out of your injectors and catalytic converter, and or compuvalve. You keep the oil out by regularly draining any oil from your coalescent filter bowl. I would suggest checking the filter every 5K miles. Replace the filter if it becomes misshapen, partially coated or saturated in oil.


          • #6
            Re: Please Help - Ford CNG Regulator

            Have you tried Seafoam? I am wondering where the best place to put Seafoam in my F-150 Bi-fuel to clean the NG injectors? I always (in regular gas vehicles) put the Seafoam through the brake booster hose while running the engine at a fast idle. Seafoam always seems to clean things up. Will this work on a bi fuel F-150? Has anyone tried this? I bet the seafoam would clean those lines and injectors if you can get it to pass through those areas. Could you put it in the filter housing (NG) and run it through there to clean the lines?


            • #7
              Re: Please Help - Ford CNG Regulator

              Rick, use the search feature and type in Seafoam. The subject has been thoroughly covered, including the answer to your query.