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2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

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  • 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

    I just recently purchased a low mileage Express van with the bi fuel option (cng/gas)installed by Impco with no literature and I need to replace the engine crankshaft. I need to find cng service info for this repair considering I have to remove some CNG components. I need to basicly open up the entire engine to do this. Does any one have any info to help me out. I have heard of a CNG service supplement that GM tech's use but its not available around my area...not even in the public libraries. The libraries have GM service manuals but nothing that pertains to CNG systems. Thanks in advance for the info.

  • #2
    Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

    You need to check e-bay to see if a supplement comes up for sale. Other then that, the supplements are available from GM's tech manual supplier, Helm. If you go to www.helminc.com you will find them listed there. If you need the entire service manual, it is also available. However, if you work on several different GM vehicles, they sell a DVD that has every owners manual, service manual, supplement, bulletin, recall, etc. from 1989 through 2008. It isn't cheap at $400.00, but buy a couple of paper manuals and it gets very cheap. The stuff you pull off the CNG van engine isn't very difficult to remove or re-install. Its getting the engine in and out of the van that is a pain . If you take pictures with a digital camera as you remove each item and use them as reference to re-install you would most likely be OK .

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    • #3
      Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

      Thanx for the advice...I got my hands on the alldata program and the proper disc, so I am jumping in with both feet, but I am going to try and leave the engine in seems to be enough room with the top end off.

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      • #4
        Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

        We have success... everything worked out great and everything works properly, no problems at all...I was amazed, it started first crank. I have another question, has anyone installed a rear trailer hitch on a CNG van. Is it considered a bad idea considering the location of the CNG tanks? I want to tow a 4000 to 5000 lb. travel trailer.

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        • #5
          Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

          You need to look it over carefully, but I think it is possible to do. I even think the hitch will provide more protection for the fuel tanks. I was suprised to see that the tank cover is plastic and there is really no protection for the tank from a rear end collision with a vehicle that could underide the van bumper. That being said, the standard hitch location is exactly where the support for the rear tank is attached to the frame. However, on the ends of the tank support are two "bumperettes" that extend out below the bumper. If you were to remove the tank cover and wrap the area around the rear tank with a welding blanket, you could easily weld a center section out of a Reese style hitch to the little bumperettes. I would box in the area on the inside of the bumperettes with a heavy steel plate, (1/4") and then weld the hitch tube to them, re-install the tank cover and you are done. Keep an eye on the area to make sure no cracks start over time. The bumperettes don't support the tank at all but it would still not be fun to have your trailer pass you going down a hill. These vans are usually one-ton's and have great towing capacity. Disclaimer: I am not an expert on anything so take my advise at your own risk .

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          • #6
            Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

            Thanx for your input,I was looking at that as well but I also was looking a redesigning a heavy duty rear step bumper, attaching it in the same location but using a much stronger method and attaching a receiver to that. Discussing with a local welder buddy

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            • #7
              Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

              I have a 2001 version of this van and would really like a hitch as well. The best I have been able to figure is to buy a weld on hitch that comes in parts, and then switch the brackets left to right, so that they reach in towards the frame instead of out towards the wheels. If you bolted the brackets onto the same bolts as the CNG enclosure, and then weld the cross bar on once the brackets were in place I think it would work. Let me know what you do please.

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              • #8
                Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                I know this is an older post. . .but I just purchased a 2002 express and would like to install a hitch as well. Please let me know what the result was.
                Thanks.

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                • #9
                  Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                  I contacted a company in Salt Lake about making a hitch for a Chevy van. They do custom welding and hitch fabrication, etc.
                  Here's their info:
                  Pards
                  5910 S 300 W
                  SLC
                  801-262-4864
                  They would need to see the van in person, but they said they would probably be able to make a hitch for about $250.

                  I've never taken one to them to have a hitch installed, I just found them by making some calls.

                  If someone has a hitch installed, please let us know how it goes.
                  -Derek
                  www.CNGUtah.com

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                  • #10
                    Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                    I built the hitch in the manner described in my earlier post and have towed both a boat and a cargo trailer with it for over 2500 miles with no problems. I am on the road and by the weekend I will be home where I have some pictures of the installation. It was built by buying a welded hitch tube and receiver assembly, cutting the tube to length and fabricating two plate steel brackets to weld to the bumperettes. It really looks "factory". My only caution when towing heavy loads would be to disable the CNG system to prevent a caytalic convertor meltdown.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                      Finally back in Michigan so I can put a couple of pictures of the hitch on the forum. Pretty simple to build with the hardest part being the fabrication of the two plates to be welded to the "bumperettes" on the rear of the CNG mounts.
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                        I love that you can read the warning sticker in your photo, "DO NOT INSTALL A TOW HITCH OR TOW WITH THIS VEHICLE". My van got rear-ended so I'll take these pics to the repair shop and see if they can add something like this.

                        Where do you all store your spare tire for your bi-fuel vans? I'd like to get something added so I can mount it on the back door. I didn't like it banging around the cargo area so we've had it under the back seat. But it won't slide under the seat. You have to remove the back seat to get the tire in and out. That isn't a bad solution when you've got small kids that don't need leg room, but it isn't too comfortable for youth or adults in the back seat. The rear-door mount is on my wish list also.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                          I should also take a picture of the sticker that came with the "Hitch" kit that says it is for bike racks only, not for towing. Looks like a class 4 hitch to me . It has worked really well for me, however as I posted earlier, I don't tow heavy loads on CNG and either run the CNG out or pull the CNG fuse before doing so. As to the spare tire, the van I have is a long wheelbase cargo van and it is mounted on a rack which is bolted to the floor on the left side just in front of the left rear wheelwell. Sounds like you have a passenger van and I can't recall were the tire is mounted. If you could find a cargo van tire rack, it might fit behind the rear seat. Look around at junk yards as most conversion vans had spare tires mounted on the back door or Look for one that uses a seperate mount (swings away from the door) as it might be better for holding the heavier, larger tire used on these vans.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                            I also have a 2002 Bi-Fuel Van and would like to build a hitch for it. Could you give me some more Info on it?
                            Please call me at: (602) 692-7129
                            ThanX, Randy

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                            • #15
                              Re: 2002 Express bi fuel van servicing

                              Originally posted by siai47 View Post
                              I built the hitch in the manner described in my earlier post and have towed both a boat and a cargo trailer with it for over 2500 miles with no problems. I am on the road and by the weekend I will be home where I have some pictures of the installation. It was built by buying a welded hitch tube and receiver assembly, cutting the tube to length and fabricating two plate steel brackets to weld to the bumperettes. It really looks "factory". My only caution when towing heavy loads would be to disable the CNG system to prevent a caytalic convertor meltdown.
                              why is towing not recommended on the bi fuel expresses? i don't think it's a powertrain issue because the stickers say that it's to avoid damage to the CNG tanks. you don't need to disable the CNG system to avoid "cat meltdown"

                              How would towing damage the CNG tanks? The newer expresses IMPCO converted for AT&T have towing hitches and CNG tanks in the same location:

                              skip to 2:00
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra3zNPsNw9Y

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