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Looking for advice on CNG vehicle purchase

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  • Looking for advice on CNG vehicle purchase

    Hi folks, I'm a CNG newbie here. I've been offered a CNG truck at a bargain price. It's at a dealership, and they can't get it to run. The truck is a 2014 Ford 5.4L with only 28,000 miles on it. The thing quite literally looks brand new. It's been sitting at the dealership for over a year, and when I went to look at it it would crank but not start. We determined that it was out of fuel. They had it towed to the nearest CNG filling station, and by the time it got back to the dealership all the fuel had leaked out. It has a 35 gal total capacity with three tanks. As I said, I can pick this thing up for less than half of what of would sell for if it was a gasoline vehicle. What are my options here? What are the approximate costs involved (worst case).

  • #2
    Welcome to CNGchat!

    The likely culprit is a faulty electrical circuit to the tank valves. Most tanks have an electronic solenoid built into the valve on the neck of the tank. You should hear an audible click there when the key is turned on, energizing the solenoid with 12V DC power - using the same circuit as this truck would have used to energize the fuel pump relay if it were a gasoline vehicle. This would also account for the fuel gauge showing empty: there is no high pressure flowing from the tanks to the pressure regulator and sensor/transducer. If it was leaking gas you would have smelled it.

    This truck is a conversion, so check under the hood for an EPA sticker with the conversion company information. There will be a phone number there. Ask them if there is an authorized repair facility near you to take a look at the truck. If it really has 35 gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) capacity it has fantastic range and would be a rare find, to be sure. I see you are in Wisconsin where CNG stations are plentiful. So don't give up on this truck. It seems to be a dedicated CNG conversion but I would check to see if there is a gasoline tank still there and a complex installation under the hood (including a secondary computer) allowing for both gasoline and CNG operation ("bi-fuel") - again something you might ask the conversion manufacturer to check for you.

    Good luck, and let us know how you get along.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by toomanytoyz View Post
      They had it towed to the nearest CNG filling station, and by the time it got back to the dealership all the fuel had leaked out.
      Did they try to start it while there? How far is the station from the dealer? That's got to be a huge leak to lose 35 gallons in a short time. Should be easy to smell. Does it have a strong battery or still the original. First thing I would do is try some starting fluid to isolate the issue to a fuel problem or something else. If that doesn't get it to try to start, I would connect a scan tool and check for codes.

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      • #4
        I bought an f150 bifuel at auction. It has a BRC system for CNG. The previous owners didn't use the CNG (it was a state owned vehicle and the driver didn't pay for his own fuel, unleaded was more convenient). When I filled it at a CNG station the first time, I was able to drive around 200 miles on the highway. When I stopped at the first red light, I heard a pop and then smelled natural gas. I shut down the CNG and switched to unleaded. I later discovered that one of the c-clips holding the CNG injector had broken and the injector was leaking CNG. A new clip, and all is well ever since!

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        • #5
          My 2016 Ford CNG had a starting problem that turned out to be a connection that had to be zipped to keep it from coming apart. Sadly I don't know which one.

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          • #6
            Hi folks,
            A little help please. A friend looking at 2013 ford f250 baf tech cng only conversion (sanctioned by for). anybody have more details? tank capacity/expiration? did/does ford fleet dealers service? ford livermore service is closed today. etc
            thanks
            bob in sf bay area

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            • #7
              Bob,

              I speak with BAF (now Dallas Westport) semi- regularly.

              their standard expiration is 15 years, but some are outfitted with 20 or even 25 year tanks.

              I can’t speak to a 2013 standard capacity, but from some experience - it’s 20 GGE standard and 30 GGE optional.

              Regarding which dealer to use - call around. CNG fillets are increasingly serviced by outsourced mechanics vs. Ford dealers. Many dealers are no longer getting or updating their certifications.

              google is your friend to find a CNG service station.

              good luck!

              Tim

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