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Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

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  • Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

    Hi,

    My husband and I own a bi-fuel Ford F150, and we are in a pickle here. We took the truck into Champion Ford to get it checked out for repairs before we sell it. An oil change was recommended, so we agreed to that as well.

    I drove the truck home while my husband drove our other car home. The truck stalled on me 2 times while at a stop light (running on natural gas). Both times I put it in park, turned it off, and restarted it. When I turned into our neighborhood, the wheel locked up and wouldn't move. I was able to pull over to the side so I wasn't stuck out in the street. I tried to put it in park, shut off, and restart again, but the truck's wheel was locked up and would not move at all this time. At that time, the oil light came on.

    My husband came down the street and had to start it on gasoline to drive the short distance to our house. I told him about the oil light, so he checked the oil.

    He wiped off the dipstick, and there was NO OIL ON the cloth, bone dry. He said the oil plug was intact and did not look like it leaked.

    We called Ford and it was towed back at their expense. They are now trying to pull the wool over our eyes and saying, "There was oil in it."

    I got a call to explain what lights I saw turn on (the low fuel light came on as well as check engine light), to which they said they do not recommend running the truck on a 1/4 or 1/8 tank of natural gas because it needs pressure to build up (or something like that) - which is what caused the problems.

    Now, I need help in finding somewhere where it says that a bi-fuel engine will switch automatically from natural gas to gasoline without any problems. We've never had problems with it doing so.

    We are really angry and cannot prove that we saw no oil in our truck, so any help or tips is appreciated.

    We also filed a complaint with the BBB.
    Last edited by cngfan; 08-04-2008, 06:03 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

    I have a 1999 Bi-Fuel F250 and it came with the NGV Service manual. It clearly states in the manual that the engine will switch automatically from CNG to Gas if it runs out of CNG. If you need me to fax you a copy of that, I'd be glad to do it. Champion Ford knows that too. Shady . . .

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    • #3
      Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

      Take the squeeky wheel approach. Service Manager>Service Director>General Manager>Owner>Local Press>BBB>Etc. Make it easier for them to satisfy you than deal with your relentless persuit for justice in this matter.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

        Yes, my 02 F150 auto-switches from CNG>Petrol and then back again to CNG automatically after I fill it up. Sounds like Curtis is right, make enough noise and they'll stand behind it, rather than face bad publicity.

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        • #5
          Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

          Or better yet, call the local courthouse, and find out how to file a claim in small claims court. Then have them do any necessary repairs, pay for it, and sue for that amount, plus pain and suffering. They will crack like a nut. You have your husband as a witness, and you will have receipts.

          The advantages of this approach are: first, your opponents will be under oath, and second if you win, you'll have a judgment, which is not just mouthing off, it's a document, which consumer protection or some other scary people will be happy to read. So they have something to loose.

          No matter what they say to you first, you will get a check in the mail just as soon as they receive the invitation to the court hearing, at least that was in my case.

          For me squeaking is not an option, because it takes way more time, and I generally don't like confrontation. The rule of law rules.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

            Originally posted by Dmitry View Post
            Or better yet, call the local courthouse, and find out how to file a claim in small claims court. Then have them do any necessary repairs, pay for it, and sue for that amount, plus pain and suffering. They will crack like a nut. You have your husband as a witness, and you will have receipts.

            The advantages of this approach are: first, your opponents will be under oath, and second if you win, you'll have a judgment, which is not just mouthing off, it's a document, which consumer protection or some other scary people will be happy to read. So they have something to loose.

            No matter what they say to you first, you will get a check in the mail just as soon as they receive the invitation to the court hearing, at least that was in my case.

            For me squeaking is not an option, because it takes way more time, and I generally don't like confrontation. The rule of law rules.

            In Utah the $$ limits of small claims court awards equal $7500. I would think if you filled out he forms and had an idea of what the "tort" damages are to get you "whole" again, you'll get their attention fairly quickly.

            Can you get a repair estimate from an independent "third-party"?

            Best advice is don't get discouraged, Stand you ground and you can win.

            As a last resort there's always the News Media who would have a field day with a Larry Miller owned dealerships vs. a "little guy" struggling to save on gas-pump pain.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

              From my experience, the little guy is exactly the last thing on their list of priorities. Because the most you can do to a newspaper is drop their subscription. On the other hand commercial interests may impose their influence in many ways. Or do you think your local newspaper is your friend?

              Originally posted by lshuster View Post
              As a last resort there's always the News Media who would have a field day with a Larry Miller owned dealerships vs. a "little guy" struggling to save on gas-pump pain.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

                If the oil warning light came on, there would have been oil in it before it killed.
                If they drained the oil, it is assumed they would have drained it all. It would have taken oil being put back in to create pressure to turn the light off, otherwise, the light would have stayed on. Also, they may not have filled it full, or may not have touched the oil at all. However, it appears at one time just before you stopped, there was enough oil to turn the light off, then apparently not enough later. It would have been interesting to have taken the drain plug out before they towed the truck to see how much oil actually came out. Some of these trucks have problems with the oil sender, too.

                The switches on the F150's, when in ALT (CNG), will operate the truck on CNG if there is CNG and automatically switch to unleaded when out of CNG, then back to CNG after filling up. My 2 sons and I just leave our switches in the CNG mode all the time, even when they run out of CNG. (the exception is when running on gasoline as required to maintain gasoline sytem.)
                I don't understand the 1/8-1/4 tank thing, though. At first it may make sense, as there's no fuel pump in CNG mode, just the pressure from the tank to move the CNG. However, that pressure is dropped from up to 3600 psi to 105 psi by a pressure regulator prior to entering fuel system into engine.When the pressure gets down to 75 psi, it switches to gasoline. That is according to the Ford CNG diagnostics manual. The CNG owner's manual supplement says nothing about not running on low levels of CNG. The system is designed to work with that.
                As far as the oil problem issue getting settled, if your light had only been on a few seconds, you probably only drove it a short distance without oil pressure. Generally, that shouldn't cause very much damage. However, if it had been low before, that may have cause problems.
                The locking steering wheel is interesting, though. In many vehicles, and I don't know on the CNG Ford trucks, there is a switch that bumps the idle up a little when the wheel is turned and the power steering pump puts a load on the engine. This helps maintain the idle to keep the engine from dying.
                Just some thoughts. If you had problems with your power steering, it could have caused the engine to die, but I don't think it would have locked the wheel without a power steering pump problem.
                I would suggest you sit down and write down everything that happened, including your husband's observations while you can still remember it clearly. If worse comes to worse and you end up involved in litigation, the details could be very critical.
                Good Luck,
                Max

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

                  Sounds like everyone is jumping the gun here.

                  Well it sounds like first the truck needs to be diagnosed what's wrong with it.
                  It may have stalled out for any number of reasons, (unrelated to the dealership or oil change).


                  Did your husband drive it home with the oil light on? He shouldnt' have.
                  And if he didnt' see an oil light on, there probably is oil in the truck.


                  It sounds like the truck stalled out. (Maybe the switch that senses when it's
                  low on cng isn't working right, so that would cause it to be out of gas,
                  and stall)

                  Stalling out would cause all the dash lights to come on, and make the steering wheel hard to turn. You steering wheel would lock if it's turned
                  while the key was turned off. You probably did that wthout noticing it.
                  TO unlock it, you pull the steering wheel hard, then you turn the key.
                  it's an anti theft device in all cars.

                  Is it possible your husband didn't stick the oil dipstick all the way back in?
                  That would cause the stick to be dry. Did he dip it in more than once?
                  He can try again, and do it in front of a mechanic to see if he's doing it wrong. Some dipsticks have to be turned when they are put in, or they
                  will not go in all the way.

                  So my guess is, your dealership probably didn't do anything wrong, and
                  you probably need your cng to gas auto- switch checked out. ( sorry I don't know the proper name for
                  that).

                  Your motor probably has oil in it, and your truck probably wasn't damaged by stalling out,
                  so you probably just need that switch looked at, and to cancel you're complaint with the BBB if
                  I'm right.
                  Last edited by DannyCNG; 08-11-2008, 03:45 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

                    For what its worth, I need to add a quart or two to my bi-fuel F-150 every so often just to keep it full. When I first bought it I treated it like all of the Japanese cars I had owned and just check every blue moon. They would indicate a half quart low by the time I needed an oil change. Not this Ford. It needs much more oil than that. It doesn't leak or blow smoke, so I'm not sure where it's going. But the first time I figured it out I was several quarts low. Anyone else encounter that?

                    As for your experience with the dealer, well that sucks! Sounds like a similar experience I'm familiar with at Mark Miller Toyota. They were dirt bags. Didn't stand by the repair job. The threat of law suit didn't even make them blink. You could tell they were used to such threats, which says something about how they treat their customers. Very disappointing for a Toyota dealership.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

                      Yes my 98 f-250 with 80k miles does use oil. About 1 qt every 1500 to 2000 miles. I have owned it for 1 year and am using mobil 1 synthetic extended milage which requires changing at 10,000 miles.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bi-fuels switch from NG to gasoline automatically, right?

                        1.Sounds like it " had oil in it ", but not much. Not a lie , but not the whole truth. On many vehicles , if you are 2 or more qts. low, no oil will show on the stick.

                        2. Just a couple of qts. on a 5 qt. capacity engine will supply adequate oil pressure when the engine starts , BUT , a big function of oil is also engine cooling , and an inadequate supply will get hot quickly under load. This also quickly degrades the oil viscosity, making the situation worse.

                        3. It doesn't take much oil pressure to male the low oil pressure lite go out, about 5 psi. plenty for idle , not so good for highway speeds.

                        4. Some Ford vehicles with an "oil pressure gauge" are a hoax. The "gauge" does not have a sender , but actually a pressure switch, same as with an idiot lite. The pressure switch has a resistor in line, and when you make 5 psi , like magic it goes to 1/2 on the "gauge' . Rock solid 1/2 way on the gauge as long as at least 5 psi is maintained, but you have no idea of the actual pressure.

                        You could try contacting the Ford "Customer comunication department" aka the complaint call center. They are a 3rd party public relations firm , to listen to customers vent , and on ocasion , may actually do something. You see , Ford management ,like many others, would rather have a root canal without novacane than actually speak directly to a customer. Sorry , but that IS the way they work.

                        Bottom line, you had an engine using a lot of oil . If it is not leaking , it is being burned , even if smoke is not seen.
                        Do they owe you an engine rebuild ? maybe so. Do they owe you part of the cost of a rebuild ? more likely.

                        Yours truly ,
                        former 3 time Ford owner.

                        PS. Most other auto mfgs. do the same.
                        Last edited by Lakewood90712; 08-29-2008, 01:02 AM. Reason: typo

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