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My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

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  • My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

    My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

    Here is how my feelings have been over the past few months....

    1) Frustration brought on by rising gas prices.

    2) Frustration because of driving gas guzzling cars and being dependant on unleaded Fuel.

    3) Ignorance of thinking fuel prices would never go up.

    4) Salvation to my fuel problems coming from CNG because of its low price.

    5) Frustration looking into CNG conversions and finding out:
    a) Very few vehicles have been converted to CNG in the US.
    b) The vehicles already converted or that you can convert are expensive and undesirable. (this expense cancels out the savings of using CNG thus making CNG out of reach for the common person)
    c) CNG conversion kits are virtually non existent to the general public.
    d) The shops who do conversions are booked months in advance and won't sell kits.
    e) The rules and regulations governing CNG are confusing and slanted toward big oil and big money.

    6) Hopelessness realizing that even though CNG sounds good the idea has already been killed due to:
    a) Government Regulation causing:
    1) Very few US Manufacturers of CNG kits and components actually selling in the US.
    2) CNG Manufacturers inside and outside the US to fear selling in the US due to regulations and fines.
    3) Some install shops to make all the money while other shops, mechanics and individuals are left behind due to high pricing, over regulation and the unavailability of CNG parts.

    (note of interest: EPA Approved kits cover a select number of American cars and trucks while including virtually no Imports (which are the most popular)).

    Conclusion: We need to streamline the process for:
    1) CNG kit approval.
    2) Training and Certification of mechanics to install CNG.
    3) Building and approving new CNG filling Stations.
    4) Using before and after Emission tests to get rebates, incentives, license, etc..

    Jim Younkin
    801 427 2284
    [email protected]
    21
    Total Frustration.
    23.81%
    5
    Total Confusion.
    9.52%
    2
    Total Bliss.
    52.38%
    11
    I don't understand the question?
    14.29%
    3

    The poll is expired.

    Jim Younkin
    www.younkincng.com

  • #2
    It's all about OBD...

    Jim,
    I agree with you on almost all points. As someone who is going thru (almost finished) with an EPA certification the bottleneck in the conversion business is the onboard diagnostics (OBD). Fortunately we are sailing thru the OBD demonstration but it is really a difficult hurdle for most.

    Modern vehicles (Bin 2) are complex computers on 4 wheels. The OEM puts enormous effort to ensure all the monitors and emissions controls work in harmony on his fuel in real-time to maximize MPG while minimizing emissions. And, when there is a fault he makes sure all of the OBD codes set properly so the technician can plug in his scan tool to quickly diagnose the problem.

    Now here is where we come in: we change the fuel and suddenly all of the calibrations and PID trip thresholds the OEM did for his fuel no longer apply to our fuel. So we have to recalibrate everything so the engine works on our fuel in the same manner it did on the OEM's fuel. Then we prove this to EPA and to our customers by performing lab tests to ensure the MIL (check engine light) trips in the event of misfire, O2 sensor failure, rich, lean, and catalyst failure, etc. The problem with imports is that the computer / OBD system is a complete black box with little public information on how to get them recalibrated for another fuel.

    I would love it if someone could think of another way to prove out the conversion so that everyone can be satisfied that the new fuel is going to work as well as the original fuel worked on that specific vehicle type. We would be cranking out certs for all kinds of vehicles in that case.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

      John, Thanks for the reply, The company I work for, Turbo Lab, (see my boss racing below)
      http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1570781
      Anyway we tune imports all day long, it can be done, I am sure the process you are going through can be trying. BTW where is the lab you have to test at? Anyway thanks for the good site, it looks like the main problem now is the CNG Supply, Jim
      Jim Younkin
      www.younkincng.com

      Comment


      • #4
        My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

        So, in other words, all we need is a software or firmware upgrade to apply to the black box in imports after the conversion has been installed and we're good to go? Why can't someone work with Toyota, Honda and Nissan to develop such a thing? Should be simple enough.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

          The ECU that comes with most of the better CNG kits can be programed, that is what it is for....Jim
          Jim Younkin
          www.younkincng.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

            Jim,

            I appreciate your frustration, and I would agree that there needs to be a simple process for an individual to convert his own vehicle (e.g. just prove that it pollutes no more than the stock version on a smog check).

            However, for a 'small manufacturer' that it sounds like you want to be I don't think the existing process is too much. If you're going to do multiple conversions and sell them to the public then you should have to prove that it works to a high standard of reliability. I do think that conversion approval should not expire in 2 years -- you should be able to sell the conversions for much longer.

            If your company is so good at this stuff, get your own kit approved for the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or other really popular and economical car and you might 'clean up.'

            I'm not aware of any regulatory 'roadblocks' to putting in CNG stations. Maybe you can enlighten us. It just takes money. Of course, it would be nice if every private facility would offer access to the public.
            02 GX
            01 GX
            03 Crown Vic
            06 GX
            Home Fueler

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

              From what I understand, and correct me if I am wrong but wouldn't a person have to have a kit certified for a particular model and particular year? In other words I could have a kit for a 06 Accord but it wouldn't work on an 05 or 08 even though they may be virtually the same? That's what is so burdensome. I think for now my solution will be to convert low mileage non OBDII Imports and save all the hastle? Jim
              PS I need to get to work, I am putting an engine I built back into a Lotus Elise, Oh well........
              Jim Younkin
              www.younkincng.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Carry-over certification

                You can carry over EPA certifications to prior and subsequent years so long as the engine family number did not change (excepting, of course the first digit indicating the year).

                For example, our upcoming CNG Impala product certifies with the GM test group 8GMXV03.9052 and in 2009 the same Impala has a test group of 9GMXV03.9052 so it is relatively simple process to get both years. This group gives us both the 3.5 liter and 3.9 liter engines together.

                Many of the "kit" manufacturers have obtained EPA certification by not even diving into the OEM's computer. As Jim noted they can tune a secondary computer under the hood to handle the CNG fuel mapping when on the alternative fuel, then intercept all of the sensors to ensure the right OBD codes are set, etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Carry-over certification

                  Which is what the Cavalier does -- a gasoline computer and an alt fuel computer, right?
                  02 GX
                  01 GX
                  03 Crown Vic
                  06 GX
                  Home Fueler

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: My trip into CNG Wonderland (or CNG Hell?)

                    John, after talking to my Boss Joe today about programing Import ECU's he told me that most Import computers (with the exception of the older ones maybe 90 and older) can be reprogramed, he usually does it for performance but its can also be done for economy, cng, or whatever. The Impala you said was dedicated CNG so of course you would have to reprogram it but as you stated most good CNG kits have their own programmable ECU. Jim
                    Jim Younkin
                    www.younkincng.com

                    Comment

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