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Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

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  • Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

    Hey guys, I'm new to the forum here as you can probably see. I'm yet another future CNG driver from Utah. I'm looking at purchasing a dedicated 2000 F-150, but before I make the plunge (I'm kind of nervous, first time CNG) I want to make sure I'm making the best choice.

    I'm mainly using it for commuting to school, but I have a gas truck right now and like having a truck to haul things occasionally, but it's not an absolute necessity. So, I'm wondering if there is a vehicle that is leaps and bounds better in reliability than the dedicated F-150s? Also, I was kind of turned off after finding out that only 2004+ qualifies for the HOV lane here in Utah, so I've started thinking about a Crown Vic of even a Cavalier, even though I've never known Cavaliers to be bulletproof (perhaps they've gotten better in newer years?). Having the option of bi-fuel and getting better mpg would be great as well, as long as I don't have to deal with dreaded compuvalve issues. I'm just curious what your votes would be on the best fit and most reliable commuting CNG, and your experiences with them. Thanks guys! And I look forward to interacting with you more on the forum here.

    -Mike

  • #2
    Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

    I guess to clear things up, I'm really torn between the 03-04 Cavaliers and this F-150. The Cavaliers seem to be very reliable the more I read on them, but I'm not so convinced about the F-150 with blowing spark plugs and whatever else.

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    • #3
      Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

      Is there a reason the GX isn't on your list?
      02 GX
      01 GX
      03 Crown Vic
      06 GX
      Home Fueler

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      • #4
        Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

        Well, I'm looking to spend about $6k out the door, and want something with lower miles. I actually haven't looked into the GXs as much as I should have I guess, but I've heard nightmares about the CV transmissions in them, although that's only 2002-2005(?) or thereabouts right? How would you compare a GX (what years?) to a 03-04 cavalier?
        Last edited by snoobies; 01-12-2010, 12:15 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

          I must say, snoobies, the GX is probably the (overall) most reliable cng vehicle on the road, unless you're looking for bi-fuel only. If you want a car that's just solid all the way around and has factory support for upkeep and parts... Honda would be my recommendation.

          And yes, I am biased. every since I put 400k mi on each of the past 3 Honda's I've owned I swore off American cars that never made it to 200k (usually 150k) without major mechanical issues, ie trans, engine, etc.

          My '04 GX is at 112k and not so much as a hick-up.

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          • #6
            Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

            You'll find that most CVT issues were handles by 2003. Since you need 2004 and newer... you should be ok, as long as the vehicle has been well maintained and regular tranny services performed.

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            • #7
              Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

              We have a '03 Cav with 85k and no trouble.

              For the record, the CVT is in 01-05 GXs. Our 01 and 02 both needed CVTs at about 100k miles. One was covered under the extended warranty and one was just out of it (because Honda took months to send out the notices) so we ended up getting stuck for the labor on that one.
              02 GX
              01 GX
              03 Crown Vic
              06 GX
              Home Fueler

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              • #8
                Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                Originally posted by Curtis View Post
                You'll find that most CVT issues were handles by 2003. Since you need 2004 and newer... you should be ok, as long as the vehicle has been well maintained and regular tranny services performed.
                What is the beginning year that the CVT issues developed? Having the C plate (2004+) certainly would be nice, but it's not the deciding factor, so I would entertain an older GX depending on its reliability/mileage as well, since I'm seeing a lot of 99 GXs.

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                • #9
                  Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                  The GX with the most CVT issues seems to be the 01. I believe Honda was recommending the normal automatic transmission fluid until about 03 when they came out with the dedicated CVT fluid.

                  We've had a few 04-05 Hondas, and the transmissions have been great. They're nice because they have more options than most of the other CNG cars and they qualify for the C plate.

                  The pre 2001 Civic GXs are great cars too. The issue we've had most often with those is the injectors getting clogged. The part is about $400 from the dealer but only about $150 from Autozone. I think changing the fuel filters helps keep the injectors clean.

                  I would include the Camry on the list of most reliable CNG vehicles. My wife and I have been driving one for over a year and a half and all we've had is a flat tire.

                  We've had a total of five Camrys through our dealership and the only issue we've had with any of them is a clogged fuel filter that kept the car from starting.

                  We've had some really good 03 and 04 Cavaliers as well. They have a newer engine and CNG system that seems to be more reliable, more powerful, and more efficient. I don't think we've ever had a serious problem with an 03 or 04 Cavalier. Sometimes you can find them with all of the same options that the Hondas have as well.

                  -Derek
                  Last edited by CNG Utah; 01-12-2010, 01:24 PM.
                  www.CNGUtah.com

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                  • #10
                    Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                    I'm definitely considering a Camry, although a little beyond what I wanted to spend, I think it might be worth the investment. I have a few general questions though. I know the Camry's are 00-01s, so then the tanks expire around 2015. I'll be moving out of state in 3-4 years and it may or may not be to a state with good CNG availability. So, assuming I'm selling the Camry a year or two before the tanks expire, would I be at a huge disadvantage in selling it? I've searched for replacement tanks and their costs, but I've not found one of the same dimensions. Obviously used would be much cheaper, but are the only tanks that fit in the Camry going to be tanks from other Camrys, or are tank sizes standardized and can be found at any tank supplier? Or would I have to fit a different size tank(s) to replace the OEM tank? This is my main concern with a Camry since it's not bi-fuel like the Cavaliers.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                      If you are looking to compare reliability, consider the following between a bi-fuel and dedicated cng vehicle- the most reliable mechanically is probably the dedicated (more simple), but if you measure reliability as getting to any destination around the clock, the bifuel gets the nod by a huge margin.

                      I also think versatility is important in a second vehicle, and there I am very much biased towards the bi-fuel F-150's. I need a vehicle that tows and transports cheaply.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                        I've thought about the tank replacement issue with the Camry. I don't know of any other tanks that exact same dimension, but I've thought a few tanks out of a Crown Vic or two Cavalier tanks might work. You would probably lose more trunk room though.
                        www.CNGUtah.com

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                        • #13
                          Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                          Yeah, the more I think about it the more I think I'll just keep my eyes out for a good 04 cavalier with low miles around $4-5k like was found earlier on eBay. I've never been a Chevy guy, specifically the Cavalier, but most reviews I see say the reliability has greatly improved in later years, and as long as it gets me to 150k I figure it'll be worth the 5 grand. Having bi-fuel as well will definitely set my mind at ease.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                            Some of your better deals come at the GSA auctions. It's worth traveling a bit to get the kind of deals you generally see there for low(ish) mileage vehicles.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Your vote for most reliable CNG vehicle?

                              I would put an '03 or '04 Cavalier at the top of my list . Bulletproof Eco-Tech engine, modern port fuel injection for both gasoline and CNG. Single computer to control it all. Starts and drives better then older Cavalier CNG's and still is more powerful and gets a little better fuel economy. Simple car to maintain plus lots of Cavaliers in salvage yards for non CNG parts. Tank, mount, high pressure lockoff, fill lines, high pressure regulator and some electrical shared with older cars. Some parts shared across the GM CNG line. Decent range on CNG between 140 and 160 miles--and with a bi-fuel you can drive until you are absolutely empty and then switch automatically to gasoline. No worries about pulling up to a inoperative CNG station. Only downside is a pretty small trunk but if you are carrying a tennis racket you should be OK .

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