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  • CNG Conversion Concerns

    In the past 6 months there have been a lot of automotive mechanics that have been starting their own CNG conversion business. I am concerned about the future of the CNG community if these "newbie" CNG conversion people do not go through the proper channels for installing/repairing CNG components. All CNG conversion mechanics SHOULD be ASE certified. This includes CNG installation, CNG repair, and CNG maintanence. Also the kit being installed MUST be EPA certified. Also the tank being installed MUST be NGV2 (or equivelant) certified. Once the tank is installed it MUST be inspected by a certified CNG cylinder inspector.

    I would not want my family in a vehicle that was converted by a non-certified installer or non-certified parts. We are dealing with extremely high pressure of an extremely flamable gas.

    If something where to happen, and believe me, it will. I don't think we can imagine the consequences of the CNG community if there was an accident involving a NGV that was converted by a non-certified installer using non-certified parts. If this were to happen, just think what the EPA, DOT, and state governments would do to enforce not only the laws already in place, but create new laws that require more of our money. It would also give CNG a black eye and make the uphill battle for CNG in alternative fuels even harder.

    If you are considering going into the CNG conversion business. Please, please, get certified and ONLY use certified kits and tanks.
    Jared.
    Mountain Green, Utah
    2003 CNG Cavalier
    2003 CNG Silverado 2500HD

  • #2
    Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

    Arizona went through this in 99-2000 and how we had problems with everyone trying to cash in on the incentives, we had un-reliable conversions that drove people away from CNG, it brought doubt into the publics eye if natural gas did any good at all and we are still paying the price from those controversial days. The public back lash still exists to this day because of the very liberal credits and the rush to get into the business it caused and a lot of bad publicity that ended up in the media. So Utah be carefull, Arizona is still handicapped to this very day. No credits or incentives in Arizona now. And still working to reverse the damage.
    Dave Clement

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    • #3
      data base

      Would it be appropriate to create a list of ASE and EPA conversion/repair places?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

        We have made a start with this "sticky" thread at the top of the CNG Serivce & Conversions Forum -- but no one has looked into if those on the list have certifications:
        http://www.cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27

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        • #5
          Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

          I add this only for the fact that it makes a point about the safety of conversions done by shadetree or possibly even uncertified installers or even certified people with uncertified equipment. This is in no way implying that anyone in this forum, or even in this country, would be this stupid.

          Illegally Installed Gas System Led To Cylinder Explosion Source - NGV Global Tuesday, 01 April 2008 Thailand, Bangkok

          Officials in Thailand have verified the cause of Sunday's explosion of a compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinder on a truck at a PTT petrol station as an illegally installed gas fuel system. The explosion occurred during refilling. An inspection by the Energy Business Department and PTT found that all seven cylinders installed in the natural gas vehicle (NGV) were in poor condition. The cylinder walls were found to be thinner than specifications, with less capacity to handle the high pressures used for NGV systems. Fibreglass coverings typically used with NGV tanks to boost durability were also ripped and in bad condition.
          Energy Business Department director-general Metta Bunterngsuk is quoted as saying the gas cylinders (type II) had been imported by a recycling plant as scrap metal. But instead of being recycled, the cylinders were patched up and resold as part of an NGV kit, despite not meeting official safety standards. Around 21 authorised garages have been given licences by PTT and the Land Transport Department to modify and install NGV conversion equipment. However, Confederation of Thai Truckers secretary-general Thongyu Yongkhan apparently said many truckers had turned to illegal garages that charged tens of thousands of baht less for the modification.
          The blast injured seven people (mainly harm to ears) and caused extensive damage to property. According to The Bangkok Post all motorists seeking to refill with CNG, which is sold locally as natural gas for vehicles (NGV) by the only supplier PTT, will have to show PTT cards certifying the safety of their fuel systems.

          Thailand currently has approximately 66,000 registered CNG-powered vehicles, mostly taxi fleets operating in Bangkok. PTT expects the number of CNG-powered vehicles to rise to 100,000 by year-end. It will address safety issues by tightening monitoring standards at all stations nationwide, said PTT senior executive vice-president Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith. All motorists whose vehicles were properly modified for using the natural gas would receive PTT cards. The conversion for the truck involved in the incident was was not certified.

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          • #6
            Re: data base

            Originally posted by bakaroma View Post
            Would it be appropriate to create a list of ASE and EPA conversion/repair places?
            Anyone interested in working on a full database.
            I'm thinking of linking multiple lists, one for each group.
            - vehicle owner
            - vehicle make/model/motor
            - conversion kit provider
            - tank/cylinder provider
            - installer/inspector

            The list of installers would have their certification available for viewing,
            linking owners allows for leaving feedback and so other can find ratings for the installer.

            vehicle owner can search their model and find conversion kits available and which are approved or not (or not yet).

            send me PM if interested.
            I have a concept already worked out, just need help with it - as on volunteer bases or as non-profit. Domain already secured, too.

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            • #7
              Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

              The data bases sound like a good idea.
              However, from some of the posts I see here, even "certified" mechanics may not be knowledgeable enough about the systems other than replace things to troubleshoot.
              Not criticizing those who have gone to the trouble and expense to get certification, just noting that that doesn't always guarantee best results. However, it definitely appears to be a better choice than shadetree "innocently ignorant" mechanics who attempt work. An example of this are the many good mechanics who are not familiar with diesels. I have had vehicles that have been worked on by the dealers for the vehicles who couldn't get them to run, yet charged hundreds of dollars. I was able to fix them for just a few dollars.
              By the way, does anybody know where in this area (SLC) someone can get training on CNG vehicles?

              Max

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              • #8
                Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                Originally posted by maxman View Post
                By the way, does anybody know where in this area (SLC) someone can get training on CNG vehicles?

                Max
                Max,

                You have to go through ASE for CNG certification. I know that they offer courses at Weber State University in Ogden, but you'd have to check on date/time.

                I think a list of certified CNG installers is a good idea. I spoke with Gordon of Questar about this issue and here are some things that I can remember from our conversation.

                The CNG kits that are produced and are EPA certified are only certified for a specific model and a specific year. This does not stop some CNG installers of installing the "EPA certified" kit on another vehicle. For example, the kit for a 2005 6.0L chevy truck is EPA certified, but an installer might install it on a 2005 5.7L dodge truck.
                Also, most of the kit manufacturers require a CNG installer to be "certified" through them to install their kits. For example, for a CNG installer to purchase a kti from Baytech, they would have to certified by Baytech to install their kit. Now I am not familiar with that process, but I do know that Sno-Motion is certified with Baytech and possibly BAF.
                Gordon is trying to go around an visit all these CNG conversion businesses that are starting up here in Utah, but there are so many of them starting up and he is busy elsewhere, that it will take him a while to visit everybody.

                I would just ask a lot of questions before having anybody do a conversion on my vehicle. Ask to see their ASE certification. Ask to see their kit manufacturer's certification. Ask to see the EPA certification. Ask about a warranty on their work. Ask, Ask, Ask.

                We cannot afford to have what happened in Thailand (see Curtis's comment above), happen here in the US.
                Jared.
                Mountain Green, Utah
                2003 CNG Cavalier
                2003 CNG Silverado 2500HD

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                  Just think of all the unsafe gasoline cars out there leaking gasoline and oil all over the parking lot. With a checker and Autozone in every town, many non certified auto mechanics fix and repair their petrol cars every year. I am not advocating unsafe CNG installations, however with the price of gasoline, and the rediculous prices to convert your car to natural gas, many home mechanics are going to convert their cars to CNG.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                    If we wanted to become certified to work on CNG where in utah can we go? I know there's a place for BAF out in Texas, but thats a really long drive.
                    You can do anything except light a paper match, on a marshmellow, underwater!

                    R.I.P. Taylor and Chris

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                    • #11
                      Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                      The reason the kits are so expensive is because of the epa certification process, and that isn't cheap. The safety of the system relies on the ability of the CNG mechanic to use quality components. Even though a kit isn't epa certified doesn't mean that it is unsafe. Even GFI, which is epa certified, is known in conversion circles for being a less desireable kit than some that aren't certified. No matter the kit CNG is still cleaner than gas or diesel, epa certified or not.

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                      • #12
                        Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                        What is wrong with the Euro 2 and Euro 3 standards?
                        Havent they been at this longer than USA?
                        Are those conversion Kits all unsafe?
                        And is all of Europe unsafe for using those kits?
                        Last edited by utahisc; 05-08-2008, 10:38 PM. Reason: additional thought

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                        • #13
                          Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                          http://cms.cerritos.edu/auto/amr/amrseminars/gfs
                          here is a class in california. notice it is a two day class and covers propane and natural gas.

                          http://www.impco.ws/distributor-listings.htm

                          Also try these guys. They will have OEM guys they work with that put the kits together. However, their distributors will have training available to them that perhaps they may sell? Maybe if enough guys get together a community college somewhere would put a class together.

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                          • #14
                            Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                            I agree with you totally UTAHISC. I have a question for all of you that are much more versed in CNG use, for vehicles than I (I am VERY well versed in natural gas. I own a commercial heating and air conditioning company and work with natural gas daily. I would much rather work with natural gas than gasoline). I would guess that the worst performing (emission wise) Euro III approved conversion kit, used overseas, would still be cleaner burning than the cleanest burning gasoline engine here in the US. If this assumption is correct, then WHY would these conversion kits have to be approved by the EPA?? We all know of the costs and time it takes to get each little kit approved. Why could it not be handled by DOT or some other entity of the government that could certify the operation of the kit is safe on any engine?? My guess is that the Big 3 and the government are in bed on this as our govenrment is with many other entities (drug companies and insurance companies to name just one other). I have been trying to get in touch with my senator and congressman, but they are out of business right now raising money, from the oil and insurance companies, to get re elected. I would like to know what you all think that have been involved in this much longer than I. Thanks for a response!!

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                            • #15
                              Re: CNG Conversion Concerns

                              Granted, any converted vehicle would be much cleaner than gasoline, however new cars must have systems that work with the OBDll computers rather than bypass them, as the cheap conversions do. Even a cng vehicle that doesn't run properly can be high on NOx emissions and burn out catalytic converters, thereby raising emissions to unlawful levels.

                              We are with you, but some of these kits use components that are unsafe. They may be acceptable in India for example... but there are many things that are grossly unsafe that are accepted in foriegn countries.

                              The EPA and CARB are the Food & Drug Administration of the vehicle safety world. Are they in bed with big oil and government....? Who knows.

                              Case in point... a street in India... and to think we call there for tech support?
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