Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Someone clear the air, legal or not! {non-certified conversions in general}

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

    I should have known better. The PDF sure has good dramatic effect though.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

      In the early 90's, GM made CNG available as an OEM upfit through a company called "PAS. Roughly 2750 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks were upfitted and mostly sold to governmental fleets. They had three underbody Comdyne tubular cylinders at 3600 psig. One was on one side of the driveshaft where the exhaust was, the other were on the other side, one mounted slightly above the other. The lower cylinder was at a legal height but a little too low. It suffered several problems, one of which was that they had a poly rock shield with drain holes, which plugged too easily. They caught water and kept it in the shield.

      Around mid 1994, two trucks with the CNG systems cylinders ruptured due to a cylinder failure. Same cylinder on both vehicles, similar circumstances, same week. One had battery acid leaking through the floor, the other with liquid fertilizer. Both leeched through the CNG filiment windings and began etching the aluminum base cylinder. Both popped as they were being refilled. Both refuelers were injured.

      This prompted a full product line recall, all 2700+. GM offered owners a full no-cost replacement (my department got two of them) for a no fault admission. Even Ford got in on the game by offering any fleet that had them, they could exchange them for a Ford F-150 (our department got one of those too!). Wow, keys in one hand, title in the other, and drive out in a new truck, no money exchanged hands.

      This put a hold on all CNG cylinder builds in 1994 and mid 1995, and prompted the NGV-2 cylinder standard. This put PAS out of business. The trucks were actually pretty good, I had one and was setting up to do OEM dealer training.

      Franz
      Last edited by Franz; 09-26-2008, 08:55 AM.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

        Originally posted by AFVTech View Post
        Ok, I wanted to chime in on this topic. First, in defense of the the EPA, they are not there to keep technology out of the market! What they want to see, is that the "kits" can maintain low emissions and be reliable for the useful life of the vehicle that it is installed on. The EPA has seen alot of junk that barely works over the years and they have had enough of it. There is the process of demonstrating this to EPA. What they ask of companies, is to show proof that the OBD system works and that vehicle can pass FTP emissions testing along with adding a deterioration factor. Its not that easy putting on a cng system and having it pass emissions testing. The FTP emissions testing in much more complex than most or all states will ever do. What you have to understand, is that just because the vehicle passes a state test, doesn't mean that it would pass FTP testing. Natural Gas can be just as dirty as Gasoline, remember CNG has carbon too. The EPA could make it much harder for certification, they have reduced alot of the requirements of Alt fuels, so we can get these vehicles to market. So save yourself the headaches and do it right, go through the process, demonstrate that your system works, pay the fees and benefit that you did it correctly.
        On your first point about them (the EPA) not being there to keep technology out of the market... Then please answer the question about why they let old certifications to expire every year? And why does the EPA's list of certified vehicles keep SHRINKING? This year there are LESS cars on it than I've seen in other years. If they really were about the people and not MONEY and allowing CNG to grow, then they shouldn't care about leaving old certifications intact. Then the list would be very big by now.

        Second point about your post I wanted to comment on:

        Don't forget that methane (CNG) is CH4 while gasoline is C8H18. There is 1/8th of the carbon atoms in a CNG molecule. I would think that being a much simpler hydrocarbon, this would equate to much less pollution even under a rich condition where there would be a lot of un-burned fuel going out the tailpipe. And even if a converted car was burning rich I would think the cat would melt-down and clog the exhaust, forcing the owner to address a rich condition of his CNG conversion. I would like to actually SEE somebody TRY to make a purposefully dirty CNG car to test the REAL quality of the emissions so as to challenge the EPA's claim that some CNG retros can burn dirtier than gasoline, because I don't buy that claim at this point. I mean, maybe the COs would be a little higher but would it be as high as gasoline? You still have a cat which is to convert CO to CO2 and help burn excess HCs. Also don't forget that the emissions from methane (CNG) is only like around 35% reactive to the Sun whereas gasoline emissions are 100% reactive to the Sun so much more O3 and smog is formed from gasoline emissions anyway. I just don't believe that even a dirty CNG car can be near as harmful as a clean gasoline car, or even close. If I had a 4-gas analyzer I would test this claim. Does anyone else with a 4-gas want to conduct a series of tests? I would help with it.
        Last edited by josch; 09-26-2008, 01:11 PM. Reason: poor grammer mistake

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

          josch,
          The list of EPA certified retrofits keeps shrinking due to:
          1. The lead time in getting the testing & certs done. The current list is the result of efforts by small volume manufacturers (SVMs) last year, which as you will recall saw next to zero interest in alternative fuels and lots of interest in gas-guzzling vehicles.

          2. Lack of enforcement by EPA caused a few SVMs to simply ship universal kits to anyone without fear of reprisal, further disincentivising others to certify.

          As for emissions, without a robust fuel trim calibration strategy Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions are going to happen no matter what fuel you combust. Our air is nitrogen and oxygen, which fuse in the engine to some degree. Poorly combusted CH4 produces much higher NOx than well combusted gasoline. Also, carbon monoxide (CO) is going to be produced with CH4 as the C combines with the O in air. Again, a poor calibration will produce lots of this stuff.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

            As stated "The safety issue is taken well, shouldn't be done by an inexperienced back yard mechanic in the garage, but there are mechanics, though not EPA certified, that are excellent. Why could they not install one of these kits properly, if they can r&r an engine/tranny and rebuild or fix other major problems, surely the conversion isn't rocket science."
            As far as I know the EPA does not Certify any Mechanics. ASE has a Cert for Natural Gas, some kit companys have classes for their installers but as far as I know there is no universal CNG Certification in the US or Utah. BTW a mechanic could pass every certification or test in the book and still be a smuck mechanic, I have worked with a few of them. Jim
            Jim Younkin
            www.younkincng.com

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

              Originally posted by John Mitton View Post
              josch,
              The list of EPA certified retrofits keeps shrinking due to:
              1. The lead time in getting the testing & certs done. The current list is the result of efforts by small volume manufacturers (SVMs) last year, which as you will recall saw next to zero interest in alternative fuels and lots of interest in gas-guzzling vehicles.

              2. Lack of enforcement by EPA caused a few SVMs to simply ship universal kits to anyone without fear of reprisal, further disincentivising others to certify.

              As for emissions, without a robust fuel trim calibration strategy Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions are going to happen no matter what fuel you combust. Our air is nitrogen and oxygen, which fuse in the engine to some degree. Poorly combusted CH4 produces much higher NOx than well combusted gasoline. Also, carbon monoxide (CO) is going to be produced with CH4 as the C combines with the O in air. Again, a poor calibration will produce lots of this stuff.
              The reason the list keeps shrinking is because the old certifications EXPIRE every year. That is an illogical dumb idea to do that as far as the people are concerned. As far as making money goes, this is a great idea for them anyway. Why would an old Blazer not still be certified even though years ago, it once was on the list. But just because the small companies can't afford to re-certify it every year, they dump the old ones and only re-certify the newer cars that are in hottest demand. The EPA should make the list non-expiring so that we would still have every old engine family in the history of certifications STILL ON THAT LIST. Only then, will we have a fighting chance keeping up with this whole fiasco of hoops the government has us jumping through.

              And on the second thing you stated. Are you sure it is Nitrous Oxide that it is? We always called NOx, 'Oxides of Nitrogen'. I don't think I've ever heard of NOx referred to as N2O. Because if it was, hot rodders would want to create a lot of those emissions and plumb it back into the intake along with a gasoline solenoid to get more HP.

              Also, the C will combine with the O to make CO, yes, but remember there is only one C there to combine (1/8 of the C's compared to gas), so there should be much less potential CO's in the end I would think. And even if you got some extra CO out the engine the cat would probably convert much of it to CO2 anyway. Rich mixture on a CNG car typically causes higher CO emission, and like I said, if it were too rich I would think it would melt-down the cat making it a restriction to the exhaust and thus the customer would feel severe power loss and take his car to a shop and they would replace the cat, and it would burn out again, and they would eventually figure out that it is too rich and lean out the mixture which would make it burn cleaner. Of course, all of this is speculation w/o a 4-gas to tell the story for sure, but I don't think a mildly rich CNG is going to make a big enough difference that it would cause the NOx or the CO to peak over gasoline levels. I mean, the vehicle still has an EGR valve to lower combustion temps (which controls NOx) and that isn't deactivated when running on CNG, and you still have your cat, and if that is not too old and worn out, should still control CO.
              Last edited by josch; 09-26-2008, 03:15 PM. Reason: poor grammer error

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                I always thought NOx formation was a function of excess O2 available and temperature. The graphs I seem to remember show NOx increasing as O2 increases and NOx increasing as Temperature increases. So, one would have high NOX with excess O2. Cutting back on the O2 increases incomplete combustion, thus increasing CO make. A perfect combustion condition with large excess air would theoretically only yield CO2 and water. It is only with incomplete combustion that CO is produced. It seems that given this balance, adjusting excess combustion air up or down will get you the acceptable combination of NOx and CO. It also seems that achieving both low CO and low NOX is not a realistic goal given the nature of the competing combustion reactions.
                Last edited by Adrian; 09-26-2008, 09:28 PM. Reason: confusing sentence
                Adrian

                Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                  Ok sports fans, one more time.

                  The EPA regulates the air quality, not the installation quality. Local jurisdictions regulate the quality of the installation, and except for California, not the air quality (or not as strict as).

                  A "kit" can be installed according to safety codes but not even come close to minimum emission levels. There are NO EPA certified mechanics, only fuel systems. One can be an excellent mechanic but if the kit is not inherently up to spec, something that is far outside of the mechanics responsibility, the system will not perform properly (emissions).

                  If an engine is running rich, NOx is reduced, and if it is running lean, CO is reduced. If it is running at Stoichiometry, HC and CO are minimized but NOx can be a bit elevated. It is IMPOSSIBLE for an old-school mechanical system to come close to 2008 emission levels, even with the best electronic piggyback controls, plus, OBD-II will not function with a mechanical system.

                  The EPA is NOT suppressing technology, they are encouraging it, but, to prove it, they want confirmatory testing by an independent testing laboratory. The reason they want annual recertification of the systems is to prove no emission degradation, something that has been a real problem for mechanical and early fuel injection systems (hello GFI?)

                  Yes, CNG is inherently cleaner than gasoline as mentioned here, but it can also be real dirty too, and this cannot be determined by ear or a simple tailpipe sniffer either. A corner emission test station takes a simple snapshot of the emissions at a particular rpm level, and thats it, just a few seconds. The FTP-75, or the EURO 06 test is a full blown test that samples emissions during the full 20 or so minutes the vehicle is on the emission dyno. There are typically three samplings averaged.

                  1) Cold start;
                  2) Running at constant speed;
                  3) Hot restart.

                  An emission engineer will analyze the results from these three bags and determine what improvements need to be made. An improvement at cold start will not necessarily be an improvement at hot start or cruise.

                  Franz

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                    I know that there has been alot of talk as to whether or not a kit or mechanic is certified or whether or not a conversion will run clean or dirty? But since when has anyone other that the air resources board really worried about a little pollution? Every day cars and trucks are chipped, turboed, supercharged, etc. and no one that I know of has been fined? Does anyone really think a dirty or clean cng owner will ever have a problem with fines? I for one don't think so, Jim
                    Jim Younkin
                    www.younkincng.com

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                      Originally posted by Franz View Post
                      The reason they want annual recertification of the systems is to prove no emission degradation, something that has been a real problem for mechanical and early fuel injection systems (hello GFI?)
                      Nothing really makes sense about that statement to me. So when they re-certify on year 2 say, then what, they are testing a vehicle with 1 more year worth of mileage on it, and if it doesn't pass they flunk you for doing any new conversions on that engine family forever? What about the old cars that already had it installed the year before? Do those certs all become null? That doesn't make any sense if that's what your saying. Any car degrades and needs maintenance to the emission system to keep it within spec. That kit wont change that. In 10 years from now, if all of the emission controls are in good shape and the motor is in sound condition with good compression etc, then if you put the same 'ol EPA certified kit that came brand new from the same supplier on that car but 10 years later it will have the same effect as it did the first year when that manufacturer had that kit certified. I really don't get what you are saying in the above statement. Or are you saying that kits always had quality control issues and the EPA just wants to see a new sample of the same kit from the last year to check it again? When we always built our fast cars as kids, we never gave any regard to the EPA and we never used EPA certified bolt-on parts and the EPA never came after us. Heck in the town I grew up in, the state still doesn't even check emissions there in that city. All the kids STILL build their fast cars and no one really cared. Most private people here in Utah I think, feel the same way. Legit shops have every right to worry since the EPA could be watching them through binoculars (like with the old muffler shops who would remove cats), but your avg do-it-yourselfer I don't think they much care.
                      Last edited by Curtis; 09-27-2008, 09:06 AM. Reason: Violatios of TOS

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                        Sorry, I just get a little rialed up every time I think about some of these EPA issues. There's just gotta be some way that they can fix the policy to allow certifications to stay intact forever, so I could still get an EPA legal kit for an old '89 car that was certified back in the day, if I wanted to. People need options. There is no logical reason why a new kit installed correctly on that '89 car that had been certified, and if the emission controls were in good condition, there is no good reason why that new kit installed wouldn't still pass on that same car 10 years later. What is to degrade if your using a new kit? To nullify old certifications is nonsense
                        Last edited by josch; 09-27-2008, 12:45 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                          I think it has to do with the certs being tied to the small volume manufacturer (SVM). If the SVM can do this then it would open the floodgates for the large OEMs to go back and start manufacturing older model vehicles again.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                            Originally posted by John Mitton View Post
                            I think it has to do with the certs being tied to the small volume manufacturer (SVM). If the SVM can do this then it would open the floodgates for the large OEMs to go back and start manufacturing older model vehicles again.
                            I think the market place would cure that concern. I'm not sure that enough buyers would line up to buy a new F-150 with 10-15 year old technology for an engine to get the major 3 to go that route. I know I would NOT buy a new F-150 Bi-fuel with a Compuvalve. However, If the GFI system parts were available at reasonable prices or one could legally add them to an old, inexpensive F-150, I think some people would like to have that option left open. A concern should be realistic before taking drastic measures.

                            Frankly, whatever the concern the EPA had;( if indeed it was concerned about more than milking the alternative fuels cow), it is illogical and has the consequence of strangling alternative fuels growth. It's time to look at what their goals truly are, look at the rest of the civilized world (Europe, South America) and realize that emissions can be reduced without breaking the bank and stifling growth. It's ironic that in a country that prides itself on being the leader of the free world, our administrative agencies (EPA) act like dictatorships that refuse to be responsible for the consequences of some of their actions. Then again, why should they...if no one forces them too! I sure hope Congress passes some of these new CNG friendly laws to help the EPA pull its head out of its A....otherwise it might remain stuck there forever.
                            Last edited by Adrian; 09-27-2008, 09:16 AM.
                            Adrian

                            Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                            Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                            Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                              Originally posted by Yroc View Post
                              Cracking down where? Heard a lot of scare, never any actual action?? The EPA know's it's rules don't make sense, i don't think they dare inforce them??
                              Trust me whenI say that the DOE has these illegal kit sellers & installers squarely in their sights... It was the subject of a DOE briefing at the Big Sky Conference... But let the uninformed remain blissfully unaware.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Someone clear the air, legal or not!

                                I am confused, is a small volume manufacturer (SVM) anyone who manufactures kits or is it anyone who installs kits? How many is a Small Volume? Just wondering? Also do we have to add DOE now to our list of alphabet agencies we are supposed to be worried about?
                                Jim Younkin
                                www.younkincng.com

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X