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engine swap conversion?

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  • engine swap conversion?


    My father and I are planning on a new project car that will become a dedicated driver. I've researched this part pretty exhaustively, and I've decided that I want to put a Ford 6.8L V10 in a Crown Vic, and run the ignition and fuel management (and possibly other things as well) with the MegaSquirt EMS (sort of parallel to the stock ECU, so all my gauges still work). Since I like doing things over the top, and I would like a unique vehicle, besides any economic reasons, I would like to have a CNG-powered, Megasquirt-managed, V10, Crown Vic.

    I've tried reading up on the laws concerning the conversion of vehicles to natural gas, and if I didn't already have a decent line on a regular, gasoline-powered Crown Vic, I would look into buying from a fleet auctioning off their CNG vehicles. I still might, if I can't figure this out otherwise and it seems like a good idea.

    The model year for the Vic will probably be around '98-'02 (these are the cars I'm seeing on auction from police fleets, and the car I have a decent line on is a '98). As required by California (and therefore, by Massachusetts, where I live), the engine needs to be newer than the car. Also, as far as I know, as long as the original gauges work, it passes emissions and safety inspection, the swap is road-legal in California. I have no preference as to the year of the engine, how many valves it has (the V10 has a 2-valve and a 3-valve model), etc., however, there are CNG V10s. As well as CNG 4.6L Crown Vics. And there are megasquirt-managed CNG vehicles out there as well. I don't know if they were legally converted to CNG, but they run with megasquirt.

    Now the questions.

    What would be the easiest, legally, conversion to do, keeping in mind that the more work I do, the better, and that I'm not made of money, and my state doesn't have any worthwhile incentives (that I know of) - convert the gas cv to cng, then swap in a cng v10? do the swap first, then convert to cng? buy a cng cv, then swap in a cng v10?

    Are any of those options even legally viable?

    How much would each of those cost (just ball park from someone who happens to know off the top of their head, I'll do the researching on my own time )?

    The CNG is in no way necessary for the conversion, but this is a learning experience, and I'd like to learn as much as I can (replacing an engine with a bigger one, managing it with megasquirt, and possibly getting a daily driver that's big and safe, unique and rwd, and powered by CNG seems like a pretty good list to me). And if I do the conversion, then it'll be by the book (as long as I can watch, I don't mind having someone else do my gas lines, and install a new tank, etc., for me - better they do it with their lift than I do it in my driveway or garage ).

  • #2
    Re: engine swap conversion?


    Good luck! It's certainly an ambitious project. BAF Technologies has the most experiance with the Ford software. They're able to use the OEM processor for the CNG fuel map (as opposed to a seperate PCM as most other converters do).

    So, I'd contact:
    Keith Thompson, Engineer
    BAF Technologies
    2415 Beatrice
    Dallas, TX 75208
    [email protected] (?)

    Keep us posted.




    • #3
      Re: engine swap conversion?

      Sounds like a fun project Amizcuz. From the Calif view point (which may work with Mass.) it could be done as an "engine change" to pass Calif SMOG (using a CNG V-10 into a CNG Crown Vic -- same year or newer V-10 into the CV). If it is not a Factory CNG V-10 make sure the comversion is EPA approved. Check the MA SMOG laws

      I would recommend using the V-10's computer and wiring harness, and I transmission since the tranny is controlled through the engine computer. As long as the engine has all of the emission components that were originally on the engine. Using the V-10 computer and harness will allow you to tie into the CV's wiring harness with a mimimum of problems. You may have to use some of the CV's sensors to get correct reading (ones that don't go through the computer). You would also have to use V-10's Catalytic converters

      Using a CNG CV would eliminate the the gasoline components (evap system), but you wouldn't have the bi-fuel capability if that is important. If you use an EPA conversion V-10 you would be goood and maybe have bi fuel capability

      Hope this helps



      • #4
        Re: engine swap conversion?

        The megasquirt is a full on EFI system, so the engine's ECU is sort of irrelevant except to run the gauges and other powered stuff. I'd need to pretty much make up my own wiring harness, but I'd definitely start from a V10's.

        The v10 will bolt directly on to the vic's tranny (hopefully, I haven't nailed that part down yet), but this conversion has been done using the truck's tranny as well (as long as it was an auto).

        Bifuel isn't necessary for me. If needed, I can trade short term for a family member's car.

        I'm about 90% sure that MA follows all of CA's emissions laws, with none of the incentives (well, there's free parking in "participating municipalities").

        I read up on the gas engine swap (it's going to happen one way or another ); my issues are now finding out if I can make the CNG part work - I've been driving more than 20,000 miles a year, mostly highway. Mostly, I'm wondering if anyone has done the conversion (gas CV to CNG, or gas v10 to CNG) to CA standards, and what it took (money, time, what kit they used, who did it if they're in New England, etc.).

        Thank you both for the input; I'm tired so I might seem a little impolite, but I'm just trying to move things along. If this is doable, it'll mean a heck of a lot more research than I've already invested in this project, and certainly more money (at least in the beginning, overall hopefully less) and work.

        My name's Jesse, btw.


        • #5
          Re: engine swap conversion?

          Jesse, take a look here:

          It was not a bolt in swap and the vehicle was never bought in by law enforcement departments.



          • #6
            Re: engine swap conversion?

            Im not familiar with the v-10 engine specifically, but there are a number of aftermarket add-on chips that are able to remap many V-8 Ford computers with a Laptop- I have one on my Turbocharged Mustang Cobra called a Tweecer. You can reprogram all parameters, change injectors, timing, intake systems, reprogram an auto transmission, etc, even chart the running engine parameters to better tune it.

            My tweecer allows the driver to select any of five independent (different) programs with a rotary switch at any time (one program for power, another for economy...). It might be possible to set up one of the programs to optimize cng parameters. It works on most V-8's, dont know about the 10 though.

            IMHO, I think you would be much better off selecting one of the Modular motors and supercharge/ turbocharge it given the high octane rating of CNG. Picking boost over cubes provides better cruise economy and far more torque under full power settings when you want it, and because OEM (and aftermarket performance) hardware is already available, the conversion would be much easier.
            Last edited by rtry9a; 02-25-2009, 08:47 AM.


            • #7
              Re: engine swap conversion?

              Franz - yeah, that guy's car was what turned me on to the idea of the engine swap - I didn't know that he converted it to propane! The swap can be sort of bolt in, if you don't use the truck's tranny (if you need a new one, use one out of a 5.4l mustang ), as other than the wiper motor and radiator, it is pretty much bolt-in (part of why I was interested in the first place). Some people choose to mount the engine in different places in the bay to better balance the vehicle, etc. Course, I haven't actually done it, so i could just be talking shit, and not even know it Some people have certainly had trouble with the swap so I'm not saying it's all easy!

              I was originally going to eventually SC it after I got everything working and decided that I wanted to have the car around for a while pretty much the way it was.

              Based on other projects down the line, I think I am going to go for a built v8 rather than a v10. I feel like it would be a better lesson for me to work on the same engine I'm planning on working on later on down the line, rather than just the big engine in a slightly smaller bay. So, I'll be just keeping the stock engine in the bay until I pimp out another one to replace it. More in tune with my money situation at the moment, also I can get the replacement engine perfected before I get it in the car.

              Thanks a bunch to everyone for all your replies, definitely did help! I might bounce around a bit here and there (I think cng is a great alt fuel source, wayyyy better than ethanol, at least until we 'run out'), but I'm no longer planning on a cng powered car for now (I need to wait until I get my own house to install a home compressor, lol).


              • #8
                Re: engine swap conversion?

                Hello Amizcuz, Thanks for taking intersest in CNG as your fuel of choice. I am sorry to see that your state decided to adopt the California standard, and I am pretty certain that the conversion you are considering would not be considered legal. I have poured over the EPA BS as well as CARB standards many times. I am certain that you are allowed to upgrade to a newer, and larger displacement engine, but I am pretty sure that you can only do so from the same vehicle line. CA did used to give a limited number of exemptions for this type of conversion and I believe that it was limited to 500 vehicles a year. I personally own a vehicle with one of these exemptions. It is an 82 Camaro with a 1965 High compression big block chevy mated to a 5spd manual trans. This exemption allows the vehicle to be tested to 1965 standards. It does specifically state on the decal that a PCV is the only emission requirement, and that it must be tested to 1965 standards. That standard is night and day as compared to modern vehicles. I do not think that CA is still issuing these exemption, but it wouldn't hurt to check with your states vehicle administrator. I agree with others that simply adding forced induction would be the easiest route, but I know of no supercharger or turbo charger systems that carry an EO# for use with the CNG crown vic motor. I would hate to see someone go through all of the expense only to have a referee say that it is not legal. I personally would use a NG vic as my platform because the fuel system is already in place, but at extreme HP levels may require extensive reworking of the fuel system. I have seen GFI systems parralled in one application because a single system can only support so much hp before you have reached it mechanical limits. If you do decide to go for it, post pictures see we all can see your handy work. Good luck


                • #9
                  Re: engine swap conversion?

                  I'm not sure about your state, but in California, CARB will allow you to transplant the entire powertrain of the same year or newer into another vehicle , as long as EVERYTHING of the powertrain, ecu, sesnors , etc. goes with it, is functional, passes idle , obd2 and dyno somg insp, just like a normal cal. somg insp . and is found by a state licenced " Referee " to do everything the transplnted vechile did , smog wise.

                  If someone is willing to do this , it will fly. It can be done. The regulatory part is not as hard as grafting the entire electronic control systems with the engine and trans. and getting everything to work together.

                  The smog "Referee" is not a state employee , and is usually quite helpfull. The referee places a data sticker on the vehicle for future normal somg inspections. This part only has to be done once.

                  The 500 vehicle thing is for specially constructed vehicles that do not meet the above standard , like the Camero that Wellarmed has.
                  Last edited by Lakewood90712; 08-16-2009, 10:52 AM.