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Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

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  • Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

    I notice some shops advertising cheaper conversions because they are not EPA approved kits. I asked them about the law and they say this varies by state. That Utah for instance doesn't care. Just wondering what the real deal is on this before throwing down money? I like what they are doing as far as spreading CNG but get a little nervous if I would then be a renegade kind of like the veggie oil diesel guys...


  • #2
    Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

    Where are these cheaper shops? I want to save some $$$.


    • #3
      Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

      Found a source for three gallons a week of wvo for free.
      I am close to be runing on wvo and propane? my goal is to lay 535 hp 1100 foot pounds to the ground on used veg and propane ,
      I still want to change the propane to cng.I have done a lot of research on that,during that time I have found nice
      conversion kit to change 4 cylinder cars to .After seeing what these kits sell for an e-bay $$$$$ I may start selling them my self??????


      • #4
        Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

        Non-EPA certified kits:
        1. Are illegal
        2. Void warranties
        3. Cannot obtain tax credits (here in Utah the Div. of Air Quality is now requiring the EPA certificate before processing tax credit form TC-40V. On the federal side auditors are also going to want to see your cert if you claimed the tax credit on form 8910)
        4. Subject the installer and owner to penalties of up to $10,000 per day for tampering with onboard emission diagnostics.
        5. In California subject the vehicle to impound (CARB cert required)
        6. Typically do not require the installer to have any training for safe installation and service

        Most importantly they compete unfairly with those who spend the money to get their retrofits certified.

        If you folks want to discuss in generic terms the benefits vs. risks of these kits be my guest. But we do not tolerate promoting specific illegal retrofits here.


        • #5
          Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

          I showed a photo of a hummer conversion that belonged to one of our Arizona customers (Not Murphy's) on an email broadcast once and I had a rep from the EPA call me up wanting to know if I did the conversion and what my license # was. I simply told them I took the photo, didn't do the work, sorry.
          They are watching.
          Dave Clement


          • #6
            Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

            John- not dissing you here, but how much of that last post is fact and how much assumption/opinion? Regarding 1 and 4, the EPA certification was drafted to apply to imports, to require safety and emission standards; and CARB applies to the politicians in California who think they are smarter than the scientists. Most of your other comments are irrelevant, depending on relative costing of parts/labor.

            IMHO, the ONLY way CNG will ever catch on to the masses will involve a Universal conversion kit that is affordable, able to be installed by anyone safely, and can enable any vehicle to operate on cng. The EPA is concerned with emissions and safety- they tend to overregulate because they are mostly lawyers and laws are all they understand. The only kit I see at this time that seems to meet the requirements is the Galileo made in S America (where most of the worldwide cng use is).

            I looked into that kit briefly and will likely buy one and experiment with it- it only "changes" the timing to work with cng and turns off the gasoline injectors exactly like all the OEM kits must- the rest of the OBD diagnostics remain operatable and unchanged. The kit learns and optomizes mixture and timing based on O2 sensor feedback- probably a better approach than the OEM setups that memorize tables of numbers that we all love so much when they run rough.

            The "changes" you refer to would, by inference, also outlaw all aftermarket performance chips and exhaust/intake modifications that are common throughout the US- obviously not the case in the real world. I believe we will only need to show clean emissions with these conversion kits, to prove that they meet Fed and State/County emission standards; that should not present a problem with cng.


            • #7
              Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?


              Consider what John said as a warning. Sorry, but rules are rules (even if the EPA wrote them). If you want persue installing an illegal kit that is your decision, however, do not promote it here on CNGChat (you will be banned).

              I understand your frustration with EPA certified kits. I wish the EPA was more relaxed on the requirements for certifying CNG kits too. Maybe that's were we should focus some of our energy towards them and not sit here and complain about non-EPA certified kits.
              Mountain Green, Utah
              2003 CNG Cavalier
              2003 CNG Silverado 2500HD


              • #8
                Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                Dave is right. The EPA is watching what is happening in this market segment and the last thing I am going to do is see this public forum get caught up in the inevitable crack-down.

                Galileo is a huge company. If they want to play in this market they can get their kit certified with the EPA - especially if what you say is true that the OBDII will function with full OEM features post-conversion.


                • #9
                  Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                  Originally posted by casainc View Post
                  Can you cite one case where someone has been prosecuted for installing an non EPA certified CNG kit? Please be specific.
                  I think the onus is on you to cite a specific case where someone has been caught yet let off the hook.


                  • #10
                    Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                    Hey casainc, I just went to the link you posted and nothing came up. It said the link is no longer availible. So you may want to try something else to cover your butt...
                    You can do anything except light a paper match, on a marshmellow, underwater!

                    R.I.P. Taylor and Chris


                    • #11
                      Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                      Who is going to catch you with a non EPA certified kit if you installed it yourself, live in a small town where you have no smog requirements and you fill up at your house with a phil unit you bought off EBay.
                      Go CNG.


                      • #12
                        Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                        I have made checks on several units, following are some concerns I can see the EPA frowning on.
                        1.The OBDII system does not rreally use the oxygen sensor to make fuel choices anymore. It is more of a report card for the PCM to verify that it made the right choice. Some systems now use an air fuel monitor instead of an oxygen sensor & it works differently than on oxygen sensor which changes the calculation.
                        2. The system goes rich/lean not because they cannot control the fuel tighter but because the catalyst needs the infusion of air to operate. Part of the OBDII catalyst monitor is the PCM is designed to change the fuel calibration and flood the cat to verify correct operation.
                        3. Most non certified CNG systems maintain a steady operation which changes the oxygen reading, the short and long term fuel control, messes with the monitors, and invalidates some of the tests.
                        4. A non certified kit not working correctly can stress the PCM as it tries to adapt and can not effect a change so (in some cases) it will go into limp in mode dropping timing advance, raising emissions, and reducing power and economy.
                        5. The last one I worked on (that some well intentioned shop installed) was getting so bad that the check engine was flashing and a chime was going all the time. Emissions with limp in mode timing advance was over double the EPA specifications.
                        6. OBDII started in 1996. Older vehicles may not have the problems and pre computer systems can grreatly reduce emissions with almost any cng kit. The problem --- not many people want to spend the money to convert a 15 year old vehicle & anything newer than 1996 can severly compromise the emissions which will give the EPA more backking to quit cng all together -- which they are already starting to do on the federal level with many states following suit & the trickle down effect which is --- no more cng vehicles available to the public from almost all manufacturers.
                        7. There are others who understand the system better than I do as I am not into cng that much. I just work on a few for my old customers & I do drive one myself.
                        By the way Curt -- I am slowly earning my decoder ring and filling in the gaps of information available.
                        Stan M.


                        • #13
                          Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                          You are not talking a difference of 8 grand. The tanks cost the same no matter which kit you use them on & is the biggest part of the total cost. A certified kit will be from $1500 - 2500 more & they are a bigger pain to put on.
                          You are correct about cutting down the footprint of emissions left. My main point is that if done incorrectly with a kit that does not play with the vehicle computer will actually raise the emissions. Even the experts will have problems hooking an "Apple to a Microsoft" system and make them work together in harmony for years and miles with very little upkeep. A non certified kit may not even try & just as you can buy whatever computer you want to network your office, it does not make a lot of sense to have several different operating systems. I would never buy a $300.00 computer because it seems to be the best deal and try and network its typing program with Word Perfect or Microsoft Word. To work correctly they need to speak the same language & work together as a unit. We are talking about complex computer systems --- the same thing. I would never just buy a kit because of the price and cross my fingers that it will actually work. People spend hours deciding on an $800.00 computer purchase and almost no time learning about an $8,000.00 vehicle computer & hardware purchase except this one costs less.
                          I am sorry that we are so far apart, I agree 100% with the price problem and also the reduction of harmful gasses, but I have to fix the mess someone bought when it does not run right. It can take hours to sort out (especially DIY wiring nightmares) and at times it can not and will not communicate correctly. This is one reason the EPA is up in arms about these kits.


                          • #14
                            Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                            Originally posted by smartineau View Post
                            It can take hours to sort out (especially DIY wiring nightmares) and at times it can not and will not communicate correctly. This is one reason the EPA is up in arms about these kits.
                            How exactly do you fix these systems that don't function correctly? Do you set them up correctly and make them work? Or do you remove the system and put the vehicle back in it's original state?


                            • #15
                              Re: Whats the deal with non EPA conversions?

                              I agree with you.
                              And any DIY,r with the correct kit, who follows the installation diagrams and is careful is not a problem.
                              But there are a lot with poor installation. I traced out a wiring problem on a motorhome and the wire color changed 7 times betweeen the inside switch and the module! Another vehicle had a wire dropping voltage because the installer used a scotchlock (poor installation procedure). Some systems use two ground circuits for four injectors and some use four. GM for example has used two different injector ground systems on the same model the same engine and the same year, one ganged and the other SEFI. If the wrong module is used the emulated signal to the PCM will be seen as twice the injector firing as expected and when reversed half of the expected value. Most of these can be fixed, but you have to know what you are looking for and it takes time to trace it out. Is the flatline on an oxygen sensor a steady fuel mixture or a bad sensor?
                              The length of the connecting rod and stroke of the piston will change the timing advance curve. You use an e-bay kit from an in line 6 to run a v6, but will it be right -- They are both 6 cylinder.
                              Over the years the chevrolet small block V8 has come in a 262, 265, 283, 302, 305, 307, 327, 350, 400. They are all small block chevrolet V8's do they use the same timing advance, the same camshaft, the same compression?
                              Yes you can do it and if you check you can do it correctly just like you can rebuild a small block chevy, but you better know if you have a small journal or large journal crank, the cc of the heads etc. before you order parts The cost to build that engine by yourself is way less than having a shop do the job. Just verify everything and take your time to do it right.
                              I have said several times that I am not a CNG tech. I do work on a few because some of my customers own them & the nearest shop is over two hours drive with a two to three week wait for an appointment.