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  • Moisture/oil in car

    Curt,

    My car is in the Honda dealership here in Tulsa and I was told there is moisture and some oil in the CNG lines. I had to have it towed when it wouldn't start after I tried to fill it up using my FMQ2-36 home compressor. The compressor shut off with maybe one gallon added to the car which was half full at time. It ran fine before. Mechanic says that the plugs were rusted (40k miles) and there was oil residue and water in the lines. Will try to replace fuel filter and plugs and try to blow out the water before putting in the plugs. I have a call in to the gas utility Oklahoma Natural Gas. Perhaps they have a problem with high water content in their gas system.

    Have you experienced this problem? I have three GX cars so I hope this won't be a permament problem to contend with.

    Your thoughts please.

    Andy Kmetz
    918-557-0274

  • #2
    Re: Moisture/oil in car

    Andy, an FMQ2-36 is an oil less compressor, so it's not the source of your headaches. Very often old, poorly maintained public stations have compressors that will blow oil past the rings. Many commercial compressors use oil in them.

    The composition of gas varies greatly around the country. Some areas have more moisture than others. A well maintained compressor has a dryer rack to pull errant water & oil from the compressors output.

    My guess is that the public stations you are using (one or more) need the desiccant in their dryers replaced (at a bare minimum). If you're using strait well-gas at home, a dryer might be a necessary investment that could save you in repair costs down the road.

    I'm sure that some of the industry guys might be able to expand on this for you.

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    • #3
      Re: Moisture/oil in car

      If you have this much water and oil in the CNG system (and the tank fills from 1/2 to full by adding one GGE of fuel) you need to consider removing the CNG tank from the car and having it cleaned internally. You didn't mention how old the car is or how often you fuel commercially. If you do fuel from a CNG station and seem to be getting short fills (i.e. the tank reads empty and less then the normal amount of fuel is required to top it off) its time to consider the tank is full of something other then CNG. It can build up over years or happen with just a few fillups from a poorly maintained station .

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      • #4
        Re: Moisture/oil in car

        I have not noticed a reduction in fill capabilities of my tank since I've owned the car which now has about 40,000 miles on it. I only noticed the problem after filling up at my home compressor. I rarely fill up at home however and mainly use the local utility to fill up. All the gas comes from the same utility, but I suppose that it could have different moisture levels and my home unit may have a higher moisture level compared to the local utility stations. Maybe they have a dryer system in place before the gas enters the refueling sites. I did notice that the could be a higher gas moisture level at the public sites recently because I had freezing at the nozzle and gas came spewing out for quite some time after filling up. Perhaps there has been a change in the gas moisture that the utility is selling. I have a call in to the utility to check on this issue.

        I am still considering installing a dryer/dessicant at my fuelmaker if it isn't cost prohibitive. Surely there is something available that is somewhat reasonable. Do you have any ideas?

        Also on the car, do you think that replacing the fuel filter and spark plugs will fix the problem. At least that is my hope.

        Thanks for your help.

        Andy

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        • #5
          Re: Moisture/oil in car

          I crystals can in deed form in the filling nozzle and hold open the check ball, allowing gas to escape. Group member afvman can give you the scoop on dryers (PM him), and only doing the mentioned maintenance will tell if it's all that will be required. Oil in the injectors is a sure fire way to foul them. Best of luck.

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          • #6
            Re: Moisture/oil in car

            Curt,

            I did get the car last night from the dealership and at this point I am not 100% sure I have solved the problem. They replaced both fuel filters and also the spark plugs. It still had trouble starting after running for about 30-45 minutes. I picked it up and kept it driving for awhile and the car ran fine. It did start this morning. It may make sense to try and replace the filter again just to make sure that the water is gone. I will need to fill up tonight so hopefully it will dilute any water remaining in the system. I was also told by Tulsa Gas Technology that sometimes a small amount of additive can be added that absorbs the moisture in the gas. Have you heard of that? J-32 fuel I believe. Hopefully I can do that and avoid cleaning out the tank.

            The only other concern was the bill!. Does $350 in labor sound reasonable for replacing two fuel filters and the spark plugs. If so that fuel savings just went down the drain. Obviously the wife is not pleased, and neither am I. I don't mind paying a reasonable service fee, but I don't want to have to pay someone for learning how to work on CNG cars either.

            I still have not figured out if the water source is from my home compressor station. Surely water in the CNG is a problem that other people should be running into, or is this just a rare occurance?

            Thanks for your input.

            Andy

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Moisture/oil in car

              Andy; Install an inlet dryer on your fuelmaker. I can't remember the name of the one we have used, but it may have worked (I don't know how much moisture/oil was in the gas main in California's Coachella Valley). but it does make a lot of sense. We also "timed out 2 compressors on the fuel maker we had.

              Also, some rusting on the plugs seems to be normal on CNG vehicles. Use a good grade of anti-sieze on the plugs,- just a touch, especially with aluminum heads, it will save a lot of grief

              Larrycng
              Last edited by larrycng; 01-20-2009, 09:03 AM. Reason: add plug comment

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              • #8
                Re: Moisture/oil in car

                Andy, sorry for the delayed response. My computer was down for a week and I'm playing catchup with about 200 emails.

                Tom at Tulsa is one of the best and most experienced in the country. You are dealing with a seasoned professional when you're in his shop. There's no one I'd rather have troubleshoot my cngcar based on his experience alone.

                I think you'll find that the cost of the filters made up nearly half of your bill. I don't know Tom's labor rates, but $90-$100 an hour is what most dealerships charge these days. I think the charges were probably fair, and less than they could have been elsewhere.

                cng components don't tend to be inexpensive in general. As Larry pointed out, there are things you can do to minimize fueling related problems that can save you big $ down the road. Good, clean fuel is probably the most important to avoid contamination of injectors and other parts that are critical in the performance of your car.

                Talk to Tom (TGT) and see if he can recommend anything to eleminate such future problems, or if he's aware of moisture problems in your regional fuel supply. A dryer is always a good idea, but not necessary in many areas of the country.

                I think once you get everything set up you'll find the long term savings of cng worth the initial expense... particularly once oil prices return to the $3 + a gallon range. Hang in there my friend... and make friends with Tom. He's a great resource.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Moisture/oil in car

                  Thanks for your input. Since replacing both fuel filters the problem has for the most part disappeared. We have had one or two instances where the car was hard to start, and it seemed to sputter once or twice too. Of course it happened with my wife driving it and not for me. But I did go to Tulsa Gas Technology today and we pulled out the fuel filters and checked them. There was no moisture in either filter, so I think replacing the filters solved the problem.

                  I am still looking into putting a filter on my fuelmaker. It has not been real dependable for me so far. It does not seem to work as good as I would like it too. Perhaps the filter will reduce the problems on the fuelmaker.

                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    Re: Moisture/oil in car

                    Fuel Maker offers a cartridge filter for the Q-2s It is part # 37.0037 check with Tom Sewell on it. He is a FM dealer. If he has issues finding the data on it tell him to start at the back of the big manual and page in a few.

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