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Actually we just got EPA approval on our bi-fuel conversions for that engine in the '08 F250/350. Yes, you can switch between gas and CNG. Most of us have natural gas in our homes and businesses, but you need a compressor to supply your truck at 3600psi.
Where you live/intend on operating the vehicle determines if it is practical/cost effective. I'm sure the T. Boone Pickens propaganda ads on TV are going to increase interest. He owns a company called Pickens Fuels, which compresses and dispenses CNG in many states. Here in California, CNG pumps are available in the Los Angeles and San Francisco metro areas, very few elsewhere. Most are Pickens owned. Prices are much cheaper than gasoline but far more expensive than in Utah. The problem with "Phil" the home compressor is that its rated lifespan is short enough that it may not pay for itself. Home natural gas rates here are not exactly cheap. Your area may vary.
All I am saying is get all the numbers and do the math first. My brother is on his third dedicated CNG car, so I am speaking from real life experiences, not just internet babble. His primary motivation was solo use of HOV lanes in Los Angeles via a special alternate fuel decal, lower fuel cost is just a bonus.
While it would be great to have as many CNG stations as gasoline stations, the only thing that matters is that there is a CNG station nearby when you need fuel. Most CNG conversions these days are dual-fuel anyway so you really never have to worry about being stranded.
Propane and CNG dual fuel conversions switch back and forth with the push of a button. Normally, these systems start up on gasoline and automatically switch over to LPG or CNG when the engine gets warm. They automatically switch back to gasoline if you run out of fuel. The following video is a good example of simple a manual switch-over really is: GM 4.3L Vortec Propane Installation
People often talk of CNG and LPG as if they are almost the same, not so at all. LPG is usually propane and sometimes butane or a mix. It is distilled from crude oil, just like gasoline and is priced accordingly in many markets. Also, the tanks, valves and piping is low-pressure and inexpensive. CNG is from domestic natural gas that is compressed to extremely high pressures, dispensed at 3200-3600psi ! That means that the tanks are manufactured from exotic materials and the valves for dual fuel setups are expensive.
It is true that CNG high pressure hardware (tanks, regulators, fuel lines, etc) is very different and more expensive than the equivalent LPG hardware. However, CNG and LPG systems are very similar operationally and use similar mixers or injectors.
Also, LPG is also a by-product of natural gas processing in addition to crude oil refining. HD-5 Propane is the LPG recommended for motor fuel applications and contains a minimum of 90% propane and maximum of 5% propylene.
I'm totally new to alternative fuel. I have no experience using it, but I've been reading on the internet mostly and we do have one service station in my area Napa, ca that advertizes CNG. Has anyone seen a "kit" available for carburated applications? Or is this pretty much only for injected newer computer motors? I could of course install a newer motor etc, I'm just wondering what's available. I'd like to switch because of the environmentally cleaner burning fuel, and because it would lessen dependence on gasoline producers from around the world--I hope! And it looks to currently cost about the same as gasoline so I don't forsee a savings in $'s, and that's OK.
But I'm looking around hoping to find someone who has made a conversion. I've got the 312ci Yblock in my 51 F1 and there's plenty of room to do whatever I need to make it all happen. Meaning that I can put the High pressure tank in the bed if need be etc, and looks like plenty of room under the hood, etc.
Due to the added liability risk from improperly installed CNG systems, you will very rarely see a CNG kit offered for the DIYer. The hardware is simple and the installation is straightforward for mono-fuel carburetor conversions because a CNG carburetor is the same as an LPG carburetor. CNG/LPG carburetors are available in a standard SAE carb flanges for 1bbl, 2bbl, and 4bbl configurations (see the Master Catalog on the Impco Products Page and the Streamline Catalog on the NGVINA Streamline Page). However, dual fuel conversion can be a bit harder because of the difficulty in obtaining increasingly obsolete adapters.
In California, CARB regulations apply to 1976 and newer vehicles. Your local CNG conversion shop could use any system to convert a 1951 F1 but would require a CARB-certified kit for a 2005 F-250. For states not requiring CARB, commerically-installed conversions must use EPA-certified kits.
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