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Old 05-18-2012, 06:56 AM   #1
brokendown
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Default CNG conversion?

I was curious whether anyone had ever considered/researched into the possibility of converting a Saturn SL to CNG...

Yes the Saturn is already a fuel efficient car - but i'm expecting to probably resume my previous driving 30k miles a year habits (long distance to college and stuff, which was postponed for awhile) which I expect to go on for a number of years yet... I already know something about working on my Saturn, and don't want to learn a different car if I can help it. (like a Cavalier bi-fuel, which is what i'd get otherwise) I like my stick shift too. (Cavalier is auto-only) Including it's potential towing ability which the Cavalier lacks.

So i'd like to explore it... just at least the feasibility (and safety) of the technical aspects of the conversion. I'm aware some things are in a legal grey area, which i'll worry about if it shows to even be possible and feasible to convert an SL. :P

Note I specifically want to maintain bi-fuel ability. There is only one CNG refueling station in Minnesota, and though I will be within range of it able to refuel during college stuff, if I add any extra driving in i'll be out of gas before I can make it back the next day to fill back up.

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Old 05-18-2012, 07:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokendown View Post
(Cavalier is auto-only) Including it's potential towing ability which the Cavalier lacks.
Auto only? My dad's Cavi Z24 could have been a 5spd, but a 3spd autotragic was standard with the 3.1L V6. Fairly easy swap as well, though not as simple as the S-Series. Not enough were 5spd's so finding one is the hardest part. He was looking into cargo springs for it as well, but then he blew the bottom end in the engine and let it rot in the yard so I couldn't put a 5spd in it even if I knew where to get one

$700 plus the tank? Good grief that'd take for ever to pay for itself, let alone create a savings...
http://ewsews.com/cngprices.html

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Old 05-18-2012, 09:52 AM   #3
mattwithcats
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

I would convert it to E-85.
Should cost around $200
Plenty of stations in Minnesota I think...

All you have to do is change the dwell time on the injectors,
Conversion kits available to do that,

However someone on this forum has used SL2 injectors on an SL/SL1...

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Old 05-18-2012, 10:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

many cng cars converted in the 70s when gas prices went way up so i know it can be done. with current gas prices i dont think it would pay for itself if that is the object. gas would have to be more expensive like in the 80s.

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Old 05-18-2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

It must take a monster sized tank to hold the CNG. The buses around town that run CNG have a massive tank on top of the bus that is probably about 25 feet long and 3 feet tall.

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Old 05-18-2012, 12:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
It must take a monster sized tank to hold the CNG.
Yeah - you are going to lose your trunk space. Here's another thread . . .
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho....php?t=115193#

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Old 05-18-2012, 12:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

Might be more cost efficient to look at slightly taller tires, slightly higher tire pressures, some aero mods and a hot air intake. Should push you near 50 mpg on your long drives

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Old 05-18-2012, 12:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefunkar View Post
many cng cars converted in the 70s when gas prices went way up so i know it can be done. with current gas prices i dont think it would pay for itself if that is the object. gas would have to be more expensive like in the 80s.
Those 70s conversions were to propane, not CNG. same basic process but the CNG conversions have to be EPA approved and installed by EPA licensed, bonded installers. If you happen to live in an area where you do not get hit with periodic inspections and have the ability the parts are available and you can DIY. You will need a gas compressor and they are expensive. The people who sell these parts are a bit touchy about who they sell to though.

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Old 05-18-2012, 01:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattwithcats View Post
I would convert it to E-85.
What?! Why?! E-85 isnt anywhere cheap enough to make a cost savings. The huge loss in mpg going to E-85 will make it worse than just leaving it alone. Not to mention he will be stopping to fill up much more often. E-85 makes less sense than putting a magnet on your fuel line.

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Old 05-18-2012, 03:33 PM   #10
mattwithcats
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Default Re: CNG conversion?

Depends on what you pay for E-85.

I pay 50 cents less (on average) than 87 octane gas.

Without doing any change to dwell times, you can run 22-23% Ethanol.
I think you can go higher, have not tried yet.

Combine that with .605 5th gear and 205/60/15 tires inflated to 44 psi (max)

She usually take ten miles before the temp gauge moves, and I smell fries, (the catalytic converter is hot)

Getting 44 in a 98 and 48 in a 01 SL2 highway...

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