Diesel pickup owners have a natural gas option right now. You can convert your turbodiesel Ford, Chevy, or Dodge to run on a mixture of between 50% and 75% natural gas. Your diesel mileage should be 40 mpg or better. We’re going to walk you step by step through the conversion of a 2002 F250 4×4 Powerstroke over the coming weeks.
The truck is a plain vanilla 2002 F250 with the bulletproof 7.3 Powerstroke engine. It has around 230,000 miles on it, so it’s just getting broken in. It has an automatic transmission. Currently I get 17-18 mpg highway, cruising at 75 mph. I get about 15 mpg in town. Engaging the 4wd drops that number pretty sharply.
The Conversion Kit
The conversion kit lowers the pressure of the natural gas entering the engine and then feeds it into the engine via the air intake pipe. The natural gas, which is compressed to 3600 psi, is stored in a tank mounted on the vehicle. The kit we are using is sold by C&E Clean Energy Solutions (www.cecleanenergy.net) for $1999.00 plus $35 shipping and handling. It is American made of high quality components. The unit will be mounted in the truck bed. Five connections will have to be made in order to install it. There will need to be a 1/4″ stainless steel line from the tanks to the inlet of the conversion kit. A 3/4″ flexible gas line goes from the kit to a nozzle in the engine’s intake pipe. This nozzle is installed in the pipe between the air filter box and the turbo. Two heater hose patches will need to be made so that hot water can be run through the high pressure regulator. It needs hot water to prevent icing because the rapid drop from 3600 psi to less than 1 psi causes a sharp drop in temperature. Finally, a wire patch will need to be make in order to power the solenoid. In addition to the kit, we will be installing a pyrometer with an integrated temperature cutoff switch as an engine protection mechanism.
In the next installment we will discuss the different types of CNG cylinders, or tanks, available, and their placement.
Click here to read Part 2