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Old 12-07-2010, 03:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question CNG injection kits - ???

I saw an article on the Diesel Power Mag website about the Natruell CNG injection kit and the Bully Dog unit that goes with it. When I clicked on the link for Natruell I ended up on a GoDaddy page, but didnt find anything on the Bully Dog website either. Has anybody heard of this kit? Or has anybody got any real world knowledge on CNG injection?

Here is the link to the DPM article ~~~> Natruell CNG Conversion Kit - Diesel Engines - Diesel Power Magazine
From what I read it works on a common rail engine. I'm new to coal rollin' and dont know nutin' for nuttin' about the different generations of Cummins; which is proving very frustrating! As such I havent picked up an engine yet and continue to hesitate in doing so because I cant seem to get enough facts to line up from the limited resources I have in my Jeep club. I dropping the 360 and auto trans from my soon to build custom cab '67 J-truck in favor of a 5.9L and an NV4500. I still need to figure out what t-case too.

I'd really appreciate any real world knowledge you can drop on me on these CNG kits and anybody that can help me choose a power train would also be very appreciated. Hopefully then I can pull the trigger and get this build off of paper and into the garage!!
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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VERY FRUSTRATED at this point!! I saw a LOT of benefit to this system and the difference it could make for us all; especially with the impending hefty fuel price hikes. After numerous searches for Natruell leading to brick walls I sent an inquiry to Bully Dog; the proposed controller used on this system. The response I received is that they dropped Natruell when they suddenly disappeared from radar. I wrote to Diesel Power dot Com and asked for any information they may have about Natruell as well as any other vendors they may know of that offer a CNG injection kit and not a flat out conversion set up. If anybody else has any leads I'd appreciate hearing them and then I'll chase it down. Thanks
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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VERY FRUSTRATED at this point!! I saw a LOT of benefit to this system and the difference it could make for us all; especially with the impending hefty fuel price hikes. After numerous searches for Natruell leading to brick walls I sent an inquiry to Bully Dog; the proposed controller used on this system. The response I received is that they dropped Natruell when they suddenly disappeared from radar. I wrote to Diesel Power dot Com and asked for any information they may have about Natruell as well as any other vendors they may know of that offer a CNG injection kit and not a flat out conversion set up. If anybody else has any leads I'd appreciate hearing them and then I'll chase it down. Thanks
Maybe it's because CNG is so cheap (~$1.00/gal) in the intermountain west but there's a couple different diesel shops in town that do CNG bi-fuel conversions where I live. The first is here.

The 2nd is here.

Mine was installed by a now defunct shop but I've had mine serviced by the first guys and they're really great. I have no experience with the second shop I listed. If you see mi sig line, I get about 35% better fuel efficiency (when calculating for diesel fuel consumed only) over straight diesel. Not to mention the increased power and mine is tuned VERY conservatively (maybe +60hp?). You can get crazy with it, just like propane injection.

Hope that helps!
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Maybe it's because CNG is so cheap (~$1.00/gal) in the intermountain west but there's a couple different diesel shops in town that do CNG bi-fuel conversions where I live. The first is here.

The 2nd is here.

Mine was installed by a now defunct shop but I've had mine serviced by the first guys and they're really great. I have no experience with the second shop I listed. If you see mi sig line, I get about 35% better fuel efficiency (when calculating for diesel fuel consumed only) over straight diesel. Not to mention the increased power and mine is tuned VERY conservatively (maybe +60hp?). You can get crazy with it, just like propane injection.

Hope that helps!
looks pretty cool, but for the low price of 5 grand plus i think ill stick to propane. lol why so expensive? the ats diesel propane kit is like 800 bucks total
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, I paid WAY less than $5,000 but the shop that installed mine used mine as a test and marketing truck so all I paid was about $1,200 which was the cost of parts. Of that, nearly $800 was for the CNG tank--that's the killer, there. And that was a used tank. New ones can cost a lot more, depending on the capacity. So, the other parts (fill nipple, high press. regulator, low pressure regulator, venturi, fuel lines, etc.) are fairly cheap. These systems are really simple.

If you can score a good, used, tank on the cheap you could practically install a system yourself. The way my mechanic explained the tank situation to me: all CNG tanks have a wear-out date but there's no real regulatory oversight when it comes to re-inspections. And, there has never been a documented case of tank failure due to age. They may fail from damage, I guess, but they don't "wear out." Maybe he was blowing smoke up my *** but we're good friends and I trust the expert so I wasn't too concerned going with a used tank.

That's my $0.02. For what it's worth, I LOVE natural gas. My highway economy is WAY better and the "seat-of-the-pants feel when you flip that switch is pretty cool, too. And it would only get better the more CNG you fed your motor. At steady-state freeway driving I figure I'm burning about 60% CNG, 40%diesel and the more CNG you feed it, the more power and economy. I've heard the practical limit is something like 80/20. Beyond that, it's time to look at the dedicated CNG conversions completed with spark plugs in your cylinder head. No thanks.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When considering diesel dual fuel systems, you get what you pay for. Low-priced systems like the Naturell (or Bully Dog) are simple on-off systems that supply CNG or LPG at a constant rate once boost pressure energizes a switch, which in Bully Dog's case is 7 psi (see Bully Dog installation manual). If your boost pressure is below the switch's setpoint, you will not be using any CNG or LPG.

The critical compression ratio (CCR) for LPG is ~12:1 and is ~15:1 for natural gas while diesels easily have CR's greater than 16:1. The danger with adding too much fuel is that the alternative fuel can detonate as loads increase, which causes engines to melt down (see Dual Fuel Fumigation). At low loads, relatively more LPG or CNG may be used but must be cut back as loads increase, with LPG having to be cut back more than CNG. The only way to get the maximum benefit of using a gaseous fuel is to use a system that controls LPG/CNG based on a fuel map (ie, boost pressure vs RPM). For the maximum fuel savings, CNG/LPG should be supplied to the engine at low, cruising-level boost pressures.

On a DGE (Diesel Gallon Equivalent) basis, CNG can be less than 1/2 the price of diesel fuel at CNG stations run by gas utilities. Even though a good diesel-CNG system can run $5000, the important thing is the payback which depends upon the price difference between diesel and CNG as well as the amount of fuel consumed annually.

As for reusing expired CNG cylinders, this is not safe and is illegal. Although the cylinders do not "wear out", they do get fatigued from multiple filling cycles (to 3600 psi). I wouldn't want to be first one who experiences a CNG cylinder failure because I was too thrifty to use a proper tank. See CNG Cylinders 101.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A true dual fuel is a switch between one fuel to another and vice versa whereas fumigation is used in conjunction.

But when you get down to it the Natruell kit is a moot point because they disappeared and cant be found; which I do believe that I mentioned before.

And as far as utilizing used CNG tanks goes you need to do some more homework and not just regurgitate whats thrown around. Yes, its true CNG tanks do have to go thru "recertification", but when you look at the sheer number of refill cycles and how many times you'd have to refill the tank(s) to achieve that magic number you'd be running non-stop for a looooong time. I'm not advocating breaking the law and avoiding recertification, but as far as unsafe goes unless you have damaged the tank or attached components you shouldnt be any where near that being an issue. Its more of a big government thing where they get their thumb on us and limits liability of those lobbying for it. Kinda like those who had code readers banned from auto parts stores because they arent ASE diagnostic shops.


Being that Natruell is gone I did more research and have found the DeLuca fully mechanical CNG injection kit. So now I'm ditching the boat anchor 6BT in favor of the 4BT and running an AA cooler. Rsearch that one first before reciting surface facts and you'll see the benefits. Detonation can be avoided if you pay attention and if you cant then fumigation isnt the route to go.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Diesel-CNG Systems

Usually, once someone has done their homework, they regurgitate the things they've learned to share with others. To clarify a few points:
  • Dual-Fuel: operating on 2 fuels simultaneously (EPA Definition - EERE Glossary D)
  • Bi-Fuel: operating on 2 fuels on an either-or basis (EERE - Glossary B)
  • Diesel-CNG Dual Fuel: operating on both diesel and CNG (ARB 2025, p6, item 25)

The way I understand it, fumigation is the delivery of a gaseous fuel with a mixing device, which usually has a venturi of some sort to cause the fuel to flow from the regulator. The Impco Model 425 mixer is an example of a fumigation device. Injection is the delivery of a gaseous fuel with electronically controlled and solenoid-actuated valves. Technocarb's ESIP System is an example of an injection system.

I do not believe there is a CNG cylinder recertification program. AFAIK, once the cylinder reaches its expiry date, legally it must be scrapped. If this isn't true, please explain how a CNG cylinder may be recertified. If a cylinder continues to be in use after its expiry date, how would you reduce your liability if something goes wrong?

I must live a sheltered life. What's an AA Cooler?

The only way simple mechanical (on-off) diesel-LPG systems (like the Bully Dog) avoid detonation is by keeping the LPG supplied at a relatively low and constant rate. If it's high enough to have a significant effect on fuel economy, it can be high enough to knock at high loads. I expect that the Naturell CNG system was very similar to the Bully Dog LPG system.

After reading the DeLuca Fuel Products' description of "The Fuel Stretcher" (TFS) system, it sounds as if it is using a conventional propane regulator to supply propane or CNG to the engine. Their CNG page shows a photo of the TFS system, which appears to use an Impco Model VFF30 Fuel Lock and a Model J regulator. The output pressure of a Model J is either -1.5", -0.5", or -0.2" WC (Water Column) and my guess is that it is probably a Model JO (-0.5" WC). This means that the CNG won't flow until the pressure in the regulator's output vapor line drops below -0.5" WC. This is the vacuum required to lift water in drinking straw 1/2".

Since "The Fuel Stretcher" requires vacuum in the intake duct to work, as described in TFS's Theory of Operation, fuel doesn't flow at idle because duct vacuum is zero. TFS doesn't have any means of load-based control because it supplies fuel based on vacuum upstream of the turbocharger. The vacuum level in the intake duct (between the air filter and turbo) increases with the square of air flow so it is theoretically possible to overfuel an engine with it. The manual fuel control valve is there to minimize this possibility. Although not mentioned on the DeLuca's web site, the TFS uses a venturi in the intake duct (to boost duct vacuum) so fuel starts to flow when venturi vacuum reaches 1.5", 0.5" or 0.2" WC (see MrTruck.com - CNG). I believe there may already be members of this forum that have experience with this system and bugmasta has installation manual that he could email. DeLuca appears to have a more sophisticated system in the works (expected Fall 2009) which recognizes the need to avoid detonation.

I'm not telling anyone not to buy the DeLuca diesel dual fuel system. I'm just suggesting that you're sure of what you're getting before you lay out any cash. I'm also suggesting that a sophisticated diesel dual fuel system that uses a fuel map to control fuel flow will be cheaper in the long run than a much lower priced simple mechanical system.

Last edited by fraso; 01-25-2011 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Added Information
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Diesel-CNG Fuel Efficiency

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Originally Posted by utvaquero View Post
If you see mi sig line, I get about 35% better fuel efficiency (when calculating for diesel fuel consumed only) over straight diesel.
A 35% improvement in diesel fuel economy means that you're substituting about 26% of your diesel fuel with CNG, which means there's probably some room to use more. I calculate that you're using about 2.56 gallons of diesel for every 1 GGE of CNG used. Am I very far off?

What diesel-CNG system do you have installed on your truck? It sounds like it might have been a prototype system being developed by the now defunct shop. Do you have any photos? How much CNG capacity do you have?
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Even if its only 26% its still a savings over the amount diesel that would have been burned; which is why I'm after it. Not to mention the instant gain of torque and HP.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Let's say that you want do a diesel-CNG conversion. For the sake of argument:
  • Your truck gets 20 mpg on the highway and you only do highway driving
  • You drive 30,000 miles per year and you live in Buffalo, NY
  • Diesel costs $3.50/gallon ($5250/year)
  • CNG costs $1.2275/GGE

With 26% BTU substitution rate, total annual fuel cost (diesel + CNG) is $4421/year ($829 savings). Similarly:
  • 30% substitution is $4291/year ($959 savings)
  • 40% substitution is $3971/year ($1279 savings)
  • 50% substitution is $3652/year ($1598 savings)

If diesel now costs $4.50/gallon ($6750/year) and CNG remains the same, the total annual fuel cost is:
  • 26% substitution is $5532/year ($1218 savings)
  • 30% substitution is $5341/year ($1409 savings)
  • 40% substitution is $4871/year ($1879 savings)
  • 50% substitution is $4402/year ($2348 savings)

Obviously, if you don't do just highway driving and your actual average annual fuel economy is less than 20 mpg, the fuel savings are greater. If you go through a lot of fuel, the cost of the CNG system becomes less important than the cost of the fuel saved. It's a lot like the difference between a high-efficiency and low-efficiency furnace for your house.

As for the boost in hp and torque, there is no guarantee that this automatically means a boost in fuel economy. A simple mechanical system typically has boost pressure switch to activate the system. Above the switch's pressure setpoint, you feel a kick because the system is supplying more fuel. Below this pressure, there is no fuel economy benefit. Even with the DeLuca system (if I understand its operation correctly), there is no fuel supplied until intake duct vacuum reaches 0.5" WC.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Sorry, it's been a few days since I've logged in.

Fraso, yes, this was a prototype but the general theory of operation of the DeLuca system, the TFS, sounds pretty much how mine operates. I have a 6 GGE @ 3600 psi tank (too small, really) in the rear under the bed where the spare tire used to mount. I have what appears to be a pressure reducing regulator (if I recall the details, reduces line pressure from ~3,000 psi to ~200 psi) which then feeds what's probably the Impco regulator you described. It's got a company-branded hexagonal or octagonal faceplate. From two outlets the shop plumbed lines into my intake tract, pre-turbo. At idle through about 1,600 rpm I can tell it's running strictly on diesel fuel. Once the turbo spools up sufficiently the intake vacuum overcomes spring pressure and CNG starts to flow into the system. So, for strictly around-town driving this really isn't going to help much. But, if you were to drive a lot on the freeway it helps ALOT!

Some things I'd do differently (and may eventually get to) is a larger tank. I opted for a smaller one that would fit in place of my spare tire rack so I wouldn't lose any bed space. The tradeoff is that I can only go about 120-40 miles before my CNG tank is empty. By happenstance, along I-15 in Utah you can fill up every 50 miles or so, so I usually fill up, drive ~150 miles and fill up again. As far as my tank's expiry, I'm definitely no expert on them. I believe my used tank expires in 2012 or 13--can't remember off the top of my head. Basically, I'm going off the shop owner's advice which was there have been no known age-related failures of any CNG tanks. Will my tank burst into flames the day it expires? I doubt it. Am I going to have heartburn in a year or two when it does? Again, I doubt it. The way the crappy Dodge body and electrical are going, who knows if I'll have it in 2 years anyway?

Basically, I had a little extra cash a couple years ago when diesel was over $4.00/gal and a friend trying to save his shop so I volunteered to be a guinea pig and it's (mostly) worked out for me. But, since he's out of business, I make no money off telling people my experiences; just trying to help others make more educated decisions. On balance, I'm glad I did it. I like stretching my tank to 6-700+ miles and the little extra power is a kick, too.
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