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What should you know about car LPG installation?

  • AUTOGAS - MYTHS

    Autogas entered the market in the early 90's of the last century. Since then, there has been a lot of myths concerning its use, unfortunately, the great majority untrue. They are often the results of early-stage problems - the problems that occurred with old carburettor installations and which we are not going to experience in today's well-controlled, fine-tuned electronics.


    1. Tanks explode – driving on gas is like driving with a ticking bomb.
    It is one of the most frequently appearing myths, which is as untrue as it is widespread. Gas tanks are constructed in a way which prevents them from breaking. They are made of thick metal (much thicker than the fuel tanks) with reinforced bottom and series of valves standing on guard of the whole system's tightness. Some explosions or cars' burnings about which we are sometimes informed by media are due to damages of gasoline and not gas supply systems.

    2. Loss of engine power.
    The decrease of engine power when driving on autogas could be noticed with the first generation installations - in carburettor systems. Today, worse performance of a converted car can only be the result of improper assembly or improper calibration. "Modern sequential systems inject gas directly into the intake manifold, right next to the gasoline injectors. Thanks to this, the driving dynamics is the same when driving on gas and petrol - explains Piotr Makarewicz - OPTIMA technical support manager. - What's more ... the latest installations for turbo-charged engines with indirect fuel injection may even cause the engine on gas to have more power than on petrol. "

    3. Handling the LPG powered car is complicated.
    A properly assembled and well-adjusted autogas installation is virtually maintenance-free from the driver's point of view. One additional switch, which appears on the dashboard, tells you which fuel the car is currently powered with, as well as how much gas remains in the tank. Today's installation is controlled by electronics controlling the moment of switching the power supply to autogas and all other key engine parameters. The only thing the driver must remember is to refuel autogas.

    4. Gas destroys the car's engine.
    When driving on LPG, much less carbon is formed and deposited in the engine compartment than in the case of petrol or diesel. What's more... the gas has engine cleaning properties, so it may happen that after the autogas installation, the accumulated pollutions will be removed from the system and, ipso facto, the gas will contribute to extending the life of the engine.

    5. There are better and worse engines as regards LPG conversions.
    It's not the matter of an engine but the technical condition of the car and the knowledge and experience of the fitter. All the vehicles with spark ignition can be converted to autogas power. However, it should be remembered that the mixture of propane and butane requires better combustion conditions than gasoline. That is why the condition of the ignition system is very important. It may happen that the installation of the gas system and driving on gas will reveal the service negligence of the car. "It is worth to install autogas in a good, specialized workshop, where they check the car's current technical condition before accepting it to the so-called gassing "- suggests Piotr Juziuczuk – OPTIMA'S technical support

    6. Unpleasant smell.
    The gas itself is odourless. The unpleasant smell is emitted by specially added chemical compounds. An unpleasant odour of gas is a deliberate treatment intended to serve our safety. If we happen to smell gas in our car, it is a sign that something is wrong with the installation and you should visit the service for inspection. Nothing escapes from a properly installed and serviced installation and we should not know how the gas smells.

    7. LPG installation is not worth it.
    Actually, if the car stays in the garage or in the parking lot, then the gas installation may not pay off. However, in the case of cars that are regularly used, the autogas installation usually pays off faster than we expect. We can find very helpful calculators on the Web (eg https://optimagas.com/kalkulator-leszczednosci), which calculate, based on the average fuel consumption and our average monthly mileage, how quickly the cost of LPG installation will pay off.

    8. New engines do not tolerate autogas.
    It is not true that newer cars do not tolerate gas - explains Piotr Makarewicz - OPTIMA technical support manager - Due to savings and lower durability of today's engines, the mechanics need to work more on tuning such cars and selecting their gas system components. For example, many new cars have a fuel pressure sensor and without additional, suitable electronics, a fuel pressure error will be reported. In this case, a fuel pressure emulator should be installed (eg Torpedo PFPE) or a controller with a built-in module of such emulator, eg OPTIMA EXPERT. Everything depends on the equipment and knowledge of the gas fitter.

    9. The engine uses more LPG than gasoline.
    Yes and no. The only difference is due to physical differences between the two fuels. Gas has a different density than fuel: gasoline - 0.8 kg / l, and gas 0.56 kg / l. Therefore, to obtain the same amount of energy, we need a larger volume of LPG than gasoline. If one were to compare the energy value of fuels by their weight, a kilogram of propane-butane would be more energy-efficient than a kilogram of gasoline. Unfortunately, we refuel in litres, not kilos and that is why there is such a difference.

    10. It's a shame to have gas installed in a luxury car.
    Thanks to the gas installation, we can save a lot - especially if we have a large car that uses a lot of fuel, and it often applies to luxury cars. No one is surprised anymore to see the latest models of BMW, Mercedes or Hummers powered by LPG. "I have already seen Maybach and Maserati converted to LPG. The owners of these cars did not resist the temptation of savings and were not ashamed of their bills for refuelling - says Piotr Juziuczuk - OPTIMA's technical support - Today, autogas is often assembled in sports cars because it is already telling a tale that gas slows the car."

    Fortunately, despite the fact that the myths about autogas are constantly repeated, not everyone believes in them and there are more and more LPG powered cars on our roads. We are convinced that installing gas as an alternative power source, serves not only our wallets but also to some extent protects the car engine and the natural environment. The most important thing is to entrust the car to a good and competent mechanic and we can forget about all the "warnings and cautions" from the past generations.

  • Driving on gas is simpler and cheaper than you think!

    The decision was made - you are converting the car for autogas. You will drive cheaper and ecologically. How to start with it? What should you know about? How to get to know the procedures and necessary formalities related to the installation of gas in your car?

    Here are a short guide and hints for beginners with LPG.

    Before assembly...


    First, rely on professionals. Reasonably and wisely choose the workshop and installer you entrust the car with. According to the principle, if there is something to everything, it is good for nothing, it is best to go to a service that specializes in the assembly and service of automotive gas installations. You have a guarantee that the workshop has considerable experience in this topic. All leading producers have a nationwide network of cooperating workshops (for example https://optimagas.com/znajdz-najblizszy-warsztat).Therefore, finding a good, professional installer in your area should not be a problem.

    You install gas in the car to save (an example of a profitability calculation for autogas can be found here https://optimagas.com/kalkulator-oszczednosci). However, choosing the installation do not look for savings so much. The final price of the autogas system assembly is influenced by the car's model, engine type and capacity or other technical parameters of the car, which may decide about the need to install additional elements such as fuel pressure emulator or lubrication kit. It may turn out that your car needs additional equipment, which, although it will slightly increase the cost of installation, which at the same time ensures reliable work of your car. Remember that even a slightly more expensive option LPG system will pay back quickly because in a moment you'll be able to drive half of it cheaper.

    Service and installation selected. Now it's time for details. Together with the installation, you should specify the place and method of assembly of the strategic components of autogas installation from your point of view, i.e:

    - central unit/gas switch (you should find some convenient place on the dashboard or around it so that you can reach and see it)

    - tank (here the possibilities are usually limited by the construction of the car, most often the tank "lands" in the place originally intended for the spare wheel)

    - refuelling valve (it is usually mounted in the bumper or under the fuel flap)

    After assembly...

    Before you leave the workshop with your car with the gas system, the installer should carry out a short instruction on the use of the gas system. You will be informed about on how to read the messages of the gas-petrol central unit/switch and the location of switches and safety valves in the car.

    Well, now you are ready to go! 😊 Only so-called "bureaucracy" has left. Check if you have a set of documents. The service should give you:

    - warranty book/instruction manual

    - invoice

    - "passport" of the gas tank

    - an excerpt of the approval certificate (it is usually issued a little later due to the need to approve this document by the company that has granted the service for approval for gas assembly).

    Now with a set of documents you are still waiting for a trip to the Townhall or county office in order to enter the gas installation in the registration certificate. You have 30 days to complete these formalities from the date of installation. Therefore, you do not have to hurry, but it is not worth to delay this so that the joy of economic driving will not deny us this obligation.

    To the office (in addition to the assembly documents) must be also provided:

    - application (to be downloaded from the office)

    - registration document and vehicle card (if issued)

    - ID card

    Formalities filled, now you can give in to the unhampered pleasure of driving. Just one more reminder - during the annual technical review - remember to present the gas assembly documents to the diagnosis: an extract from the certificate of approval and the "passport" of the gas tank.

     

     

     

  • Choosing workshop - what to pay attention to.

    Autogas means savings but when choosing the workshop, the installation price must never be the main guidance. Very often low prices are connected with the level of installation and quality of applied components. Check whether the workshop is recommended by the system's manufacturer. Search for the opinions of people who have already used the workshop services. Remember that you should not take into account the ratings of people who assembled the system a long time ago in much older cars.Together with the development of technology powering engines, there has been a change in the system components and method of their installation and calibration. A really good workshop is also a good advisor who will select the proper installation to our car and tell where to mount the fuel filler and the control unit. The assembly quality and professionalism could also be told by a line of customers waiting for an LPG conversion. Therefore do not be discouraged by a distant term of the appointment - as regards LPG installations it is worth to stand in a queue for the best quality installation.

  • Periodical  inspection of the gas installation - how, where and when?

    Periodical inspections and adjustments of the gas system in your car are one of the basic conditions of its proper functioning as well as the warranty maintenance.
    A detailed schedule of inspections and replacement of individual components is determined by the service in which the installation was performed. However, it is important to remember that we should visit the service at least once a year or every 10,000 km - whichever comes first.

  • How to care about the ignition system?

    The gas-air mixture is more difficult to ignite than the mixture of fuel and air. With a weak spark, the engine will run unevenly, it can also result in a so-called misfire. High voltage wires have the limited lifespan. In the course of time, they can get punctured. In the autumn-winter period, the engine elements are getting moisture which can lead to the high voltage break (approximately 20,000 V). The spark which should be ignited on a spark plug arises between the wire and metal parts of the engine. Damaged power lines cause troubles with starting the engine and its uneven work. The high voltage wires should be replaced by the new ones according to the manufacturer advice, usually at 80 000 - 100 000 km. We can estimate the condition of wires ourselves. One should raise the bonnet with the engine running just after dark. Thus, we can check how the sparks are ignited on wires.These wires must always be replaced.

  • How to prepare your car for winter?

    Regardless of the type of fuel which the vehicle is supplied with, it must be properly prepared for the winter season. Autogas-powered cars should go through a general overview of the installation and adjustment before the winter. The adjustment might be needed due to a change in the air oxygen content at low temperatures and because the autogas composition is being changed for the winter time - the proportion of propane is increased and butane is reduced.

    Take care of the clean filters
    Filters lose their capacity after stopping the air which adversely affects the proportions of the fuel-air mixture. In the autogas-powered units, one should take special care about cleanliness and throughput of the filter. LPG system is equipped with filters of the liquid and volatile phase. During exploitation, they gather solid and liquid substances, which can block the flow of gas at very low temperatures and unable the work of LPG system. Regular replacement of filters allows preventing such situations. If the filters are heavily contaminated, they should be replaced even before the periodic service.

    Check the cooling system
    The task of the coolant in cars burning propane-butane is also heating the regulator, which causes expansion of the gas by changing the state from liquid to gas. You should, therefore, start by checking the tightness of the system. If there is a trapped air in a system, the unheated reducer freezes as the effect of expanding gas. If the radiator lacks in the fluid, the regulator will also not work efficiently. It is therefore advisable to check the level and quality of the liquid and, if necessary, have it refilled or replaced.

    Check the ignition system
    The gas-air mixture is more difficult to ignite than the mixture of fuel and air. With a weak spark, the engine will run unevenly, it can also result in the so-called misfire. High voltage wires have the limited lifespan. In the course of time, they can get punctured. In the autumn-winter period, the engine elements are getting moisture which can lead to the high voltage break (approximately 20,000 V). The spark which should be ignited on a spark plug arises between the wire and metal parts of the engine. Damaged power lines cause troubles with starting the engine and its uneven work. The high voltage wires should be replaced by the new ones according to the manufacturer advice, usually at 80 000- 100 000 km. We can estimate the condition of wires ourselves. One should raise the bonnet with the engine running just after dark. Thus, we can check how the sparks are ignited on wires. These wires must always be replaced.

    Fill up your petrol tank :-)
    Gasoline is also important. The driver of the car running on gas cannot forget about filling the tank with petrol. Firstly, always start the engine by energizing it with petrol and secondly, if there is too little gasoline in a tank, the water condenses in a container and blocks the fuel system when freezing. To avoid this you should fill the tank at least half full. In winter, it is also advisable to add to gasoline a special preparation absorbing water.

  • What should be done before going abroad?

    Before going abroad, make sure that the time of periodical service of the gas installation isn't approaching and check what kind of filling point adapters are used at the gas stations in the country. It is also a good idea to plan a route so as to be able to refill the LPG tank and avoid searching the gas stations later on. It is also a good practice to learn how in the language is called propane-butane used for powering vehicles.

 

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