I converted to NGV!

Posted: 7th August 2008 by Jacky Yong in Cars, Current Affairs, Silly me
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With the rising fuel prices and the never-ending commitments that I need to shoulder, it is only natural that I seek to increase my income and lower my expenditures. Having scrutinized my monthly budget, I have come to realize that the biggest money outflow goes to petrol. And between the two cars (Wira 1.5 GL (auto) 1998 and Altis 1.8G 2002), the Wira is the most fuel inefficient.

Having identified the cause is not useful if no action is taken. While all the other people talk about ways to reduce fuel consumption (turn off air-cond, drive at 80 km/h max, fuel additive), nothing is as drastic as what I did for the Wira yesterday. While others only talk, I choose to walk! Go gas!

It feels weird queueing up with taxis on the refueling stations

It was not really an overnight decision, it has been hovering my mind since the last fuel increase in June. Having done a lot of research online and through words from the taxi drivers I have come to chat with, I went ahead with the decision to convert it to NGV. If the price of fuel is sustained at RM2.70 per litre, I should be able to recover the cost of conversion in a year or less.

The Wira is a 4G15 engine, normally aspirated carburetor with 4 cylinder. The cheapest of all conversions compared to other modern injection engines. Here’s how the engine look like after the conversion:

The only clue to its NGV property is the refueling nozzle in the engine bay

The only clue to its NGV property is the refueling nozzle in the engine bay

There is also this gas release valve that pumps gas into the carburetor

There is also this gas release valve that pumps gas into the carburetor

I chose the 70 litre tank to store more gas, lesser stop-overs. The last mileage I got was over 150 km, but I suspect that I can still go further. I’ll update this post again when I have more conclusive statistics. The best mileage that I can squeeze out of this tank is an impressive 210 km, but I suspect that I can still go further using a better NGV station (the best so far is at Senawang, the one with only one nozzle.)

How does driving an NGV car feel like? Sluggish. Yes, as all other NGV drivers will be able to testify, performance will definitely be affected to a certain extent. More so for carburetor engines I hear. And also you must understand that there is this HUGE cylinder tank at the boot that weight at least 70 kgs. When negotiating a corner yesterday, the car swayed so much at the back. Good, induced oversteer! 😀 Here’s how it looks like at the boot area:

Yan Yan admiring the sceneryThe tank is barely visible if I cover it up. Even after that, there is still fairly decent boot space leftStarting the car in itself requires some re-learning. In the cold morning, it is almost impossible to start the car with gas alone. So what you should do is to start in petrol, warm up the car for a bit, then cut off the petrol. This will burn off all petrol that is left in the carburetor and the engine. When the engine is about to die, immediately switch to gas and hope that the gas won’t die on you! Sounds complicated? In reality it is. I have not yet mastered the timing to switch yet and I almost always end up killing the engine instead. 😛

There is also the problem of refueling stations. Not much of a problem actually. Where I stay, the nearest stations are in Serdang, UPM, Cyberjaya, Putrajaya, Puchong and Subang. I work in Cyberjaya, so no issues for me to refuel after work. There is also one opening soon in Bangi, and get this, TWO right in front of my house! All the more reasons why I should go NGV already!

My refueling experience in UPM

My refueling experience in UPM

Somebody did mention on a forum that the engine will be hotter compared to a petrol head. My experience with the car does not show this anomaly. But my car’s coolant system has always been very effective (touch wood). The meter is always lesser than half-way on the temperature readout. Either the meter is broken, or the car has been running coolly all these while.

So it looks like the Wira will once again find its role useful again after the arrival of the Altis. Of course, being an NGV, this will definitely limit the car to areas in and around Klang Valley. Going back to Sagil will be out of the question. (Refer to update below) However for trip to KL, this car will be most welcomed. Will snap some pictures  soon with pictures to show you guys.

Update 7th April 2009: I have been able to make frequent trips to Sagil using NGV alone, and also make that trip to Muar as well! Just make one stop-over at Melaka (Jalan Ayer Keroh) and I’m good to go! I just came back from a marathon return trip to Sagil yesterday evening and day before yesterday! Yes, two return trips in 2 days! Imagine how much I save nowadays! 😛