The NGV experience

Posted: 25th September 2008 by Jacky Yong in Cars, Silly me
Tags: ,

I thought I’d tell you what it feels like to be an NGV user, apart from the obvious decrease in monthly expenditure on vehicle fuel. Especially my experience in the many refueling stations that I have patroned over the duration of my NGV usage.

As I mentioned previously, I work in Cyberjaya. Therefore I frequent the Petronas in Cyberjaya the most. Most of the stations are the same, they employ some foreign worker (most likely a Bangladeshi) to do the work. They do most of the manual labour of attaching the hose to your car, turning on and off the valve, and getting the money from us customers.

Since the range of one full tank of refueling is only about 190 km, I almost always have to go refuel at very regular intervals, sometimes once a day if I go to a lot of places. Let me share with you how a normal refueling process go.

A typical NGV pump

A typical NGV pump. Note the pressure indicator at the top

Every station has this dispensing pump that is similar to a petrol pump. The only difference is at the pump head. And one of the most important reading that every NGV user should know is the pressure of the pump. One should get at least 200 bar of pressure to ensure a proper fill. Do please note though, that the tank can get pretty hot when refueling, so make sure you do not put any combustible material along with the tank. Some joker put an acetylene torch tank in the boot and ripped off the entire boot of his car! No joke, this really happened in Kepong!

First thing you do is to locate your nozzle. It is almost always in front of the car, in the bonnet, as my car is.

My car's nozzle is at the front, inside the bonnet

However some cars can install their nozzle beside their existing fuel line, as with this guy:

Refueling in the same place as the petrol

Refueling in the same place as the petrol

I have seen some vans, an MPV and a pickup truck refueling at a nozzle located below their front bumper too!

Then comes the tricky part. You take the nozzle, push it into the your car’s nozzle, and turn the valve on the head 180 degrees. This is a very important step, as this locks the head to the nozzle securely. Now on my first refueling experience on my own in UPM, I did not follow this precedure. Nobody taught me anything before! I kept turning the valve over and over. I thought that this is supposed to be a screw type where you need to screw the thing tightly to you car. I turned and turned and turned but it still felt loose! So anyway I figured that it must be already tight. I lost count of where is the correct locking position after so many turns!

A pro at work, attaching the nozzle to the car's inlet valve

A pro at work, attaching the nozzle to the car's inlet valve

So next I pushed the start button. This start button differs from station to station. Some uses the push and pull type, some uses the twist type. So I started the button, but no more than about 15 cents, it got cut off! Ohhh …. I got the locking valve in the unlock position! So paiseh! Seems that the pump itself has its own cut-off system, to avoid idiots like me from pulling a stunt like that. πŸ˜›

A properly locked nozzle head. Note the locking valve that you twist to lock and unlock

A properly locked nozzle head. Note the locking valve that you twist to lock and unlock

When the fuel is full, the pump stops. Do the reverse again. Push / pull / twist the button to the stop position, and twist the locking valve. Next comes the other tricky part. You can’t pull on the valve just like that. You will need to pull on the collar of the nozzle before you can unlatch the entire nozzle. Sounds complicated at first, but you’ll get the hang of it with practice. In any case, the friendly Bangladeshi is always there to help! πŸ˜›

Lastly pay the guy and go. This makes for another unforgettable experience. Those Banglas deals with a lot of cash everyday. So they try to maximize their income as much as they can. They do this by short-changing their customers by a few cents, which means nothing to NGV users anyway. I have personally encountered one fella in Petronas UPM who insisted that I pumped in an extra 1 Ringgit and refused to give me back my change. After much arguing, he finally succumbed to my demand. How dare! I shall never go to that station anymore.

How do I know if I am almost out of gas? Well, the fuel line for petrol and gas are totally different. Therefore it will need to have a different set of indicators. Pictured here is the fuel pressure indicator:

The gas pressure indicator. Note the red light coming up. That means that I'm low on gas.

The gas pressure indicator. Note the red light coming up. That means that I'm low on gas.

On full charge, there are four green lights. As I go along, the lights will turn off one by one, to indicate faltering pressure inside the tank. At the final warning, the red light will come up. I have tried once to totally dry up the tank and let the car sputter to its death! At that situation, I would have covered up to 190 to 200 kms. Not bad at all, when all other forumers in NGV Community that I see only has about 150 to 170 kms!

Another thing you will notice in the picture above is the switch directly above the row of lights. Now it is depressed to the left. It can also be pressed to the right and the centre. The right means use petrol, and centre means both also not use. Why do I need these? Well, since this is a carburetor engine, I will have to follow some steps to start the engine. And all these are done manually using that switch.

First turn the switch to the right, the petrol. Turn on the engine like you normally would. You may wait for a few minutes to let the engine warm up, but that is entirely optional. For myself, I quickly move on to the next step, switch to the centre. This cuts off the petrol supply. The engine does not die so soon. There are some left over petrol in the carburetor compartment that needs to be properly burned off before you can start the gas. Else you will encounter some serious knocking.

Wait for a few seconds, the car will slowing start to die. Just as the engine is about to choke, turn on the gas. The engine will whir back to life again, but you still have to press the accelerator a little. The mixture of unburned petrol and gas will induce a second stage of knocking, this time more serious. Keep the accelerator depressed again for a few seconds to burn off this left-over petrol. When the final bits of petrol is gone, the engine will return to normal idling speed again. You are now ready to take on the road!

That sounded like a lot of work. And it fact it does. But the good thing is that if you are only planning to switch off your engine for less than an hour, you do not really need to repeat the steps again. Just leave the switch to NGV and you can immediately start the engine normally.

So far I have saved some RM400 since I last installed this thing. And I do expect that my initial investment of RM3200 will pay for itself in a year or less, even with the lowered petrol price after tonight. My initial fear of going outstation is now known as a baseless allegation. I have now already went back to Sagil TWICE using this car! Yes, the range is only about 200 km, but with proper planning, I could actually reach there and back using NGV alone! There are a lot of refueling station down south, outside of Klang Valley. There are at least 3 in Seremban / Senawang area, and 3 in Melaka. So I normally make a stop-over in Ayer Keroh to refuel before continuing my journey to Sagil. I can still go to Tangkak from Sagil a few times after that before I need to go to Ayer Keroh to refuel again. The savings is just mind-blowing! About only RM 15 worth of fuel for the entire journey! That’s less than the price of a return ticket using express bus! That’s a cool RM0.05 per km! Unbelievable!

Now you know why I can save a lot of moolah’s nowadays! πŸ™‚

  1. Gavin Chen says:

    Hi, are article is interesting, are you still working on CNG conversion? we may talk more for business.