Go Back   Team-BHP > Under the Hood > Modifications & Accessories


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11th September 2012, 17:39   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
frankmehta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,866
Thanked: 2,231 Times
Default The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with CNG & more

Hi everyone. My Ford Fiesta 1.6S is sold. Thanks for your condolences

I was looking at a mile muncher that is decent looking, considerably more modern than the Fiesta S in terms of creature comforts and had the following features:
1. Powerful AC
2. Automatic transmission
3. Amenability to CNG conversion
4. Larger than the Fiesta
5. Slightly softer ride (I say slightly, as anything softer will kill the handling)
6. Decent handler (by that, I mean the weight imbibed by the steering at speeds. I don't care much about corners)
7. Reliable
8. Large boot for the CNG tank and my audio equipment
9. ABS, Airbags, Rear Disc brakes
10. Long legs on the highway, but comfortable to drive in the city too.

My prayers could be answered by ONLY one automobile that fulfills all of the above. And that is a Honda Civic. The Accord came close but it's too big to putter around in the city and look for parking space. Besides, engines above 2000 cc are (legally) NOT allowed to convert to CNG.

Anyway, I shall leave further discussion about the car choice in another thread in the Ownership section. The car is yet to be procured, and I have seen several examples. Might just be picking up the best one soon..

Coming back to the matter. This is the modifications section. Now I ain't really a fool to put up a CNG conversion as a modification in this section. I'd be hung alive.

The reason why I am creating this thread is because I am about to embark on a quest that no one has really given thought to. An EFFICIENT, RELIABLE, problem-free CNG converted Civic which will munch miles with ease, AND give me the pleasure of driving it. I plan to go through with the following mods that will actually offset the loss of power that one attributes to CNG coversion (yes, NOW I speak about mods)

1. A professional free-flow exhaust (Automech, this time)
This will allow the engine to breath better. A Cat-Con in the middle robs an engine of a few precious BHP's of power. I intend to either eliminate it (if it doesn't mess with any sensors) or I intend to modify it in such a way that it is bypassed. I don't care much about emissions as this car will run on CNG most of the time, and we all know how clean a fuel it is. Doing this will give it some of it's lost (Due to CNG) BHPs back.

2. A well designed professional Cold-Air intake system
Not messing with stock intake, but R18A's are very mod friendly. I can pick up a successful design from one of the international forums which really work hard on modding Honda Civics. Civics are quite popular internationally. By the way, this is a CNG friendly mod too. CNG engines are always starved of air. More air means more low end to an engine that lacks some of it at low RPMs.

3. A Slightly stiffened suspension to take the added weight of the CNG tank and the extra audio equipment. This is required in the Civic that has a long wheelbase and a mushy rear setup.

All these mods are being made to restore any power loss made due to the CNG conversion and ALSO to improve low end response (if possible)

These mods will be carried out one by one. I intend to pick up the car, do a full service (fluids et al) and then install a CNG kit.

Any pointers on whether I should go for Closed Loop, Open Loop or Sequential?? My fitter says fitting a Sequential kit is a failure in the Civic. I do trust him but people have their reasons sometimes.

This is going to be one exciting thread for those who want value for money mile munchers for daily driving and not lose out on the fun one generally expects to lose while using alternate fuel.

Fingers crossed! Very very excited!
frankmehta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2012, 18:03   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Pune
Posts: 2,453
Thanked: 955 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

If CNG engines are always starved of air, why not install a turbocharger and intercooler?
The low end torque of the Civic is pathetic even with petrol.

And are you saying CNG vehicles are able to comply to Euro 3/4 standards without a cat-con? If not, then you will harm the enviroment by getting rid of the cat-con.

BTW, what happens to VTEC mode after CNG conversion? Are there kits that do not disturb VTEC in any way?

Last edited by anandpadhye : 11th September 2012 at 18:04.
anandpadhye is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2012, 18:09   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
frankmehta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,866
Thanked: 2,231 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

@anandpadhye: Your questions are very logical. I have NO idea about the VTEC part of it, but I am guessing it's going to function the same way, just using more gas (CNG)
Also, I think a sequential kit will function like an MPFi petrol injection kit, hence the actual functioning of the engine might not be affected much.
I don't know about the emission norms and whether I will pass them or not, but I know of some people whose cars barely scrape through a normal PUC check on Petrol but breeze through the same check on CNG with the same car!
Also, about the low-end, I do agree it's a little more sedate at lower RPMs but I don't think it's pathetic. It will get pathetic after installing the kit though. And that is what I want to address with some cheaper mods.

AS for Turbocharging/Supercharging, I am not willing to experiment. The mods I have planned cost a fraction of what forced induction will cost me. I am not very keen on spending so much money on used car.
frankmehta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2012, 23:12   #4
BHPian
 
forester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 71
Thanked: 142 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Sir, since you need a soft riding decent handler with an automatic transmission & low running costs, then why not go in for a New Verna Diesel AT?

This, I am saying because it would prove to be a much better vehicle than a vehicle being converted to run on an alternative fuel.

Pros-
-No hassles of converting & then sorting out the problems after conversion.
-Diesel fuel-take anywhere capability w/o the worries of refueling.
-Better engine life over a longer period of time.
-Prices of CNG are already exceeding those of diesel in some states & are more prone to be hiked in the future as compared to diesel.
-Much better low end torque for city purposes.
-Much higher resale value. It is true that you make a lateral upgrade at a very reasonable price if you buy a used petrol car right now, but remember, alongwith CNG it would also consume petrol & after, say 4yrs, when you go out to sell it, you would lose a lot of money & by then would have also lost a lot by filling much costlier petrol & CNG than compared to diesel.
-So it is all about managing your finances right now. If you pay more right now, you also get more at the time of selling. Frankly speaking, a new diesel would come out to be cheaper at the end of 60k kms, after 4yrs, than a used petrol car bought now at dirt cheap prices.

Cons of a converted vehicle- (coming from a cng user)

-The first noticeable diff over petrol: The EPS of the car would behave in a very unpredictable way. Sometimes it would run smooth & sometimes it would become hard.

-The car would run as if it was disconnected to the suspension. You can notice a phenomenal diff in handling & ride quality when running on cng & on petrol.

-Unnecessary dead weight in the boot would decrease suspension life.

-A max 14kg cylinder would fit in civic's boot, & you would be able to fill up a max of 10kgs of CNG in it. And taking an average of 12kmpg(an automatic running with AC), you would need to fill it up every other day, which is a serious waste of time considering the number of CNG'd cars that have come up after the recent fuel hikes.

-The above point also means you lose on long distance highway runs.

-Only a sequential kit would work in an automatic car. This is because in a normal kit, the switchover to cng is in the hands of the driver & is done by revving up the engine above 2000rpm in neutral or with the clutch depressed, once the temp gauge has reached the optimum mark. If you don't do it in neutral or with the clutch depressed when in gear, there is a strong jerk which can ruin the transmission. Since you dont have any clutch in an automatic, a normal kit would mean waiting everytime(car in Neutral or P mode) for the temp gauge to rise so that you can switch over. It will be very inconvenient.
Moreover, a normal kit means running the car in a carburretted mode.


My suggestion after all the above would be to either go in for a new deisel car or to buy a used petrol, save money that would have gone into the new diesel's downpayment & run it on petrol.
forester is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 00:00   #5
JRD
BHPian
 
JRD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Turin/Ahmedabad
Posts: 372
Thanked: 10 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

First of all, why did you sell your S? :( .Do share the honest reason.

Secondly about the CNG Civic, i really don't see any major issues with the conversion. Sure if you take a stopwatch and note the numbers it will be slower but in day to day driving its hardly noticeable with these modern CNG kits and a 1.8L engine.

I guess to counter the weight of the tank, a stiffer spring setup should do the trick. Other then that seems like a civic with a CNG kit ticks all the boxes on your list. A friend of mine bought my 04 Corolla and installed a CNG Kit. I drove it on my trip to India and I have to say in an urban driving, i didn't even notice it.
JRD is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 00:56   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
pranavt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 1,628
Thanked: 272 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Frank, the R18 is not very popular internationally. Regardless, bolt-on parts should be easy to procure.

The CNG conversion. Well, the ECUs are smart enough to realise they are being fooled and throw a check engine at the slightest hint of an inaccurate signal from any sensors. If the installer can guarantee the absence of a check engine light after whatever kit you're going to install (without something as stupid as disconnecting the light altogether), go for it. Remember, the installer is going to say 'yes' if you ask him, or he risks a customer walking away. Make a deal that you get a full refund if the check engine light comes on due to the CNG install. These days, with Android/Apple phones/tablets and a cheap OBD adapter, you can figure out the reason for the CEL. Keep that in hand if the installer insists that the light has come on for whatever reason other than his kit. The cost of any engine work will negate any savings you end up with when you switch to CNG.
pranavt is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 01:10   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
frankmehta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,866
Thanked: 2,231 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Quote:
Originally Posted by forester View Post
Sir, since you need a soft riding decent handler with an automatic transmission & low running costs, then why not go in for a New Verna Diesel AT?
Diesel is a convenient fuel no doubt, but the initial investment and the fact that the car might not even run 2-3 km a day for a couple of days a week, I have decided to not go in for a brand new diesel. Good Used diesels are difficult to find and I am most definitely not getting one that has done 50-60k. A good sequential CNG kit will be easier to run and if the engine is maintained well and serviced regularly, the car should serve us well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRD View Post
First of all, why did you sell your S? :( .Do share the honest reason.
Thanks for the assuring words. The S had to go. She was becoming difficult to maintain with the high running costs of petrol. As for the difference between CNG and Petrol, I totally agree. I am going in for an advanced Sequential CNG Kit from Green Globe. It's an EMER Italian kit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pranavt View Post
Frank, the R18 is not very popular internationally. Regardless, bolt-on parts should be easy to procure.
Yeah I shall be buying that adapter soon. And I agree about the CEL. I shall select an extremely skilled CNG fitter (mostly Green Globe) and then take the plunge.

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team: Please avoid quoting an entire large post. It inconveniences our small screen & mobile readers.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 12th September 2012 at 07:38.
frankmehta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 01:13   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
akshay4587's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chandigarh/Mohali/Ambala Cantt
Posts: 3,756
Thanked: 1,553 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Why spoil a beautiful car and a gem of an engine,by installing CNG?.
I am ready for brickbats,but that's me,if your running is on the higher side,why not look at diesel cars instead,my experience with CNG has been limited to 2-3 cars only,and none of them ran as i would expect them to on petrol.Since you have not purchased the civic yet,why not look at cars like the Skoda Laura,or even a Sonata Embera Crdi?
akshay4587 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 01:18   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
frankmehta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,866
Thanked: 2,231 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Akshay, earlier kits and illiterate fitters have created that impression. I have been driving CNG cars for 80-90 km daily (Accent, Accent and now, Verna) since the last 4 years and honestly, the difference is not huge. The more powerful the engine, the lesser the perception of loss in power. Besides, comparing a usual open loop kit with an advanced sequential kit will be like comparing carburetted engines to MPFi ones.
Also, I don't wanna lose the Automatic advantage. I don't want an Auto Diesel due to maintenance issues and sure as hell will NEVER touch a Skoda with a 10 foot pole.
frankmehta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 12:09   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
panky12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 2,652
Thanked: 126 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Frankbhaimehta, only one word of caution -- DO NOT go in for BRC sequential! Have used it and its PATHETIC!
panky12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 12:11   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
frankmehta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,866
Thanked: 2,231 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Going in for emer sequential kit. Italian.
frankmehta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 12:25   #12
BHPian
 
kmadhok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 126
Thanked: 52 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Wondering did you think of this reading that Honda will start supporting CNG'fied cars in the near future?. Nice though, and I think many including me have considered this but did not know the nuances of how to compensate for the lost power.
I hope you do intend to note the numbers between the various stages for the mod, ie. stock, then with the CNG and then subsequently with the free flow exhaust and the air intake. Would be very interested in these number and that will justify if the additional cost would be worth it.
kmadhok is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 12:34   #13
F50
Senior - BHPian
 
F50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Mumbai/USA
Posts: 1,694
Thanked: 91 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Great going Frank and I completely support your idea.

I was working on similar (im still) idea of getting a Civic AT and adding CNG minus the mods you have listed. Probably, will think after driving yours

I drove a CNG Civic MT of Tbhp member Platzaturbo. Apart from the initial pick up there is absolutely no problem. This should be solved with AT. I didnt find trouble driving in traffic and dont see a reason why this marriage wont work. I think he uses BRC Seq CNG, some ~14kg tank.

With CNG kit + Audio Equipment, rear could be a problem in a Civic. I would suggest have a look at Coil Spring Adjuster which GTO has installed in his Civic. He carries around 22kgs of equipment and with these adjusters, he is not facing any problem.
F50 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 13:04   #14
BHPian
 
forester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 71
Thanked: 142 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

@frankmehta

Sir, EMER is the best kit available in the market right now. But, even then, you coming from the fiesta 1.6S territory would definitely have some taste for good suspension & handling, which as far as my experience goes with cng'd cars, definitely goes for a toss when the car runs on gas.

Since the car is anyways going to sit idle for 3 days in a week, why take the plunge at all? Just run the car on petrol & enjoy its free revving nature, which will again be hampered when the car runs more and more on cng.
forester is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th September 2012, 15:09   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: mumbai
Posts: 2,035
Thanked: 315 Times
Default Re: The Makings of a Practical Workhorse: An Automatic Civic with the frankmehtaŽ tou

Quote:
Hi everyone. My Ford Fiesta 1.6S is sold.
For how much. The Fiesta 1.6 Duratorq has the lowest ARAI numbers @ 13.9 kmpl this side of 25 lakhs.

Quote:
3. Amenability to CNG conversion
Not to discourage. Hondas have not been very CNG friendly compared to Marutis.

Quote:
5. Slightly softer ride (I say slightly, as anything softer will kill the handling)
Its one thing to rave about a stiff suspension and another thing to live with it. The S was best for hillstation twisties. In City and potholed Mumbai highways, a slighter softer setup is required.

Quote:
8. Large boot for the CNG tank and my audio equipment
Am not an audiophile, but you could consider underseat woofers and amp, if feseable.

Quote:
1. A professional free-flow exhaust (Automech, this time)
First eliminate the cat-con and see. It should suffice to start with. Run for few days to feel the difference.

Quote:
3. A Slightly stiffened suspension to take the added weight of the CNG tank and the extra audio equipment.
Autorunner rubbers

Quote:
Any pointers on whether I should go for Closed Loop, Open Loop or Sequential?? My fitter says fitting a Sequential kit is a failure in the Civic. I do trust him but people have their reasons sometimes.
No idea. Someone told me CNG is failure with most Hondas (hope he is wrong)

Quote:
These mods will be carried out one by one. I intend to pick up the car, do a full service (fluids et al) and then install a CNG kit.
1. All fluids changed. Inspect spark plugs.
2. Auto Runner and cat-con elimination.
3. Install CNG
If all above is trouble-free, then proceed with further mods.

What Civic did you pick up and how much INR . Used Civics are very tempting these days.
dipen is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The most practical & best looking Hardtop - Mahindra Thar Monster_BHP 4x4 Vehicles 249 23rd October 2017 21:17
Frankmehta's Practical Workhorse: Honda Civic AT CNG. EDIT: Sold! frankmehta Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 483 31st March 2017 16:45
Company Workhorse : New Eeco 5 seater CNG or Used Dzire + CNG kit? NMM What Car? 2 4th February 2013 19:29
Tricks, Pranks & Practical jokes. Spinnerr Shifting gears 12 1st April 2008 13:05


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 03:08.

Copyright Š2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks