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I was wrong , they got up at 5-00a.m.
Wellwin, I got mine converted last year. Cost me £1200 + vat. which I think is about par. Some places will tell you a turbo can't be done , it can ,you just need the right kit. Cost a bit more as I think there is more pipework. I was aiming to get the best of both worlds, a big , safe, fast "executive" motor with low running costs. I 've achieved this but not saving as much as I predicted, partly because petrol dropped in price and partly because the LPT is less frugal than I thought. Turbo's mpg seems more sensitive to welly than my 2.0l 9000s( but it was underpowered really) Makes sense I suppose. I get 23 mpg on LPG, 29mpg petrol. LPG costs 37.9 p/litre. You do the maths. I reckon I still save around £80 -£100 per month. I got a low cost loan for the conversion so that I was saving cash from day 1. If you avoid town driving then 33mpg on petrol, 27 mpg on gas is easily done.LPG has less power which tends to make one use the turbo boost more. One good thing is that I never expected the turbo to be so much faster it's addictive , I want a 2.3FPT now. No major probs, needed a new lambda probe , some tweaking , and current reluctance to start 1st time on gas. You'll need to tell your insurer, and they'll want to see a certificate of approved fitting or somesuch. My advice is to use someone with experience and good backup support. I made the mistake of going 50 miles away to get it done which makes follow up work a chore. Support is excellent though and free. Wellside Motors, in Scotlandwell, Fife. Jim Tait, Technology still seems a bit Heath Robinson, LPG guages innacurate, lots of pipes. It's computer programmible though etc. I've got a 50litre tank in the rear wheelwell, which does me 180 miles, too small really but I need the space in the boot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for the advice.
Wulbert - can you tell me which type of LPG conversion system you had fitted? I believe there is a generation 4 system now which improves efficiency and utilises the car's existing management system. Also does having an auto gearbox make any difference?
Many thanks.
wellwin.
 

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We pay a bit more than the US, but yeah- i'm well aware of gas prices in Europe. I count myself lucky every day when people here complain about prices. Usually i just tell them to shut thier pie holes and stop whining. haha

Dave
 

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Hi guys. I've been busy lately then away over the weekend, so sorry for any delay in picking up on this thread.

I got my car converted in September 2000 with 215k miles on the clock. Last week the car turned 250,000 miles. I wrote several items for the Saab Driver magazine (Saab Owners Club) about my gas conversion experiences, what follows below is text from those items that I’ve cut and pasted for your information. It might not make a whole lot of sense and there might be some contradictions (varying price for petrol etc), but I’m sure it’ll give you the idea. One thing that came to light recently when I had the car rolling-roaded, is that LPG improves BHP by about 10%.

EDITED ARTICLES
You'll need to have a "third generation" gas system fitted ;you'll have to be prepared to be without the car for at least three days; you need to ensure that the car is properly tuned after the conversion (re-mapped)

One of the reasons why LPG conversions are not total, but are dual fuel, is that the engine needs to start on petrol, automatically switching over to gas after a few minutes running, once everything has warmed up. The switchover is virtually undetectable.

The car had to go back a couple of times for tuning - "mapping" the fuel delivery according to the demands of the engine, a process that involves the connection of a laptop computer into the new ECU. Some mapping can be carried out whilst stationery, other adjustments are made on the road

The inboard fuel indicator, part of the small petrol/gas switch, is remarkably inaccurate, as indeed is the indicator on the tank (90 litres) itself but again, this isn't too much of a problem. The indicator consists of four green LED's and a red one, in theory indicating from full down to "refill right now" (red). However my experience is that I get all green for about 180 miles, then a flickering between two and three green for another ten miles, then one green until the car runs out of gas - somewhere between 350 and 410 miles. I've never seen the red come on yet. When I say runs out of gas, this is slightly misleading. When the gas pressure drops the car can cruise for about 10 miles at a steady speed - it just can't delivery the extra if you put your foot down, in contrast to a petrol system which is all or nothing in similar circumstances.

Perhaps one of the biggest bugbears is that pumps on filling station forecourts dispense gas at different rates and fill the tank to different capacities - the delivery system apparently works on a method of pressure differential. But whatever the pump I've used it always takes considerably longer than it would to fill with petrol. For the biggest bugbear, it's actually a very minor one. The Calor dispensers that are typically found at smaller specialist garages seem to dispense at a higher pressure than the ones on forecourt filling stations. Of the main forecourt brands, BP has a wider LPG availability. There is a list of LPG locations available on the Web, and I've now marked my driving map to show those that are closest to my usual routes. Currently – June 2002 – there are over 1,000 locations in the UK.

The 90 litre gas tank in the boot fits neatly between wheel arches. There is a notional 20% safety margin in the tank, presumably to allow for expansion in hot conditions, and the most I've ever been able refill the tank with has been 92 litres - from a Calor pump. Last time it had "run out" I'd refilled it at a BP pump but only managed to get about 60 litres into it. This lack of consistency is rather confusing and makes accurate fuel economy measurement difficult. Here are some figures: a tour of 365 motorway miles took 66 litres at £26.4, or £7.23 per 100 miles. A fill-up of 82 litres that was preceded by a lot of 70+ mph cruising came after a total of 405 miles, so £8 / 100 miles. A lot of short runs in town and on country roads, interspersed with a few very fast dashes, in other words worst case driving, swallowed 92 litres for just 370 miles, costing £10 / 100.

Typically, the onboard 'puter indicates 20-23 mpg on LPG, whilst 27 - 33 on petrol.

As I say, I do tend to push the car pretty hard sometimes, and a more cautious driver or one in a non-turbo might get better economy, but I've concluded that currently LPG is costing me a safe average of £8 / 100 miles, as opposed to petrol's £13+. A 40% saving on fuel costs equivalent to at least £5 / 100 miles. On this basis, anyone doing 1,500 miles a month (in a 9000 2.3 turbo) should save £75+/month on fuel. Drivers doing 5,000 a month would recover their £1,800 installation costs in less than 8 months

Prices for gas conversion will vary according to type of engine. When I originally researched things, two of the leading gas conversion specialists said they didn't do turbos, not SAAB turbos, at least. They quoted prices for a variety of cars starting at about £1,200. Because it was necessary to do some extra work on my car (re-locating the washer reservoir into the wing rather than the engine compartment) in order to make room for the gas kit, GOTO-Gas's charge at £1,800 it is probably at the top end of cost; I recommend you to get a quote for your specific model and year rather than rely on general "estimates".

But come what may, I'm still motoring more cheaply than many. A recent long run was undertaken at high speeds, speeds that - including several traffic jams - averaged 70mph, mostly cruising at 80-90mph, with quite a few pushes up over 100mph. I covered 860 miles using 213 litres of gas, costing £89.2. I reckon that using petrol on this particular run I'd have been lucky to get 300 miles from a tankful costing £50+, so at least £143 for the journey. Using this very unscientific calculation, I reckon I saved around £7 per 100 miles (my previous calculations, based on more moderate runs indicated a saving of £5 / 100 miles). So perhaps we can safely say that in a 2.3 Turbo savings should be between £5 - £7 per 100 miles – you can do the sums from there; my conversion cost about £1800 so pay back should be at about 35,000.

if you want to identify me on the road, I'm driving the black 9000 that just overtook you, my happy smile illuminated by the steady blue glow of the pilot light.

Footnote: Howe Engineering (GOTOGAS) who carried out my conversion subsequently put such work on hold, they found that poor support from overseas suppliers, together with pushing the technology to the limits meant that it was very difficult for them to make money on the conversions. They are still investigating “better” systems and suppliers.
 

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wellwin, I can't remember the name of the manufacturer, info is outside in the car I'll look later. It's an Italian make but not Tartarini. It uses a "replicator" which copies the info from the petrol system. It can be programmed from a hand held computer gadget by the technician. I don't know if this is 4th generation or not.
 

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Originally posted by deeks:
[qb]watched 5th gear the other week they mentioned that there were grants avalible for gas conversions but did not give any of the required criteria[/qb][/b]
I believe that the criteria is that the car be under 5 years old (used to be 4) and the type of car has to be approved, which basically means that they test a converted car to determine the reduction in emissions, the level of grant being dependant on the percentage reduction. Last time I checked, I think that no Saabs were listed hence no grant .

Go to Powershift , this is the official web site.

I have seen one or two posts from people who describe the installation as a bit 'heath robinson', doesn't exactly inspire confidence when dealing with such an explosive substance.


With a rise in my annual milage to about 25k - LPG starts to make some sense - but those huge tanks stealling my boot space put me off, and yes I do know that they can install a tank where the spare wheel normally goes, but no spare is even worse than a space saver IMHO.

Now if Saab did a diesel with good BHP and good MPG, I'd be sorted - come on Saab, VW has done it.
 

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Now if Saab did a diesel with good BHP and good MPG, I'd be sorted - come on Saab, VW has done it.  [/b]
Vadonald, how about one of the following:

Saab 9-3 2.2TiD 126BHP/280Nm (124mph max, 0-60 in 10.1 sec, 40 - 60mph 6.3 sec). Not sure of MPG, but it's around 40mpg.

OR, even better...:

the new Saab 9-5 3.0 TiD 176BHP/350Nm.
MPG: 27.4 city/47.1 highway/37.2 combined (official figures).
(131mph max, 0 - 60mph in 9.8 sec, 40 - 60mph in 6.1 sec which is faster than a 2.3t LPT at 185BHP i.e. 40 - 60mph = 7.0 sec)
 

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Yes, its very frustrating that if you "clean up" an older car - by converting - you are likely to have a greater environmental impact than converting a new car, but there is no grant to clean up older cars ... and there are more of them on the road. One of the reasons why, perhaps, is that drivers of older cars probably don't have the budget for conversion.

I think some converters are very professional, others have just seen it as a way to get quick money - and they are the ones that do the botched jobs. But I do get the imnpression that turbo conversions are pushing the technology to the limit and so the converters have to be very good (that's where the cowboys will fall over).

Regarding giving up boot space ... yes, it is a bit of a bugger sometimes (especially if there are four people plus luggage in the car !) And the little 25 litre doughnut tanks don't give sufficiant range for most people.

The answer would be to substitute the petrol tank for a gas one, and use a small petrol tank for starting / emergency. I guess that is done on factory conversions.
 
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