Sunday, September 27, 2009

GTO Conversion

Saturday was a productive day. Mark worked on the car from early morning to late evening. He fabricated two brackets to hold components for the CNG conversion. The first component was an "L" shaped bracket to hold the regulator. It worked good but may need some stiffening. The second bracket held the diaphram/manifold assembly. It worked perfectly. I showed up in time to try and help on the installation of a few items. The regulator was mounted already when I got there. I helped mount the diaphram/manifold assembly. We put the ends on the 150psi lines and connected the regulator to diaphram/manifold. It all looks just like it belongs in the car from the factory. Mark has the three carbs mounted on the intake manifold. We worked on the linkage and got the middle carb connected to the throttle linkage. Its working very well thanks to an extension piece Mark fabricated. Next project is to connect the other two carbs to the progressive linkage. This will require another piece from IMPCO which is on the way, along with a coupling nut to hook the fuel line to the regulator. Mark had plans to route heater hose to the regulator to prevent freezing during the CNG decompression phase. Sorry this is too technical.
More coming later.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

GTO TriCarb - CNG Carbs

So much has happened this week its hard to imagine how it can all be recapped. The major news is that the IMPCO tricarb setup has arrived. The excitement level is almost unbearable. Technically we have every single piece that we need to get the GTO running on Compressed Natural Gas, and the temptation is to rush ahead and just DO IT. But we are savoring the moment and have an equal desire to get this done right. That means a couple of planned upgrades "just to make it look good". In addition, we slowed down and made a video yesterday, and Master Editor Mark stayed up till 2 am editing the masterpiece. It really turned out well. Check out the video page of the website. The first night was spent identifying the parts of the kit and how it fit together. Of course a regulator nut, bracket and schematic were missing from the kit, but we felt good about realizing the parts were missing. They are on the way. The modifications we are already planning on are a much improved and professionally machined manifold to split the Natural Gas lines into three feeds for the tri carbs.
We found some polishing on the cast aluminum carb "bells" would make them shine like new chrome. We like the thoughts of using braided steel lines to the carbs instead of the rubber hoses sent with the kit. I stopped by the shop today and Mark was filming a second installment of the installation sequence which involved removing the gasoline carbs and placing the new CNG carbs for fitment. They looked sweet and you would never know the difference. I am so happy we slowed down and videoed this for everyone so you could see there is no real magic to it. We are most of all concerned with safety and have multiple experts providing us guidance and advice from years in the business. I feel sure before the weekend we will see the second video posted. Thats all for now. Thanks for reading. Drop us an email.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Why? This week Mark and I have been asking why. Why aren’t we already using CNG (compressed natural gas) After you learn all about it it’s the obvious solution.

It’s the cleanest energy available meeting the stringent 2010 EPA emissions standards already.
Natural Gas is a US product which would create jobs for us.
Any gasoline powered car can be converted to run on CNG.
It would reduce our dependence of foreign oil and save our soldiers from stabilizing the Mideast.

So we both are struggling with understanding why we didn’t go this way. The common excuses are as follows:
We have been spoiled by cheap foreign oil. So it would cost more in the short term and no one wants to spend more even though it’s best for our future.
The big oil companies have millions of dollars of capital infrastructure at risk and would not be interested in oil and gasoline industry going away.
The automakers didn’t see a demand for CNG cars. Ford did manufacture CNG autos, but stopped because it apparently wasn’t profitable during the 90’s.
The general public is waiting on the electric car. Or they expect a gasoline/electric hybrid.
There are not any CNG filling stations available.

The actual truth is:
CNG is cheaper per gallon than gasoline.
Gasoline stations are installing alternative fuel solutions for the first time now and are being rightfully encouraged by the grant conversion money and CNG fuel refunds.
Ford (Focus and Fusion) and Honda are making CNG powered new vehicles available.
Businesses are using CNG to go GREEN.

My hopes are for a grass roots demand for CNG cars and infrastructure to develop to fix our problem of foreign oil dependence. The government has done its part by putting in policy to encourage CNG filling stations thru grants and CNG subsidies. The Natural Gas Companies have the product and are finding more reserves too. We are only missing the American people who are brave enough to step up and engage this solution. We can fix our problems now! We don’t have to wait on anything. We can start the new jobs immediately with conversion, infrastructure construction and new auto manufacturing. Can I count on you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monster Art Goat Fink

Now to the fun part. You remember that Mark commissioned an artist in New Zealand to create our mascot Goat Fink. Well today we got the artist proofs. I wont spoil the surprise but he sent four concept sketches as proofs. One of the proofs NAILED what we had envisioned. The 66 GTO is at the perfect angle to see the unique grille and the smokin CragarSS mags. The tricarb setup looks awsome protruding thru the hood. But the best part is GoatFink. He is awsome and full of personality and attitude. He has that crazy look in his eyes. All of the nuiances are there that we envisioned. The CNG tanks strapped to his back. The CNG regulator on his wrist of the hand that he is using to shift that huge shifter. The oil-derrick buster tattoo. The Route 66 tag on the front of the GTO. The whole imagery is one of tire smoking, flame belching, gear jamming fun. I cant wait to put this on a Tshirt. Its so cool, it may be the only shirt I wear for the next year until the trip is complete. Go Goat Fink.

Route 66 filling stations

The one thing that has been bothering me the most is the unresolved questions about how many CNG filling facilities are along Route 66. I started a spreadsheet but it didn't satisify that need to see it on a map. Mark asked if we could have a map graphic that showed our filling stations. I got on Google maps and after just a short while I was amazed at what I could generate. I mapped the route from Chicago to Santa Monica. Mark pointed me to research he did at the Department of Energy's website that has a searchable listing of CNG stations both public and private. As I searched it became apparent that really all the way from Chicago to Amarillo Texas that there were filling stations no further than 300 miles apart. The southwest has some large gaps. Fortunately Clean Energy Company has fuel in New Mexico. And when we get to California we can get CNG to make it to the coast. So I was estatic to realize that there are only two long hauls that do not have fuel. The GTO projected range is 300 miles. I was afraid that we were going to face ten or more spots and I am so relieved. For the first time I feel like this trip can become a reality.

Progress on the Tanks Update

I have been wanting to send an update but there are so many good things going on this past week that its really been hard to decide whats most important. The most productive advance is that Mark is working with a really motivated tank supplier now. He is full of great ideas and Mark is setting up a meeting. We have figured that we may need to work three tanks into the GTO trunk to have sufficient range to make the legs between filling stations. Two big tanks in the floor of the trunk and one smaller tank under the package tray between the wheel wells. If our calculations are correct we hope to have an approximate range of 300-325 miles. More on what that will get us later. So I will consider this the tank status update for now so everyone knows what we hope to accomplish.