Maserati Gran Turismo LPG converted Autogas conversion

Maserati Gran Turismo LPG converted Autogas conversion

Author
Discussion

SimonYorkshire

Original Poster:

691 posts

57 months

Wednesday 19th July 2017
quotequote all
Costs less to run than a little diesel car now ;-)

This is what it looked like work in progress with the engine covers off.



engine covers on



tank



filling point (brass bit unscrews leaving the filler boss hidden behind the petrol filler flap)


jakesmith

3,899 posts

112 months

Wednesday 19th July 2017
quotequote all
Nice easy access to the battery too in case you need to do the emergency handbrake release procedure / attache a charger! And with a boot that big, you'd barely notice the space gone!! smile /

Right few questions...
1) WHY
2) How much
3) What MPG do you get?

User33678888

1,129 posts

78 months

Wednesday 19th July 2017
quotequote all
jakesmith said:
1) WHY
+1

Is the fuel cost really a big factor when you choose to run something like this?
I'm sure it won't be doing the residuals any good.. How much do you really expect it to save you over the time you run it?

Kyodo

559 posts

65 months

Thursday 20th July 2017
quotequote all
I'm not trying to sound daft but does it need a safety sticker on the back saying it has a big gas canister in the boot?

SimonYorkshire

Original Poster:

691 posts

57 months

Thursday 20th July 2017
quotequote all
jakesmith said:
Nice easy access to the battery too in case you need to do the emergency handbrake release procedure / attache a charger! And with a boot that big, you'd barely notice the space gone!! smile /

Right few questions...
1) WHY
2) How much
3) What MPG do you get?
A jumper / charging cable for the battery was attached before the tank was fitted, it is in the storage tray in the rear of the boot and is easily accessible. The battery wouldn't be so hard to change, the tank was fitted in such a way that it can be removed without too much difficulty... granted not as easily as without the tank fitted but easily enough considering how often the battery will need to be changed. First time I've heard about the emergency handbrake release procedure,.. I don't know if you refer to a problem with Maserati's handbrake design or more a case of the handbrake release won't work without battery power? But we can provide battery power even with a dud battery. The tank does take a lot of the boot space but that's because the boot space was so small in the first place. On that note could also ask why the rear seats... they would be a bit cramped for rear passengers!

1. Because 'It costs less to run than a diesel car now'... It isn't the most economical car so it pays to run it on half price fuel, and it still performs the same on half price fuel.
2. £1900, which will be recouped in terms of money spent on fuel alone after the owner has used 700 gallons of fuel.
3. It does about 10% mpg less running on LPG compared to running on petrol, but LPG costs less than half price so the vehicle costs half price to run in real terms.

I posted pics of this Maserati Gran Turismo LPG conversion on another forum which were noticed by a celebrity who lives on Malta. The Malta guy has decided he wants an LPG converted Gran Turismo too to use on Malta, he will be sourcing a Gran Turismo in the UK, have me convert it to LPG and then import it into Malta where he will also pay half price for fuel but also vehicle regs in Malta mean he won't have to pay as much in taxes to run it compared to if it only ran on petrol.

Kyodo said:
I'm not trying to sound daft but does it need a safety sticker on the back saying it has a big gas canister in the boot?
No. Do petrol cars need a big sticker on the back saying there is a big tank full of petrol underneath...?

User33678888 said:
+1

Is the fuel cost really a big factor when you choose to run something like this?
I'm sure it won't be doing the residuals any good.. How much do you really expect it to save you over the time you run it?
Firstly this isn't my car, it is a customer car, the customer approached me to convert the Maserati on the basis I have the best reputation for converting cars especially performance/demanding vehicles. On the basis of '700 gallons of fuel', if the car does 20mpg the break even time would be 14000 miles. The owner is toying with the idea of starting a performance and luxury car hire business and believes customers may be more likely to hire such cars if they only have to pay half as much for fuel, but until he starts such business he is enjoying the benefits of half price fuel himself/directly. For now, this is his daily driver and he will certainly cover more than 14000 miles in a year, so payback period is less than a year.

To some purists the LPG conversion might effect residual values negatively, but the system is fitted in such a way that the car could be put back to standard without much difficulty. To other people who would like to own such a car the cost of running it on petrol might be considered a negative, so to those people the LPG conversion would add value. All arguable points and nobody here can say how LPG conversion of a Maserati will effect residuals... But put it this way - If the owner runs the car on LPG for long enough, even if the conversion does negatively effect residuals he will still be better off. Long enough might be less than a year in case the LPG conversion adds value to residuals, or a few years if conversion negatively effects residuals.



Edited by SimonYorkshire on Thursday 20th July 13:41


Edited by SimonYorkshire on Thursday 20th July 13:45

Advertisement

jakesmith

3,899 posts

112 months

Thursday 20th July 2017
quotequote all
Fair play all seems logical for the right owner

If the electronic parking brake fails there is a tool in the box that has a flexible neck that you maneuver into place under the battery & then crank to release the EPB. I think it can be accessed with the front flap of the boot liner open but not 100%, might be a pain in case of a breakdown check the book

I think the main issue really is if it takes 15,000 miles to ROI, that is a lot for a GT, maybe 3-5 years of normal use by which time many owners will have moved on so it's probably pretty niche. Most supercar owners are against mods too.

Also the rear seats are perfectly usable for adults btw

SimonYorkshire

Original Poster:

691 posts

57 months

Thursday 20th July 2017
quotequote all
Thanks for your posts so far Jake and all.
I didn't know about the emergency handbrake release procedure, do they go wrong often?
Had no reason to try siting in the back!

Simon

jakesmith

3,899 posts

112 months

Thursday 20th July 2017
quotequote all
SimonYorkshire said:
Thanks for your posts so far Jake and all.
I didn't know about the emergency handbrake release procedure, do they go wrong often?
Had no reason to try siting in the back!

Simon
I haven't heard of issues with them, but you can't disengage it without the engine running so in certain potential breakdown situations it could be tricky if you needed to be recovered
It's a neat job you've done there by the filler cap that's for sure

Pork

9,448 posts

175 months

Thursday 20th July 2017
quotequote all
I can see the merit in doing this, absolutely, but for me, the loss of very valuable boot space would rule out this as an option.

Are there any 'smarter' ways to do the conversion and avoid taking boot space ? I,e. Could you replace the existing fuel tank with the lpg tank?

mattnovak

270 posts

43 months

Friday 21st July 2017
quotequote all
How can you do 14,000 miles a year on Malta??!! It's tiny. Unless you did shifts and it never stopped running...

SimonYorkshire

Original Poster:

691 posts

57 months

Friday 21st July 2017
quotequote all
Thanks again, Jake.

Pork said:
I can see the merit in doing this, absolutely, but for me, the loss of very valuable boot space would rule out this as an option.

Are there any 'smarter' ways to do the conversion and avoid taking boot space ? I,e. Could you replace the existing fuel tank with the lpg tank?
It would be impossible to mount the LPG tank much differently on a Gran Turismo due to the vehicle's design. There's a vast range of different diameter and length LPG cylinder design tanks (of which the owner opted for this tank under my advice regards compromise between tank and luggage capacity and access to the lower stowing chamber which houses the jump cable).

On most vehicles a donut shaped tank is fitted in place of the spare wheel, the owner can then decide whether to still carry a spare wheel at all (instead carry instant tyre repair canisters and a small 12v compressor), carry the standard spare wheel or perhaps carry a space-saver spare wheel (even if the vehicle model normally carries a full size spare). Of these options most owners choose the instant tyre repair and compressor option. It would be possible to fit a toroidal design tank inside the boot of a Gran Turismo but we decided early on that a cylinder design would offer the best set of compromises.

It is unusual to be able to fit a smaller petrol tank and fit an LPG tank in a similar position, such options are usually only possible on a limited range of 4x4's. Modern vehicles tend to have very odd shaped petrol tanks while LPG tanks have to be either cylindrical or toroidal due to being a pressure vessel (which requires the strength provided by a round design).

mattnovak said:
How can you do 14,000 miles a year on Malta??!! It's tiny. Unless you did shifts and it never stopped running...
Perhaps he'll be ferrying to elsewhere ;-) Or maybe he doesn't do many miles but the LPG conversion will be worthwhile for the tax break I mentioned.

Simon

Hedgetrimmer

531 posts

198 months

Friday 21st July 2017
quotequote all
Each to their own. Although the installation looks very neat, you would need to be prepare for a long term relationship with the car as the eventual buyer will be way off the normal distribution of a typical Maserati GT buyer:-)

The 4.2/4.7 gets hot at the best of times so how well does the engine cope with gas?

gareth h

2,043 posts

171 months

Friday 21st July 2017
quotequote all
I had a Monaro converted many years ago, ran well on LPG, power was down by about 10hp when I rolling roaded it.
My only concern was the effect of a pressure vessel in the crumple zone, in the event of a rear impact would the tank be shunted into the rear passengers? In the end the fact that the rear seat passengers were my kids was enough to persuade me to move it on.

SimonYorkshire

Original Poster:

691 posts

57 months

Friday 21st July 2017
quotequote all
Hedgetrimmer said:
Each to their own. Although the installation looks very neat, you would need to be prepare for a long term relationship with the car as the eventual buyer will be way off the normal distribution of a typical Maserati GT buyer:-)

The 4.2/4.7 gets hot at the best of times so how well does the engine cope with gas?
Yes, I reckon you're right... the typical Maserati owner probably won't even think to consider an LPG conversion, it would be way off the cards, any such mod sacrilege etc.. Others on thread have said much the same thing and I can agree with it because I think the typical owner is likely to be a purist.

There are misconceptions about engine heat. The engine only makes power at all because of heat expansion of gases in the combustion chambers, more heat in combustion chambers and the engine makes more power so that would be a good thing... But that doesn't necessarily mean the engine block gets hotter because engine block temp is of course controlled by the cooling system and thermostat. The addition of an LPG system actually aids the cooling system, because the LPG is stored as liquid in the tank and there is a cooling effect when the gas is atomised within the system's pressure reducer. The pressure reducer would turn into a block of ice very quickly were it not plumbed into the vehicle's coolant circuit, which provides heat to keep the pressure reducer warm and on the flip side cools the coolant.

gareth h said:
I had a Monaro converted many years ago, ran well on LPG, power was down by about 10hp when I rolling roaded it.
My only concern was the effect of a pressure vessel in the crumple zone, in the event of a rear impact would the tank be shunted into the rear passengers? In the end the fact that the rear seat passengers were my kids was enough to persuade me to move it on.
I've converted plenty Monaro's too, there are threads on some I've converted on Pistonheads, most threads started by the owners. Various options on where/how to fit tank(s)s on Monaro's. If the tank takes place of a spare wheel then surely the spare wheel would be in the crumple zone anyway? There are cars with the petrol tank right behind the rear seats such as Jag XJ's. Crumple zone effectiveness and gas tank safety are points that have been raised often on other forums. I think it would be difficult to say without running extensive crash tests on how gas tank install would effect crash safety - would a solidly mounted tank behind the rear seats be a help or a handicap in crash? Towbar? Luggage? It would probably depend on the specifics of the crash. Autogas tanks are much stronger than a petrol tank and are unlikely to be ruptured even in a severe crash, but if they do rupture the gas isn't poisonous (although like any gas it is an asphyxiant) and LPG has a far narrower range of explosive mixtures than petrol. I think you can look at it a few ways: I like Monaro's, no criticism of choice of car, but you're probably more likely to get rear end shunted in a Monaro than in an average car anyway - situation with the boy racer up your backside trying to gode you into a race etc..

Your post ties in with Hedgetimmer's post on the subject of engine heat. Your Monaro probably made 10bhp less on LPG because the calorific value of LPG is very slightly lower than the calorific value of petrol, while at the same time the stochiometric ratio of LPG is a bit higher than the stoch of petrol. The figures mean that for every gram of LPG you put into the engine you get a bit less heat than would from a gram of petrol, and not only that but you can't put as much LPG through the engine as you could petrol. So the total heat the engine can see while running on LPG is lower than the total heat the engine can see when running on petrol. However we can then talk about how this heat is used / distributed inside the engine and this touches on burn speed. If burn speed is much slower on LPG than on petrol there could be a situation where more heat is present/remaining during the exhaust cycles, which would then impart more heat to the exhaust valves. Not something we generally have to worry about / address, since most of the burn on a petrol / LPG engine is completed during the first bit of the power stroke, but could become a problem if we set open loop mixture wrong. Good installers don't set open loop mixture wrong! Some engines have valves made from softer metal than usual, soft valves can be an issue for LPG conversions - I just answered a potential customer's question on this subject, to prevent wrist ache I've simply copied and pasted my reply to his question below.

my reply said:
I always fit valve lube systems on anything Japanese including all Elgrands, a lube system is included in all my Elgrand conversion quotes. The issue with Jap vehicles (and Fords and a few other marques) is that the metal that engine valves and seats are made from is softer than on most other vehicles. When you run on petrol some soot is produced and this soot acts a bit like a lubricant between the valve and it's seat, protecting valves and seats (particularly softer ones) against wearing faster than they would without the soot. LPG burns very cleanly indeed and produces no soot, which is generally a good positive in terms of protecting every other part of the engine, since soot can (on the flip side) act like a grinding paste when it is in engine oil, so soot in oil has opportunity to cause quicker wear to the engine 'bottom end'. But lack of soot on valves/seats that are a bit softer than average can cause quicker wear of the valves/seats. The lube systems very slowly drip feed a special oil into the engine's intake system, the oil atomises in the air which goes passed the engine inlet valves on the way into the engine and directly lubricates them, then the oil is burned inside the engine's combustion chambers and produces a little soot as it burns, this soot then builds on the engine's exhaust valves/seats and protects them in much the same way as the soot produced when burning petrol would. The lube fluid is used very slowly, you use only 1 part lube fluid to every 1000parts fuel, so a litre of lube fluid costing £15 will last as long as 1000 litres of LPG.
Simon

Pork

9,448 posts

175 months

Friday 21st July 2017
quotequote all
Thanks for the reply to my comment, Simon.

Hedgetrimmer

531 posts

198 months

Saturday 22nd July 2017
quotequote all
Hi Simon, thanks for being so informative. You clearly are the master of LPG conversions!

jakesmith

3,899 posts

112 months

Saturday 22nd July 2017
quotequote all
Impressive level of technical detail! LPG conversions also have a bit of a mixed reputation but I'm sure you do exemplary work.

Murph7355

21,818 posts

197 months

Sunday 23rd July 2017
quotequote all
SimonYorkshire said:
...The tank does take a lot of the boot space but that's because the boot space was so small in the first place. On that note could also ask why the rear seats... they would be a bit cramped for rear passengers!
...
The main reason driving me to a GT was it's a usable 4 seater.

I'm 6'4" and can sit in the back OK. And I've had my family of 4 (2yr old and 5yr old plus 2x adults) in it with all the chattels that involves on a weekend away - 4 flight cases, a pram/buggy, coats, bag of toys etc.

You need the right sized bags, and entry/egress is more awkward than a 4 door. But it's a big old car. It's more usable than my 2007 RS4 Avant!

SimonYorkshire said:
...
No. Do petrol cars need a big sticker on the back saying there is a big tank full of petrol underneath...?...
Is the tank/car combo homologated for use that way?

That's more a general and genuine question as I know a lot of cars are converted to LPG. What rules need to be followed for them to be regarded as safe? Also, are you able to use things like the Chunnel, Blackwall tunnel etc??

If the owner was baulking at fuel costs, lord only knows what they'll do when it comes to routine servicing smile

SimonYorkshire

Original Poster:

691 posts

57 months

Wednesday 26th July 2017
quotequote all
Well, if the car doesn't normally have a spare meaning it's not possible to fit a tank in place of the spare and you need every bit of luggage capacity, better not convert to LPG as the tank would take some of that capacity meaning you wouldn't get all your luggage in ;-)

Tank installs are not generally homologated for specific vehicles but any tank that any installer fits will carry E67 approval, meaning it is approved Europe wide for the purpose of fitting in road vehicles. There are cases of the type of homologation you'll most likely be referring to, such as in the cases of factory converted vehicles like the dual fuel Vauxhalls, Fords, Subarus, etc etc. The term 'factory converted' is misleading really, because none are converted by the factory that manufactured the vehicle; the usual case is that the newly made vehicle goes straight from the factory to a specific installer who fits specific LPG parts that are homologated on that vehicle. A step away from homolgation in that usual sense, there is a process whereby manufacturers of LPG systems can pay for a type of homologation with their specific system on a specific model of vehicle, where regardless of which installer then fits that system on that model vehicle the vehicle can then easily be registered on the 'Powershift register' and the vehicle then becomes congestion charge exempt..., but no LPG system manufacturer has done this for several years due to the expense of homologation and perhaps also due to the rising number of manufacturers who produce engine bay components for vehicle LPG conversions (less market share for each manufacturer, less incentive for any one manufacturer to pay for it). But I do believe that homolgation has been passed (for want of a better term) in every case where manufacturers have paid for the process of homologation testing, and since there is such a wide range of 'factory converted' LPG vehicles on the road, covering a wide range of tank setups, I would read into this that homologation authorities find no need for concern on E67 tanks fitted to vehicles in general.

It is illegal to take a converted vehicle through the chunnel, which begs the question why, then, is it legal to take a full E67 tank or indeed a full camping gas bottle through the chunnel if that container is not part of an autogas install...! I know of people with converted vehicles who take the chunnel regularly and with head held high, I can agree with the common sense that says an E67 tank is much safer to take through a tunnel than a camping gas bottle, and they don't seem to worry about getting caught and paying a fine, in the unlikley event they were caught out they might play daft and get away with it. Others take the ferry.

At least the rest of my post is meant to be received as a bit tongue in cheek...

I've gone with your questions which my answers paragraphs above hopefully answer, even though I suspect a case of you probably already knowing the gist of answers to your questions but playing devil's advocate a bit ;-)LPG conversion won't be for all for sure, a Gran Turismo is an unusual vehicle to be tasked with converting but I'm not sure there wouldn't be a similar number of owners who would consider an LPG conversion / number of owners who find that if they pack the car to the limit they can carry everything they need to go touring with a family of 4, no more or less, and wouldn't consider buying a fast estate car for the next year's touring! ;-) I've converted Audi S4 and RS4's too, my last conversion on one was a long time ago though... but I remember the engine bay being far more cramped on those models than on the Gran Turismo.

Regards to all,

Simon

Edited by SimonYorkshire on Wednesday 26th July 18:44

jakesmith

3,899 posts

112 months

Wednesday 26th July 2017
quotequote all
Murph7355 said:
I've had my family of 4 (2yr old and 5yr old plus 2x adults) in it with all the chattels that involves on a weekend away - 4 flight cases, a pram/buggy, coats, bag of toys etc.

You need the right sized bags, and entry/egress is more awkward than a 4 door. But it's a big old car. It's more usable than my 2007 RS4 Avant!
I'd love to see a picture of that becuase I just can't picture it. I put one case that is slightly larger than a cabin case in the boot and there is little other space. No idea where the pram would go!?