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LPG conversion in a specialist company: A reader car is converted

Dino Eisele
LPG conversion in a specialist company
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B The trend for gasoline engines is clearly towards turbocharged direct injection . However, the few petrol engines that can be operated ex works with autogas (LPG) that are around 50 percent cheaper than super fuel are all less attractive naturally aspirated engines.

Professional retrofitters such as Blue are now offering a remedy for Green GmbH in Bad Kreuznach (blue-for-green.de), which raffled off an LPG system with us. Because before saving at the petrol station, those interested in LPG have to dig deep into their pockets: Installation in the Golf 1.4 TSI of the winning Wenzelburger family would normally have cost 3,550 euros. However, Blue for Green gives a three-year guarantee on the built-in parts, offers a pick-up and delivery service to one of the eight installation locations nationwide and a TÜV-certified system with entry in the vehicle documents - not a matter of course in the industry.

Common injection nozzle is the problem

But where is the problem when retrofitting direct-injection petrol engines? In contrast to classic naturally aspirated engines, in which the fuel is injected into the intake manifold in front of the inlet valve, with direct injectors gasoline and LPG must be injected into the combustion chamber via a 'common' injection nozzle. The fuel injectors are located in the cylinder head, where the temperatures are very high.

To prevent them from overheating in LPG mode, a small amount of gasoline has to be added for cooling. In addition to increased design effort, this also requires extensive coordination work on the test bench. At Blue for Green, technical director Antonio Spada is responsible for this. 'In Germany, customers are very demanding. In my home country, on the other hand, it is completely normal for an engine to jerk when running on LPG,' explains the Italian. Safety is a top priority, explosions like those in Hollywood films are impossible. If the system is actually leaking, the control system blocks the LPG operation. In an emergency, the tank empties downwards.

Interior almost unchanged after LPG conversion

Spada needs around 20 hours to install the entire system. The 52 liter additional LPG tank can be found in the spare wheel recess. In the next step he mounts the LPG filler neck next to theoriginal petrol filler opening under the common fuel filler flap. When filling with LPG, the customer only has to screw on an adapter piece.

After the gas conversion, the only difference in the interior of the Golf is the level indicator for LPG operation that is inconspicuously integrated in the center console. The rest of the system is hidden on the underbody and in the engine compartment. The hoses from the tank to the engine must be laid at a safe distance from the exhaust and finally open into the evaporator. This heats the gas and then passes it through a filter to the distributor rail adapted to this type of engine.

One of the most important tasks is adapting the engine management on the test bench. What at Techniker Spada looks so easy thanks to his experience is not feasible for a layperson. The Wenzelburger family is on the safe side with the Blue for Green LPG system. Only the filter (around 15 euros) should be replaced every 35,000 kilometers.


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