We Drive a Venchurs-built Bi-Fuel CNG F-250

Venchurs-1
Story and photos by Dan Sanchez

Several years ago, diesel truck enthusiasts began adding compressed-natural-gas tanks as a way to boost fuel economy and performance. Plenty of conversion kits were available and the results were good, but early conversions required stopping the vehicle to switch from one tank to the other. Furthermore, the CNG fuel valves required careful maintenance, and you had to remove the CNG tank from the vehicle for refilling.

Now that gasoline prices are high again, many companies that use light-duty diesel trucks in their fleets are considering this type of conversion for both gas and diesel. And as before, the popularity is growing. Companies that have approval from Ford to make conversions and modifications for fleets (known as Qualified Vehicle Modifiers) have invested lots of time and resources to make CNG conversions easier to install, providing seamless and easy operation for all types of operators.

One of the most recent examples is the Venchurs 2012 Ford F-250, whose bi-fuel CNG conversion with the 6.2L gas V-8 gives the truck a range of 650 miles. 

It takes only a few moments behind the wheel of the Venchurs F-250 to realize why new CNG conversions like these are becoming more popular. Driving the truck feels and rides just like any other F-250. We were also impressed that switching from one fuel supply to the other can done on the fly and is practically invisible. A simple dash-mounted switch controls the system, and there’s no hesitation, vibration or even a difference in engine noise when the switch is made. In fact, we joked about how the toggle switch might be fake; we looked to see if any wires were actually connected to it. If it weren’t for the CNG pressure gauge mounted to the truck’s interior window pillar, you couldn’t tell that the system was working. Venchurs CEO Jeff Wyatt said engineers spent many hours perfecting the truck’s programming to make it that way. 

The F-250 was also outfitted with a two-inch Superlift suspension that included new coil springs and a rear leaf block.  A set of Bilstein shocks and 35-inch-diameter BFGoodrich tires make the Venchurs F-250 very capable off-road and perfect for a park ranger or construction worker who has to cover difficult terrain to reach the job site.

While the truck didn’t seem to lack any power, the conversion maintained most of the truck’s overall towing capabilities. But with the extended fuel range, it’s a small trade-off.

The Venchurs F-250 was also upgraded with an Asfir skid plate and Fab Fours heavy-duty bumpers. The front features a large grille with IPF driving lights and a Warn winch rated at 16,000 pounds. A set of retractable steps from AMP Research makes entering and exiting the cab easier. 

Companies with fleet vehicles are looking for ways to cut costs, and the Venchurs Ford F-250 demonstrates that this technology is ready and easy to integrate.  “We’ve been working hard on making CNG conversions as seamless as possible,” Wyatt said. “Our 2012 F-250 showcases an extreme example of how seamless our conversions are, while demonstrating the performance potential in a rugged and capable off-road truck. We even placed the CNG refill nozzle next to the fuel filler cap so that the truck doesn’t operate or feel any different for the driver. ”

If more CNG refueling stations are added, trucks like this one may be in our immediate future. 

Venchurs-5 II
The Venchurs 2012 Ford F-250 pickup uses the company’s 6.2-liter bi-fuel CNG conversion that gives the vehicle a range of 650 miles. The factory gas engine doesn’t appear any different on the surface. The CNG conversion works under the Ford warranty, and companies like Venchurs also offer turn-key vehicles and services fleets. 

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The truck is outfitted with a Fab Fours front bumper with IPF driving lights and a Warn winch.

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The CNG tank refueling nozzle is next to the fuel filler. 

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The rear bumper is a heavy-duty Fab Fours unit with D-ring mounts and a step. he Venchurs F-250 also has a Superlift suspension lift, a set of Bilstein shocks and 35-inch diameter BFGoodrich 325/60R20 Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires.

Comments

To me, the view of the tail pipe, re-fueling center, and under-hood all look like gas, not diesel version. Is all this modified for the CNG conversion, or whats going on?

With out a doubt this is a gas truck.

Please bring Mike back, and fire this writer. Could you get a story any more wrong. That ain't no stinking diesel, who did the research for this story. No dual batteries, not twin tip exhaust, and certainly no 6.7 diesel under the hood.

@Skup easy on it; this could be a case of incorrectly supplied photos. Until you have proof...

This is not a 6.7 Diesel. This is a 6.2 . Someone needs to proof read this. Look at the Engine and the exhaust. The fue filler states "no E85".

I have to agree with the other posters. It is a 6.2. I looked at Venchur's web site and they only list conversions for the 6.2 V8 gasser.
http://www.venchurscng.com/technology.php

Before you demand for Mark's head on a silver platter you have to note the following :
Story and photos by Dan Sanchez
Posted by Mark Williams | April 24, 2012

I was looking around the net and there are CNG set ups for diesels. This isn't one of them.


Sorry about that guys. Clearly this should not have been posted. Think we have the corrects done now. Thanks for your patience.

Uh... guys, it says its a conversion for a 6.2l in the article... maybe its been changed, but chill out.

Could be a cool thing, not enough stations as of yet, but a better option than hybrids or hydrogen.

OH don't worry!!! I'm sure that switch isn't fake.
It's a ford so it's probably got a hundred sensors connected to it that will go bad on you.

I can see it now, $300 and 6 hours in the shop for the fuel system switch sensor.

On second though it's not a factory conversion so maybe that was unfair.

Oh shucks.
There's no edit button.

@Maxx - they stopped posting stories about Ram so now you've moved on to complaining about Ford?
Maybe someday, like 2 - 3 years from now, they will have a story about the new Tacoma or Tundra.
I'm sure they could find a nice Toyota recall story to post ;)

The article actually states that it is in fact a 6.2 Gasser. I don't know why diesel is mentioned over and over again. The price of the conversion does raise the purchase price over what diesel options cost, but if there is some economy of scale, it could work out well. I wonder how the trucks compare in weight (with the lighter engine, but added equipment)- often a 4wd diesel is very close to FAWR right out of the box.

@Mark Williams
Thanks for correcting the diesel/gas 6.7/6.2 issue.

@ Mr Knowitall - the rest us us read the un-edited version that clearly stated 6.7 turbo diesel conversion. That would be pre-12:00 EST.

@Mark Williams, You can buy Ford Falcon Utes here with dual fuel capability. In our case LPG/Petrol. You do not lose power if it is LPI, rather than vapour injection. Yes the changeover is pretty seamless.

Converting a diesel to run on CNG basically requires changing everything except the short block assembly. BTW- I think the the 6.2L was designed from the start to be CNG capable. Ford offers a CNG prep option for the 6.2L.

I wonder what that costs? Hopefully less than the $11-$12k the OEMs are charging.

Their website reports a 450 mile range. 200 mile on CNG and 250 miles on the bi-fuel.

So now all the HD pickup manufacturers have a CNG option. I think Ram only offers it for fleet users.

@ Lou: it appears Maxx is never happy. Aren't we about due for another Ram story? Lol!

@TRX4 Tom - yup, throw in a Ford hybrid story to be fare. One has to ballance the Ram and Chevy stories. There should be a Toyota and Nissan hybrid story too. Wouldn't want anyone to think this site was biased or anything. A variation of affirmative action but for trucks. we wouldn't want the visible minorities (Toyota, Nissan) to feel any hate or obvious discrimination. (Can I say that without getting into trouble?)

Chrysler launched Bi-Fuel Truck for 12K extra, GM launched for 11K extra. Ford is selling CNG trucks thru partnership with other companies. Actually Trifuel Vehicles running on Gasoline, Ethanol & CNG cost only 1K extra. Hope such vehicles are sold here.

Already many companies were converting their Diesel fueled trucks and drilling machines to CNG which is great. Meanwhile Shipping and Ferry operators are also converting to LNG.

We can read more about this at
http://www.ngvglobal.com/

If all those who have vehicles that go a long distance can convert to CNG, then we can stop the increase in Diesel prices.

Read this thing

http://www.worldcng.com/

"A typical shuttle bus operating on CNG instead of conventional gasoline or diesel stands to save upwards of $10,000 per year (assuming 10 MPG and 50,000 miles traveled per year)"

WOW.

A typical shuttle bus operating on CNG instead of conventional gasoline or diesel stands to save upwards of $10,000 per year (assuming 10 MPG and 50,000 miles traveled per year)"

WOW.
http://monsterbeatsstudio.us

Looks great! Did you find that it ran quieter than a gasoline-powered truck? I've heard that is one of the advantages of CNG.

ANy report on the costs of this thing? Looks nice...

Also, does this run quieter than a gas powered truck?

Those are my questions. Thanks!



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