Monday, 30 June 2008

Money Matters

1.Buying the conversion

If, like me, you don't have £1275 lying around,you will probably have to borrow money to buy an LPG conversion. I could have used my student loan to buy it, but decided on getting a 0% Credit Card (from halifax) to buy the conversion on. I did this for a number of reasons:
  1. I wouldn't pay any interest on borrowing the money, as long as I paid it off within the introductory period (10 months)
  2. If anything went (goes) wrong with the conversion, the credit card company are equally as liable as the converter! I picked this tip up from: Unfortunately, the author of this webpage got royally ripped off by a rogue trader, but got his money back off the credit card company. Handy tips and guides are on that website.
  3. Psychologically, I would use the savings in petrol (I usually pay £200 a month, I was hoping to reduce that by at least £80) to pay off the conversion, or at least the bulk of it.

2. The savings

As I said, the 2.2 litre Astra is a nice car, but it's nippy, and I'm 23, so I like to drive it fast occasionally. I also work about 15 miles away from home and my girlfriend lives about 15 miles away as well, so all this means I was spending about £50 a week on petrol. (Therefore about £200 a month). As I write, the sums are as follows:

LPG is about 54p a litre, petrol is now 115.9p per litre so LPG is cheaper by more than half.

BUT! - you only get about 80-95% of the efficiency of petrol with LPG so at best LPG is very nearly half as cheap as petrol.

BUT! (2) you dont only run on LPG, many people find themselves spending about £15 or £20 on petrol each month, as it is best practice to start, and turn off the engine, whilst on petrol.

As I said I was hoping to save £80 a month, this would enable me to pay off 2 thirds of the installation within the credit card introductiory period, I would pay the rest off with whatever student loan I had at the time. Or I could transfer it to another credit card.

The conversion.

After much consideration, I decided to go with warrington autogas.

Warrington autogas are not LPGA approved, nor do they pretend to be, but the analogy therin is that "would you pay £200 for a bmw service, when a specialist would do it for £50?".

I had also scoured the web, and found many seemingly independent testimonials from satisfied customers, some of whom were on their second and even third conversion from Andy at Warrington.

I had consulted a local converter (local to where I work, literally a two minute walk), but he seemed very dodgy to talk to, and denigrated Andy at warrington autogas. He also told blatant lies (see this forum post I made

He also had what appeared to be a dissatisfied customer on the premises waiting to speak to him after I had left, charged £150 more than Andy at warrington and seemed to have a "have a go" attitude with regard to converting my engine, which didnt seem great.

I also (later) read details of him lying to customers when problems arose with their conversions, blaming the car rather than the conversion. For this reason I decided to take my car the 2 hour round trip to warrington.

Romano, whilst not the most premium kit on the market, are far from budget, so it was decided on one of these kits with a 60 litre tank in the spare wheel well. Although this would cause a bulge in my carpet I wanted itto last as close to a tank of petrol as possible. And as LPG only fills 80% of a volume it is put into (48 litres) and is between 85-95% as efficient as petrol, this was the best compromise.

Anyone who has an Astra Coupe will know that boot space is hardly at a premium (2 full size suitcases and one small, without putting seats down, easily).

The filler cap would be fitted in the rear bumper, to avoid irrepairable damage to the body work of the car.

The Car

First the Car:

A 2001 Vauxhall Astra Coupe. It's a 2.2 litre bertone model. Engine code Z22SE.
This caused me a problem straight off, as the engine is quite unusual, not rare or anything, but it appears that most people with this engine aren't too concerned about mpg, and would rather have performance. Unfortunately, I bought this just before petrol went stupid, selling it would probably lose me money so I decided to go the lpg route. (Plus I quite like the car.)
Regardless, due to the above reasons, many lpg converters had never seen one before. Likewise with Andy at warrington autogas (slighlty concerning). However, a couple of people on the engine forum have had theirs converted, so I knew it could be done.
It's a bit different to most transverse (sideways mounted) vauxhall engines, in that the air is taken in the front, with the exhaust manifold exiting at the rear of the engine (seemingly the most natural layout?).


Hello all and welcome to my blog about my LPG conversion.

I decided to write this for many reasons. Mainly, because whilst researching LPG conversions I could not find much information on them or user feedback.

What I did find is (as per usual) loads of people complaining when their LPG wasnt working, but few people telling of their smooth conversion, and great saving.

I have taken the plunge after some research and my car has just gone into Warrington Autogas for its conversion, and I have a nice new Ford Focus as my courtesy car.

My next post will tell of how I decided on various aspects of my conversion.