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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:48 am
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Location: Rural Lincolnshire
I have owned a couple of Grand Vitara's now. Previously I owned a 2.7 litre V6 Five-seater XL-7. It was my first foray into 4x4-land having previously been an exclusive member of the Blue Oval Club. The local Suzuki Dealership had a good offer on it, so I bought it on impulse and decided to give 4x4'ing a try. The XL-7 was great because it had such a huge boot (ideal for LPG conversion) but it was a bit "agricultural". The steering was quite heavy and the clutch especially so - it made driving round town somewhat tiring. So after about 9 months I decided to sell that and my Focus and buy a "normal" Grand Vitara, but with an Auto Box.

I tried the new Grand Vitara that had just come out, but it didn't feel that special and the interior was quite dull. I'd also heard bad things about the engines, particularly the Renault-sourced 1.9DDiS. The pre-facelift model seemed more fun so I kept looking on Autotrader, but Automatics were few and far between. I finally came across a very smart looking XE-C (which I subsequently found was pronounced "exec") which came with an aluminium Suzuki 2.5 litre V6 and an Auto Box and much improved steering and handling compared to the XL-7. As an ex-Suzuki GB Car, it had all the toys and only had 16,000 miles for a car that was over 2 Years old. The slightly smaller engine plus the Auto Box meant it did the same MPG as the 2.7 litre with the manual Gear Box. So I bought it.

For the past year, I had been happily driving about and really enjoying it. The V6 is smooth and quiet and the exhaust gives a pleasant "burble" as you drive along. The trips to the pumps were a little frequent however, as I was averaging 26 MPG (and up to 31 MPG on a long run) but it was still costing a fair bit. The recent spike in petrol prices meant I sometimes couldn't fill it up with the "pre-authorised" amount on Pay-at-Pump garages!

I was aware of a local LPGA-authorised installer (details below) and although he specialised in Jaguars, the reports from the Jaguar Owner's Club (through a neighbour) was that he was well-known and well-respected. He was variously described as "possibly the most honest person in the motor trade", which seemed good enough to me. So I took a trip over.

My initial impressions of Neal Mugglestone were very positive. His workshop was clean, tidy and well organised. Everything had its place. Since I'm that sort of person, I took an immediate like to him. He explained the conversion process and showed me a Daimler Sovereign V12 that he was working on at the time. Although he hadn't converted a V6 Vitara before, he had converted the 2 litre 4-Cylinder version and said it was pretty straightforward as there was plenty of room in the engine bay. He was able to supply a replacement fuel tank to go in between the ladder-frame chassis, which meant I wouldn't have to have the gas tank in the back - it would go where the current petrol tank was. He also recommended that the filler was fitted to the towbar rather than in the bumper to make a neater job of things. Neal was clearly very knowledgeable and was happy to spend time with me talking over the process. He suggested I think it over. I did a few sums that evening and it was clear I would get a return on my investment in just under 20 months, so joined the THREE MONTH waiting list. Although not great, it at least meant he must be good if he had that much work on.

A week before the conversion date, Neal phoned to check everything was still fine and to confirm the arrangements. He also asked me to drop by to double check the fitting of the new fuel tank. It seems the current model Vitara has a different floor pan which precludes the fitting of the petrol tank under the floor, so wanted to be 100% sure everything would be fine. As I really didn't want a gas tank in the back, I was happy to pop over for him to check.

The installation date arrived and I duly dropped off the car at 8:30am on the Monday morning. The replacement fuel tank had arrived earlier that morning and all the other parts were in stock. So I left Neal to get on with the conversion. At lunctime on Wednesday I got a call to say that the conversion was finished and I could pick up the car when I was ready.

When I arrived, the car was parked outside and looked the same as it did when I left it. I'm not sure what I was expecting to be different, but it struck me how "normal" the car looked. Neal was already working hard on the next car. He came out and showed me his handiwork. The filler was positioned neatly on the towbar and the Fuel Status light was fitted into a blank next to the ventilation controls. Under the bonnet I was struck how neatly everything had been installed - even to the neat spacing of the cable ties which were all facing the same way. He started up the car, which by that time was cold, and we listened as the car burbled away on petrol. Then there was a 'click' as the gas system took over and without missing a beat, the engine was running on gas. The engine was noticeably quieter on gas and you could just hear the faint chatter of the gas injectors. With the bonnet closed, you could just hear the normal engine noise. There was nothing to say that the engine was running any differently.

Neal then showed me the refuelling process, which all seemed pretty straight forward, making sure that the gas tank was brimming before I left. He advised me to drain the tank a couple of times to get a feel for the range I would get on a full tank and that was it.

Since the conversion, the car has operated faultlessly. I'm still running through a few tanks before I work out the average mileage. The car is noticeably quieter and in normal driving there is no obvious loss in power (it's a relatively light vehicle for the engine so it was never short of power in the first place). If you really boot it (i.e. make it kick down to 1st off a roundabout) it is marginally slower (and I mean marginally) but to be honest I hardly every drive like that anyway, not on the narrow country roads I have round here! But if I do need to get onto a roundabout that quickly, I can always go back to petrol (as well as engage Sport on the Auto and select 4 Wheel drive!).

For those that are interested, I have uploaded some "Before & After" Pictures here.

Summary Details

Vehicle: 2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara X-EC
Engine: 2.5 litre V6
LPG Equipment: BRC Multipoint Injection
Equipment Supplier: CLS Dual Fuel Ltd
LPG Conversion by: K Mugglestone & Co, Anton's Gowt, BOSTON, PE22 7BG
Conversion Engineer: Neal Mugglestone
Website: http://www.jaguarfuelconversions.co.uk

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:54 am 
Looks like you've found a good guy there, GV's are a good little tool. My only criticism is I'd be a bit concerned about some of the positioning if you we're planning to go offroad i.e. the filler pipe and petrol tank are relatively unprotected. If your not an offroader, which looking at the tyres your not ;) then nothing to worry about 8)

I always fancied an old Jag myself, might be my next project :idea: :)

Mike 8)


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 Post subject: Fuel Consumption
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:46 pm 
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Location: Rural Lincolnshire
I've just done my first fill-up so I have some tentative numbers, although these will improve as time goes by.

I did 235.2 miles and used 47.55 litres of gas, so that equates to 22.49 MPG on gas. Over 9.700 miles on petrol, I averaged 27.04 MPG, so that's a 16.8% increase in consumption on gas, which falls in the 15-20% range that has been quoted.

Based on the price differential between gas and petrol at the station where I filled up, I'm doing the cost equivalent of 44.3MPG. :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:53 pm 
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Location: Rural Lincolnshire
Just a quick update. I have just had a FlashLube Kit fitted. After sourcing opinion from a couple of forum contributors here I also managed to get some opinion from Suzuki. Whilst they wouldn't express a particular opinion on any "valve saver" solution they did confirm it wouldn't do any harm. So, rather than risk dropping a valve at some point in the future I decided to go with the FlashLube kit. Yes it will affect my total return calculations, but sometimes you have to pay a bit for peace of mind insurance.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:45 am 
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Location: Rural Lincolnshire
Time for a bit of an update. Having covered 6,000 miles since conversion, I've got some reasonable statistics to share.

When running on U/L I had been averaging 27.01 MPG on a mix of short and long runs. On LPG it is working out at 20.88 MPG, so an increase in consumption of 22.7%; slightly outside the 20% increase suggested, but I'm not going to get too worried about it.

However, on a like for like comparison on cost, I have spent 30.13% less on fuel to travel those 6,000 miles than I did on U/L, so overall I'm pretty pleased with how things have worked out so far. I've not managed to run out of gas just yet (although I did come close once!) and I've not noticed the slightest difference in performance.

Got a couple of longer runs planned for later in the year (one to Cornwall and one to North Yorkshire) so it'll be interesting to see what the long distance consumption is like.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:25 pm
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Hi I've just joined the forum thinking of converting my new(to me) Suzuki GV 2.5 X-EC. I'd be grateful for any advice on whether its a good thing to do and if there are any long term problems experienced. I particularly liked the idea of swopping the fuel tank for gas and installing a smaller petrol tank in the ladder chassis so as not to encroach on internal space. Does anyone know of anyone who has current experience of doing this type of conversion? Be grateful for any advice, Cheers Mike :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:21 pm
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Location: Midlands
Ive done quite a few over the years, its a good install. If somewhat expensive for bits, the fuel tank will set you back a good few quid. And its a bit tricky to fit. I would also recommend fitting some kind of valve lubrication system. Personally i always do. I would rather fall on the side of caution.
And its nice to see a bit of Neil's work. Lovely bloke and a damn fine LPG installer.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:57 am 
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Location: Rural Lincolnshire
The install you're describing is exactly what I had done to mine in September 2008. The main petrol tank was replaced with a 70 Litre gas tank and a replacement fuel tank fitted in the ladder chassis under the driver's seat. The gas system is BRC and Flashlube was fitted. The car had done 26,856 at conversion.

Neary 4.5 years later the car has now done 84,440 and hasn't missed a beat. It's serviced regularly on the dot of 9,000 miles by an independent Suzuki specialist and the gas system is serviced by the installer every 15-20,000 miles (I'm no mechanic!).

Since conversion I've kept a detailed log of fuel use and the costs of both LPG and Petrol when I have filled up, so I can tell exactly what I've recouped in fuel savings.

Install - £2,350
LPG Used - £7,907
Petrol Equivalent - £11,252
Fuel Saving - £3,345
Total Saving - £995

You then need to factor in the petrol I have bought in that period (for starting purposes) at £703 and the Flashlube I've bought (just finishing the second can @ £70/Can), leaving a saving of £152. In effect, the savings start now. I used to get 27MPG on petrol and get 20.6MPG on LPG.

So the moral of the story is, be prepared to keep the car for a LONG time. It obviously depends on the mileage you do as to how quickly you'll recoup the savings, and if you do the work yourself, your initial outlay will be much less than having it done professionally. I paid for a "proper job" but feel that I've recouped that investment by having an entirely faultless experience. The car has never let me down and I gauge the impact on the engine by the colour of the oil when it's due for a service; think golden syrup rather than dark treacle :-)

Feel free to PM me if you want to know more.

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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:42 am 
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Just an update, I took the plunge and had Toby install a gas system in my GV 2.5 X-EC back in February. Took a week to do while I was skiing in Andorra. The whole process was smooth and faultless, Toby did a great job and it hasn't missed a beat since. I've been monitoring the economy and am getting 22mpg on gas which with gas locally at 61p gives me 13p per mile which is nearly half (of 25p) it would cost to run on petrol at 26mpg. Payback (not including flashlube or pertrol for starting) is about 12500 miles with this differential in fuel costs. Needless to say I am really happy and rate the decision to "go gas" as one of the best ones I have made. Wouldn't have been possible without the value and skill deployed by Toby whom I recommend highly to anyone considering a conversion.


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