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Old 12-07-2014, 11:34 PM   #1
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New to Skoolie... Question about CNG?

Honored to be amongst so many enthusiasts and eager to get my project underway. My wife and I are avid outdoor enthusiasts and are debating between a trailer build tiny house or a bus conversion. We like the idea of being mobile and using it as a base camp for outdoor adventures but am concerned if the bus will be a can of worms.

We have located a bus, 1999 Thomas CNG with just under 100K. My concerns are with the CNG tanks. I called a bus mechanic for my school district and he informed me that the CNG tanks need to be replaced every 15 years and it sounded costly. Is this something I need to be concerned with, or is this only for school district compliance issues? Any feedback is appreciated.

Another question pertains to whether a rear engine bus is suitable for dirt roads… my logic says otherwise?

Happy to join the community.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:00 PM   #2
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Re: New to Skoolie... Question about CNG?

I'd stay away just for the practicality issues of locating cng. It may end up limiting range in lots of areas. The tanks also can take up lots of space.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:20 PM   #3
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Re: New to Skoolie... Question about CNG?

I've dealt with CNG vehicles at work. I suppose if you can park on top of a CNG supply tank and don't mind wimpy performance and lousy mpg it might work out. You might want to google CNG refueling stations for your area (and those places you plan to travel to). Here in sunny Ca. it would be pretty hard to make it from one end of the state to the other as stations seem only to be in major metropolitan areas. Also, since the tanks are at present not recertifyable, and replacement tanks very expensive, purchasing a nearly outdated bus probably is not a good idea. In our city, the CNG fleet automibles were simply scraped after about 75,000 miles.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:52 PM   #4
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Re: New to Skoolie... Question about CNG?

I saw some really cheap cng buses on ebay this year. They were Ca buses too!
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:58 PM   #5
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Re: New to Skoolie... Question about CNG?

That was my gut feeling, thanks for the feedback. Diesel it is!
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:39 PM   #6
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Re: New to Skoolie... Question about CNG?

A CNG or LPG engine is still considered a "spark-ignited" internal combustion engine, like gasoline. It should be possible to change the carburetor and plumb in a gasoline tank replacement, but you would have to research your engine.

This would get you from lousy fuel mileage to bad fuel mileage, but more power. But the "avoid CNG and find a diesel" idea is not a bad one.
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Old 12-13-2014, 08:17 AM   #7
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Re: New to Skoolie... Question about CNG?

Glad you're going diesel..One more quick input: Having driven CNG buses for a living I can tell you, if you run out of fuel, there's no pouring in a gallon to get you to the next station! First the next station may be many, many miles away....And running out requires a TOW to that station!!!

In my state, there are 13 CNG stations, the closest being about 70 miles away!!

Enjoy your diesel and have fun building that bus!
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