When fuel prices began to rise again two years ago, I decided that this time, the Seven Sisters weren't going to lull me into thinking that this would all go away in good time. In fact, I decided to be more pro-active and try to mitigate my part in the hydrocarbon cycle that's apparently causing global warming. Providentially, it was also at that time that taxi fleets in Manila had discovered Autogas through Koreans businessmen who had long ago converted their own taxi fleets to LPG autogas.
So late last year I decided to sell my 1997 Honda Accord (2.2L) and bought a perky green 1999 KIA Pride (otherwise known in Australia and the US as the Ford Fiesta) with only 18,000 km on the clock. I purchased the car primarily to reduce my weekly petrol bill. But also, for the purpose of using it as a test bed for my first experiment with an alternative fuel vehicle, LPG. I figured if I didn't actually convert it to LPG, the extra mileage from the 1300 cc engine would still constitute an affirmative step against global warming.
The Pride/Fiesta is based on the Mazda 123 (the GLC in the US and Canada) and has become an ubiquitous and dependable taxicab here in Manila. The choice is obvious: conversion kits are locally available for it, the engine design is basic but modern, suitable for unleaded fuels, and cheap to repair and maintain. I thought it made a good basic platform for an economical, efficient and low-cost town car for my wife and I, as we commute to our offices daily, clocking about 80 to 100 kilometers a day around Metro Manila.
The fuel conversion was done early this year and is an open-loop venturi system. The components are an unpronouncable Korean brand, installed by a local Korean businessman who trades under the style and name of NAIADS Autogas. The system is basic and uses a rather restrictive mixer over my tiny two-barrel carb. It has run good and strong from the initial installation and I have only had to return once to have a retune when the idle wouldn't stabilize. We discovered a slight leak in the carburator throttle body. It has run smoothly and reliably since then.
While I'm enjoying the zippy performance around town, I miss my old highway cruiser. I am now in search of an older luxury car that will readily convert to my favorite automobile fuel – LPG!
Let's hear all the gory details about your car and how it became alternative fuelled.
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