Phill Error Hobbles Home Refills - 2007 Honda Civic GX Long-Term Road Test
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2007 Honda Civic Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Phill Error Hobbles Home Refills

December 14, 2009

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I've got blowdown failure.

It's not fatal, but it does gets a little frustrating. It's been taking an extra 30 minutes or so to get the job done every night.

Seems like each time I hook the 2007 Civic GX up to the Phill home natural gas fueling system, a red error light pops on before I've walked the 20 feet to the door leading from garage to house.

The first two green lights on the fueling indicator display also light up when I go back and push and hold the Phill's "stop" button, as instructed in the service manual I got when the Phill was installed nearly two years and 2,000 operating hours ago.

The handy dandy Phill error decoder pages in the manual tell me that the problem is "blowdown failure," an apparent obstruction somewhere in the Phill's nozzle or fuel filler hose - or maybe the car's fuel filler inlet.

It's the first problem we've had with the fueling unit since it was installed on Feb. 28, 2008.

I've tried cleaning the visible parts with rubbing alcohol and a blast of compressed air, but so far no good. The light comes on and the fueling stops every time I pull into the garage and plug in with the Phill.

On the plus side, everything seems to work okay after I turn the thing off, wait about half an hour and restart- I've so far not been able to refill the GX's tank.

But I know it's just a mater of time until it all stops functioning.

PhillErrorLight.jpg

You may recall that the manufacturer of the Phill went belly up earlier this year and the company that bought the rights is redesigning the system and has relocated manufacturing to its BRC Gas Equipment subsidiary in Italy.

We've not heard when the Phill's replacement will be offered for sale in the U.S., but the new owner, Fuel Systems Solutions, did provide for ongoing service of the existing few hundred home units.

We called today about ours, and left a message with our assigned regional repair provider. We're now waiting for a call back.

Meantime, we're also trying to chase down the new manufacturer to see what's up with that replacement CNG home fueling station.

There's a bill in Congress that would provide subsidies to automakers to build more natural gas-fueled cars and trucks and big tax credits to consumers who buy them, so the demand for CNG and LNG vehicles may be heading up.

Be a real shame if there was no home fueler available if that happens.

Stay tuned for more as we try to find out what's happening here with the Phill (now sold in Europe as the BRC FuelMaker Phill) and wend our way through the mysteries of getting repairs for our no-longer manufactured unit..

John O'Dell, Senior Editor, Green Car Advisor

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