Ford's marketing people would love to be able to offer a dual-fuel Courier ute, but say the company's engineers tell them it's too hard.
Fortunately for Courier V6 owners suffering meltdown under the pressure of spiralling petrol prices, aftermarket LPG specialists like Sprintgas have come to the rescue with their own dual-fuel system.
Sprintgas has developed a system based around Italian OMVL hardware that bolts on to the 4.0-litre V6-powered Courier ute in a way that is virtually invisible.
The only clues the Sprintgas system is fitted to the Courier are the red stickers on the rego plates. Apart from that you could be excused for thinking the Sprintgas-equipped ute is the same as other Courier.
The LPG tank is hidden out of sight under the cab and the filler is tucked away with the petrol filler behind the fuel filler flap on the side of the tray
Inside there's the gauge that tells you how much LPG is in the tank and whether the ute is running on LPG or petrol. A close look under the bonnet would also reveal some of the LPG system hardware. But even then the installation is so neat you wouldn't know it wasn't done by the Ford factory.
On one side of the engine bay there's the mixer, on the other the extra computer containing the LPG fuel map.
The rest — the injectors and fuel rails — is hidden under the engine cover. The installation is as neat as a pin and that's how it runs.
The Sprintgas system is a sequential gas injection model that injects the LPG close to the intake valve in the amount determined by the LPG fuel map in the computer.
Because it injects the LPG, there is very little chance of the backfires that can plague older dual-fuel systems.
With the Sprintgas system the engine always starts on petrol so there are no long periods of cranking before the engine fires, as can be the case when starting on LPG. The Courier then switches to LPG once a number of temperature and LPG pressure protocols are met.
It will then run on LPG unless the driver switches over to petrol or the level of LPG runs low. The switch is seamless.
Similarly there is no perceptible degradation in idle quality, driving, or performance, the 4.0-litre V6 appears to run just as well on LPG as it does on petrol.
On CARSguide's brief Sprintgas Courier drive evaluation it consumed LPG at a rate of 17.4 litres/100km, about 14 per cent more than the regular Courier V6 when we last tested one.
Installing the Sprintgas system costs around $3500, meaning it would take about 12,000km to recoup the installation cost after you factor in the government's $2000 rebate.