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Old 03-15-2005, 01:48 PM
dilithium dilithium is offline
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Propane as an option?

Greetings to everyone, my name is Phillip and I'm new to the neighborhood. I wanted to dive in and post on my newest favortie topic: "Converting Gasoline Engine to PROPANE." I've done some research and discovered that it would be worth the cost to perform this conversion due to the climbing costs of gasoline and rise in environmental polution. I'm looking to discuss this with anyone interested in the topic as well as get some ideas on making this a reality. Currently, in Metro Atlanta, most of the Commuter Buses us CNG(Compressed Natural Gas). It's cheaper, burns clean, and out of the 48 locations that you can get Natural Gas/Propane in GA, 22 of them are locaed in the Metro Atlanta area. Propane falls in at around .70 per gallon and allows for same power, lower price, better for the environment. I look forward to all replies.

Thanks

Phillip
2000 FORD Explorer Limited Edition, AWD
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Old 03-15-2005, 05:57 PM
rclarke rclarke is offline
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I used propane in my vehicles in the late 70's and the 80's. Propane will reduce mileage by 10% and power by 10-15%. You also have the problem of installing large enough tanks to give you some range. The main advantage is no apparent warmup period, when you fire the engine up it is ready to run (no stumbles on accelleration). But that problem went away on gas engines with fuel injection. Conversion even in the 70's and 80's cost $500 to $1000, I don't know what it would cost today.
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Old 03-15-2005, 07:16 PM
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:40 PM
cornfeed cornfeed is offline
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I have a 1997 f700 with a 429 that runs on propane. IT came that way from the factory. It runs good and starts good. You do have to be careful not to go too far from home or you might not find a place to fill up.
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Old 03-27-2005, 08:23 PM
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If you are going to run propane don't bother with gas, tear the engine out, go to 11.5 or 12:1 compression, go with like a 268H comp cams cam and a impco 425 mixer. You will have great power, good milage as the engine will run more efficently and should be cheaper to run. Oh and a HUGE tank.
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Old 03-30-2005, 02:19 PM
droidster droidster is offline
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I live in th southern interior of BC, Canada and propane stations are everywhere because gas is 95+ c /litre or $4 a gallon. It sounds like there aren't as many stations in the us, is this true? The one time i took my truck to wasington state it was no problem even in little towns late at night.
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Old 03-30-2005, 03:01 PM
BlueFace BlueFace is offline
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Take a look at my post about my experience with propane in this forum under the topic ...

let's try this alcohol thing again

Post Name : BlueFace

Right now (March 30 2005), here in Canada, it is more expensive to run a vehicle on propane than gasoline.

As far as power is concerned, with propane, if you are pulling a heavy load you will notice there isn't as much power as with gasoline. Without a load, there is no noticable power difference. Although the power difference is not noticable, the engine consumes more fuel ... which means propane gets worse gas mileage than gasoline in order to maintain power. So, if propane is 70 cents (USD) a gallon it will cost you (in my guess) about 20 per cent more in 'gallons' to drive 100 miles, thus, the effect is you will be paying 84 cents a gallon for propane. Again I need to say the 20 percent number is a guess on my part but, the important thing here for me is to help you undetstand you will burn more gallons of propane to go the same distance with gasoline.

I considered using natural gas as a fuel. Here is the big difference between it and propane. When a propane tank is filled to its maximum allowable limit, the pressure in the tank is around 100 psi (there is a built in safety valve that blows at about 300 psi). With natural gas, the pressure is 2400 psi (if I remember correctly), with gasoline the pressure is zero. With propane and natural gas, if the tank is ruptured in an accident, fuel is instantly sprayed and likely ignited. If the fuel line is cut, the fuel sprays out and there is no way to stop it. With gasoline, it may drip out of the line and stop, or you can turn the key off to stop the fuel pump from pumping ... with propane and natural gas the entire contents of the tanks will be emptied everytime. In short, you will have to literally run for your life.

When a propane tank is filled, the propane is in liquid form as it sits in the propane tank. When a natural gas tank is full the nautral gas is still a gas ... it doesn't become liquid under pressure like propane does. This means that 1 cubic foot of liquid propane has far more power in it (because it is liquid) than 1 cubic foot of natural gas (because it is a gas). What this means, is, you need a MUCH larger natural gas tank to go the same distance as propane and gasoline. As I remember, the range for my van on natural gas would have been something like 100 miles. Buses are big vehicles and thus have the room to handle larger tanks, that's why (I think) they can use natural gas more effectively.

Because natural gas is stored at 2400 psi it means it takes a lot longer to fill the tank. The fuller the tank gets, the higher the pressure and the harder it is for the pump to force the gas into the tank. If there are 3 vehicles in front of you at the filling station count on 30 to 45 mins before your tank is full.

With natural gas, if you run out of gas, no one can bring you a 'gas can' of 2400 psi fuel ... this means you will have to be towed to the nearest gas station.

With natural gas, I don't think there is a "gas gauge" per se ... it is a pressure gauge ... so you have to know that 973 psi means 34 miles to go (or whatever). Propane is in liquid form in the tank and the gas guage actually measures the number of gallons in the tank.

Because natural gas is stored at such high pressure, it means the fuel tank must be thicker thus heavier than a propane tank. The extra weight may be a consideration for you.

For propane to turn into a gas it needs heat. At -40f propane will not turn into a gas ... and your vehicle will not start ... period. With natural gas, the 'magic' temperature is something like -450f ... so natural gas has the edgde (smile).

A buddy of mine had a propane vehicle. He said he used to be a mechanic (right), and as he started to 'adjust' the air\fuel on the vaporiser (carburator) I told him not to mess with it because he will burn out his valves. Of course 6 weeks later I asked him what the ticking noise was in his engine, and he said GM has a problem with their valves cupping, and sold the vehicle. I think he screwed it up by playing with the mixture.

With propane, if you adjust the air\fuel mixture, and lean it out, the leaner it burns, the hotter the flame temperature in the cylinder ... the quicker you burn out the valves. BUT there is absolutely no difference in engine performance as you lean it out ... it has the same power as a rich mixture ... thus you cannot tell by listening to the engine if the mixture is too lean or too rich ... this means you need a CO2 detector to measure the exhaust to set the mixture properly ... and once it is set ... DON'T CHANGE IT. (see my buddy's story above).

Lean propane burns at a MUCH higher temperature than lean gasoline does, and thus propane can burn valves much easier. I know that todays valves and seats are 'hardened' and resist burning but you can still burn them.

If I were to build an engine to run on propane, I'd find out how what the maximum compression rating is for the octane rating of propane (103 to 110 I think), then build to those specs for maximum compression.

Does anybody know what the maximum compression would be for an octane rating of 110?

Last edited by Racerguy; 03-30-2005 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:36 PM
droidster droidster is offline
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i know my '69 428 built for propane will blow the doors off any stock production truck but i only use it for fishing and hauling things around as it get 3-4mpg. the only way the masses could run propane is fi ford and chev made factory propane vehicles. but napa and them wouldn't go for it as the engines last too long. i can't till you how many times my odometer has gone around. my plugs last forever too
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:44 PM
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Yup, if they are set up right the engine will last forever, I know for a fact that 12:1 will run with fine propane because a 13.5 to 1 engine will be fine on it. Just make sure you aren't running low grade propane. The truck I know of that is runnig 13.5 to 1 is in qusenel now and as fare as I know is still going strong, at least it was last fall any way.
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Old 03-31-2005, 01:55 AM
BlueFace BlueFace is offline
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droidster

There is something seriously wrong with your system. There was a tiny rubber "O" ring in the fuel filter device of my system, it's about the size of the "O" on your keyboard. When that wore out I started using fuel like crazy. It's a common problem. That might be your problem too. The "O" ring shuts off the fuel from the propane tank when the engine stops. One side of the "O" ring is at 100 psi (propane tank pressure) and the other side drops it to about 6 psi I think. So, if it jams\wears it means fuel is always being sent to the motor and lots of it......

I was disappoionted when I had the accident with my blue van ... it had 310,000 miles on it (propane) ... I wanted to see just how long the engine would keep running.

I towed a 16 foot flat deck trailer 24\7 for about 2 years. Never detached it ... no place to park the trailer. This means I didn't baby the engine, and, I've had some wicked weight on the trailer from time to time.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:36 AM
droidster droidster is offline
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the regulator and vaporizer have both been rebuilt. My eninge has been bored d .060, 10.5:1,prpane heads and cam and this is at highway spped with big tires and up and down 8% hills, on the logging roads doing under 50mph is is better
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:36 AM
 
 
 
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