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Propane. Check me on this please. *more questions at bottom*

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BigOrange90Jimmy, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I was considering running propane on my pickup. This is a viable swap, right? I've done the searches and read the article on Pirate. It sounds pretty simple. Safety is a big concern for me, and I've never been to keen on things that could blow up. The tank would be protected by a rollcage and stuff. I am confident that I could route it correctly as to not get damaged and things like that. Could I incorporate a connection so if I happened to run out of gas, I could simply hook up a tank from a grille or something like that? Feed me some info, because this looks better and more reliable than fuel injection to me.
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    You could either run dual fuel or use the BB-Q tank with an adaptor if you ran out of propane from your main tank.

    I looked at doing propane as well, mostly because it's been done quite a bit here. In fact for many years the government had a grant covering the cost of conversion and propane was artifially cheap.

    The cost of fuel has risen dramatically here and is now about 65% of the cost of gas...maybe a bit more. Generally mileage and power drops by 10% too, but it does burn real clean and the motor no longer contaminates the oil. I've seen oil with 10,000 miles on it looking like it just came out of the bottle...

    My concerns were tank location and availability on long trips. I didn't want a tank under my truck (rocks=boom maybe) and didn't want to give up any interior room either. In the end I decided on a 6.2 diesel...

    http://www.propaneguy.com/

    Some info there...

    Rene
     
  3. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    Thanks Rene. Everyone has been telling me that the mileage and power drops were what kills it, but who expects awesome mileage from a 4x4. I'm not really worried about the power loss though. I'm putting this setup on a 350 and it is going in a Toyota. Anything has to be better than that little sucker trying to turn 38's going down the road. I am concerned about the reliability of it all though. Are there lots of parts to wear out or anything. Tell me more about this dual fuel setup.
     
  4. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    In a pick-up I'd consider it because you can chuck the tank in the bed near the cab. You can also flat deck and cage mount it.

    The dual fuel isn't quite as good in some respects, but it does offer the advantage of switching back to gas if necessary. A dedicated propane system usually runs a bit better...same as a dedicated gas system.

    There really isn't much to a propane system, a few lines, regulator, and mixer in place of a carb and you're good to go. Up here the conversions have to be government certified so you might want to check your local regulations concerning alternative fuel vehicles.

    The dual fuel set-up is more or less a mixer above a carb...I'll do some more searching for tech info if you like. The propane guy has lots of good info though, you might consider emailing him.

    From what I understand the biggest mistake with a propane conversion is using too small a mixer. It's quite common to find a 390 CFM mixer on a V-8 and this obviously leads to even more of a power loss. If built right a propane motor is capable of some serious power due to the much higher octane...

    One drawback to a dedicated propane system is you have no choke so cold starts sorta suck until it warms up a little. My Dad had a 77 F250 highboy on straight propane (400M) and although it was cheap to run it was a dog and sucked when it was cold.

    Rene
     
  5. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    Yeah I e-mailed him a little bit ago and asked him to give me some more info than what his site provides. I did read about the possibility of having to use a block heater. It might be a good idea, since I'm either on the coast or in the mountains at any given time (college/home). I was thinking that you'd have to be able to get some sort of power out of this setup. Right now I haven't really found anything to turn me away from doing this. It's relatively cheap, propane is everywhere, and it's different.
     
  6. jeffro

    jeffro 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    I wouldn't worry about gas in the cab if it's set up properly. Run the vent out the floorboard with a hose. Don't overfill. Expansion is what causes venting. And you can get propane all over the US.
     
  7. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    Well the venting wasn't my concern...room for rear passengers was. 8 out of 10 gas station here have automotive LPG.

    At any rate I chose diesel so it's kind of a moot point.

    As for the cold starts with my Dad's old highboy, it would fire immediately even when it was really cold. What it would do is fall on it's face if you tried to drive without warming it up for a few minutes. Typically 2-3 minutes was enough to do the trick.

    As for power...a half dead 350 will make a Toyota scream. A 10% loss in power wouldn't even be noticeable in that truck.

    A 100 litre tank in the bed would be perfect I think...should give you a range near 220 miles.

    Rene
     
  8. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    I hate to say this, but you gotta speak a little English for me. What's 100 liters converted to gallons? /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif Never paid attention in that part of math. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  9. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    So how much compression can I build a 350 to have? The posts I have read said that the more compression the engine has, the more power and mileage it will get. It also said feed the damn thing plenty of air. Where would I get a tank from?
     
  10. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Propane. Check me on this please.

    For future reference 1 US Gallon is 3.78 litres. 1 imperial gallon (what we used to use in Canada) is 4.54 litres.

    A 100 litre tank is roughly 26 US gallons. You should never fill a propane tank past 80% of it's capacity though...so realistically a 100 litre tank provides you with 21 gallons of propane.

    Rene
     
  11. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Propane is over 100 octane, so for a dedicated propane motor I'd say somewhere between 10 and 11 to 1 would work best. For building tips I would refer to the previous link I supplied...that guy really knows his stuff!

    One thing to keep in mind is that propane burns very hot, so hardened valve seats are mandatory! My Dad's old Ford burned an exhaust valve shortly after we got it because it didn't have them...

    There are dual mixer set-up's available getting the CFM up to over 700 for a healthy V-8. If I were concerned about making great power with propane I'd run something like that.

    If they sell automotive LPG near you there must be a place that does conversions. That would be the best place to source a tank and whatever else you may need.

    rene
     
  12. Gavmaster

    Gavmaster Registered Member

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    My DD is a '90 Astro service van: runs on CNG.

    Like Rene said, up here alternative fuel conversions are
    quite common. The Astro is dual-fuel: on petrol $65/wk
    on natural gas $30/wk. With tbi the system bolts right in
    (I'm assuming your '90 has tbi...) with no expensive engine mods.

    400 km range on a $12 fill-up. Best of all unlike propane
    CNG is lighter than air, so in case of an accident you're
    not standing in a pool of gas...

    Gavmaster
     
  13. jeffro

    jeffro 1/2 ton status

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    you could find an entire CNG setup on an auctioned municipal gummint vehicle. Most people would avoid them like the plague so they could be cheap.
     
  14. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    municipal gummint vehicle

    [/ QUOTE ] ??? Is that like a Government liquidation vehicle or something?

    I just want this truck to be reliable. I've about had it with tracing wires and checking crap. I just hate electronics in general. Towing the truck a couple of miles won't be too big a worry for me. This truck will only see trails generally.
     
  15. Gavmaster

    Gavmaster Registered Member

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    Sorry Ash, but is the only reason that you're considering this swap because you want to get rid of your TBI setup?

    Gavmaster
     
  16. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Right now, I have no setup. All I have is a completely stripped Toyota (no wires, interior, or anything) and a stock TBI 350 engine that needs to be rebuilt. The body has been removed from the frame and all unneccessary brackets have been cut off as well. I don't have the wiring harness for the engine or anything else. I'm just looking at all of my options before I start to put this back together. I don't want a carbuerated engine because they won't run at the angles I'll be asking of them. Fuel injection or propane is my only alternative. Wiring harnesses for F.I. are about $800+ and there's a lot of electronic stuff to go wrong. That leaves me with propane. It might cost about the same price, but it's a pressurized tank, a regulator, a couple of lines, and some other parts. There aren't any electronics to it, unless I want to add them. From where I'm sitting, it can't get any easier than that.
     
  17. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    anyone else got any words of wisdom for me?
     
  18. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Wear gloves when you fill the tank...

    Rene
     
  19. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I don't know bud. That sure sounds like a lot of work. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  20. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    The first time you fill the tank it'll become apparent why gloves are a must...as your hand freezes to the valve/forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    Rene
     

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