Alternative Energy Propane LPG Cars

Published on July 9th, 2013 | by Jo Borras

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Top 5 Reasons to NOT Convert Your Car to Propane or LPG

Propane LPG Cars

There’s been a lot of talk lately about bi-fuel cars running on LPG and propane, most notably from Chrysler and Lancia in Europe, but in the US as well, with several companies offering propane conversion kits. Propane has a few advantages of gasoline, of course. It tends to burn more cleanly, it’s cheaper, etc.

Still, nothing is perfect. Like any fuel, LPG/propane has some draw-backs that you’ll definitely want to be aware of before you “pull the trigger” and finally convert your car to propane. Here’s a brief rundown:

 

1. Tuning for Propane


ECU tuning for propane

As many of you who’ve looked under a car’s hood lately can tell you, cars in 2013 are rolling computers. There are sensors, processors, wires, connectors – a bunch of electronics, in other words, and they’re all driven, controlled, and calibrated by software. That software, by the way, is often encrypted by the manufacturers to make it difficult (if not impossible) to change stuff. On top of that, all those sensors, processors, etc. were built for gasoline, not LPG/propane.

What that means to you, would-be-propane converter, is that getting it wrong is far, Far, FAR easier than getting it right. When you get it right, the rewards can be huge, which is why companies like Switzer Performance and Syvecs spend tons of hours and dollars developing engine management solutions for flex-fuel cars – and why they charge upwards of $10,000 for a bulletproof conversion – which brings me to the next problem.

 

2. Good Conversions are Expensive


The Switzer/Syvecs flex-fuel conversions I’m talking about should be considered “neutral ground” here, because they focus on ethanol, rather than propane, but did you notice that their conversions are almost exclusively featured on $100,000 sportscars? That’s because, as I touched on above, getting conversions right is expensive, and it could be years before a conversion pays for itself.

I can already hear the peanut gallery chanting, “That’s why I’m going to convert an older car: fewer computers to mess with!”

Ill grant you that older, simpler vehicles will be easier to convert, yes, but they’re also older. As such, they may be (read: will be) less reliable, parts may be harder to source, and it’s an objective fact that pretty much every aspect of vehicle performance from acceleration and braking to safety and fuel efficiency has improved significantly since the carburetor became a niche product for guys building Pro-stock Darts in their driveways. So, even though you found that cheap propane conversion kit on eBay and read about how awesome it was on that forum and you’re pretty sure you’ve got what it takes to convert that old pickup to propane, it might still be years before it pays for itself.

 

3. Limited Range on Propane Alone


LPG Propane Fuel Tank

In the introduction of this article, I talked about some large-scale manufacturers developing bi-fuel vehicles that could be run on either propane or gasoline. There’s a solid reason for doing so: cars running on propane have less range, compared to the volume of the fuel stored, than cars running on conventional gasoline. The main difference in range comes from a difference in heat energy per liter of fuel (gasoline’s is better).

Of course, BTUs are only one small part of the overall equation. It doesn’t take into account the thermal efficiency of a fuel, it’s detonation-resistance, etc. – all of which, if optimized, can tip the scales towards an alt-fuel’s favor … but we’re not talking about building an engine that’s optimized for a given fuel. We’re talking about converting an existing engine that’s been optimized for gasoline. See disadvantages no. 1 and 2, then start adding up the cost of the turbos, intercoolers, injectors, etc. that you’ll need to buy and tune for to optimize the engine you’re trying to convert.

 

4. No Universal Connectors


No Universal LPG Connector

Let’s say you decided to convert your car to propane. You’ve done the conversion “right”. You’ve skipped the bi-fuel step, since it’s impossible to optimize a given hardware set for two fuels, and decided that your “LPG is the fuel for me!” t-shirt is ripe for the wearing. Good for you! Now, it’s time to re-fuel. You head to the nearest KOA campground that sells propane and suddenly, horrifically realize that it was all for nothing.

Their nozzle won’t fill your tank.

This isn’t strictly an LPG/propane problem. In truth, none of what you’re reading about here is a problem that’s specific to propane – even electric cars are having this problem. Tesla’s Supercharger system isn’t compatible with Nissan’s Leaf, and maybe neither of those are compatible with the SAE’s Combo Connector. The lack of universal connectors, nozzles, etc. is an alt-fuel problem of the first order, and one of the biggest obstacles any future fuels will need to overcome.

 

5. The Tax Credit for Propane is a Joke


17 Dollars

In theory, the government will cover 50% of the cost of converting your car or truck to propane. In practice, however, they’ll cover $500, which isn’t enough (see disadvantages 1-3, again). If it was enough, you’d see a bunch of propane conversions. It’s not. Ergo, you don’t.

Here’s the actual DOE wording on the AFV Conversion Tax Credit for your perusal …

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Conversion Tax Credit

 

Businesses or individuals are eligible for an income tax credit of up to 50% of the equipment and labor costs for converting vehicles to operate using alternative fuels. Qualified alternative fuels are compressed and liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), hydrogen, electricity, and fuels containing at least 85% ethanol, methanol, ether, or another alcohol. The maximum credit is $500 for the conversion of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds (lbs) or less, and $1,000 for vehicles with a GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. The credit is only available during the year that the business or entity converts the vehicle. An alternative fuel seller may not receive a credit for converting its own vehicles to operate on the alternative fuel they sell. (Reference Montana Code Annotated 15-30-2320)

… and let me tell you, that is a shining example of a law about cars written by and for people know less about cars than I do about how to turn blogging into a six-figure income. Not much, in other words!

SO, if you absolutely, positively, must convert your car to propane, my advice is as follows: Spend big money. If you don’t have big money, buy a Morgan. If you can’t afford a Morgan, stay the f*** away from eBay.

 

Sources | Photos: Motorpasion, Green Car Reports, US Dept. of Energy.


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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • Joe

    Propane conversions are just plain stupid, Where is the savings? I have personally converted a Toyota tundra to CNG and it was flawless. The problem is the lack of knowledge in the U.S, Or no way to tax it. Half the world runs on it now. Did I mention that there are home fill units.

    • t_

      Conversions definitely make sense, if you are smart and look for the right kit. In Europe, there are conversion kits, which are fully certified, made for injector engines and cost ~ 600 Euros(~800 USD), maybe +100 USD to be bolted to the car. And you also can byu a bigger LPG tank. The one on the picture is maybe 25 – 30 lt(~ 7 gallons of LPG). Trere are options up to 4 times that. Yes, you sacrifice space and the bigger tank has bigger weight, but it is an option and you can drive cheaper. It is ~ 30% cheaper, if everything is ok and you calculate the additional espenses. In most of Europe I mean.

      I’m sure, the prices will go down in the US also. When enough time passes.

    • Jo Borras

      I agree 100%. CNG, in my opinion, is vastly superior and has a much higher equivalent octane rating (about 130 vs. 105 for LPG).

    • The real deal

      I can prove you wrong in every way on the statement you made. Lpg works great on vapor sequential injection. Ask and I will give the true answer.

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        Consider me asking. Send me an email, we’ll run your side of it. :)

    • The real deal

      Oh and just another little FYI on your tundra, I hope it’s not a 2012 or 2013 tundra. The cng manufacture haven’t got a clue on how to keep the new tundra from going into e 85 mode when using cng. Get your truck tested your probably running rich which will scorch your cat. Have fun with that. In conclusion LPG has developed a bypas. Thank you

      • modette99

        Just remove the cat and delete the rear sensor…LOL Solves issues right there.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      If it weren’t for the fracking nonsense, I’d be loving CNG. As a fuel, it’s top-notch.

    • Nerijus

      Well before you decided to convert it you needed to find out that LPG is much more popular option, less pressure, less risk to blow in case of accident.

  • Steve

    Sorry Joe

    I Disagree. There are reputable conversion manufacturers that provide a bi-fuel system that has its own set of injectors and its own computer system that interfaces with the cars current system.

    Yes less MPG because of BTU per cubic foot but higher octane 105 in fact so better performance and cleaner burning so less maintenance. The conversion factor on gas to propane is about 93% of the mileage that the car experiences on gas.

    The cost of conversion with professional installation is around $6,500. the spot price on propane today is $1.10 / Gal
    If you are running a fleet this makes sense since a common fueling station can be installed at the central location of the fleet. There are a number of Propane fueling stations around the country and the price per gallon there is around $2.85. Since they are bi-fuel systems they run on either/or seamlessly. you can be driving down the road at 60 run out of propane and the car switches to gas without you even knowing it. One down side to propane is that cold starts are difficult. These bi-fuel systems start on gas and switch over at operating temperature.
    the Bi-fuel system actually increases the range from +- 300 miles to close to 600 miles since you can fill both tanks

    The reputable conversion kits are also EPA certified. This means two things. First without an EPA certified system you take the risk of being charged with tampering with the vehicle emissions which is illegal. Secondly in many states an EPA certified kit gets a rebate. In our state the rebate is 80% of the cost of conversion up to $4,000

    The down side is the cost for a manufacture to get it’s kits EPA certified. The cost is considerable so they are focusing on certain vehicles that are well known to be used in fleets and also vehicles that burn more fuel so the return on investment is there for the purchaser. The EPA has a list of certified kits on it’s site. I would suggest that you check it out.

    We have done a lot of research since we are getting ready to launch a company that serves Municipalities with this exact program

    I can be reached at Steve@Intexlighting.com if you have any other questions

    • Jo Borras

      I don’t disagree with you at all – and, I think if you’d read the article, you’d find that I don’t disagree with you, either. Let’s say you buy that $6500 system and the gov’t covers $500.

      You’re at $6000.

      I’m going ignore the state-by-state nonsense, because those are typically limited in scope.

      NOW, let’s say you save $1.15/gallon (at $4/gallon and using your $2.85 as a price on Propane).

      You’ll need to burn 5217 gallons of fuel (104,000+ miles at 20 MPG) to pay back that $6000 – and that assumes you’ve still got a warranty and incurred no extra costs!

      BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE MATH YOU DIDN’T DO!!

      Since you take a 7% MPG hit by volume, that actually increases to 5582 gallons, and 111,000+ miles.

      As I said: years to get your money back.

      Comment less. Do more math.

      • egogg

        Don’t neglect the maintenance savings.

        I know this is anecdotal, but my first vehicle was an ’85 chevy pickup with 80 gallons of LPG time-bomb in the bed. Every time I changed the oil (about every 8,000 miles), it looked perfectly clean.

        • Jo Borras

          That’s a damn good point! LPG, ethanol, etc. burn cooler than gas/diesel, usually, so there is less breakdown of other fluids.

      • Adrian

        I’m not too good with complex math. All I know is I run dual fuel on my ’89 Power Ram, and before I tuned it to perform on LPG I was getting 10-12 mpg on gasoline. Now that it’s correctly set to run on propane, I get between 10-12mpg on LPG, with no shortage of power. I bought this truck for $800. The propane kit which was custom made for it cost roughly $1000. About 3 months ago I calculated out how much money I’ve saved in one year from using propane over gasoline and I estimated it came out to roughly $2,500. I drive all over Vancouver and the surrounding area for work, and right now I’m paying around 11.7/100km, which is roughly what people driving fuel conscious (29mpg) sedans are paying on gasoline. Did I mention I was driving a 24 year old half-ton with a 5.2L v8?

        Like I said, I’m not too good at math but let me give this a shot in Canadian. I’m paying $0.60/L for propane. The price of gas right now is $1.45/L where I live. Say I get 12mpg in my truck, which is 19.5L/100 km. On gas, I would pay $28.27 for roughly one day’s driving to and from work (It’s about 90km from home to downtown Van, and there’s a lot of traffic).
        Now, on propane I pay $11.7 for the same trip. So in one day I’ve saved $16.57, which works out to roughly $4,142.50 saved in one year. Now I said I work all over the lower mainland, so I’m not actually driving from home to Vancouver each and every day, but just to give you an idea of how much switching to propane can save the average Joe. I saved around $2,500 last year, and it has more than paid for my truck, the kit, and any maintenance I’ve had to do on said truck.

        I might not have the patience to calculate btu’s, but I saved way more on gas this year than you did.

        • Jo Borras

          Nicely done! As for saving more gas than me, at 100-ish MPG on my little bikes, I doubt it, but nice work on the conversion! At the end of the day, that’s what we all want: burn cleaner, burn less petrol.

        • alexsherry

          Hey Adrian, I live downtown Vancouver and converted my Ford F-150 2013 to propane at the dealer (Brown Brothers Ford) Savings are amazing, do you have a Superior Propane cardlock card? I do, and they give me an additional 10 cents off the posted rate of fuel, plus they have over 35 locations in the GVRD to fillup…I heart LPG, especially with a truck!

    • The real deal

      Incorrect; I can do a conversion for $3,500 and have your roi in nearly a year. Keep buying that wonderful high priced ethanol infested fuel that destroys your engine with corrosion, while me and my customers burn propane and laugh at you fools all the way to the bank. FYI I owned cstores, many of them. We saw where it was headed and sold. Good luck

    • deanoss

      Ive owned 6 dual fuel cars over a 20 yr period. 3 of them efi computer managed. All were about 40% cheaper to run on lpg than petrol. Engines lasted longer than if run on petrol and no major problems with any of them. Often read this anti lpg nay saying and i don’t get it. Maybe the people that write it have lots of money to spend on petrol. I myself wouldn’t go any other way. And btw turbo cars go better with lpg injection. So there!

  • Oliver

    think Russia,and Magna was interrested in buying Opel Germany,.. Im sure they would like to put a CNG production car on the European market..

    • bry13-79

      Any one that says propane is not a economic fuel is a moron I don’t agree with what the idiot that wrote the article in the first place just ignorance on his part

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        Uh-oh. Looks like I upset some idiot that can barely type recognizable English …

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      The savings there would be HUGE.

      • dock

        What am I doing worng? I looked at Flying J truck stop web-site and they show LP costing as much or more thsn hightest gas!

  • dave

    has anyone paid attention to the cartel that limits the amount of propane on the market? propane can be kept for YEARS in tanks without degrading… gasoline of course cannot. they control the supply, thus the price. if the market was truly open for competition, the price would drop thru the floor. doubt me? prove me wrong.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      “Cartel” semms a bit alarmist, no?

  • rick smith

    I know this probably don’t have anything to with the subject, but when you talking about a vehicle that runs on muti-fuel. They did they make tractors in 30 and 40 that run on gas and basically diesel fuel. You had 2 tanks one for gas the other for diesel. Your tractors had to be started on gas after it was warmed up, you switched to the tank of diesel .Couldn’t they build on that knowledge and build cars that way. It is an old concept would think they could build off that idea and help keep cost don’t on the engines. One reason I think they done it because it was during WW 2 and you was given tax stamps for so much fuel consumption. They basically built a gas engine that ran on diesel or gas. It seems to me, if they could to that in the 30 and 40 , they should be able to do it know and somehow help keep the price down on building the engines. Something else bother me diesel use to be cheaper than gas ,Why? is that now because diesel is just a byproduct of gas.

    • Jesse Blenn

      I would say that the “Diesel” was really kerosene (it vaporizes enough if you have a preheater….). It can be done but the octane is so low that no modern engine would run on it without major work (adding in a few extra cylinder head gaskets….) and so less power, bad mileage, and likely more pollution…

  • Eric

    I think this guy works for the oil companies and he is just trying to steer as many people as possible away from finding a cheaper fuel source!!! Bastards! They keep us chained to oil for years because it makes their pockets happy. There are countless methods of powering a vehicle other than oil and they all have been sunk by the oil companies. They will reap their own corruption

    • michael cvetko

      please respond

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        Just did. I called Eric a moron for believing that anyone who disagrees with him “must” work for a vast, global conspiracy. In the 50s, he’d be put in an asylum for spewing such nonsense. Today? I guess he could always find a job as a Fox News anchor …

        Here’s hoping he gets the medication and mental help he truly needs.

        • Ozzie26

          umm its not Fox News thats spewing the vast global monopoly of big oil. He would actually anchor MSLSD, CNN and the rest of MSM

          • Hn

            That’s right. Saudi prince is a major stake holder in Fox News; so it can’t be them talking bad about about the good oil.

          • J

            Check out the executive producers on the film Promised Land.. now that’s nigh subversive.

          • George

            I was also wondering where he got Fox from.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      HA! Moron.

    • Jake Cooper

      Shall I be the one to let him know that LPG is still a fossil fuel? It’s still made by the same “bastard” oil companies that make your nasty petroleum. The only way to completely escape the oil companies would be to convert to solar.

      • J

        you’d have to use like an industrial hemp oil to lubricate the motor and chassis parts then too? to completely shun petroleum… well.. i dont know of any other oil that could do it off hand. PLUS, I guess you better be home by sundown huh?

        • George

          The discovery of oil, and by-products like kerosene, eliminated the whale oil industry – so JD Rockefeller has saved far more whales than Greenpeace. He dropped the price as volume increased until whaling ended purely on economic reasons. So when solar becomes more economically feasible than oil, it will become dominant. BTW, taxpayers didn’t subsidize the early oil industry as we subsidize alternative energy today.

          Also, those living in NYC and other large cities in the early 1900′s saw the smoke-puffing auto as a Godsend compared to all the horse poop and dead horses that had to be hauled off daily.

  • derwurst

    Native Americans can convert their vehicles to either alternative fuel and not pay the road tax that affect anybody else who converts their vehicle. In Oregon I saw new cars with alternative fuels on the showroom floor. there are only 15 E-85 fueling stations in the entire state of Oregon. Make you wonder.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Oil companies are playing some dirty games when it comes to ethanol, and the number of clowns who believe the stories is astronomical.

  • derwurst

    In 1969 the entire taxi cab fleets in Tokyo were converted to LP and Toyota provided the taxi’s. I saw the tank mounted in the trunk over the rear axel for traction. In Brazil they started using pure Ethanol in 1978 and nobody in the USA seems to notice these countries dont use gasoline powered vehicles. i wonder why

  • Dan

    Have you ever changed the oil in a propane fueled engine? It looks like it is brand new when you drain it. I just talked to a guy today that has put over 600K on a propane converted chevy Pickup. Try doing that on gasoline.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Lots of high-po engine oils look like that, especially in propane/cng/ethanol cars that run at lower temps than petrol engines. It’s not magic.

  • The real deal

    This article is total bull shit; 1st I convert vehicle to propane daily and duh dumb ass they have perfected the kit at an affordable price to meet the needs of new automotive industry. Of course we come across vehicles that require modified sensor bypass but I have yet to come across a vehicle I couldn’t tackle. FYI you only lose 10% on consumption which is minimal when you pay 1.60 compared to 3.35 gasoline. Do you homework dip shit; propane is the FUTURE in automotive fueling

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Uh-oh. Sounds like an oil-changer who suddenly knows how to build an F1 engine. How do you tune the cars you convert? Do you just bypass the sensors and hope for the best?

      • Brent

        Jo Borras,
        You should look up Alliance Autogas. Their conversion systems are installed and computer tuned for $3700 for taxi fleets by the hundreds. Prins designed the system and its definitely more sophisticated than you might think. All the systems that Alliance sells are EPA certified btw.

        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          100%, those guys are great- and they have enough volume/OEM access to get the tune right.

    • A Real Libertarian

      Electricity is the future of fuel.

  • LPGisTheWay

    I’ve been running LPG for two years now and I actually get 25% more mileage on both my cars. As for the “converter”, there are adapters that are universal. I can fill up in almost every country in the world. I have KIAs that are notorious for needing high octane gas. LPG is 120 Octane RON. Come and catch me if you can.

  • DRay

    what about converting a 97 ford f250 to propane???

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      PowerStroke?

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Depends on the kit. Go to a respectable tuner, like Banks or something on diesels, and expect to pay for quality.

  • Jesse Blenn

    $6,500?? I converted my car (1975 or so Chevy Vega hatchback) to propane for $135 and it worked good… in about 1980 or so. I found a 100 pound (23 gallon) propane tank in the barn, bent the trunk floor up 90 degrees at the back to isolate the crosswise tank (strapped to strong metal supports), put in a vapor withdraw system (no expensive converter!), $35 pressure regulator and solenoid operated shutoff, Epoxied the cap in place to protect the outlet, and sent off $10 for plans from an ad in Popular Mechanics for an injector flow control that went to the single radiator overflow hose that stuck into the air cleaner, this control made from hardware store pipe fittings and a pointed 3/8 inch bolt. I am a car mechanic of course – I did my own professional installation in maybe a couple weeks of free time. I got around 80 to 85% the mileage of gasoline. It was dual fuel, always started immediately on propane. Only problem was temperature changes affected the spring in the regulator and needed adjusting if the temperature changed more than 20 degrees or so, and below zero Fahrenheit or so the propane would not vaporize fast enough and the tank would ice up. I saved a lot of money, put out NICE smelling exhaust, had clean oil, and sold the car for more than I had in it 2 or 3 years later when I moved. I didn’t get my $67.50 tax credit though…..

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      I would not want to share the road with the vehicle you described. I hope you’ve put it safely away where it can’t do anyone harm.

      • Jesse Blenn

        I think it is time you stop driving then, as it was very comparable in safety to anything else on the road. Any car with two fuel systems of course has two possible systems to leak in an accident (when the electric solenoid would automatically shut off both systems when the engine quits in the case of the Vega). My system was as secure and probably more so than any professional conversion where the tank replaces the spare tire. And since you didn’t read what I wrote, I did sell it in late 1982, don’t worry. Someone else saved a bundle on gasoline and pollution for a few more years….. but remember that those engines with the linerless aluminum block didn’t last very well.

        • A Real Libertarian

          “as it was very comparable in safety to anything else on the road.”

          Weren’t Pintos still sold in 1980?

          • Jesse Blenn

            I don’t know when Pintos were sold. But that was one of the most UNsafe vehicles on the road, and not what I was comparing to, so I probably should have said “the average vehicle on the road.” A heavy steel propane tank will be MUCH safer in an accident than the thin gasoline tanks – in the Pintos’ case not correctly separated from the passenger compartment as I recall.

          • George

            Of course any small car, if hit from behind at 60 mph by a full size
            van, will spill fuel all over the highway. The Pinto case was all about
            money for lawyers, and Ford’s “fix” was laughable. I’ve owned several
            Pintos. Their body was as thin as a beer can, but the cast iron engine
            was one of the best in the industry. It has powered turbo T’birds and
            SVO Mustangs as well as Ranger trucks. If Jesse had converted a Pinto,
            it would probably still be on the road.

  • Julia

    i have a 2006 chrysler town and country that I am driving in Israel (it was imported from Israel. It gets shitty mileage, costs me a fortune to fill up and the general maintenance is somewhat expensive. But its mine. 60 liter tank. Worth it to switch to LPG???

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      That depends on the cost of the conversion vs. gas, and whether or not the additional maintenance costs will offset the costs of keeping the current engine going.

  • hoglicker

    Always a nay sayer. When I worked at a Chevy dealership in the early ’70′s a friend had a Chev van that ran on propane. Writer seems to be ignorant of the fact that the diesel trucking industry is looking seriously at CNG and LPG as a “dual fuel” adaptation for long haul trucks to lower operation costs. Truck stops are watching and weighing installing filling stations as the trucking industry moves in this direction. Our local sheriff vehicles are running a number of their vehicles on gas/LPG combination. It takes time to build infrastructure with these type changes and if we listen to the nay sayers we would still be hunter gathers and living in caves .

  • JP

    I don’t know if this guy works for the oil company but for
    sure his info is biased and aimed just to confuse even further who ever just
    try to understand and consider a propane conversion.

    Fact: They do not want you to do a conversion, period. If
    they seriously wanted you to do a conversion you would not need or cared of a
    stupid incentive. It would cost way less, as it should. It cost this unfair and
    not warranted amount of money so only a limited conversion will be done, so..
    the oil companies would not suffer. Years ago I have lived in Europe, where I
    have bought a used gasoline car and converted to propane. It didn’t cost the “prize money of another car” to do the conversion. The reason is that it only needs a few items to properly, safely and lawfully do the conversion.
    Gasoline engine can already run on Propane. Of course why would you buy a new 2013 car than spend another $10,000 to 20,000 to have it.. running? Back on facts: If I had to take a long trip, I had the full tank of Propane plus a full tank of Gasoline with a range of well over 1000 km (700 ml) without refueling, ( I should add that it was a flag-ship sedan car).

    The reality was that I tried not to use the gas
    instead of the Propane and smiling all the way that I passed a Gas Station. Two
    drawbacks of the conversion were: 1) part of the trunk was occupied (of course)
    by the pressurized tank. 2) I would lose some pick up. None of these inconvenient
    were serious enough to me not to consider the “blessed” conversion. Pro: I
    could have switched from Gas to Propane and vice versa at any time with the
    push of a button located on the dashboard driver side. Seriously, think about
    this; you have seen propane powered engine many times in warehouse or other
    stores, yes “the forklift”, and they carry the tank very visible right behind
    the operator. One of the reasons they use Propane is so they do not kill peoples
    with gas fumes in enclosed spaces. My car was a Simca-Chrysler, I would spend
    in Propane $4 for every $10 in Gasoline.

    In conclusion: no person in their
    right mind would spend thousands or more of dollars on a new car that already
    cost tens of thousands. Again, no one would spend thousands of dollars for a
    conversion on an old car. It would not be worth to take the chance, and THESE
    ARE THE REASONS WHY WE CANNOT DO THE CONVERSION. If the conversion would be
    cheaper, as it should be since the parts do not cost several thousands… than
    and only than you would have some people who would be incentivized to do a
    conversion on an older car and others who would not mind to spend only a thousand or
    little more on a newer car. As you may understand than the oils companies would
    take a hit.

    • modette99

      I find it funny people that know the systems and make sense get a negative…LOL I’m guessing big OIL is paying for this write up.

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        I’m guessing people who believe “conspiracies” are the answer for facts that go against their chosen worldview are idiots.

        • A Real Libertarian

          Conspiracies exist. It’s just they’re run by people smart enough to realize natural gas comes from big oil too.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            Who doesn’t realize that liquid PETROLEUM gas is oil?

          • A Real Libertarian

            Probably those poo-pooing electric vehicles.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            LOL! Maybe! In my experience, the only people who really hate EVs are oil company execs, the people on their payroll, and the little-d***ed closet case nutjobs clinging to hunting rifles and jacked-up pickups.

            That still doesn’t mean I think there’s any conspiracy …

          • A Real Libertarian

            “little-d***ed”?

            In my experience they’re pretty damned big, I mean with all the “Michelle Obama is plotting commie shariah to make us eat our vegetables!11!!!!111!!1!” screeching they do, do you really think many of them weight less then 400 pounds?

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            Also: HA! You said “poo”.

  • Jake Cooper

    Although I run a dual-fuel LPG system, I agree that some of this article presents a fair argument. Other parts, not so much. Here’s my counter-argument.

    Point 1 is the biggest. Some cars simply don’t like to run on LPG. Luckily for me, I drive a Ford Fairmont, commonly cited as one of the better engines for conversion, as it runs on pretty much anything, but still, perfectly valid point.

    Point 2 is right up there. A good conversion costs money, BUT, it doesn’t add much resell value to the car, which sucks for you if you own it, but awesome if you’re buying second hand.

    Point 3 is true, but mostly not applicable. Post 1986 cars run fine on both LPG and gasoline, so removing the gas tank when installing the LPG is redundant, and not nearly as common as you make it out to be. A much higher percentage of converted vehicles run dual-fuel, as opposed to LPG exclusively.

    Point 4 is an interesting one, and one that I personally haven’t come across. Here in Australia, the fifth highest LPG converted country in the world, everything is standardised. I can go to any fuel station in the country, and their nozzle will fit my intake. If US fuel stations can’t agree on a standard, then yes, that is a definite disadvantage, but more of a supplier fault than a disadvantage of LPG itself.

    And finally Point 5. It seems our countries differ in this aspect also. Back in ~’05, the Australian government offered $2000 rebate on approved LPG conversions, which has since gone down to $1000. Although not great, this is still double the US rebate.

    Additionally, here in Aus, gasoline goes for about $6/gallon, while LPG is around $2.60/gallon. Quite a good saving considering a good conversion can run around 80-85% efficiency.

    In conclusion, good article making the consumer aware of the downfalls of LPG. The US appears to have bollocks’d their system, everyone move to Australia.

    • Andrew

      i don’t want to move to Australia, but I would be more than happy to give you our politicians.

      • Jake Cooper

        I’m flattered, but really, you can keep them.

  • Rafael

    Eric I agree with you regarding the oil companies hiring this guy. I have a Class b RV and I run it on HHO and gasoline combo and on a $100 fill up I save $20. On 7 fill ups it paid for my HHO set up. RC. Guess what my RV has the propane tank already and for $400 including labor I will now mix propane and HHO (hydrogen). I calculating a 50% savings. RC.

    • A Real Libertarian

      HHO is ridiculous bullshit.

      Please learn about chemistry before making such a idiotic claim.

  • Yankee Man

    gas conversions are great when you live in a place like Dominican republic were the price of gas is 5.60 a gallon and propane is only 2.50 and theres as many propane car stations as gas stations you.should fix you article to include folks who live overseas were lpg cars and stations are plenty.for the new system in Dominican republic the top of the line place charges 1,200 usd with a year garrentied.at least half the folks here use both in there cars.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Bi-fuel systems work really well in those countries. You’re right!

  • Nerijus

    What a lie in this article, author suppose to dig much deeper. I own Lexus GS300 98, it had been converted 4 years ago for £600 and it cost £1000 to convert it today.
    1. LPG systems having its own ECU’s, them are doing same job as normal ECU, also it switches off some functions in your ECU and it”thinks”that you’re running on petrol and also not showing “check engine”.
    2. It is not expensive to convert, you’re paying price per cylinder all over the Europe, everything else is included, like injectors, ecu’s, bottle, etc. Also you will be running your car twice cheaper(all over the Europe again), in some countries even road tax is cheaper if your car is LPG converted, so it will pay for itself very fast if you doing a lot of miles.
    3. Another big lie about range, very big. My gas bottle is rated 60 litres, and in the motorways I’m doing 320-350 miles as not driving over 70mph. If combined with petrol I can cover more than 700miles on both tanks/bottles from full to empty. So it takes practically same amount of gas per mile as petrol, just a bit more, maybe a liter per 65miles.
    4. I’m using converters because there are 2 different standards in Europe of connections. You’re right(at least about one thing) in here about Tesla and Nissan, but there are converters even for them! Just you won’t be able to charge Tesla so fast with converter.
    5. There no any tax reduction in Europe or percentage covered. But! Most of cars, more than half actually, are converter in Holland.

    The best conversions are made in Holland and Italy. Mine is Italy made, Zavoli.
    The Lexus is for the long travelling, often going from UK to Eastern Europe, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia.
    If you think that I’m in the wrong place with Lexus, let me tell you that for the local commute I am driving not so luxury stuff(well a lot of people wouldn’t agree that GS class si luxury one), I am driving small french made EV called Aixam Mega City. It is covering my everydays 20-30 local mile journeys, cost nothing to drive but insurance.

    Your sincerely, Nerijus

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      I only understood about half of this, but what I’m getting is that your tuner found a trick to ignore fault codes and “trick” the factory ecu into thinking it’s on gas. That’s a pretty half-assed kit, and far from what I would call a workable solution.

  • Fred

    Hey Joe,
    Get a new life – many people have repsonded with more knowledge than you and you do nothing but disrespect them – you have not provided any value what-so-ever – give it up.
    Fred

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Thanks, Fred! You’re a peach. ::hugs::

  • PeterP

    For those who talk about the money savings, well, the price for LPG is of course significantly lower than for gas – now.
    But if I take a look at it in Germany, half of the gas price is tax. The current price for 1l gas is 1.5€ of which is 0.785€ is tax. Base price without tax is therefore 0.715€. LPG price is currently 0.75€/l, of which is only 0.25€ Tax. Base price is therefore 0.5€/l. But this will change in 2018, when LPG doesn’t benefit from reduced taxes anymore. Then the same 0.785€ tax will be due for LPG too, resulting in 1.285€/l. Savings per l are greatly reduced then. Worse, it is to expect that with an increasing number of LPG users, the cost for LPG (without tax) will increase more than the price for gas. More customers = more greed on the manufacturer side. When things are diven by politicians, it is naive to assume that the current situation will be stable for more than the next period. usually it gets worse faster than a pessimist would expect.
    So while using LPG might be still interesting for other reasons, it is naive to make any assumption about the RoI based on current prices. usually, only the early-adopters get their money back (or make profit).

  • John

    Complete baloney. Here in europe lpg / propane is widely used and is simple to install, is integrated into the cars odb and injection system. Almost all of what you have written (apart from the tax stuff) is just wrong. Not just a bit wring, but totally i-dont-know-what-i’m-talking-about wrong. At least have a bit of knowledge before opening your mouth. Dear oh dear.

  • Tom

    None of the above points raised against LPG have any significant negative impact on the end user. As a matter of fact they are all just exaggerated becuase the author could not find anything more significant to discredit the fact that LPG is a much cleaner, safer and cheaper alternative to petroleum. It is safe for me to call the above article as nothing more then propaganda. And as for the author who claims he has been in the tuning business since 1987 and claims you can not tune for two different fuel systems in one viechcle! You must have been locked in the closet for the last 10 years buddy!

    • A Real Libertarian

      “LPG is a much cleaner, safer and cheaper alternative to petroleum”

      Know else is? Electricity.

      • No libertarians

        This guy is off rocker, go and place some wind turbine on the back of your car it make it go faster.

        • A Real Libertarian

          1. Put a wind turbine in a wind farm.

          2. Hook the wind farm to the grid.

          3. Hook an EV charger to the grid.

          4. Charge your EV with the EV charger.

          What’s so hard to understand?

          Oh, I know! The part where Big Oil is cut out.

          • No libertarians

            Like i said green nut case with a burn-out motor, over charged his battery and get no performance on the back of a wind turbine, do you smell that EV smoken.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Mark, you know you just make your cause look insane, right?

          • No libertarians

            So there no petrochemicals in the manufacturing of wind turbine & EV?

            “Oh, I know! The part where Big Oil is cut out.” “petroleum”

            What nutcase believes without fossil fuels how you going to build a wind turbine or EV? I suppose you make your componentry out of wood, cut down the Amazon and build wooden wind turbines or EV, for green ego as big as yours.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Most of a wind turbine is metal.

          • No.libertarians

            You sure of that, there lots of petrochemicals used. Without
            petroleum you cannot make turbine.

            Fossil fuels make metal, coal and oil used in that process.

          • Straif

            Actually, one must consider much greater detail than that.

            The turbines are constructed at a factory that most likely is run with electricity. This electricity is very likely to come from coal plants (though the Great Fuhrer is very much trying to put a stop to that).

            Now, take into consideration all the employees that congregate at the production facility. All of whom are driving cars that were made in their own production facility which in turn were also built by employees who used cars to reach that facility.

            We’re not even taking into consideration the costs to make the clothes on their backs, or the food in their lunchboxes, what deodorant they are wearing, etc..

            Take into consideration the amount of FOSSIL FUELS it takes just for each and every human at the turbine facility to use before they even REACH their place of employment and the toll is quite staggering, now couple that with your average day at a wind turbine production plant (keeping in mind the cost to produce every-single-piece of that turbine).

            You can look at any one piece of … well, ANYTHING really, and the costs in fossil fuels to produce it are literally quite mind-blowing.

            What I can’t seem to figure out, though, is how long this whole fucking charade has seemed to last, given that we’ve plowed through most of the world’s natural fossil fuel reserves in the span of only a few 100 years.

            The way to end all this pointless bickering–be it the political sort, the financial sort, or whatever else is driving the mindless zombie husks these days–is for someone to come up with the ultimate renewable source of energy. (Or at least the way to harness the GIANT GLOWING ONE FLOATING IN FUCKING SPACE RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR WINDOW).

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            Why would you assume wind turbines aren’t constructed with wind-generated electricity? Seems like you’re grasping at straws in this argument.

          • Straif

            Congratulations, you can read the first paragraph of a comment and pass witless judgment on the rest of the message without even bothering to read it.

            I don’t bother bringing statistics to an argument of common sense. That’s the problem with you science-worshipping blowhards. It doesn’t take a genius to look out the window and see what’s wrong with the world.

            Fools like yourself rely on your ‘hard facts’ in order to see the world.

            But then again, your reply wasn’t meant to contribute anything other than your own self-aggrandizement, as virtually every one of your other posts has proven.

            My guess is you’re conflicted with a case of ADD coupled with massive EGO.

            Your reply may as well have been a tank of CNG set on fire.

          • Svein Are Karlsen

            How do you propose we construct solar panels without petroleum then?

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            Why do you think fossil fuels make metal?

          • George

            Given the high volume of energy required, the most efficient way to heat a furnace to melt the steel is with natural gas from a pipeline, although there are some electric arc furnaces.

          • George

            We would have no wind energy farms were it not for subsidies and government regulations requiring power companies to install them. Even nuclear, as expensive as it is, is cheaper than wind or solar.
            If government would give us all free electricity cards, then we’d all immediately run out and buy electric cars. If we all got free LPG cards, we’d all convert to LPG.
            Let’s compare apples to apples, factoring out the artificial cost savings that temporary government subsidies provide.

          • A Real Libertarian
          • George

            Subtract the subsidies and give me the real costs. And be sure to include life of plant costs, from installation to retirement. Here’s a chart that includes those costs:
            http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/levelized-cost-electricity-technologies.png

          • A Real Libertarian

            No, there’s a chart from 2010 that shows what the EIA assumed various electricity sources would cost in 2016.

            They have a habit of utterly wrong predictions:
            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/10/horrible-eia-forecasts-letter-cleantechnica-readers/

            My numbers are those that exist in reality, i.e. they’re ready to be signed and are final.

          • George

            So if wind and solar are so efficient, why do they need subsidies – and still go bankrupt (i.e. Solyndra, etc)? Why aren’t alternative power companies sprouting up in every neighborhood to make money that the big power companies are leaving on the table?
            Don’t tell me the nuclear lobby has convinced Duke energy to lose money on their more expensive product while ignoring a 4x less costly alternative.
            Have you been studying the new common core math?

      • J

        yea just burn coal instead.. good call.. look moving the point where the hydrocarbons combust may make you feel better about yourself, but if you’re looking to help the environment, electric is only marginal at best

  • Per Gregers Bilse

    For the benefit of any non-US readers stumbling upon this article, it should be pointed out that the numbers and considerations in this article are a little bewildering, at least from a non-US perspective. I’m in the UK and my local extreme expert LPG garage (all owners, partners, and mechanics drive LPG cars) will convert a good-sized V8 for less than half the cost quoted in this article, and that’s with a premium, top-of-the range system, and a superb tune-up.

    The importance of a good installation cannot be over-emphasized, but it need not be expensive. The difference between a poorly tuned and a superbly tuned system is (at least over here) a clueful mechanic and $100. The actual mechanics of a good installation can be complex, but having had three LPG-powered cars and seen a lot more I haven’t come across any outright bad installations. Bad or completely missing tune-ups, injectors connected to wrong banks, and more, sure, but that’s what a $100 tune-up has fixed for me.

    I also don’t see a big issue with having a couple of different adapters with me. Throughout Europe generally only three different fittings are used (bayonet, dish, “acme”) and having a couple of adapters in the boot together with other tools is no problem. Tomorrow I’m on a trip that will take me through France, Belgium, and Holland, and I will need all three, but it isn’t as if they take up any space compared to a jack and a spare wheel.

    Maybe the economics are better here — overall, including extra service for the LPG system, driving on LPG costs around 60% of what it costs to drive on petrol or diesel. Having somewhat limited range on LPG isn’t an issue for me; I can go about 300 miles on good motorway speed between filling up, and there are LPG tank stations every 15-30 miles.

    Overall I would never use a single-fuel car again. It’s actually quite comforting to know you have a complete back-up fuel system if something fails with your primary system, and I’ve never had any problems worth mentioning. Cars so far have been a Jaguar XJ40 (retired due to old age), a Chrysler Grand Voyager (current) and a Mercedes E430 (current), and it’s a pleasure to drive a good-sized sedan with a 4.3l V8 at lower cost than a small hatchback.

  • Dudette

    At first I was a bit doubtful if converting gas to propane would really fit my expectations but I’ve come to realized that yes, it is the answer for my longing prayers. It’s very affordable, convenient and is truly a lifesaver. I don’t need to spend too much on gasoline and I enjoy the perks of saving my precious time and energy. Just to share, try visiting this website that I found,http://gomowpropane.com/conversion-plans/. It’s a good reference for your concerns about propane conversions.

  • David

    looking up stuff on Google doesn’t make you an expert. Might I suggest getting out from behind your computer and turning a wrench… or at least walking into a shop that does this type of work so that you might actually get an understanding of what you’re trying to be an expert on. Your conclusions are laughable to say the least.

  • Mal Bowker

    See now in Australia when I converted my car 7 years ago it was $2650 with a $1500 rebate from the government. With the travelling I do I have saved around $4000 per year in fuel costs since having it done so around $28,000 extra that would have been burnt up in fuel. The car runs well, gets 50% more range on a long trip and I will stick with it in the future.

  • Daniel Armstrong

    FWIW OBDII actually makes it somewhat easy to add LPG injection, the LPG ECM just watches the upstream o2 sensors’ voltages, gasoline injector pulse width, and the short and long term fuel trims. So long as it keeps the gasoline PCM’s LTFTs at 0 by injecting the correct amount of fuel the MIL will stay off. As for the economics I can’t speculate other than to say that the recent LP price hike doesn’t help matters any. The IH Farmall 450 LP sure does run well though.

  • ronwagn

    Natural gas (CNG) is a better option. See How to Convert to CNG : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Jbs_ljRvSCU7RN4kgoc–D5JPOY49Q6q4IdCL6lAhBc/edit

  • BigmeandadyLee

    i would like to know what fuel company you work for

  • Edward

    This article is bull shit. My car has been on LPG for years and saving me money every day. It has a higher octane that gasoline so there is a saving again. Just bull shit.

  • shepd

    Terrible article. I own a propane converted vehicle, and the conversion was done cheaply. It has its issues (a cheap conversion can be a headache in the future in that it will be unreliable), and none are listed here. The issues listed here are actually FUD.

    1. Propane requires no “tuning”. It is a higher octane fuel so it will burn just fine with the typical 87 octane fuel settings you have in your vehicle. You can tune it if you want to take advantage of even MORE performance than you have now, but if you don’t, it will drive just the same as it does today.

    2. Good conversions are expensive. Well, yes. What’s expensive? $5,000 gets you a very good conversion. I couldn’t pay $10,000 for a conversion unless I gave the mechanic a $5,000 tip.

    3. Range? My car goes FURTHER on a tank of propane than it does on a tank of gas. The tank might be a little larger (it is bulletproof, as required by law, you know, unlike crappy plastic gas tanks), but you install what you need. I have driven 700 km on one tank of propane, and 600 km on one tank of gas in the same vehicle. This is in a car. Some who have trucks elect to get much larger tanks than what fits in the trunk of a sedan, which will net them 2000+ kms of range.

    4. Propane conversions use an ACME 1 3/4″ connector. If you can fuel the tanks on an RV, you can fuel a propane car because the connector is identical. If you are really worried about it, you can get an adaptor to convert from a BBQ tank fill to an RV tank fill for $40, just ask for it at your local RV shop. It’s about the size of a can of soup, so I’m sure you can find space for it. I have never bought one because I’ve only seen two stations in my life that ever needed one, both were U-Haul, and both had one sitting beside the hose. That’s with several years of driving on propane. Most stations have dedicated car fueling pumps.

    6. $500 free dollars is better than a kick in the ass, especially when it comes with paying half the price at the pump for the rest of your vehicle’s life. I’ll admit that in parts of the US propane is exorbitantly priced. That’s the fault of your local dealer. It’s 2 months after the huge propane scare of 2014 and I’m buying it at $2.80 a gallon ($0.74 a litre). The gas pump beside is $1.37 a litre ($5.18 a gallon). Propane has 90% of the energy density of gas. You do the math. Propane was 53 cents a litre before the crisis. Either way, I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

    I like my savings enough I plan to install a new system on my next vehicle.

    EDIT: Here’s a bonus. Your engine will last LONGER on propane, assuming it runs on unleaded gas (leaded gas cars, if you can find them somewhere, are a poor choice for conversions as the valve seats are too soft which leads to premature engine wear). Propane is cleaner which means your oil is perfectly clean when you change it. You should still change it regularly, though.

  • asd

    this Jo is total joke…

  • Hn

    In US there is stiff resistance to promotion of alternate technologies to oil. You will be labelled and mocked at. Pity.

  • J

    Wow.. seems like they’re kinda biased.. with their invest in oil ad banner with Ol’ Tex at the top right

  • Johnny

    Don’t do it because it’s a bit difficult. You sir are a born leader. Let’s stay on the couch because it’s two degrees too hot out side.

  • ACZ

    Disagree
    Now LPG and NGV are very popular in my country.
    Most workshop are qualified by Department of Land Transport, Operate by well educated mechanic and engineer (Must have certification for LPG/NGV).

    Price vary from 757 – 1300 US dollar depend on brand, Pressure Reducer, Injector head etc.(Normal or Racing). Warranty 2-3 Years depend on brand it self.(include vehicle and life insurance!!!!!!!!)

    About 8/10 cars have better engine performance and millage over fuel system.
    You can switch back to Fuel anytime you want by just pressing a single button, even while you driving :). But be sure your LPG system install correctly and safety by an approved personals.

  • George

    It seems to me that running gasoline/LPG dual fuel would be pretty inefficient on the LPG side unless you have a high performance high compression engine. To run regular gas the comp ratio needs to be ~ 9:1 or less. If LPG is 105 octane, it could run up around 12:1, right? That would mean different pistons.
    The same might be achieved if you had a dual pressure turbo, with one pressure for gasoline, automatically increasing when switched to LPG. Does anyone make such a turbo? Can an existing turbo be converted to dual pressure?

  • Joe Momma

    I’ll let these two articles speak for themselves. Company’s like this don’t invest $70M for the fun of running on Alternative Fuels. Propane Autogas is growing and becoming more and more apart of fleet operations everyday. Including aftermarket conversions. Next and already in process, will be the everyday drivers once infrastructure for fueling spreads. Over 200,000 vehicles are sold per year overseas that utilize Propane Autogas. I’d say with numbers like this, its proving that a lot of your TOP 5 reasons don’t stand in the way. Also, engines running on Propane Autogas, especially liquid injected will typically have a longer life and longer engine maintenance cycles. Your only some what valid points are #2 and #3….

    http://www.fleetsandfuels.com/fuels/propane/2014/03/cleanfuel-usa-propane-for-ups/

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Making-the-pitch-for-propane-5552075.php

    Check out the PERC website and learn a little bit.
    http://www.propane.com/on-road-fleets/

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      There’s a big gap between a commercial conversion done by professionals (as the ones you cite are) and an individual buying a $500 kit on eBay to drive back and forth to work. Next, the fact that there are no universal connecting standards (as there will soon be with EVs) and the fact that the tax credits aren’t what they need to be for CNG/propane to effectively compete with electrics would seem to imply that … yup. All 5 points are valid. Have fun being a propane lobbyist, or whatever.

      • egogg

        You forgot reason #6. Thanks to Steve Hanley for putting me on to this video the other day, and making a very strong argument against having pressure vessels in moving vehicles:

  • http://politicallyincorrectcanadian.blogspot.ca/ Reverend Ken

    What a pile of BS.

  • William Whittingham

    The oil guzzlers will never accept anything new in the world that may supplant their powerbase.

    Mankind will go down the drain entirely first.

  • http://turbulencex.org Nicholas Littlejohn

    Simple propane carburetion, even with a BBQ bottle, makes a lot of sense if its cheap to get LPG by the gallon where you live. Its simple refinery waste and burns cleaner than gasoline.

  • kapnlogos

    I have run propane in a pick up 1971 Ford truck for many years. It’s not my main vehicle anymore as I have a new diesel truck. I never had any trouble with the propane and the 65 gallon tank. You don’t get as much power from the engine unless you raise the compression ratio, but that makes running it on gasoline more difficult. Converting older non computerized, normal carburetor trucks is much easier than the newer cars. Propane is much smoother than gasoline in older big engines, but you don’t get as many miles per gallon; about 80 percent if I was to guess. The higher price of propane where I live has pretty much relegated this truck to standby. On the plus side, propane pretty much keeps forever, and the oil stays clean. My only difficulties were because I kept it a ‘dual fuel’ vehicle. The floats in the carb would stick open after running them dry when on propane. When I would switch back to gasoline I would have to check the carb to make sure the floats had worked . If they hadn’t gasoline would leak onto the engine. The second problem was stale gasoline, with a ‘varnish’ smell. Gasoline being the backup fuel had a tendency to sit in the tanks for too long, and I ruined an engine with it. The varnish in the gasoline glued the valves to the valve guides when I shut it off; when I restarted it the next day it bent the pushrods. The moral of the story is don’t use old gas that smells like paint varnish. More info available for those interested.

  • mmxbass

    re: “That software, by the way, is often encrypted by the manufacturers to make it difficult (if not impossible) to change stuff.”

    This is false for all models of all cars from any car manufacturer that sells vehicles within the state of Massachusetts (read: nearly all of them). State law requires manufacturers to provide all tools and keys required for independent auto shops to have unlimited access to the software under the provisions of the “Right to Repair” voter initiative that was passed in 2012.

    You can order the required equipment worldwide from retailers in Massachusetts.

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