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Propane setup?

This is a discussion on Propane setup? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Was wondering if anyone on here has any experience with a full propane setup in replacement of gas? I was ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    Propane setup?

    Was wondering if anyone on here has any experience with a full propane setup in replacement of gas?

    I was picking up my 383 stroker this past weekend from my machinist and he was talking about building a propane turbo charged 2300 series mustang.

    The way he explained it to me was propane is = to 110 octain of fuel and for every 10 gallons of propane its equal to 26 gallons of regular fuel. He also says it runs so clean you only have to change your oil once a year.

    Im thinking of trying this setup on my Nissan 240sx as most of you have seen on here. I have read that with propane you will loose a little torque but since Im turbocharged I should be able to make up the power difference.

    My goal is to get rid of my injectors MAFS and throttle body which is what this setup is suppose to do.

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    Life in the Fast lane sunsetorangess's Avatar
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    I personaly dont have any experiance but i have been searching around online because i was curious, I dug up a few sites from what i understand,
    Its octane is between 100-110, It burns cleaner or has a lower carbon content so your oil stays cleaner longer, As do your plugs. Propane setups cannot be used in emissions controlled vehicles and seems like a straight forward conversion. Most companys offer it in a kit. It also vaporizes at a low temp so it mixes with air with ease. Typical gas vaporizes at about 400 Deg "F". Since propane is under pressure, there are no fuel pumps, no float bowl, or needle and seat.. Its uses a type of carburator which its nifty.
    Hmm now you got me thinking.
    J
    2001 SS, Its not the car its the Driver that matters....

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    ya thats exactly what I have read and it seems to be an awesome setup. Last time I bought race fuel down here it was 6.70$ a gallon for 112 octain.

    The guy I have been talking to it about says it is a very simple setup. We are converting my car in a month.

    Im thinking this is going to make engine life ALOT longer and also keep it simple.

    I did see a twin turbo station wagon on propane run at the track this past summer. Never really though about it but I did notice there was Nothing to his setup! Simple and he ran 6.20's all night in the 1/8th. He had SMALL t28 turbo's on what looked like a 400 small block.
    That puts him in the 10's easy!!

    Im going to dyno my car after I get this propane setup and give you guys a run down on how everything goes. Its not on my Trans am! But my Rb is more computer reliant than the trans am. My Rb is the hardest engine I have ever tuned in my life. SO if it works out Nice on it, There should be no problems with you guys converting if your wanting to try something different.

    I was just wondering if anyone on here has had a chance to experiment with it?

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    They used to run it on cars in Australia back in the day I have read. I am not sure if they still do it though.

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    i have seen them on diesel trucks but that was nitrous and propane

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    ya this is not an injection. Its a complete switch! Out of all the facts I have read I have not heard 1 bad thing about the switch. So far sounds like a plan I just gotta get my car back together to get it to the shop and do it!

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    Member MikeMoss's Avatar
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    I read into this a while back. Dont think that I ever saw any kits could you post a link to a full conversion kit.

    I also read that it can make your valves wear out faster because liquid gasoline offers some minuscule amount of shock absorption then the propane will. Kind of like running non leaded gas in an engine that is meant for leaded gas. But if you have hardened valve seats I dont think that it would really shorten the life of the valves much.

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    Catfish for Breakfast Bobby97SS's Avatar
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    I work on lpg fueled vehicles everyday. Injected , dual fuel and straight lpg carburated. Ive even worked on a big block lpg engine. I think its a great fuel and fairly simple once you know the basics. If you have any questions I will try to help you.
    Check out this site for info.http://www.impco.ws/

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    Bobby97SS, Thanks the only thing im not sure of is how hard its going to be to tune!

    As for a kit, I don't think anyone has put a complete kit together and sold it,or at least to my knowledge, Thats why were building a custom Kit. But Im also very new to this and only know what I have read and been told.

    I will know how every thing works better in a month when we get mine installed and tuned. Then I can relay alot of information and pictures.

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    As for the valve seats, The only ones you have to look out for is the older model engines. Most all new model engines come with harden valve seats. So there should be no problems there if you guys try it on a Ls1.

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    Catfish for Breakfast Bobby97SS's Avatar
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    Here is another good link.
    http://www.propanecarbs.com/propane.html

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    Catfish for Breakfast Bobby97SS's Avatar
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    A few things I'll share with you.
    To properly adjust the mixture you need an O2 sensor or an exhuast gas analyzer. Plug readings dont work. You can do a damn close adjustment by feel and smell.

    You can make a system that works fine with only a Impco regulator and some plumbing supplies. It is easiest to set an engine for constant speed such as a pump or generator. I have seen an engine setup like that, with a ball valve to meter the fuel and a fitting into the air cleaner hose.

    The TB on an engine can be retained, just put the powervalve (mixer) in front of it. It would be easy to make a dual fuel from a common rail gas engine but it would probably throw codes if you run it with the fuel pump and injectors switched off. Ive never tried this but plan on it someday.

    Check the forklift repair guys in your area for parts. Lots of bigger forklifts run 4.3 GM engines and BBC and SBC on lpg.

    I am currently aquiring parts to run a slant six on lpg with a turbo. Probably not something most LS1 guys would think much about.

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    Very nice link I like the charts and comparison.

    First off, I have a wideban o2 I can read A/F Mixture, So should be a problem there. Second the unit my buddy has is to take the place of a throttle body or carburator. Not sure what its called!

    This isnt going into my T/A and my 240 since I done my engine swap nothing works right execpt my fuel guage. So it doesnt hurt my feelings to get rid of my guage cluster

    My 240 is an inline 6 with a turbo! Im currently pushing 380cc injectors and I have maxed out, So with more fuel I can crank some more power out of my motor, Currently I am in the 350 WHP ball club in a 2900LB car, So plan is to crank 600+ HP and start producing some good numbers at the track. With gas im going to spend over 3,000 in accessories to tune for more power due to injectors, MAFS, Throttle body, ECU, ETC. So Im thinking I can save a TON of money by swithing to propane

    I have a Big race coming up in GA its the Nissan shootout and its march 16th so Im shooting hard to have everything complete tuned and ready to go by then.

    Again thanks for the information!! Props to anyone else experimenting. Gas is getting too expensive. Time to change and still make ALOT of power.

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    Hey there...first post on this site.

    I run my K5 rock crawler (dedicate off road rig, rolls on 40" tires, 1 ton axles, dual transfer cases, chromoly and 300M axleshafts/ujoints, etc.) on propane and I LOVE it. Granted, our applications are a bit different but same concept. Mine is an open loop system (uses no computer to meter the fuel delivery) and I use 40lb forklift tanks to store the propane in it. The engine runs much better, starts easier, has more power and best of all I get all the benefits of fuel injection with no computer, wires, injectors, sensors, etc. I can practically run the engine at any angle...just purs like a kitten.

    But, as mentioned above you will lose some efficiency due to the lower energy content per unit of propane compared to gas (91,500 BTU/gal compared to 123,000 BTU/gal) but it does have a higher octane (about 104) so it likes higher compression engines (LOVES turbo charging, super charging). Additionally, it's ignition temp is significantly higher (about 300-500 degrees) so it likes a hot ignition system and advanced timing.

    I'm actually getting ready to yank out the tired old 350 I have in the K5 and dump in a LQ4 6.0 with a carburated intake/MSD ignition controller/Long tube headers and put the propane system on that. It should be interesting, and if nothing else very unique. That's why I got on this site was to start getting some info on the LS1 motors.

    Anyways...sorry to hijack the thread but I couldn't resist.

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    Hey man thanks for the info. My cousin was telling me about how his Rock Crawling buddies are running like 15:1 compression with turbo on those propane machines. I think thats incredible!! I hope my setup turns out as well as everyone says it will. But as you stated running that engine without all the electronics is my goal.

    Good luck with the lq4 engine!! It should be a beast. So how much is propane running these days?

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    Yeah, propane LOVES high compression. I was going to build a 383 with about 11:1 but a buddy of mine talked me into going with the newer technology and I couldn't resist. Kind of sucks, I already had the heads (Aluminum AFR 190CC heads), block (post 1987 2 bolt main 1 piece rear main factory rolling), starter, hi output H20 pump and a bunch of other stuff for the 383...now I've got to get rid of it all to help pay for the 6.0.

    Propane out here in CA (North Cal by SF) depending on where you buy it runs anywhere from $2.60-$3.50 a gallon. 87 octane gas is about $3.20/gal.

    You can set up propane to run with computer controls (closed loop system) and it does make it more efficient but it's just more computers, sensors, etc. For your car you may want to do something like that. But for my application it's not necessary as my rig only sees offroad use and is towed everywhere.

    Now I'm thinking I may want to get the compression ratio up a bit in the LQ4 (9.4:1 ?). Any recomendations on forced induction that would work on a carburated 6.0? I can't seem to find any.

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    My only question is how the propane is going to re-act to my launch control? With it misfiring I would think propane wouldn't foul the plugs out as quick and actually pick up RPM faster than with gas but thats my myth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeper101 View Post
    My only question is how the propane is going to re-act to my launch control? With it misfiring I would think propane wouldn't foul the plugs out as quick and actually pick up RPM faster than with gas but thats my myth.
    It's doubtful it'd react any differently than gas. There really isn't much of difference on how the engine runs on propane vs gas. The art is really tuning it for optimum performance. But....that's the same as on gas. How/what is your launch control? Some sort of a tranny brake or something.

    Let me know if you're interested.....I've got TONS of websites that have a lot of info on propane that may help you out.

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    Senior Member Sleeper101's Avatar
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    Im running 5 speed so My launch control basically misfires my engine when i have the clutch disengaged so I can build boost on my turbo for a more accurate launch. Also allows me to leave the line ALOT harder.

    Im very interested, I am switching my car over soon, within the next month! Just getting information together and finding out everything I can. Im new to the setup.

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