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Propane conversions of gasoline engines?

I have a 2001 Ford F-150 that I like pretty well. It’s low mileage and handy. What I don’t like is the gas mileage; about 17 to a gallon.

Question: Is converting a gasoline engine to propane an affordable and good way of getting off foreign oil, can I have it done to my truck, will I save fuel money? Is it environmentally smarter?

Who does this conversion stuff anyway?

Google away…

I remember reading articles in the early 1950’s about conversion of engines to run on propane. In those days of no computer controls and carbureted engines, the conversion was pretty straightforward. With electronic fuel injection and computerization, I’m not certain how easy the conversion would be. I do remember that back in 1980, the U.S. Park Service shuttles at the South rim of the Grand Canyon were propane powered. I’m not certain that one would get the performance from propane that one gets from gasoline, so the propane would have to be very inexpensive with the reduced mileage to make it cheaper to run on propane.

The University where I am employed converted some Ford Taurus automobiles to run on either compressed natural gas or gasoline. The institution even had a fueling station. The entire project was abandoned after 6 months. This was about 10-15 years ago. The cost of the natural gas was actually more expensive than the gasoline.

Just remember CNG (compressed natural gas) is methane, NGL (natural gas liquids) is typically propane, and LNG (liquified natural gas) is methane. Here’s the propane industry’s web site, oriented towards industrial/fleet use:
Keeping your truck emissions gear working might be next to impossible.

You may also be liable for fuel taxes if you use propane and don’t buy it at an automotive refueling station. People that make their own biodiesel are supposed to send fuel taxes to the state. I know… it sounds silly. But failure to pay up can and the offender in court.

These guys will do it, $3800 or so I think, It ends up from what I hear from them is you are better off running a mix due to valve problems. Their main success is diesel but they do gas also.

One time I tried to get my LP gas guy to put some LP in a Minni- Home we had at the time. He said that it was illegal and against thier comp. policy, In Iowa.
Having said that, if it was a removable, I could take it to a Liquid fill place.
Pressuer regulators are an issue and can be a very dangerous if one does not know what they are doing.

Propane converting is possible, doing it right would mean you up your compression to a point where the engine could no longer run on gasoline. The Canadians were doing it in the early 90s so there may be a lot of experts up north.
I have a friend that took a 4cycle snowmobile and converted it and added a turbocharger. He says he can run up to 20 lbs. of boost and develope over 300 horse power.
The engines that they use to convert to run on either gasoline or LP did neither very well.

Is it possible? Yes

Will you save money? No

If you’re getting 17 MPG out of an F-150 you’re doing well. The conversion will cost thousands of dollars, you will likely never recoup the initial investment if fuel savings. Which are marginal right now since gas has gotten cheaper. You are going to have to give up alot bed space for the rather large propane tanks that will be required.