Just wanted to update on what I found just in case someone else may be looking into these kinds of … purchases.
From what I’m to understand from my extensive calling around and research, in these older cars with conversions in them, if you don’t plan on using the conversion, DON’T BUY THE CAR.
While this propane conversion could very well be the best thing since sliced bread, there are a lot of things that go into maintaining this kind of system, especially when purchasing from someone who isn’t too familiar with these types of conversions. Things like, simply switching between unleaded gas and propane could render the car inoperable if done whilst driving.
Just to get the car off the lot the tanks would need to be inspected, and before the use of the system it was said it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the valves to be cleaned.
Removal of the system isn’t TOO costly, however, I’ve been told removal would be a complete waste as these systems are very expensive to install, and although maintenance of them is costly, the benefits of running propane with gas prices the way they are currently could essentially pay for itself in time, and it is much less wear on the engine to run propane (although with a slight decrease to performance and MPG).
All that being said another issue I personally ran into is… there are a lot of mechanics around me that just don’t know enough about working on the older conversion models and are more used to some of the newer LPG models. Out of all the mechanics I called today I could only find one who was somewhat versed in these older conversions, and he wasn’t the kinda guy you have a long chat on the phone with about “should I buy this car?” He just wanted me to bring it to him so he could look it over and charge me for it understandable I suppose.
SO with that in mind, my final conclusion was (put in laymans terms for the average Joe Buyer with limited knowledge of conversions - a la Me): On these older models where you don’t have a strict history of what needs to be done, expect (after purchasing one of these) to likely spend between 150 - 300 on getting the car inspected by someone who knows what they’re doing (including the tanks). Then consider that a repair to the propane system when dealing with the valves specifically (or the inherent systems therein) you should have 1500 - 3K on hand just in case. While you’re at it, you might as well throw in a backup car, just in case both the propane and unleaded gas systems for some reason won’t start or run your car. And lastly, once you’ve done all this and finally got the car up and running properly (or as proper as it can be) switch off the car before flipping that propane switch, then start it back up, and benefit from having a bi-fuel system.