Propane powered engines

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Bob Minney, Feb 2, 2002.

  1. Billy Goat offers a propane fueled vacuum and I was wondering if anybody has done any conversions from gas to propane for mowers etc. We have severe air pollution problems here and have been getting calls for no drive days on a voluntary basis. A bigger concern is the last few years this has expanded to asking that no lawn equipment run on the same days. I can see these requests turning into requirements. Maybe or maybe not, but if it is practical I would like to try propane as an alternative now and use it as a selling point.

    And no, my name is not Hank Hill.:rolleyes:
     
  2. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 611

    I know in Hartford, CT the cabs run on natural gas which is similiar. I have not heard of too many conversions with small engines but I am sure it is possible. May be a change in the future.
     
  3. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,663

    Grasshopper, I believe, has offered a mower with a propane powered engine. I think it is a liquid-cooled Kubota that was switched over from gasoline to propane. I would think any gasoline engine could burn propane if you can find the right carburator system to make it burn propane. Sounds like a good idea for areas with pollution problems and the associated regulations that restrict the use of gasoline powered lawn equipment.:)
     
  4. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 611

    There are tons of articles I just found on the internet about converting Jeeps and other vehicles. I would think the idea would be the same just on a smaller scale.
     
  5. big james

    big james Banned
    from texas
    Posts: 152

    Exmark did offer propane as an alterative ,I saw them at my local dealer ,the drawback with propane is that your engine won't make as much horsepower .:(
     
  6. Wangel

    Wangel LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 54

    I'm in the process of converting a gas engine from a generator (gasoline) to natural gas. The company that I'm purchasing from is: www.suttondesigns.com

    They have lots of good diagrams and illustrations on their kits. You will normally notice a small decrease in horsepower going from gasoline to propane. In some situation like generator usage, it could come in real handy to have dual fuel availabe to an engine.
     
  7. ERIC ROBERGE

    ERIC ROBERGE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    I used to work for a local gas company where we ran natural gas on everthing from a Gator to a F-800. We even had some D 350 dodges with a 5.9 cummins running on 100 % natural with spark plugs where the glow plugs were supposed to be. I had never seen a diesel engine with a coil pack until then.
    the biggest problem with natural gas is fuel transport and storage. It takes 4 times as much volume of natural to equal gasoline. Natural gas, unless cooled to cryogenic levels, is hard to store in bulk amounts and requires special pumps to increase pressure to usable levels.
    I am sure it can be done, but make sure you do your research and know what you are getting yourself into. Its not a particularly project to put into action. But, like you said it might help out on the green front.
     
  8. danzig

    danzig LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    I have never seen a cummins 5.9 with glow plugs. The cummins 5.9 does not have glow plugs let alone spark plugs!!! The only source of heat is a small heater grid located on the engine intake. They used to make propane assist units for diesels but being that the nature of a diesel is 18:1 compression ratio or more, those engines were literally blowing their heads off. Propane is great as an alternative fuel but you loose 20% of your power.
     
  9. ERIC ROBERGE

    ERIC ROBERGE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Oops. I meant the spark plugs were in place of the injectors. I need to quit this late night posting:eek:
    We constantly had performance problems with these dedicated natural gas engines. It was something Cummins was playing with. The bulk of the natural gas diesels ran on a mix of natural and diesel. At idle they ran 100% diesel, but as the rpms increased the diesel was cut back and natural was added. It actually increased performance. On heavy acceleration you could feel the driveline vibrate. And yes if you went to rich on the natural , which is about 127 octane, it would blow head gaskets too. Have you ever seen a dual rear wheel Dodge D350 bark 2nd gear? Of course that was at head gasket blowing settings. For some reason we had to rebuild a lot of transmissions and rear ends in these vehicles.:rolleyes:
     
  10. mowsho

    mowsho LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    Yes it can be done. BUT !!!!

    New regulations on your engine can be very costly if you do this yourself. Honda has an engine gxv390 that comes both ways
    one is gas and one is LP. But they have different laws covering each and you can be fined up to $2500.00 for tampering with them.

    On the mechanical side the carburetor stays the same, the main nozzle comes out and a stub goes up thru the bowl into the venturi. The regulator becomes your carburetor and your carburetor becomes the throttle body.

    You will have a power loss but I don't think they give you a percentage of how much.

    There is a company called DEALERS LP that i think is national,
    they do our LP work. contact them.
     

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