Propane Conversion: How to Make LPG Cars

Liquid propane can be a low-emissions alternative fuel for cars. With the right vehicle and know-how, you can have a natural gas car.


| May/June 1972



015-079-01

Liquid propane is a tried and tested low-emission fuel.


MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS

It works. New York, Maine, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Utah, California . . . I've traveled miles and miles and miles in a VW bus converted to run on LP (liquid propane) and the easy-to-install system really does result in lower operating and maintenance costs, much longer engine life AND 70% less air pollution.

(Note from the editors: This conversion is for non-fuel-injected vehicles.)  

Unlike gasoline, LP (and from here on, whenever I say LP you can take it to mean liquid propane, homemade methane or natural gas . . . the system will work on any of these) enters your engine as a completely vaporized fuel that's free from lead, carbon, gum, sulfur and most pollutants. LP won't foul your car's plugs, ruin its valves, contaminate its oil, wash down its cylinder walls and rings, burn out its muffler . . . OR destroy the air we all breathe. And while mileage and performance are about the same as with gasoline, cost per gallon of LP generally runs about 15% less than you've probably been paying for fuel.

So what are the disadvantages of this low-polluting system? First, it'll cost you something over $100 (including everything) to do your conversion . . . a bit of money even when you consider that the equipment will transfer readily to your next vehicle. Second, filling up an LP tank simply isn't as convenient as stopping at a gasoline station. However, only a few times in 15,000 miles have I found LP so inaccessible that I was forced to use the other half of my dual system and switch over to gasoline for a while.

There's absolutely nothing new about LP conversion. Excellent equipment of the kind I'm using has been around for over 40 years and more than 250,000 vehicles-mostly trucks, cabs and forklifts—are currently operating on LP. The hardware is well proven.

Equipment

You'll need five major pieces of equipment to convert your car to LP. All are available from most any LP dealer (with a little help from a hardware store on fittings), although you might want to try getting a used tank from one of the large forklift users or any of the businesses listed under "Gas, Liquified Petroleum, Bulk". If necessary, write to National LP Gas Association, for help in locating equipment dealers near you. OK. Here's what you'll need:

dudette
1/24/2014 8:54:36 AM

I was really on the verge of giving up on deciding about using propane conversions but I think somehow I found the answer. I am a newbie here but I would just like to share my experience since some people might feel the same way. 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. I hope it will help you like it did for me. :)


mark villar
2/23/2013 6:12:27 AM

Has anyone ever thought of running their car with water? I have a post on some tips and information you might be interested in. www.mark4bestreviews.com/gasconversion/


robert bruce
11/23/2012 11:10:47 PM

does anyone know where I can get info on converting an injection car to LP


timothy mckee
9/14/2012 5:10:55 AM

hope the thread is still read. It runs under water too, its crazy. Now insight on the spud-in jet. are there pics of the one used? how long does it need to be, and a good brand to use. having trouble finding a right one to use.


dan benoit
2/1/2012 1:01:19 AM

wow now 2 in 1 week: want to convert an 87 jeep. it will also run at any angle while off road


kena walla
1/24/2012 3:27:41 PM

wow no-ones read this since oh.. umm..2008..(its now 2012/jan 24th.wow)..smilz from the beach on the s.e coast


pat miketinac
12/30/2008 9:53:27 PM

I converted a 1970 Chevy pickup to propane 20 years ago and loved it. I kept the orig. fuel system so I could use either. I sold it because they changed the rules in Florida so that road taxes had to be paid a year in advance. It is no longer a DIY project here either, legally. Sad, no?


spidermonkey
10/2/2008 12:25:19 PM

"Unlike gasoline, LP .. enters your engine as a completely vaporized fuel that's free from lead, carbon, gum, sulfur and most pollutants. LP won't foul your car's plugs, ruin its valves, contaminate its oil, wash down its cylinder walls and rings, burn out its muffler . . . OR destroy the air we all breathe. And while mileage and performance are about the same as with gasoline, cost per gallon of LP generally runs about 15% less than you've probably been paying for fuel." wow i never knew the hydro carbon propane didnt have carbon.. yes its cleaner but.. look at emissions per BTU or mile and cost per mile i have looked at all this many times before and electricity is best imo because of the inefficiency of ICE the electric is more efficient and and electricity is out there now cost 2 cent a mile vs 14 cent on gasoline locally for 1-3 cent more a KWh you can select a 'green' electric supply if you are of the mind to i know alot of aussies and dutch use LPG or CNG but they have fill stations. what came first the fill station or the demand?


tiara
9/16/2008 11:04:16 AM

Hi everyone, never having been to the US I'm really suprised that you dont use LPG to fuel your cars. I'm in Australia where it's been used for many years and with todays petrol prices it does makes a difference. Any car can be converted here, an 800cc suzuki through to a high performance V8, but they have to be professionally fitted and certified. We now have a $2000 government rebate to convert our cars with the consumer sometimes paying an excess of up to $400 depending on what model of car and size tank etc. Petrol today is selling at my local gas station for $1.52c a litre, I'm not too sure on the conversion but I think its somewhere close to $6 something a gallon and LPG is 0.62c a litre give or take a few cents. So are there no regulations on modifying your car with LPG over there? Can one just do this themselves willy nilly? Do you have places to have cars professionally fitted? I think its a great idea if you can do it yourself but I hope you trust your own skill because leaking tanks here from people who have tried modifying themselves have just gone BOOOOMM!! In response to someone who asked how the car would run, performance wise the car is a little slower but the only time you really notice this is at take off or if youre trying to overtake another car. I have a '64 beetle Im planning to oneday restore I was considering converting to LPG. They make donut shaped tanks that fit in where the spare wheel goes for cars with limited boot space if any other "buggers" were considering to also convert. Safe driving! Tiara


marc_1
9/10/2008 9:55:30 PM

I too would like to get a kit for an aircooled VW, guess I'll have to snail-mail Jerry to see if they're still available.


kenny_1
9/7/2008 8:51:54 PM

I have a 1979 Ford F-100 with a 300 straight six single barrel carb that I'm just dying to convert to propane. I live right down the street from a propane supplier. I want the whole thing, even the solenoid to swap back and forth. I allready have a ten gallon forklift tank and clamps/brackets.


harry d. peeples
9/4/2008 7:07:02 PM

Can this system be mounted and used on fuel enjection. What is the WC pressuse at the outlet at the reg. thank you Harry Peeples


bob cadman_1
9/3/2008 11:27:17 PM

Are these kits still available? I am interested in one for an aircooled VW engine. Thanks, BobC


bob cadman_2
9/3/2008 10:14:35 PM

Are these kits still available? I am interested in one for an aircooled VW engine. Thanks, BobC


robert shon
8/31/2008 2:56:25 PM

Has anyone tried to convert one of the more modern engines? Like a fuel injected Toyota? They do not have carburetors. So,how do you work around the fuel injectors? Bob


j. l. hickman
8/24/2008 3:37:41 PM

So how does one measure available fuel levels in an LP vehicle? I don't recall any mention of how to keep an eye out for low fuel levels in any of the LP vehicle articles, including the above. If my grill runs out of LP I can drive up the road and get a new bottle. If my vehicle runs out of LP out in the boonies, I'm not going anywhere.


jack_2
8/12/2008 3:59:37 PM

I own a ford econoline van that was converted to propane from the start a think. It is a complete conversion without a dual setup and it sat for awhile because I needed transmission work on it. When I went to start it I couldn't get it to start. Somebody said that there are diaphrams that probably dried up. Is there anyplace where I can find repair manuals and parts lists for this? Thank you.


glenn g
8/12/2008 6:27:53 AM

Looks to be possible for fuel injected engines. This was already linked above http://www.cars.rasoenterprises.com/Propane-Conversions.htm There are several (working?) links and/or telephone numbers to businesses that can perform this conversion service for you.


joe thompson
8/8/2008 10:43:19 AM

I have a 1952 International Pickup Truck, looking to convert to LPG. It looks pretty straightforward but where can I order a conversion kit specific for this type of truck? thanks!


jim bezzerides
8/4/2008 1:06:25 PM

I currently own a 1998 volvo S90 that has fuel injection. Do you have information for fuel injection? Years ago in the fresno calif. area, I had a dual fuel l958 chevy and went well over 100,000 miles with it. mileage was comparable with gasoline. Propane gives better low speed torque. Propane cleans any built up carbon already in the engine, so you have to change the oil often until the carbon is cleaned out,(2000 or 3000 miles), after that the oil stays clean. Back in the 50's there was a chrysler with over 300,000 miles that just changed the filter once in a while. I am a believer!!!!


rich_1
8/3/2008 4:03:35 PM

Looking to convert a late model Chevy or Doge 4 door 1?2 ton pickup , while they are cheap.. rk


ron_1
8/2/2008 5:11:07 PM

I have a 1984 Toyota crown six cylinder! Does this article and parts apply to a for Propane conversion on this vehicle?


sue _1
7/25/2008 2:19:48 AM

I drive an 83 Honda Civic Wagon and would like some tips on converting to LP. I'm an ex Suburban Propane employee and have a good understanding of LP but don't know where to get a conversion kit and am wondering where to mount the tank.


sue _1
7/25/2008 2:18:53 AM

I drive an 83 Honda Civic Wagon and would like some tips on converting to LP. I'm an ex Suburban Propane employee and have a good understanding of LP but don't know where to get a conversion kit and am wondering where to mount the tank.


tom welch
7/23/2008 9:11:47 AM

About ten or twelve years ago I inquired my local LP supplier about this conversion. I asked about the MPG difference and he said his delivery trucks, which were converted, ran an average of about 1 MPG less than if they were not. At the time gas was less than $1 a gallon and the expense didn't seem practical. I wonder if this could be done with a motorcycle? I know LP forklifts also run on 5 gallon upright tanks, which are easy to purchase! (HMMM) Any comments??


larry_2
7/21/2008 5:24:58 AM

I have not seen anything in reference to MPH after converting to LP gas. If MPG is comparable to gasoline and the price of LP is 40 cents...WOW!! what savings.


charles_1
7/19/2008 11:47:54 PM

a few things Canada has used propane for years. pull up at a regular gas station fill it up and drive on. They use normal space for a tank as a normal car so why is everyone having a hard timne with this?? 1 more thing I have more than 2 1/2 million miles of driving when I started in85 normal fuel and gas was used (for the most part) the trees and shrubs were very healthy. Now that all these new restrictions have gone into place things along the hwy. are dieing. Lets see trees and things live on what the motors put out and change it into what we breathe. Now that motors put out less and trees and shrubs are dieing where are we left???


miguel garfias_2
7/16/2008 4:28:35 AM

I would like to learn more about the comversion , I have a 1997 grandam 6 cylindrs ad I would like to know more about it.


kevin_1
7/5/2008 5:24:48 PM

I am currently building a brand new engine for my 1972 Super Beetle and would like to build it as a dual fuel engine. This was great information. A little dated (1972), but nevertheless, quite practical.


kevin_1
7/5/2008 5:23:56 PM

I am currently building a brand new engine for my 1972 Super Beetle and would like to build it as a dual fuel engine. This was great information. A little dated (1972), but nevertheless, quite practical.


will_1
7/2/2008 12:19:34 PM

please contact me with more info about l-p converters thank you will


chris littlefield_1
6/29/2008 8:00:18 PM

I have a 1996 ford tarus (fuel injected) do you have any information on conv? What are the costs today?


john taton
6/24/2008 1:13:07 AM

Hello I am interested in converting my 1985 Mazda RX 7 rotary motor to LP or LP and gas mix. I was wondering if you have any information on doing so and could recommend the supplies I would need for the conversion. Is there a web link to purchase supplies? Thanks


shelly_1
6/23/2008 11:12:58 AM

I have a 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis. I am unable to do a conversion to Propane or Natural gas myself. Can you put me in touch with someone in the Phoenix Arizona area that does this kind of work? Can you give me a ballpark figure of the cost of converting to LPG or NG? Shelly


papoole123
2/10/2008 5:09:57 PM

Hi I am a pastor of a small church in southern IL. and would like to set a better example in the area of auto polution. I have a 1981 Jeep that I would like to convert to LP Gas and am having trouple getting it together. Can you help? I can be reached at 618-458-7100 or papoole123@yahoo.com Sincerly Patrick Poole


robert_112
1/4/2008 1:06:47 AM

Have a 1978 3/4 ton P/U I want to convert to propane I also will be towing a 35.5 ft 5th wheel, plan on running on flat parts of hiway with propane, any place around San Jose to have the kit installed,or that does this anywhere else on the peninsula around Palo Alto? thanks


christopher_12
12/28/2007 9:37:07 PM

I have a turbocharged car with a force fed carb, incased in a pressure bo. Will this work seeing how there is positive pressure being introduced to the carb?


jody_6
12/26/2007 12:42:34 PM

need a jerry kit for a vw rail buggy


tom_44
12/11/2007 10:21:55 PM

Mark, You can convert fuel injected vehicles to run on propane. www.nexgas.us


michael_77
12/10/2007 11:52:53 AM

THANKS MOM!!!!!!!!!! Probably read my first issue of MOTHER EARTH about 30 years ago, I've been an advocate ever since!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DO BELIEVE THAT AN UPDATE IS URGENTLY CALLED FOR!


jesse_7
11/14/2007 4:40:42 PM

Also the Fittings needs to be NPTF (National Pipe Thread Fuel) This will prevent leaks the the ordinary NPT fittings would allow!


clinton
10/28/2007 7:48:56 PM

Where can i find installation instructions for an Impco 300 mixer on s 97 Dodge 318 pickup?


ralph_12
10/24/2007 9:16:53 AM

My plan is to convert a 1980, 350 CID, Chev. car to operate on propane or gasoline. Does the JERRY KIT for approx. $70.00 still exist?


mark_54
9/21/2007 8:13:14 PM

What about converting a fuel injected vehicle toLP?


mark_53
9/21/2007 8:10:43 PM

I also have a Ford van with fuel injection that I would like to covert over to LP. Where can I find out about it?


james_85
8/19/2007 3:49:49 PM

It seems to me the BTU content of propane vs gasolene is considerably lower so small vessels installed in vehicles (to leave room for luggage) would not give you the range that gasolene has. Propane is also a heavier than air gas so more maintenance is needed to keep fittings and pipe from shaking loose and allowing leaks to occur in confined spaces(garages) and low earth spots. Leaks in the vicenity of air intakes can also make the engine continue to run and accelerate regardless of driver releasing the accelerator. There are several more potential safety problems to be solved before using propane. In Hobbs new Mexico a farmer had a lit cigarette blow up and kill him because of a flexible propane hose leak. Solve the problems first!


james_84
8/19/2007 3:49:40 PM

It seems to me the BTU content of propane vs gasolene is considerably lower so small vessels installed in vehicles (to leave room for luggage) would not give you the range that gasolene has. Propane is also a heavier than air gas so more maintenance is needed to keep fittings and pipe from shaking loose and allowing leaks to occur in confined spaces(garages) and low earth spots. Leaks in the vicenity of air intakes can also make the engine continue to run and accelerate regardless of driver releasing the accelerator. There are several more potential safety problems to be solved before using propane. In Hobbs new Mexico a farmer had a lit cigarette blow up and kill him because of a flexible propane hose leak. Solve the problems first!


timjowers
7/23/2007 8:08:51 AM

Thanks for the article. I'm wanting to convert as one phase in getting off of oil. I'm researching electric vehicles versus gaseous driven. Also looking at Iceland's Hydrogen economy as a possibility; so may consider a third system of H and believe the LP solution as a way to take a small step forward towards that goal. Finally, my question is about timing. The H proponents say to set the timing forward as H burns faster than petrol but does timing need to be reset for LP as well?


diego
7/6/2007 9:45:24 AM

I have that same question I would like to know about fuel injection vehicles i have a 2007 Toyota Yaris and would like to convert it, I also have a Ford Freestyle 2005, how can I convert these.


jerrid
6/17/2007 2:00:40 PM

When I read this it was talking about carburetor engines. What about fuel injection vehicles?


theo_1
6/3/2007 10:48:31 PM

I have looked erywhere to find a frofessional installer to have my 2006 Checy Aveo converted to Propane gas. Can you help me find a place. I live in Seattle Wa.


paddon
6/2/2007 2:40:47 PM

want to convert a 2000 pont min van efi is this possibe, would I need to shut the injectors and fuel pump down when the lp is in use and how would we get the the timing retarded back and forth if we wanted to switch fuels if the range got to far?whats your cost estimate to have an independant shop install this [I would be doing this for a customer]? thank you M


gary_37
5/28/2007 9:53:27 AM

have a 1991 GMC Saffari van V6wanting to convertto LP do I have to instal a throttle onto the Lp for more gas a higher speeds the article didnt say anything about throttles r


daniel_24
5/27/2007 2:16:06 PM

can I convert a newer car with efi or mpi to LP


james_82
5/20/2007 12:11:55 PM

I'm in need of one part for my carburetion system, to be fited onto a 1986 Ford pickup, I know what the part looks like, But I don't know what it is called, I know that my Air cleaner hose's attach to it and also my fuel, I was told that I could get the part at the Sooner supply in Oklahoma City, Ok. can you help me out. James] Mother Responds: I am sorry, we have no information on sources for parts.


bentley
5/17/2007 12:09:21 AM

My vehicle of choice is a carburetted dodge 3/4 ton,( i.e. pre fuel injected), the reason for that being that there are no rediculously complicated computer controls to mess with. I also don't bother with dual fuel. When properly tuned and maintained the truck will even start at 40 below but at that temp it's better to plug it in for a couple of hours.On average the motor lasts about 400000 miles if not driven too hard but if you have a heavy foot you will probably need a valve job because propane runs hot and the harder you drive, the hotter it gets. I transfer my propane kit from truck to truck and I've seen lots of propane stuff at my favorite local car crusher for very reasonable prices ($75.00 for everything) but avoid tanks with bubbly looking rust. Rusty tanks won't certify and of course without the certification sticker you won't be able to fill up. A new tank is in the $400 to 600 range. You should also change the timing and spark plugs but otherwise a propane conversion is actually quite easy and it makes that old truck much more affordable to drive. I should also add the cost of converting will vary according to your individual mechanical skills. Good luck and happy propaning!


karen_52
5/14/2007 7:56:11 PM

Please let me know if this still allpies for todays cars" 1984 dodge van" Is there a phone # to get more info? I'm writting this for my boyfriend, and he has read the article, and is very intrested. Mother responds: This is an article from our magazine from 1973. I am sorry, we have no updated contact information.


william_48
4/3/2007 2:12:22 PM

John, if you look at the date of the article, you will notice it was written in 1972.


john_115
3/10/2007 4:01:48 PM

After reading around on porpane conversions and costs it is apparent to me that the costs quoted in this article are ridiculous???? WHEN could you get all this stuff for around $100 ??? Ten times that seems to be the reality for parts as i look around. This article sounds great but does not jibe with any other info I find. Please explain how this article stands???? Thanks.


geren
3/9/2007 2:58:58 PM

Hi, How old is this article on propane conversion? the quoted cost for doing it yourself(and the pix)seem outdated. Before I send off money to the guy for the kit...is he even still around; doing this? Update appreciated(his email if you have?) thanks much






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