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LPGRamVanDriver
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109 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
hello guys,
has anyone over the Ocean ;) been interested in one or other information concerning the installation/components/use/output
of LPG in your car? my Dodge ram Van consumes 17.5 litres on 100 km (that is approximately 28.2liter or 7.44 gallons on 100 miles)
petrol, 98 octane cost euro to euro here approximately 1.2 and LPG 0.4….
greetz
 

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Do It In A Van
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8,045 Posts
Some Ram Vans in the late 80's up through the 90's used Natural Gas. It was a factory option.

I'm not too keen on it personally.
 

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LPGRamVanDriver
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109 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
why not?
for practical, strength loss or security reasons?
i don't know if there are many Natural Gas station over there and that could be a problem. could those Vans only use the Natural Gas or both? I can use both
 

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Do It In A Van
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8,045 Posts
Practical reasons mainly. The LPG engines don't put out the same power (according to Dodge) as the gasoline engines do. And yes, not many filling stations for personal vehicles.
 

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4 Wheel Power Disc Brakes
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5,828 Posts
Other than security LPG may cost less than gasoline, but last I looked it was about 20% less with about 10% less energy.
Also 98 octane gasoline is much more than your van needs.Octane is another reason LPG conversions are uncommon. Over here the high octane gasoline is typically 92-94, but LPG is around 100+ if I recall correctly. This means you need higher compression to get the most of it, currently this means a compromise on compression ratio.
If 98 octane is the low octane gasoline, I would consider increasing your compression ratio to make it more efficient.
The rule of thumb I know of is at sea level compression ratio should be 1/10th of octane rating, this means 9.8 to 1 for 98 octane (a little lower for towing or heavy truck use).
Another problem for LPG use in the interior US is it does get cold enough to freeze regulators and causes the liquid to gas rate to slow, requiring a larger tank or heater.
--B-300--
 

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RamVanMan
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594 Posts
Hey Bald Eagle.....yes on propane info....

Funny you should mention this idea. I was just reading up on the advantages of Propane fueling. It sure seems attractive in some aspects.

The engine is claimed to run much cleaner & last much longer, owing to less impurities in the fuel - one Canadian fellow claimed he saw 900,000 miles from a Windsor 351 Ford V-8 engine operated on Propane. It appears the engine oil stays near virgin quality up to 25,000 miles due to less carbon in the fuel, compared to gasoline. Spark plugs last at least 100,000 miles....and this on fuel that cost half what gasoline cost.

I think in Canada he had advantages we don't always have here - at least I don't in California - he had plentiful refueling statons & low Propane prices (half that of gasoline) - due primarily to Canadian government & industry support for the concept & infrastructure.

I would seriously consider it, if it were do-able with a support infrastructure.

One challenge is that conversion can run $ 2,000 due to safety requirements. Sad thing is, there are simple "off road only" systems for about a third or half that much, but as stated they are for 'off road only' due to the expense of having our EPA certify them which adds significantly to the cost.

You can view the concept of Propane usage for various vehicles - and a list of serious benefits that - I think is worth consideration.

Too bad our governement 'gets in the way' by not allowing these but for 'off road use only' or by making 'official' EPA kits so darn expensive that they are by nature limited mainly to goverenment or fleet use.

But, take a look here and see if you don't agree, these benefits are significant: www.GotPropane.com

They list popular off road vehicles & engines like Jeeps, Samurais & Toyotas, but also V-8 engine Fords, Dodges & Chevy's - so our Ram vans should be 'convertible', right ?

I also noted I think on the www.PropaneCouncil.com website a listing of 'official EPA certified conversions' but as stated, they were quite spendy, too.

Love to hear more input or 'real world' stories from any of you who've done this.

One thing, my wife says, where are you gonna put the LP tank ? Good question - my guess - you put it where your gas tank comes out - if so, then what do you do, if you can't find propane ?

Regards, David B. Ram Van Man
 

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RamVanMan
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594 Posts
van-nut said:
Start walking. :D

Pete
Yes, indeed - walk, carrying that empty tank....or hoping for a long fill hose....why this only makes much sense where infrastructure exists.

All we have here are isolated, expensive and indiffrent propane suppliers who charge usurious rates.

Our local supplier, Anza Gas Company, offers a whopping 0 % discount if filling a motor vehicle (vs. home heating use....)

whopee !
 

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LPGRamVanDriver
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109 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
:)
So we are lucky here!
even here I have both systems.
I always have such a 30 litres, almost 8 gallons, petrol, simply for in case of.
I have two propane tanks: 1 at the place of the spare wheel, 100 litres, and the other behind the bed/sofa: 180 litres. these tanks can be filled for 80% (this is the law). therefore 224 litres, 59 gallons. for approximately 800 miles.
running out of gas? mmm I don 't think so.... ;-)
 

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RamVanMan
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594 Posts
Back to the 'Belgian Bald Eagle'.....

BaldEagle said:
:)
So we are lucky here!
even here I have both systems.
I always have such a 30 litres, almost 8 gallons, petrol, simply for in case of.
I have two propane tanks: 1 at the place of the spare wheel, 100 litres, and the other behind the bed/sofa: 180 litres. these tanks can be filled for 80% (this is the law). therefore 224 litres, 59 gallons. for approximately 800 miles.
running out of gas? mmm I don 't think so.... ;-)

Hope you don't mind me giving you that nickname (in the title line above....seemed to fit well)

May I ask: do you primarily run on gasoline (what you are calling 'petrol', right ?) or LP ? or do you do an even amount of each ?

Have you noticed cleaner engine oil and operation with the LP ? Any power gains or losses ? If you were to tow a heavy trailer (say 1000 kg or more) which would you run on ?

Also, any chance we could see a picture of your LP tanks layout ?

To me, the tank location is the biggest hurdle. According to our regs here, the tank cannot be located in a 'passenger compartment', ergo on a van, it must be mounted outside somewhere. I can think of three places:

In place of the stock gas tank - problematic obviously

On the spare tire carrier on my back door ???

On a hitch mounted rack like folks use for suitcases, camping gear, etc. - fine until you want to use it for towing

An ideal situation - seemingly, would be if someone fabricated a tank to fit both fuels in the same space as the stock gas tank, so running dual fuel would be a more simple affair.

Admittedly, this makes less sense if you live in CA where I do where there is no discount (that I've found...) for using LP as a motor fuel.

I'm guessing you guys who live in smaller states, but with good size farm and rural friendly cities might find LP stations networked and offering discounts for motor fuel.

Canada, or parts of it, are like this according to what I've heard already......

Thanks all, and Bald Eagle in Belgium for your help....

David B. Ram Van Man
 

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4 Wheel Power Disc Brakes
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5,828 Posts
Another draw back, in some areas there have been gasoline tanker fires and the limit on propane thru these during traffic times is limited. An example is the Caldecott tunnel on highway 24 in the Califonia bay area.
--B-300--
 

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LPGRamVanDriver
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109 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
hello David,
I have no problem with that! not at all! because I like those birds.

gas, propane, petrol, gasoline?
just "to clear" out:
which I call petrol is what the first engines used.
later diesel has been used for the "heavier" engines , still later alternative fuel, lpg and other bio fuel were introduced
so I think that your gasoline and my petrol are the same, so from now my car uses gasoline.

my car always starts on gasoline and when the engine is on its temperature, the lpg computer Unit switches it automatically over on the propane. ( I hope that this sense is audible. even in my ears he clicks oddly)
it is no mixture. it is or gasoline or propane.

oil:
indeed the oil is "cleaner". does not means that it is not necessary to change oil!
I use synthetic oil and each 7500 the miles I change oil and the filter and I also clean the airfilter.

they say you lose power gains but I didn't noticed. the propane is direct injected perhaps that compensates.
to tow heavy charges I drive certainly on gasoline.

""Also, any chance we could see a picture of your LP tanks layout ?""
what do you mean with that? there are several pictures which can be examine by everyone I thought. only pictures! I will try to add an explanation. I didn't do the installation myself. I am no (car)technician so I do not have the diagrams.

installing the tank on the roof might be a good idea but will increase your gasoline usage and it might be unstable because it catches much wind.
dual fuel in one tank? I don 't think it 's possible.
I have one tank on the spare tire under my van. an idea can be:reduce the gasoline tank and on that spare place you can put a propane one.

here most gasoline stations have propane facilities, even on motorways

I hope this helps you out.
greets,
 

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RamVanMan
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594 Posts
Thanks Marcus for the explaination.

I'll probably just have to wait for a more accessible opportunity to go 'dual fuel' - the equipment and the infrastructure to support it must go 'hand in hand'.

I do hear an interesting thing taking hold here in Southern California - natural gas fueled cars - CNG I think it's called.

It works because many homes have Natural gas supplied to the home and they install a pump in your garage that can fill the car slowly overnight - I assume at some savings compared to Gasoline as you're just paying for a greater volume of Natural gas on your regular monthly gas bill.

Interesting, like to meet someone who is doing this.....

Take Care,

David Bazley
 

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LPGRamVanDriver
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109 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
you 're welcome!
here it exists. the public transport in some cities drives gas on natural. I think I can find some information of. they will certainly make publicity but it could take a while because i have to translate it.
 

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Registered
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48 Posts
Hi, there is a magazine called "Mother Earth News" and on the web it is the same, and they have the conversion in detail. The propane doesn't burn as hot as gasoline, hence a little less power but fuel efficiency is comparable. Also, LPG costs 3 bucks/gal as opposed to gas at 2.33 but that may not be for bulk or in your neck of the woods. I think that Mother says that you can go dual fuel. Hope this helps and good luck.
 

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Registered
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Hello, all...I was reading all the posts about running on propane.
I have first hand experience with this as when I was younger I drove propane-powered Dodge and Plymouth taxicabs in Madison, WI. We started out with Slant 6's in Dodge Monaco's then went to Aspen's, Volare's and finally to Diplomat and Grand Fury retired police cars with 318's in them. Propane rocks, believe me. It would make even a Slant 6 get up and dance! With the Grand Fury's and Diplomat's removing the old ThemoQuad and bolting on the LP conversion the performance was just incredible.

As for oil changes, every 25,000 miles on regular oil. Drained oil looked like dark brown honey.

We had Slants go well over a million miles, and several of our 318's hit 700,000 miles.
We even had a 4-banger in a Reliant K Car go more than 600,000 miles!

Cold weather is a minor obstacle that is easilly overcome by adding a circulating tank heater which keeps warm water circulating through the entire cooling system which keeps the LP in liquid form so the engine can burn it.

Now that I'm in Canada (southern Ontario) I don't see LP like I did when I lived in Wisconsin but I'm sure it's around. Where I have seen it, the price averages about $.20 per litre ($.80 gallon) cheaper than gasoline. Even with propane being 15 to 20% less efficient that gas, the savings and the greatly improved service life of the engine are like money in the bank. Last I checked the cost of converting was about $3,500 USD. Money well spent in my opinion.
Availability in the States is at almost any truck stop. Never had a problem finding it during out-of-town trips.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
 
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