My Propane-fuelled Cars

Let's hear all the gory details about your car and how it became alternative fuelled.
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Frank
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My Propane-fuelled Cars

Post by Frank » Wed Sep 29, 2004 11:42 am

My interest in propane-fuelled vehicles started with a trip to the local drag strip way back in the mid-80s when I finished school. While doing a little bracket racing there with my 65 Barracuda, I met a fellow racing an older Ford, something like a 1966 Ford Galaxy, on propane. The guy told me that what he saves on fuel for his car, he has money left over to run his boat. With my interest in alternative fuels and my love of big cars, I promptly found a 1978 Chrysler New Yorker (Mopar C-body) and converted the 440 to straight propane operation. It wasn't very quick as you would expect a 5200+ lb car to be but it was cheap and fun to drive.

While driving the New Yorker, I gained a lot of experience with the operation and repair of the fuel system. The local college offered a propane conversion certificate course to automotive mechanics and I also took this course. Not being an auto mechanic, I wasn't certified to do conversions but at least I now knew exactly what to do.

Later on, as the road salt used in Canadian winters caught up with the New Yorker, I needed another car for commuting. My dad had a 1977 Pontiac Parisienne (GM B-body) that he bought new but was just too big and too old for him in 1997. I had a job that required me to commute 60 miles each way and the propane equipment transplant from the New Yorker was a natural fit. This time, I did the entire conversion. I still needed a Chev-350 specific propane carburetor and a trip to the local junkyard yielded that and a few other spare parts. Without the certification required for conversion, I still had to visit a propane-certified mechanic to get the windshield sticker that fuel stations required for filling. Just because a mechanic has a propane ticket doesn’t mean he’s good at it. I had to fix the leaks at the connections in the new fuel line he installed.

I put several thousand miles on the Pontiac before my wife wanted a new car. We just had twins a few years before and she now wanted a minivan. Since my brother needed a car and we now had a surplus Honda Accord, I gave the Pontiac to my brother and I took over driving my wife’s old Honda. My brother put a several tens of thousands more miles on the Pontiac before old age caught up with it. My brother returned the Pontiac to me and I now have it parked in a field behind the house until I need it again, which will likely be soon. After over 60,000 miles of commuting, I am pretty happy with the service it gave me so far. It will need a bit of TLC before it is roadworthy winter beater again though. My current winter-beater (I live in Canada after all!) is a 1973 Dodge Dart and old age is catching up that that car too so the Parisienne may be back in service before too long.


HotRod777
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Post by HotRod777 » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:06 pm

That's a very interesting bio you posted Frank

I'm going to try pasting a photo in this reply to see if that will work
I'm just testing the functions of the board

OK, I wasn't able to copy and paste the photo so lets try using the IMG Button and see what happens

"Yes, It Really Does Burn ProPane!"

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Hope it works and if it does, maybe some of the other members will add there photos and we can get things rolling on this message board

HotRod >>>

ProPaneCarbs
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Post by ProPaneCarbs » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:26 pm

Here's a Propane Powered Jeep from New Zealand (note steering wheel) that is heavily involved in the 4x4 competition. They use a propane fuel system because if you're going straight up a steep incline the gas in a gas carb will slosh to the back of the bowl and the engine will quit running and you loose points when you loose forward momentum.

A Propane Fuel System is not effected by gravitational pull and therefore will still deliver fuel to the engine when climbing a steep incline

Image


ProPaneCarbs

Frank
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Photos of cars!

Post by Frank » Tue Oct 26, 2004 10:44 am

As my current winter beater (1973 Dodge Dart) may or may not survive the next winter, I wanted to get my back up winter car roadworthy again. I went out in my back field and brought the 1977 Pontiac up close to the house so I can work on it.

The 1977 Pontiac in the field. After sitting for several years here, it took some cranking to get the fuel flowing to the mixer. I discovered that the throttle is now very sticky but will still move with some finesse.
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Now cleaned up a bit in the driveway.
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My first propane-fuelled car. Sporty-looking for a battleship, isn't it?
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Guest

Post by Guest » Tue May 24, 2005 10:01 pm

Great story, Frank. I fell into the propane idea on a couple of the jeep forums. ive had my jeep for 3 years, and have soaked more money into it than i care to admit. when i bought it, it had the "evil carter bbd" on it. i went from that to a weber k551 kit. that was a big improvement, but tempermental. after a year, i sold that and switched to an MC2100. ive had that on for about 10 mos. it runs pretty good, but it is a gas pig and i cant seem to tune it so it runs good lean. thats were the propane comes in. it sounds simple to tune, i can bypass alot of the butchered emmision stuff on my engine, and is cheaper than gas. ...... and the journey continues

cropduster

Post by cropduster » Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:55 am

I just converted my CJ8 and so far it's running great. Had the BBD on it and it had gotten to the point that it wouldn't idle.

barryb

Flingarrows

Post by Flingarrows » Sat Jun 04, 2005 8:05 pm

Crop duster, do u have pictures of where you mounted your equipment? i would be interested in seeing it

Ctf250
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Post by Ctf250 » Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:38 pm

what sort of gas mileage do yall get?

franz
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My Mustang

Post by franz » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:11 am

I am long term resto-modding my 66 Mustang coupe and it may go a year between any real driving, but in the meantime, I need to move it around the shop. The gasoline system has dried out and causing some problems, but all I needed to do was start the engine and let it idle, so, a spare Holley 4bbl baseplate, a 425 to a 225 adapter, and an Impco 225 for the carburetion, and a spare Century G85 coupled with a pipe nipple, then a barbeque grill cylinder pulling straight vapor to the inlet and presto, it starts and runs instantly. It will not pull a load, but it will run hours on end at idle and enough to move the car around the parking lot. I did not bother with coolant lines, and yes, the vaporizer does get cold.

One thing nice is there are no gasoline carburetion problems to worry about, and no fuel washdown of the cylinders. I have no plans on running straight propane on this vehicle, but it would be no problem if I wanted to.

Franz

Frank
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It's back on the road!

Post by Frank » Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:25 pm

I just got my Pontiac licensed and took it out for its maiden voyage yesterday. Not much of a voyage actually, just a few trips into town. It runs great although it looks a bit rough, which is OK for a winter car.

I would have had it on the road sooner but my insurance company wants to have vehicles older than 25 years appraised by a car club. Between waiting for the appraisal to be done and waiting for the insurance company to review the appraisal, I must have killed almost a month waiting.

Once I've filled the tank a few times, I'll post the gas mileage I'm getting on the Pontiac Conversion web page. I put an adjustable vacuum advance on the distributor so I'll be doing some experimentation to find out what gets me the best highway fuel economy.

Frank
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Post by Frank » Sun Feb 04, 2007 3:09 pm

I was going through some old photos and found some of my New Yorker. I thought that I would have had more, but I could only find one that showed the back of the car and its 10x10x10x36 fuel tank.

The fleet I had back in the late 1980s:
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A close-up of the 1978 New Yorker. If you look carefully, you can see how the fuel tank was mounted sideways to fit inside of the frame rails. It was low enough to scrape a few driveway ramps.
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The New Yorker with fresh paint and some racing stripes. That's a friend of mine in the photo. I liked to think that the crumple zone on this car was the other car.
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Post by Imperial73 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 3:43 pm

I really do like those last of the real full size Chryslers, they improved a lot compared to the fuselage C-bodies. Probably, my next car will be a 75 Imperial.

Very interesting way of mounting the tank, I'll have to consider that on my current car.

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