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Propane on older Cast Engines


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#1 Jehtro OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 08:48 AM

So I know this has been talked about before, but I'm thinking of trying it.

Just some back ground, everytime I goto our landfill, theres dozens of those propane camp cylinders outside the hazardous waste bin. The attendant told me that those ones are still full, he tells poeple to take them. I guess people clean out the shed or whatever and these end up here.

I went camping a few time this year, didn't buy any propane.

Anyway, got me thinking, theres always a pile of these available for free. Basically free fuel.

I not talking about the benefits of propane, I'm talking about using a 100% free fuel source.

Anyone ever tried to run off propane on a older cast single cylinder? I would want to rig it so I could go back and forth between the propane and the gas.

#2 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 09:09 AM

Never tried it on a small air cooled engine. But I know my neighbor is a Minneapolis Moline fanatic and collector. His primary tractor on the farm is a 100 hp MM running on propane. It's sweet ! Years ago I serviced all the forklifts in the factory and they all ran on propane. They are much cleaner burning and went a lot of hrs between oil changes. They were mostly Chrysler industrial engines(flathead 6, obsolete in automotive applications but bulletproof when governed properly) and had a special carburator to run propane.
It would be interesting to see what was required to set up a small engine for propane. Though I have no idea how one would set up to run alternatively with gasoline fuel. I would be more inclined to run strictly on propane.

On a side note, if your talking about the short fat throw away cylinders. That's all I buy for my propane torch. The shorter tank with the larger diameter won't tip over as easily as the ones normally sold for the torch and I consider them much safer on a work bench or doing plumbing around the house.
Now that brings up another question, in that there should be a useful application for the empty tanks. recycle instead of throw away.

Edited by JD DANNELS, November 28, 2011 - 09:16 AM.

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#3 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 09:41 AM

There was an article in the latest issue of Farm Show mag about a kit that allows small engines to run on gasoline or propane depending on which fuel is available. Most other conversions only allow propane fuel after the switch.

Propane Conversion Kits

#4 Guest_ACguy1994_*

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 10:27 AM

my friend did it on a wheel horse 855. he got a 3"x3" piece of 1 inch thick aluminum. had a 1" hole drilled in the center of it. then he drill a 1/2" hole on the side and threaded it for a hose connector. it runs good but he had to change his oil an hour after his first run time because it cleans all the carbon out of your engine. also its much louder with propane.

#5 Packrat OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 10:29 AM

I would love to find a cheap way to convert some of my engines to propane! Especially any that sit as this eliminates the fuel storage problems associated with the crappy gas we get now. My first one to swap would be my gen set!

#6 Jehtro OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 10:59 AM

Never tried it on a small air cooled engine. But I know my neighbor is a Minneapolis Moline fanatic and collector. His primary tractor on the farm is a 100 hp MM running on propane. It's sweet ! Years ago I serviced all the forklifts in the factory and they all ran on propane. They are much cleaner burning and went a lot of hrs between oil changes. They were mostly Chrysler industrial engines(flathead 6, obsolete in automotive applications but bulletproof when governed properly) and had a special carburator to run propane.
It would be interesting to see what was required to set up a small engine for propane. Though I have no idea how one would set up to run alternatively with gasoline fuel. I would be more inclined to run strictly on propane.

On a side note, if your talking about the short fat throw away cylinders. That's all I buy for my propane torch. The shorter tank with the larger diameter won't tip over as easily as the ones normally sold for the torch and I consider them much safer on a work bench or doing plumbing around the house.
Now that brings up another question, in that there should be a useful application for the empty tanks. recycle instead of throw away.


Theres a refill adapter you can buy from Ebay, refill them from a 20 pound tank. The little tanks are actually really bad for the envirnoment, they can't be recycled. But theres videos on youtube of guys re-filling them.

#7 Jehtro OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 11:04 AM

my friend did it on a wheel horse 855. he got a 3"x3" piece of 1 inch thick aluminum. had a 1" hole drilled in the center of it. then he drill a 1/2" hole on the side and threaded it for a hose connector. it runs good but he had to change his oil an hour after his first run time because it cleans all the carbon out of your engine. also its much louder with propane.


I was thinking of added a piece of brake line tubing, go behind the airfilter, and then just before the choke butterfly. Basically use the carb. as a throttle body.

Use the propane valve to adjust the throttle. Leave the gas throttle wide open when on propane.

Put a fuel shut off valve on the vaccum line going to the fuel pump. So just close the pump vaccum valve and the fuel shut off valve, when running from propane.

These a few guys on youtube. Just going to take some trial and error.

#8 Jehtro OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 11:55 AM

Just don't want to cook the engine,

#9 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 12:23 PM

Your engine will run cooler on propane then it does on gasoline. There are several Kohlers mounted on floor scrubbers in the Walmart and grocery stores in my area. They don't have problems with carbon build up in them like gasoline engines do. I have been thinking of doing a conversion on a couple of my GT's, I can refill my tanks here at work, we fill our own tanks for our forklifts.

#10 wvbuzzmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 03:33 PM

I have considered this conversion for a couple engines with no carbs. What I have heard and read is you want a "demand regulator" in line. What that means is it will only draw propane as it is needed by the engine. If the engine stalls you won't be dumping propane everywhere. Plus, propane is flammable and hangs low in the air, also freezes as it exits into the atmosphere (instant frostbite). Great fuel, but has is dangers just like gasoline. Only benefit other than cleaner burning... is the fact that it never goes bad.

#11 Billygoat OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 07:34 PM

The K-series Kohler was also propane powered from the factory as an "option". The propane parts can be seen in the factory service manual.
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#12 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted November 28, 2011 - 08:02 PM

I used to run an old GMC pickup on propane. Mine was duel-fuel. I had a vaporizer mounted on the fenderwell that turned the liquid propane into vapor, but on your motor it would probably not be needed. On top of the carb was the mixer, it had vacuum doors that opened when you opened the throttle. It used the the carb throttle to control air/fuel to the engine. The vacuum doors were connected to the cone valve that controlled the fuel in the mixer. The trick to running on propane, is to advance the timing a few degrees, and keep the fuel turned back a bit. Propane has an octane of around 104 I believe, but it burns slow, so keeping the fuel cut back a bit will make the engine run longer. With a slow burning fuel the fuel could still be burning with the exhaust valve open, leading to burnt valves. To build a proper Propane engine you need to raise compression up a couple of points and used hardened valve seats. Most motors running 100% propane have a compression of 11:1.

I used to work on a lot of propne motors.
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#13 Jehtro OFFLINE  

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Posted November 29, 2011 - 10:22 AM

hmm, after that post, thinking I'm going to not attempt it on my tractors.

Going to look for a cheap MTD to try this on mybe some day

#14 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted November 29, 2011 - 04:38 PM

It is common for backup power generators to be propane powered. It doesn't seem to be that big a deal because they don't charge a lot extra for the option. Propane, at least around these parts, is much more expensive /BTU then gasoline or diesel. I don't think you would go to far on one of those 1lb cylinders. They tend to cool off when you draw a high flow from them and loose pressure really fast. It's a neat idea though!

#15 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted November 29, 2011 - 08:13 PM

I have a Standby Generator that runs on either.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebXbZZoZoFw

OBP Episode 42 - Getting the Generator Ready for Winter Part 1 - YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o1miq-ZDTA

OBP Episode 43 - Getting the Generator Ready for Winter Part 2 - YouTube

This generator can be setup to either LP or Nat Gas.

I worked on a lot of propane systems in the past, and I have seen them cause a lot of problems. Mostly is the fact that the engine puts out less power, and the owners want them turned up so they run better. I have seen a lot of burnt valves and melted carbs. Propane has higher octane, burns slower, and has less BTU. When I was running gasoline I would get about 11 mpg,and on LP it was about 7 mpg.
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