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Old 19th January 2011, 23:24   #1
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Exclamation Offroad Fuel (other than Petrol & Diesel)

now petrol prices reaching the sky & soon to be deregulated diesel , is there any alternative fuel for offroad use?

LPG /CNG ?

in more advanced offroading countries they have options like Propane fuel kits. (LPG kit )
Propane Conversion Kits

Dual-Fuel Propane System Install - 4Wheel & Off-Road Magazine

Quote:
Dual-Fuel Propane System Install - Running Clean & Green

Dual-Fuel Propane Install
From the February, 2009 issue of 4Wheel & Off-Road

If You've Spied A Trail Rig Or tow rig running propane as a fuel source, you've wondered about its advantages and disadvantages. We've seen a number of respectable rigs spewing those odd fumes and had to experience it for ourselves. We chose to install a dual-fuel kit, having the flexibility of running gasoline as well as propane, supplied by GotPropane.com.

Propane (LP or LPG) is a gas but exists in a liquid state when compressed. While it does not possess the energy that a comparable unit of gasoline does, it burns cleaner and is typically less expensive to purchase. Engines that run on propane have significantly cleaner internals due to propane's low carbon content. Also, since the gas is stored under pressure, vehicles running propane do not require fuel pumps, expensive injectors, or complex mixers such as those found in fuel-injected or carbureted systems. Another benefit is that propane's octane rating varies between 100 and 110, clearly higher than gasoline publicly available. Finally, propane systems either mount on top of, or replace, the carburetor entirely. This eliminates fuel starvation and stalling caused from bouncing or excessive vehicle angles.

These are the basic components of the dual-fuel system. Liquid fuel delivered from the tank travels through a bulkhead fitting and arrives at the small blue filter. Attached to the filter, an electrically operated solenoid permits fuel flow when in propane mode. The liquid enters the regulator and is heated by the engine's coolant flow. The removal of ambient pressure and the heat from the regulator convert the liquid propane to gas, which travels along the large black hose to the mixer. The mixer is mounted on top of the carburetor where a cable-actuated diaphragm delivers propane gas.

Propane can be ideal for you and your rig, but truly gaining benefits from the conversion will depend on a few factors. First, you must carry more propane on your vehicle than you normally would with gasoline. It is generally accepted that a dual-fuel kit will provide approximate 10 percent lower mileage on propane than a normal gasoline engine. Propane tanks for automotive use are available in two forms-the steel ASME or DOT tank most often found in the back of pickups and the common forklift tank that is available in steel or aluminum. Forklift tanks are easy to dismount and fill, but the largest available only holds 43 pounds of propane, which equates to just 10 gallons of fuel. Finally, any tank used for automotive purposes must be of the type that pulls liquid from the bottom of the cylinder, not vapor from the top as the BBQ or RV tanks do.

Second, propane is not as readily available as gasoline. For you to rely solely upon it as a fuel source would require knowledge of filling station locations and their operating hours, which are not as extensive as those of gas stations.

Finally, an engine running on propane will simply not produce the power that it would on gasoline. While some engines specifically designed for propane have shrunk that gap or perhaps even closed it, the everyday propane-converted engine will produce less power.

If you're still interested, follow along as we install a dual-fuel kit on a 330hp Chevy 350. This kit only applies to carbureted engines with less than 400 hp. Be advised that the mixer and adapter are tall; you must be able to accommodate 61/2 inches of space from the air-cleaner mounting surface to the underside of your hood.
what do you think?

will it work?

any pro's & con's?

Last edited by jeepster : 19th January 2011 at 23:32.
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Old 20th January 2011, 10:46   #2
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Default Re: Offroad Fuel (other than Petrol & Diesel)

Hey Jeepster
I had LPG on my gypsy which I discarded in favour of petrol.
The Kit was a complete BRC for which the previous owner paid ~28K.
My reasons why I do not endorse LPG is below
1) The engine runs a lot rougher and hotter in gas this means an increase in wear and tear and also maintenance (I had to change oil once in 3000km vis-a vis 5000 on petrol)
2) Your carb gets completely spoilt (dunno about FI) as these carbs are designed to be "wet" run. If you switch to petrol you will end up with issues like no idling and uneven power delivery. There are also starting problems when in petrol mode.
3) The cost of LPG here is about Rs46 and petrol is Rs65 (it has been in roughly the same proportion for quite some time). I am getting a mileage of ~12 kmpl in petrol and was getting about 8~9 in LPG. And the power difference is huge (more than 10% as claimed). To put it simply I "rediscovered" my 5th gear after I switched back to petrol.

As I was using my gypsy as a delivery vehicle, my average weekly usage was about 200kms.
When I calculated the costs (over about 9K Kms) I realised that LPG is not necessarily a cheaper option.
Cost of LPG - 45000
Cost of oil change - 6000 (only engine oil)
Total - 51000

After shifting to petrol my costs for the same are
Cost of Petrol - 48750
Cost of oil change - 4000
Total cost - 52750

I do not think a saving of Rs 1750 is really worth it, keeping in mind that the cost of a good LPG kit (BRC or LOVATO) is about Rs 18K.

I must add that when on LPG I have done OTR's but no long drives while on petrol I have gone on long drives for OTR's (about 500Km round trip with an additional 50km OTR) the mileage for the entire 550 kms was 13!! I was maintaining a sedate 80-90 kmph all the way.

Before the LPG supporters and enthusiasts jump on me, please note that these reasons/costs are my own and need not necessarily be the same for every one.

Hope this helps
Cheers
GB
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Old 20th January 2011, 12:05   #3
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Default Re: Offroad Fuel (other than Petrol & Diesel)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsy-Boy View Post
Before the LPG supporters and enthusiasts jump on me, please note that these reasons/costs are my own and need not necessarily be the same for every one.
dont worry no one is going to jump on you.

i know the facts mentioned by you.

so my question is,
is it worth the hassle ? (your answer is NO)

in US offroaders are using propane (aka LPG) for ex. a 330hp engined vehicles.
(although they admit the loss of power in GAS mode)

what are the effects of CNG on diesel offroaders?

Last edited by jeepster : 20th January 2011 at 12:07.
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Old 20th January 2011, 14:41   #4
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Default Re: Offroad Fuel (other than Petrol & Diesel)

Very interesting topic.

When they are technologically more advanced (especially battery tech), electric motors will be the absolute best for off-roading. Reasons:

- Maximum torque starting at 0 rpm.

- Small capacity electric motors are capable of making the kind of torque 2 - 3 liter diesels can only dream about. Remember the 4,500 NM of torque Concept Audi



- They are silent. All the better to enjoy mother nature in, and go about offroading without disturbing wild life.

- Simpler and more reliable. Less mechanical parts.

- Mahindra now owns Reva . Thar + 1000 - 2000 Nm electric Motor anyone?

As I've posted in other threads, the single largest restrictor to the current generation of EVs is battery tech. But well, even that's advancing at a frantic pace. The time is not too far away when we'll get 500 kms on a single charge. Heck, imagine a 4x4 with a solar panel that charges the battery for your electric motor. The worry of range will be history.

Back to the topic, CNG & LPG are very poor options for offroading. Low end throttle response & torque, both, suffer with these fuels. Until EVs come around, diesel rules.

Last edited by GTO : 20th January 2011 at 14:42.
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