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Old 11-01-2013, 11:06 AM   #1
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Propane Injection to Diesel Engines

I just saw this posting on another forum, and wondered if any have experimented with such an idea??

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The dune buggy runs on straight propane. Forklift parts, bought used for cheap. Forklifts have a decent safety record, and I have totaled one of these, with no leaks to the system. Hose routing, and a good tank cage are important. There are commercially avalible propane injection kits for diesel trucks. You can use it like nitrous oxide, on a button for instant power, or run a valve controlled by the throttle. From there it can be adjusted to either use the propane to boost power, or to clean up the smoke, lower egt's and use less diesel. I know people who use it on diesels because they will get twice the mileage on the diesel, while using propane. Usually 5-7 gal of propane will last a full tank of diesel. It's cheaper and cleaner, so even without the increase in mileage, it would be worth it. It also helps decarbon high mileage engines.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:19 AM   #2
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I regularly drive a diesel truck with propane injection. It's owned by a propane company and the propane is readily available where the truck is parked nightly.
I can attest the the performance of the diesel engine with 200,000 miles on it is enhanced by the propane in both acceleration and power. I have no way in knowing how much. I just know it's noticeably better when turning the switch on and off. Engine life is another unknown factor. Mileage does not seem to increase.
I wouldn't do it to my engine (unless I owned a propane company) the hassle would out way any benefits.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:19 AM   #3
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Many of the Dodge-Cummins truck guys have used propane injection to boost power mostly for drag racing or for dyno runs/bragging rights.
Never heard anyone say it doubles their mileage, usually they say it's not really worth the effort for daily driving. At least that's what I recall after reading many threads on the TDR site.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:03 PM   #4
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LPG and CNG conversion for cars and trucks is all the rage again. Seems to come around every 15 - 20 years. My only experience with it, in motor vehicles, was with fork lifts and it seemed to be straight forward enough. It's greatest advantage, the lower exhaust emissions meant we could run it indoors much safer. It would require a complete redesign of the service station delivery system to make it worthwhile for general public use. I don't see that happening anytime soon.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:04 PM   #5
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Where is the Propane injected? Air side or fuel?
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:49 PM   #6
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My neighbour's emergency generator (they have an elevator) runs on natural gas.
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edelweiss View Post
LPG and CNG conversion for cars and trucks is all the rage again. Seems to come around every 15 - 20 years. My only experience with it was with fork lifts and it seemed to be straight forward enough. It's greatest advantage, the lower exhaust emissions meant we could run it indoors much safer. It would require a complete redesign of the service station delivery system to make it worthwhile for general public use. I don't see that happening anytime soon.
Thats because Natural gas is the chaapest BTU energy source adaptable to enfines we have.

If a therm (100,000 btu) of natural gas cost $1.00

Then gasoline at 114,000 btu per gallon would have to cost $1.14 per gallon to be equal cost per btu.
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Old 11-01-2013, 03:36 PM   #8
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Propane is less efficient on most cars than gasoline. Gasoline is much less efficient that diesel. I don't see how injecting propane into a diesel OR gas engine would make it more efficient. And efficiency should be a matter of how many dollars of fuel is used for a given amount of work.

And Kevin I don't think how many therms is an issue unless you're talking about heating a house. I know burning propane in a gasoline engine burns more fuel for a given amount of power and produces less power.

But I am a big fan of propane used in engines.
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Old 11-01-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
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I love propane injection!
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:41 PM   #10
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The reason off road folks run propane is because they run at many off cambor angles and the gas regulator is better at getting the fuel into the combustion chamber.

And a big and is that Propane is naturally 110 Octane. Near the AV gas.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:10 PM   #11
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I had a propane utility bed work truck for a while. Big PIA to deal with fueling. CNG would be better IMO only IF you had a fueling station.

Finding a propane vendor that actually fills rather than exchanging the bottles sounds easy until you need to every couple days.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:30 PM   #12
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Craig,
I fueled several trucks every day w propane and didn't consider it a PITA. I was used to it though. And getting payed for it. CNG IS a PITA as far as I know. Not practical unless you have an active fleet of vehicles.

Big Jim I remember the octane part. Propane converted gasoline engines require much more ignition advance except for the very top end and there a few degrees retarded is usually called for.

Before Gasoline fuel injection the thing I liked best about propane is the way the engine ran when it was cold. For about 2 years I not only drove trucks on propane but my personal vehicle was on propane too. Got 98% of my propane from one source and only once did we need over $100 to pay the monthly bill. That was in the mid 80s and I drove a lot .. as I do now.
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Old 11-02-2013, 06:58 AM   #13
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Propane is just more fuel in the cylinder , so more power.

You get what you pay for in power propane or diesel.

For the real wack jobs look up the endless proponents of Browns Gas,

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    How to Make Any Car Run on Water: http://Loan-er.com/water Lots of people are interested in browns gas ...



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Old 11-02-2013, 09:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
Where is the Propane injected? Air side or fuel?
...from that same fellow that contributed the original posting I started the subject thread with

"To answer one of the questions I saw, in diesel applications, I've seen propane metered in pre-turbo, and I've seen it injected post turbo. Just to the air, not direct into the cylinder through an injector. The cold propane helps cool the intake charge. That I what I would like to see though, a true dual fuel. LPG directly injected. I think the combo of fuels compliments each other well."
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:08 AM   #15
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Y'all either don't understand or are getting off topic. The OP wasn't talking about powering your engine strictly with propane. He was talking about augmenting the fuel air mixture of. Your Diesel engine with propane...much like drag racers use nitrous oxide in gasoline engines. Propane causes a much more complete burn of the fuel mixture therefore making it a more efficient process. Whether that efficiency equates to less overall cost, who knows. But in theory, it actually seems like it is better for the engine since more stuff is burned leaving less crap in your engine....and also less black smoke and lower emissions.

So don't dismiss it outright. Sounds kinda interesting to me because I have a boat that would utilize it. It is for engines that are turbocharged and under load. I don't think a Lehman would benefit from it.... And in the end, no I wouldn't use it. I just. Think the theory of it is interesting.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:28 AM   #16
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Brian propane is ingested into an engine as a gas .. not a liquid and if you compress it it will be a liquid. So perhaps it could be injected or even mixed w the diesel .. sounds scary.

A diesel engine properly loaded burns all the fuel injected. An over loaded (over propped) diesel boat will inject more fuel than it can burn because the prop slows down the engine speed (rpm) but the injector pumps more fuel into the cylinder than at WOT propped right and that is the most fuel the engine can burn. So adding more diesel fuel will not increase power.

However if propane is added, the burning diesel should ignite it and it should burn. The racers ARE apparently using it so the burning propane must add power and perhaps the mixture of the two fuels are independent.

The biggest problem I see is pre-ignition. Even though the propane has a high octane diesels have very high compression ratios.

The picture of the truck drag racing belching all that black smoke makes me wonder why is there black smoke? It would seem it could only come from the diesel.

Anode wrote;

"I regularly drive a diesel truck with propane injection"
Never heard of such a thing. Are you sure? Sounds like you could be talking about a gasoline truck w propane as an alternate fuel ... a "dual fuel" engine. I'm very familiar w those but haven't heard of propane injection on a diesel. I'm probably getting so old new stuff os going right over my head.

But what could be the advantage to trawler guys like us?

By the way w VW diesels they call them "TDI". What's the "I" for?
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:38 AM   #17
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I'm probably getting so old new stuff os going right over my head. ?
Yep.... Eric, just google propane injection on diesels engines and see if an old dog can learn a new trick!
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:44 AM   #18
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What's this "old dog" talk .... I'm only 73.

The "old" I can handle but I resent the dog part.
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Old 11-02-2013, 02:04 PM   #19
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Brian propane is ingested into an engine as a gas .. not a liquid and if you compress it it will be a liquid. So perhaps it could be injected or even mixed w the diesel .. sounds scary.

A diesel engine properly loaded burns all the fuel injected. An over loaded (over propped) diesel boat will inject more fuel than it can burn because the prop slows down the engine speed (rpm) but the injector pumps more fuel into the cylinder than at WOT propped right and that is the most fuel the engine can burn. So adding more diesel fuel will not increase power.

However if propane is added, the burning diesel should ignite it and it should burn. The racers ARE apparently using it so the burning propane must add power and perhaps the mixture of the two fuels are independent.

The biggest problem I see is pre-ignition. Even though the propane has a high octane diesels have very high compression ratios.

The picture of the truck drag racing belching all that black smoke makes me wonder why is there black smoke? It would seem it could only come from the diesel.

Anode wrote;

"I regularly drive a diesel truck with propane injection"
Never heard of such a thing. Are you sure? Sounds like you could be talking about a gasoline truck w propane as an alternate fuel ... a "dual fuel" engine. I'm very familiar w those but haven't heard of propane injection on a diesel. I'm probably getting so old new stuff os going right over my head.

But what could be the advantage to trawler guys like us?

By the way w VW diesels they call them "TDI". What's the "I" for?
I am the one who Brian quoted. I have run several vehicles on straight propane, and I have used it on diesels as an extra fuel. In a gasoline type of engine, the carb is simply replaced with a propane mixer. Performance will suffer unless compression is raised or more boost is delivered due to the higher octane. Propane mixes well with the air, so long intake runners will help low end torque without fuel atomization issues. It is also cold, that helps with intake temps, and can eliminate the need for an intercooler. It burns clean, and cooler than gasoline, making it great for aircooled engines. Got propane.com has kits, and some info on their site, but it's cheaper to build your own out of forklift parts.

In the diesel arena, there are different set ups. I've seen it run off a button, like the typical ricer's "nos" system, but I've always run it into the intake, post turbo. Controlled by the throttle, it sends more propane when I send more diesel with my foot. I could detune the injection pump and make up for it with propane to save fuel, but I usually don't mind a little extra power. Even then, it takes less throttle to maintain speed, so I did notice mileage improvements. It cleared up any smoke (I tune for just a poof to spool the turbo) and gave me 2-300 degree lower exhaust temps under a load. I also used a similar propane system on a 1,700,000 mile cummins engine that had awful blow by. After 2000 miles on propane, she ran like new, no noticeable blow by. There used to be performance propane kits for diesels all over, but it looks like nitrous has taken over. One kit I spotted with a quick search, Propane Injection Systems, fuel saving in Diesel, Gas, Turbocharged Engine Trucks & water vapor air fuel system separators They seem to support from tractors to trucks.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:05 AM   #20
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Thanks for joining in there SomeTexan, and welcome to the forums. I think you can probable explain best your results a bit better than I, as I'm not an 'engine guy' ....just know enough to get into trouble

But I did think your experiences with this 'technology' deserves some discussion.

Cheers, Brian
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