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Propane in a Hemi!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by overkillphil, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. overkillphil
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 303

    overkillphil
    Member

    I know I'll probably catch some flak from some guys, but I had to share my idea! I'm building a '27T Modified. I'm putting a 330 Desoto Hemi between my Model A rails, and was thinking about induction options. I've got alot of friend who have some pretty serious rock crawlers, and most of them are running propane injection. I got to thinking, how cool would it be to see a traditional style ride with modern propane injection? With gas prices these days? Plus, Propane loves lots of compression! I was thinking I could swap my 8 gallon rear mounted fuel tank with a propane tank from a forklift. I know it's modern, but if it was available back in the day, I'm sure rodder's would have used it! Go ahead, tell me what you think.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. lostn51
    Joined: Jan 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,667

    lostn51
    Member

    cool motor, but bad idea. just my .02
     
  3. Didn't Ak Miller experiment with Propane ?

    Availability is one problem,if you plan long trips.
     
  4. 53chieftian
    Joined: Aug 13, 2005
    Posts: 611

    53chieftian
    Member

    The Schwans delivery trucks around here all run on propane. Keeps the guts a lot cleaner but thats all i know.
     

  5. KKustoms
    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 326

    KKustoms
    Member

    I sold an industrail 354 that had been run on propane. So it has been done.
     
  6. k55f5r
    Joined: Dec 8, 2007
    Posts: 54

    k55f5r
    Member
    from SoCal

    I had a 4X4 Chebby with a 400 cuin small block that I converted to propane in the '80's.
    It was gutless 'til my cousin Norm straightened me on the compression thing.
    I shaved the heads 20 thousandths and that baby screamed. Rubber at every shift, and gas mileage was a respectable 15 mpg. ( In gas form I never got over 12 mpg).
    I had 2 20 gal. saddle tanks, and a 40 gallon that I could put in the bed for longer trips.
    With propane now a little over 2.50 a gallon, You should reap a heap of savings when cruising.
     
  7. tjm73
    Joined: Feb 17, 2006
    Posts: 3,413

    tjm73
    Member

    I like the idea. Do it.
     
  8. speedtool
    Joined: Oct 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,540

    speedtool
    BANNED

    Garlits has an old hemi that ran on propane.
     
  9. tmacracin
    Joined: Aug 23, 2007
    Posts: 825

    tmacracin
    Member

    I've had it on work trucks in the past and it SUCKS. You won't make it far on a forklift tank if your running a HEMI.
     
  10. Something I have considered for the HEMI in my 36 when I get around to building it.

    Propane may just be the salvation for our early hot rod engines. A bit easier on components than alcohol.

    Go for it!
     
  11. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755

    stude_trucks
    Member

    I run my '53 flathead six Studebaker truck on propane and am building another with a 392 hemi which I am probably going to not only run it on propane as well, but probably blow it as well with a 6-71. Sounds goo to me, go for it! Shouldn't be too hard and if you have friends that know the in's and out's already, then you already have the hardest part taken care of. If shouldn't be that hard if you can get a little advice and tips and know where to get the parts.
     
  12. Jethro
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,687

    Jethro
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The biggest thing with running propane is using good quality hard seats on the exhaust.
     
  13. overkillphil
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 303

    overkillphil
    Member

    Blown propane sound pretty sick!
     
  14. Wild Turkey
    Joined: Oct 17, 2005
    Posts: 903

    Wild Turkey
    Member

    We ran 354 hemis on propane and natural gas back in the '50's-'60's.:cool:

    Had a couple that only went a million miles or so before we had to overhaul them:rolleyes:

    Guys were running propane in their grain trucks (back when they didn't check things too closely;)) and they didn't feel they got as much power from butane as gasoline, but that could have been a carb thing.

    Unleaded or industrial valve seats would be a good idea.

    Also be aware of the difference between "propane" and "butane" if you're somewhere they switch between "summer" and "winter" fuels -- the wrong one in the wrong season can be . . . problematic.:rolleyes:
     
  15. Tiger II
    Joined: Mar 10, 2007
    Posts: 97

    Tiger II
    Member

    Lots of aircraft ground support equipment runs on propane. Most of it 300cid Ford 6's. Many of these engine run 5 or more years on the Hobbs Meter without a major overhaul. Top ends do not hold up so long because valve lube issues. A previous post discussed Ak Miller. I recall he had an article in Popular Mechanics or Popular Science and I think he ran a Ford Maverick. Make it work and keep us posted!
     
  16. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

  17. Jalopy Jim
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,867

    Jalopy Jim
    Member

    I had a dodge 440 motorhome that ran on either gas or propane in the 80's.
    It worked great if you could not find propane on the road you switched back to gas. Towed the reace car trailer just fine and alway got 10mpg with or with out the car trailer behind.
     
  18. tucknroll
    Joined: Mar 10, 2007
    Posts: 104

    tucknroll
    Member
    from iowa

    for my 2 cents. i have installed many propane conversions and i must tell you. #1 use good hard valve seats otherwise you will be performing valve jobs regularly. #2 if you live in a cold climate and want to run in cold weather you must use engine heater and start engine on vapor instead of liquid until engine comes to operating temp. unless you use dual fuel than i always start on gas and switch to lp after warmup.LP is very easy on engines with alot less hydrocarbons the sparkplugs will last forever it seems and look like new after thousands of miles. it is a better alternative fuel than ethanol and alot cheaper for now. you can get all the conversion parts you might need thru ACME CARBURATION out of mankato minn. they should have a website and very good company to work with. also keep you eye on your engine timing. hope this helps out. good luck.
     
  19. tucknroll
    Joined: Mar 10, 2007
    Posts: 104

    tucknroll
    Member
    from iowa

    ONE more note on the propane. IF YOU HAVE YOUR TANKS FILLED AND YOU PARK YOUR VEHICLE INSIDE BE CAREFUL WITH TEMP CHANGES, PRESSURE IN YOUR TANKS CAN BECOME HIGH ENOUGH TO LIFT YOU RELIEF VAVE AND FILL YOU SPACE WITH LP VAPOR. not to make anyone afraid of lp it is very safe hell most guys carry a lighter around in their pocket just about as dangerous, just use common sense and have your tanks and relief valve checked after they are out of date.
     
  20. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109

    scottybaccus
    Member

    I am already building for propane. I have all the fuel system now. By the way, you can't use a forklift can on the hiway and you wouldn't want it enclosed inside the car.

    Propane dates back more than 100 years as a motor fuel, so it's not new.

    Search my previous posts if you want to see where I am at on the topic and to get some good links. One of them is a 900 hp chevelle that has been running for many years.
    I also have a contact that is reintroducing a great high cfm mixer that was previously discontinued. PM me and I'll fill you in on the details.
     
  21. milkmankael
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 150

    milkmankael
    Member


    As was mentioned earlier, you CAN'T use these types of tanks for highway use! The conversion would be a great idea. I would suggest contacting a local propane dealer (home heating) regarding obtaining a tank approved for road use. Almost all of their delivery trucks also run on propane and I have seen many convert gas systems over for their use. If you can manage, I would also recommend a duel fuel setup just in case you are on a trip and can't find a refilling location easily.

    Kael
     
  22. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109

    scottybaccus
    Member

    By the gallon, the BBQ tanks are over priced. You can't use them to run an engine anyway. They are vapor pull, engines use liquid pull. The forklift tanks are OK for the off-road stuff because they use very low rpm. At higher rpm, those valves can't flow enough.
    You can use an adapter to dump a BBQ can into your car tank, like a gas can, but you would spend too much for that to be anything more than a limp home.

    All the same cfm rules apply as gas. The old stories of losing power were due to putting a fogger on top of a carb. Carbs flow x cfm with fuel introduced below the air inlet as a liquid. No lost space. If you feed a vapor fuel above the carb, it displaces a good deal of the air, so the effective cfm of the carb is reduced. There's really no good reason to run a dual fuel setup if you want performance.

    With the mixers developed in the last 10-15 years, the vapor is introduced in the venturi, so you see the full cfm it was designed for. In the case of the two most common large cfm units, that is a max of about 600 cfm. Plenty to support a mild small block at modest rpm, but it takes 2 of them to feed anything bigger.
    Now your wondering about over carbing that small block with 1200 cfm. Not an issue. A regular carb is a problem because when you snap the throttle wide open, it mechanically opens the butterflies on the primaries and applies enough vacumme to open the secondaries almost completely. That causes the bog and kills mileage.
    These two mixers, the OHG X-450 and Impco CA-425, are both constant velocity carbs. They will only open as wide as needed for the engine. Call it auto adjusting carb sizing. Every japanese bike made from 1980 thru EFI used the same design.

    You guys want a six pack or 8 singles? No problem. Use 6 or 8 smaller units. Balance them just like regular carbs. Side drafts for your banger? Yup, they have that, too.

    Propane isn't as big a price break as it once was, but it is cheaper than gasoline and pricing is a bit more stable. Propane is a bi-product of gasoline refining. It's primary demand is seasonal based on winter heating needs. The price spikes in cooler months and settles some in the spring, then bumps on summer cook outs before sliding a bit in the fall.

    As far as compression, HD-5 motor fuel is 115 octane. The advance curve is way different from gas due to the speed of the flame front, but I havn't learned all that yet. It likes turbos and it is cleaner than gasoline as far as inside the engine. It also has a whole new set of maintenence issues. Sludge from the oils in the propane tend to collect in the vaporizer and vapor hose over time. The mounting position of the vaporizer and a droop in the hose are important to minimize this. You can mount the mixer at ANY angle you want, even upside-down. No liquid, so it doesn't care.
     
  23. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    That's right Bobby he's "King Of The Hill".... Answerman of Propane!!!:D

    I love this site... pretty much can get an answer to "anything"...!!!
     
  24. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109

    scottybaccus
    Member

    Cold starting isn't an issue if you install right. LPG is liquid at -40* F. Any temp above that and it will vaporize on it's own when pressure is released. This takes place in the vaporizer. The vaporizer has water ports to circulate engine coolant through. You usually place it in-line with the heater core on the return to the engine. You don't want it too hot. When it's cold out, LPG vaporises more slowly. To start more quickly, you need to prime the engine by opening the fuel flow momentarily to allow vapor to reach the mixer, about 5-10 seconds, before cranking. Be sure to use a secondary fuel lock-off to prevent accidental flooding when the key is off.
     
  25. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109

    scottybaccus
    Member

    Boomhauer, pass me a beer...
     
  26. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 14,002

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    I thinks its a great idea!
    press on......
     
  27. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755

    stude_trucks
    Member

    I've posted this here before, but here it is again. '53 Studebaker 3/4 ton truck with 245ci 6cyl. Has (2) Impco CA-125 LPG "carburetors". 29 gal, auto fuel PLG tank behind rear under bed. I left the gasoline tank in place, but didn't go with the duel fuel set up because I don't plan to drive it too far and need to worry about not finding a fill up. The dedicated LPG setups are better, more simple and more efficient than the duel fuel setups, but the duel fuel setups do work pretty well, just not quite as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  28. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109

    scottybaccus
    Member

    Stude, That is SWEET!
     
  29. overkillphil
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 303

    overkillphil
    Member

    I've got a stude champion 6, that would be great on as well!
     
  30. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755

    stude_trucks
    Member

    I thought it turned out pretty well and runs pretty nicely too. Didn't do much to the engine internally, but the Edmunds head is a higher compression from the stock head. I also put an elec. distributor and high voltage coil on it to get a much higher spark since LPG prefers a very good spark. It took me a long time to figure it all out because nobody was too much help around here. I could get little bits of help here and there, but putting it all together, figuring out what I needed and then getting it and making it work was a bit of a nightmare. In the end it is actually pretty simple, but getting there wasn't. It is amazing how simple it is, but how difficult it seems to be get clear directions on how to do it and how to adapt things to different configurations. Once you venture outside the range of the few known easy applications, people who seem to know what they are doing suddenly claim ignorance.

    Scotty, question: you mentioned the BBQ tank top off can adaptor. I have been trying to get one of those from my local supplier, but like before, he is a bit hard to deal with and can't seem to ever get his crap together enough to order the parts apparently. Do you have a source for where to get one of those. I really just need the fitting the would screw into the road LPG filler fitting that is on my truck. The BBQ tank, hose and fitting on that I have and easy to locate. Like the info, getting the parts should be easy, but doesn't turn out to be.
     

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