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Old 10-15-2012, 10:16 PM   #1
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Default Looking for an LP tank for my conversion - FL

Thus far Manchester Tank is the only source I've found and they're very proud of a 110 gallon tank - to the tune of $1600. And a 48-gallon tank is not much less expensive ~$1300. Both seems pricey to me, but what do I know? Meanwhile, I've poked around on eBay but only found 30 pound horizontal tanks (meant for lift trucks).

FWIW, a gallon is about 4.2 pounds, so a typical grill bottle, e.g one taking about 20 pounds of propane is about equal to 5 gallons of gasoline. Moreover, fuel consumption between gasoline and propane seems to be close enough to call it the same (90% actually, which is close enough for government work in my view). Thus, the 6.5KW Honda we have available to convert to propane is still going to go through roughly 12-15 gallons per day, e.g. whether it's propane or gasoline.

Of course, the principal reason for desiring propane is the lack of a shelf life for the fuel. Anyway, I'm open to thoughts for a less pricey solution for a propane tank (I'm in central Florida).

Reference data:
Manchester: http://www.mantank.com/pdf/Propane%2...20Vehicles.pdf
Calculating propane use: Propane and propane generators
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:07 AM   #2
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Worthington Cylinders in Worthington, OH also makes ASME propane tanks for RV/motor fuel use.

Your generator should be set up for vapor propane (like in the RV) as opposed to liquid withdrawal (for the vehicle motor fuel), and MOST motor fuel tanks will have an outlet for both, but the opening for vapor may be plugged and you may have to have the appropriate propane valve installed. A tank designed just for RV use would only have a vapor valve. Pay attention to the mounting brackets built in or required for the tank you are buying. Some tanks are set up for floor mount, some for side frame mounting, and some use a special clamp type bracket that allows some flexibility in mounting. For example if you want to mount on the side of the frame, the floor type tank would take a bunch of work to fab an appropriate bracket to do that, and vice versa.

I would try your local propane distributors, they may have something used in the size range you are looking for.

Also, I am running an old Schwan's truck still on propane, and the guy I bought it from converts a bunch of the trucks back to gasoline before he sells them and had a large supply of tanks for cheap. They were various sizes from 60 to 120 gallons (water cap.) and all designed to mount on the side of the frame on a medium duty truck. Mine came with the 120 gallon and I bought an extra 60 gallon to add to the other side for more capacity. Here is his contact information:
Leo's Tractors - Contact Us

They also convert and sell those Schwan's chassis' in various other states, see if you can locate somebody else selling the trucks, they will have extra tanks as well. Both my tanks have a plugged vapor outlet and are set up for remote fill (tank hidden and the filler is on a hose you can mount for easy access). Only thing is all these tanks have a built in fuel pump for the electronic fuel injection, which would have to stay as it is bolted into the end of the tank, but you could just properly plug the hose and it would not be any less safe than if the hose was still hooked to the engine.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:54 PM   #3
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What engines in those Schwan's trucks? Any 350 Chevy size? Would be interesting to outfit my step van with propane too.
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:25 PM   #4
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Chevy 8.1L gas motor with factory conversion to propane. Same as the engine in my 3500 dually.

Propane prices are dropping, you're going to see people get more interested in conversions as the fuel price keeps coming down relative to gasoline. I have a wholesale guy I buy propane from here at home for $2.00 per gallon, I had to buy some at Flying J last trip at $2.99 per gallon, and I saw a TSC store here locally with $2.49 per gallon advertised. At $2.49 per gallon, figuring in the 90% efficiency you used (it's actually not quite that bad in practice) make the effective price vs. gasoline $2.75 per gallon. About a 25% savings vs. gasoline at $3.75 per gallon. Pay for the system in a year or so and bank the money after that. I'm going to convert my next dually that I'm shopping for now, the one I'm driving now has too many miles to be worth the investment.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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I spoke with Leo, nice fellow. $250 for a 60 gallon tank with brackets seems fair. However, adding in $150 for freight and another $100 to have someone certify the tank is empty so it can be shipped ups the price to 500 bucks, which is a bit more than I want to spend. It would be great if anybody coming from that neck of the woods would tote it (even if only part way) and thus, I could meet them. Meanwhile, I am poking around locally in hopes of finding one but unless omething materializes I will use an ordinary 40-gallon gas tank from a truck to run my Honda genset. However, I hate dealing with old gasoline, which soon enough turns into varnish - heavy sigh.

Anyway, any idea of the conversion kit costs for a truck like mine? My small block is 350 ci, which is about a 6L engine. Also, do conversions run on vapor or on liquid. Just from conversing with Leo I suspect I'd rather run on liquid but this may mean switching from a carburetor to FI, which isn't worth the bother - not for my old truck and the little I use it.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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I have not priced a system lately, but just google it. For a pickup look for a system using an Impco 425 carb.

All vehicle engine fuel applications run on liquid propane from the tank. A tank can only produce enough vapor for small engines, heating, etc. A carbureted application still takes liquid propane from the tank, and uses an engine mounted vaporizer that uses hot water from the engine to heat the propane and produce vapor for the engine to burn. Those systems are very simple to install, and can easily be set up to use dual-fuel where you can switch back and forth between gasoline and propane at the flip of a switch. In that case the propane carburetor mounts between the air cleaner and the factory carb, there are a number of configurations to make that work on most vehicles, and trucks have plenty of room under the hood that makes it easy.
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