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How Propane Conversions Work

The conversion to propane is less of big deal than you might think. The engine itself will run almost exactly the same and doesn’t need to be modified. The main change is the fuel delivery system, which brings fuel from the storage tank into the combustion chamber.


The combustion chamber is where the force that runs the wheels is generated. Revolutions are created by the reciprocating (back-and-forth) motion of the motor’s pistons. This motion is powered by the carefully timed series of explosions that is your fuel igniting under heat and pressure.


These explosions are controlled by the injection system, which carefully meters the amount of fuel being injected into the combustion chamber. An explosion that generates a precise amount of force results from the fuel being vaporized as it is injected.


Converting to a propane-powered engine


The conversion requires a new fuel tank, new fuel delivery lines, new fuel rails and injectors, and a computer designed to regulate the air-to-fuel ratio for optimal combustion. None of the other existing components, like motor, transmission or ignition system need to be modified. Your motor should run almost exactly the same.


Impact on MPGs and fuel costs


The combustion properties of propane and gas are similar. If anything, propane is actually a higher octane than fuel (104 to 110 compared to an octane of 87 to 92 with gas). Your MPG will probably be a bit lower with propane. This small loss ( expect about 10%) is more than made up for by the greatly reduced cost of fuel along with other benefits.


Propane burns cleaner than gas


Propane burns cleaner. Not only does this reduce environmental impact through less emissions, it means less wear-and-tear on your vehicle. Your maintenance schedule will have to be modified. It’s difficult to quantify any specific savings on maintenance costs, but a cleaner burning fuel means less residual buildup in your motor which theoretically leads to longer life for fluids and components. And this is all minor compared to the cost savings (propane runs about 30-50% the cost of fuel) on the fuel itself.


Convert to propane at ABC Auto Repair


The conversion is a totally manageable one. If you’re in the Des Moines area, you can get conversions, and maintenance on propane vehicles, done at ABC Auto Repair. We’re already servicing commercial fleets that offer Sea-Tac Airport transportation. If you need an alternative fuel for your fleet, propane might be the right move for you. To discuss the ins-and-outs of conversion and maintenance, contact us at (206) 395-5300 or take 60 seconds to fill out our contact form and let us get back to you.

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