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Old 05-03-2004, 10:37 PM
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Talking 97 Chevy Vortech on propane??

Hi all

i have got a 97 chevy 5.7 and i am wondering what i would need to do to convert it to run on propane. Gas prices have hit $2 a gallon!!! but i work for a propane retailer so i get propane for cost and what the proane retailers dont want you to know is how cheap the stuff is my cost right now is $0.60 yes thats right 60 cents I have converted several 350 with a CARB to propane with no problum but i am unsure with the computer and all in my 97.

thanks
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Old 05-03-2004, 11:22 PM
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Lots of places on the net, Here is one I found.
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Old 06-08-2004, 05:48 PM
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Ask your boss for a R&W catalog, or Meeder. They have convertion kits that will work on your truck. You basically need a computer( msd makes one, autotronics is the branch that makes the propane stuff) and the same stuff for the older trucks for the carburetion, with a few funky adaptors to fit with the fuel injection. You will lose a little power due to propanes lower btu rating compared to gas, the restriction of the propane stuff kills it a little too. but for 1.40 savings most folks can deal with it.

Keep in mind that .60 is cheap but propane dosent move itself around for free. There is alot of overhead in a propane company. Just renewed my insurance and it is now $40,000.00 dollars higher than what I was allready paying.

Good luck

John
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:33 PM
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$.60 a gallon may seam to be a good deal at first but you also have to figure that you're going to need about a 1 1/2 gallons of propane for every gallon of gas that you would have used. Now add to that you still have to pay road tax on every gallon of propane plus in many states you have to buy a permit to use propane on public roads. Ok you're still saving little over the cost of gas. Now cough up the money for the conversion kit. How long is it going to take you to save enough to pay for the conversion kit. Oh, you also have to save enough to pay for the tank. Better have at least an 80 or 100 gallon tank because you can't fill just anywhere. Do you use your truck for hauling stuff? Your long bed just became a short bed due to the tank.
I mention the negetives because my 89 chevy had a fully functioning propane system in it when I bought it. The autotronics box made the stock computer work great. Even though I basically got the propane system and tank for free I just didn't save enough to put up with the hassle. Most people who are actually saving money are doing so because they are illegally using non road taxed propane. The tax man isn't blind to this. Many people who must use propane to heat there home have found out if they just happen to have a wet leg on their bulk tank that their dealer will no longer refill it as long as the wet leg is still hooked up.
Now if you were to happen to have your own pumping station to fill tanks with compressed natual gas your cost drops to ..... well it's much cheaper than propane but you'll get even fewer mpg and less power than propane.
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Old 06-09-2004, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tresi
$.60 a gallon may seam to be a good deal at first but you also have to figure that you're going to need about a 1 1/2 gallons of propane for every gallon of gas that you would have used. Now add to that you still have to pay road tax on every gallon of propane plus in many states you have to buy a permit to use propane on public roads. OK you're still saving little over the cost of gas. Now cough up the money for the conversion kit. How long is it going to take you to save enough to pay for the conversion kit. Oh, you also have to save enough to pay for the tank. Better have at least an 80 or 100 gallon tank because you can't fill just anywhere. Do you use your truck for hauling stuff? Your long bed just became a short bed due to the tank. .
you make a good argument and I have thought all of that through. With the past Chevy's I have converted I have noticed about 1 MPG drop. And yes there is a 10-15% power loss but that is why I do not run strait propane, if I need the extra power I just switch to gas. Also the cleaner burning propane keeps you motor allot cleaner, my dad converted his 1975 Chevy back in 1977 and that motor has nearly 250,000 and it is still running like champ and I am willing to bet if you where to tare that motor down it would be very clean. And as far as permits and road tax in my area the permit is like $100 plus like $0.13 road tax on a gallon. IF I decide to turn it in to the state I would pay $0.73 a gallon. being I am doing my part to help the environment I feel it is wrong for a state to charge you a fee for running a cleaner fuel, I know other states will reimburse you 50-60-70% the cost of the conversion but the state I live in is to greedy. I just dropped $750 for my conversion kit which means in about 7-8 months it would be paid for!!!
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Old 06-09-2004, 07:25 PM
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The only time you will notice the power loss is when you are pulling stuff or climbing hills. Like you said you can switch to gas if you need more power.
Two things to keep in mind. First when you are on propane make sure your kit disables the fuel pump( Mine didn't and the wife ran it out of gas then switched to propane and kept going, thus cooking the in tank pump). The other is keeping your engine in tune. The newer engines intakes are designed for air not a combustible mixture, and if you let the plugs and wires go your going to get a backfire problem. If you close up the gaps on your plugs to 35 and keep an eye on them you will be ok. I would also put in a cooler thermostat or get a thing called a "thermstat" to go in before your vaporizer to keep it from filling up with oil. (keeps it cooler and stops the fuel from "cracking")

Your right about propane engines lasting a long time. Since propane is dry fuel the oil stays on the cylinder walls. This makes the rings last longer and you dont get the ridge like you would on a gas engine. However since it is a dry fuel it is harder on the valves.

The only people that can really benefit from a propane vehicle are people in the industry. So If I were you I would take advantage of it.
good luck

John

Oh yeah just wanted to mention, my 94 gmc 454 gets 13 mpg on propane thats equivilant to 39 mpg on $2.00 a gallon gas.

Last edited by propaniac; 06-09-2004 at 07:30 PM.
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