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Old 04-06-2014, 07:31 PM   #1
GGB
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Propane Tow Vehicle?

I am wondering if anyone here has had experience towing with a vehicle that was powered by propane? I would like to know if its as capable as a gas powered vehicle when towing.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:35 PM   #2
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Not sure of capabilities, but impractical IMO. Vehicle propane is very hard to find these days, at least in the area where I live.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:01 PM   #3
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My past experience tells me you will lose power with LPG compared to gasoline.

You also have a weight penalty.

As noted above, you will be on the side of the road in many areas out of fuel as fewer stations carry the product any more.

Go with diesel or gasoline or else you are confined metro areas.

Dave
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:32 PM   #4
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Not sure if you are thinking new, or older trucks with a conversion, but consider natural gas over propane. The Westport WING system (injected natural gas) is available on new Ford F series, tows fine, and retains dual fuel capability so you won't be stranded. Check fuel availability in the areas you will be travelling.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:54 PM   #5
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I remember back in the late 70's/early 80's when "dual fuel" motorhomes were the rage for a few months...


Our family's 1979 Itasca Sunflyer with the P-30 454 chassis had that new fangled "LP" switch on the dash to switch from gasoline to propane.


I remember shortly after buying the hulk we decided to try that "LP" system (should have been called L...POS) while driving up Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. The system consisted of a dial on the dash which you switched from "GAS" to "LP"...


Well, when that switch was set to LP, you'd have thought a bomb went off! Instant loss of power. The motorhome still propelled, albeit very slowly with a huge loss of horsepower/torque, and VERY loudly.


We made it to the next pull-off, and much to our surprise we discovered what that loud bang was...both mufflers literally exploded!


So much was our one and only excursion trying out that new fangled "LP" dual fuel option.


Not much later we ripped ALL that junk off the engine (which was a lot) and kept it in a box in the attic for a few years, thinking it might be worth something. Later we realized how worthless the system was and rightfully placed it on the corner for the garbage man to pick it up and correctly place it on top of the trash heap of history.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggoat!!! View Post
I remember back in the late 70's/early 80's when "dual fuel" motorhomes were the rage for a few months...

....Not much later we ripped ALL that junk off the engine (which was a lot) and kept it in a box in the attic for a few years, thinking it might be worth something. Later we realized how worthless the system was and rightfully placed it on the corner for the garbage man to pick it up and correctly place it on top of the trash heap of history.
I think your memories are pretty accurate. But the world has moved on from '70s era propane mixer valves, IMO. This is for CNG and not LP, but just by way of comparison, consider the benefits of electronically controlled common rail NG injectors. No power degradation. Same tow ratings. Some payload impact, but not much given the lightweight tanks. And Ford dealer sales/delivery/service.

More here for those interested, at least for the F250/F350 option.

Westport » Westport WiNG™ Power System
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:09 PM   #7
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You asked about PROPANE, not CNG!!!!!!!!!!!

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Originally Posted by jcl View Post
I think your memories are pretty accurate. But the world has moved on from '70s era propane mixer valves, IMO. This is for CNG and not LP, but just by way of comparison, consider the benefits of electronically controlled common rail NG injectors. No power degradation. Same tow ratings. Some payload impact, but not much given the lightweight tanks. And Ford dealer sales/delivery/service.

More here for those interested, at least for the F250/F350 option.

Westport » Westport WiNG™ Power System
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:39 AM   #8
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You asked about PROPANE, not CNG!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave


No, the OP asked about propane, not CNG.


You responded that he should stick to gasoline or diesel.


I responded (because he was asking about an alternative fuel) that CNG was a better bet than propane and may be worth further investigation. Even if he wants to pursue propane and not CNG, the information on the link I provided re factory modifications for alternative fuels (hardened valve seats, etc) and payback calculators may be useful.


Jeff
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:38 AM   #9
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My mistake Jeff. My post actually refereed to the OP of the thread. I should have removed reference to your post.

I also thought of suggesting the CNG option, (I have mentioned the Westport many times before) but fuel is again not available except in Metro areas. It would be not any good going to the back country to camp.

Sometimes new technology is best left for others to prove the benefit.

Dave

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Originally Posted by jcl View Post
No, the OP asked about propane, not CNG.


You responded that he should stick to gasoline or diesel.


I responded (because he was asking about an alternative fuel) that CNG was a better bet than propane and may be worth further investigation. Even if he wants to pursue propane and not CNG, the information on the link I provided re factory modifications for alternative fuels (hardened valve seats, etc) and payback calculators may be useful.


Jeff
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:35 AM   #10
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About 8 years ago, I had a propane injection system on my Duramax diesel pickup truck. I had a 34 gallon tank installed in the bed. Worked GREAT! But, alas the price of propane here in Florida went really high, so it was no longer feasible, so the injection equipment and tank were removed.

The system works great and is economical ONLY if the price of propane it about 66% of the diesel fuel price. In this area, diesel is kissing $4 and propane is now a dollar a gallon above diesel. You can save about 3 cents a mile towing, and get about 30 MPG out of your diesel fuel. Plus, it will shave 2 seconds off your 0-60MPH time!
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:02 PM   #11
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I guess I should have posted a bit more details but I didn't have all the info either until today.

The vehicles are used 2006-7 Ford E250 commercial vans with conversion for dual fuel. A friends company is downsizing and selling off quite few in their fleet at a very good price and very low mileage. They have 4 units with propane conversion and 8 units with CNG conversions. They all have the passenger bench seat in them and are the 138" WB but the standard body not the extra long ones. They all have between 40K to 70K miles and the most they are asking for $10k the one unit that has 39786 miles the others are a bit cheaper.

I am looking for a van that I can haul my dirt bike in when I go riding the trails so I figured I might haul the new trailer with it as well when I decide to take the bike on vacations. Figured if it has dual fuel it may give me longer range without refueling plus it may be a bit more economical on the pocket book.

Now that some of you have commented that the CNG would be the better option I might put a bid in for one of those units. I don't do any boondock camping at all, however, not a lot of fuel stations that would have CNG or propane would have to explore all that before I spend the cash.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:17 PM   #12
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Propane may still have an advantage over CNG because it can be re-fueled in a wider variety of locations - even the local hardware store if needed. CNG is the way to go if re-fueling locations is not a concern.


I found a link for alternative re-fueling locations. Enter your zip code and click on the drop-down to change the fuel type.


Alternative Fuels Data Center: Natural Gas Fueling Station Locations
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:09 PM   #13
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I had a Bobcat dual fuel skidster and a wet feed hose on my propane tank. Propane is about $2.70 a gallon here for home delivery. First off, the engine oil looked brand new after 150 hours of use. I did notice that I had to switch to gasoline once in awhile as the torque was down on propane. Between the EPA and insurance companies, wet feed hoses are almost nonexistent.
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