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Old 06-02-2004, 17:17   #1 (permalink)
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LPG Experts?

I am beginning to get serious about building an LPG engine and would like to talk to the members of this forum who are now using LPG as their only/primary fuel source in their engine.

I intend to run straight gas. I have a car ('71 Mustang) with a 302 in it now. (This is the US 302W, not the Aussie 302C) I can either replace it with a 351C or use it as is. I've got an engine sitting around waiting to be assembled that is basically the same as my 393C but has a 3.75" stroke forged crank and alloy A3 (essentially 66cc CC 4V heads with high exhaust ports, big valves and free flowing ports) heads with titanium valves and chrome-moly roller rockers, stud girdle, etc..etc.

I guess that since this is really destined to be a daily driver, whether I should just keep the 302W in it and convert it over to gas or use the 383" stroker?

Then, what do I need for either choice? I've been having some notable "problems" working with conversion facilities here in the US. They want a minimum of $5000+ to do the conversion. I know that the parts aren't that expensive, so was really thinking about doing it myself and buying the parts directly from IMPCO or an Aussie supplier, if that's what it takes.

Any comments/remarks?

I've considered just assembling the 383 and selling it on eBay to provide funds (plus) for the conversion. I've got several 4-bolt blocks that are ready and would only need to buy pistons/rods for it and a suitable camshaft. On petrol, the 383 (with flat tops and a solid roller cam) would make 570 HP with ease. I certainly don't want or need that much power in a daily driver and definitely do not want to wash that much fuel down the carb during the commute. And, with summer officially here in Arizona (108F/42C), I don't need the added underhood heat such a beast makes. Obviously, I could just build a 351C out of one of my 4-bolt blocks, or even a 302C using an Aussie crank and rods and some 2V heads.

I guess that this leaves the options just a bit too wide open. Anyone care to help me sort out a direction to take with it? I'd probably like to have about 230 RWTQ when it is all said and done, but it doesn't really matter when driving 70 MPH for an hour at a time.

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Old 06-02-2004, 17:40   #2 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

How much traffic are you likely to be sitting in? Clevelands arn't the best motor in the world at keeping cool in traffic.
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Old 06-02-2004, 18:25   #3 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wartide
How much traffic are you likely to be sitting in? Clevelands arn't the best motor in the world at keeping cool in traffic.
Traffic is a factor, but the reason I'm building it in the first place is to be able to drive in the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle = 2+ passengers) lane with just me in the car. AFV (Alternatively Fueled Vehicles) are permitted to ride in the HOV lanes here. Average speed during rush hours tends to be at least 40 MPH except when there is a major collision or other problem.

Because our summer temperatures easily get up to 48C/118F+, cooling is always an issue. I usually buy a massive aluminium radiator and a multi-bladed heavy duty mechanical fan. I usually try to mount an auxillary electric fan in front of the air conditioning condensor to help keep the inside cooler when sitting at stop lights and such.

I've thought of running an alcohol engine (which stays very cool when running) but the cost of alcohol is much higher than petrol, which is now over $2.20 US per gallon. LPG is about $1.80/gallon last place I looked.

We have Ron Davis radiators here in the area, which are well known for their racing desert radiators. I think that I can keep it cool either way, but I'd definitely want to do it with the least possible added expensive work.

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Old 06-02-2004, 19:23   #4 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

What range do you need?

Are there many LPG supplier about?

Is you LPG liquid propane gas or liquid petroleum gas? Propane can support higher compression.

Does leglislation require a licenced installer to do the installation? Even if this is the case you can still do most of the work yourself (and to a higher standard). Fit the tank, mount the convertor, install the mixer, install the GAN line between the convertor and mixer, install the breather from the tank out the floor etc. Let the installer run the gas line and check for leaks. If you do it yourself you can generally fit a far larger gas tank.

IMPCO is made in the US, so should be easy to source.

You can run a closed loop sytem if you desire better fuel economy.
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Old 06-02-2004, 20:00   #5 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xbgs351
What range do you need?

Are there many LPG supplier about?

Is you LPG liquid propane gas or liquid petroleum gas? Propane can support higher compression.

Does leglislation require a licenced installer to do the installation? Even if this is the case you can still do most of the work yourself (and to a higher standard). Fit the tank, mount the convertor, install the mixer, install the GAN line between the convertor and mixer, install the breather from the tank out the floor etc. Let the installer run the gas line and check for leaks. If you do it yourself you can generally fit a far larger gas tank.

IMPCO is made in the US, so should be easy to source.

You can run a closed loop sytem if you desire better fuel economy.
Thanks mate. Probably too much for me to think about all at once! I need to start with just getting the parts together for the conversion and see where it leads.

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Old 06-02-2004, 20:40   #6 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

Wiring the controller in is easy as well. If you can be bothered you can have your fuel gauge read the fuel level.
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Old 06-03-2004, 20:03   #7 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

While i'm no 'expert'... i'd suggest for a daily driver to stick with the 302W.

The 351C are my favourite chioce of engine by a long way but they're thirsty and running out of LPG in the middle of nowhere means its tow truck time.

You have some of the best straight LPG kit available right there in the USA with impco. We mainly run only the 425cfm mixers in AUS but believe me they have much more capable kit than that. Its just the cost of bringing the stuff out here is simply not worth it when the Gas Reasearch is available locally and (admittedly) does have some advantages over the impco.

If you plan on going all out then i'd suggest you go for the GRA kit, but I fear you may have MAJOR problems finding someone in the USA who could properly tune it.... most places in AUS can't tune it properly as is.

$5000 US for an LPG install is criminal, there's no way in hell i'd pay that. The price for parts, even if you imported the whole kit including tank from here (totally un-nessesary because all of its available in the US) would be half that. Do you know if your local laws require a compliance plate for the LPG install to be legal?

As far as the engine goes, the cam generally needs to be 10% larger than the cam you'd use for the same application in a petrol engine. They also like cams with more overlap if possible. Single plane manifolds are a definate but If you want to run an impco carb you might have clearance problems if you go for a high rise single. A weaind X-cellerator and an impco 425 gives me less than 1" clearance, with a 1" spacer i'm through the hood.

Heads are also slightly different, unlike a petrol fuelled engine a mirror polished inlet port is better for LPG and it won't cause the fuel pooling issues that can happen at low speeds in a petrol fulled engine. Match porting is critical too.

Compression is going to depend (as xbgs351 has pointed out) on the quality of the LPG you have available there. In AUS our gas was 100% propane and they have slowly whittled it down as low as a 60% propane and 40% butane blend (from some suppliers). I've heard of 13.5:1 + compression ratios with 100% propane.... wouldn't want to try that with a 60-40 blend thats for sure!

Dizzy will also need recurving to suit LPG, also LPG tends to run a little more advance than petrol to make up for its slower burning nature.

Thats all I can think of at the moment.
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Old 06-03-2004, 21:42   #8 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
While i'm no 'expert'... i'd suggest for a daily driver to stick with the 302W.
Fine with me. It is definitely going to be a daily driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
The 351C are my favourite chioce of engine by a long way but they're thirsty and running out of LPG in the middle of nowhere means its tow truck time.
In a metropolitan area like Phoenix, with some 3m people, I'm not too worried about being in the middle of nowhere. Also, because we're such a good "snowbird" winter destination, dozens of propane outlets abound for refueling caravans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
You have some of the best straight LPG kit available right there in the USA with impco. We mainly run only the 425cfm mixers in AUS but believe me they have much more capable kit than that. Its just the cost of bringing the stuff out here is simply not worth it when the Gas Reasearch is available locally and (admittedly) does have some advantages over the impco.
Is a 425 enough for a modestly built 302W?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
If you plan on going all out then i'd suggest you go for the GRA kit, but I fear you may have MAJOR problems finding someone in the USA who could properly tune it.... most places in AUS can't tune it properly as is.
I think that for now, I'm going to tread lightly and as I figure it all out, move more into a performance nature. I have a '64 Fairlane that I could build into a nasty little propane flyer. I'd probably want to make it a quartermile car and use my 383" stroker parts laying around for it, in that case. It too has a 302W sitting in it. Those were terribly popular engines here and very inexpensive. A whole "running when parked" engine usually doesn't cost more than $100 here...maybe as much as $250 for one that doesn't have any grease on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
$5000 US for an LPG install is criminal, there's no way in hell i'd pay that. The price for parts, even if you imported the whole kit including tank from here (totally un-nessesary because all of its available in the US) would be half that. Do you know if your local laws require a compliance plate for the LPG install to be legal?
I agree with the rip-off! LPG conversions just are not very popular here. I don't know what the local laws require and I'll have to get my head around them before I'm able to do anything meaningful. The best I've gotten to understand so far is that in order to comply with the licensing requirements, the car has to be inspected. If that means, in order to complete the inspection successfully, that I have to have it install by a "certified installer" or some such thing, I'll probably give up the effort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
As far as the engine goes, the cam generally needs to be 10% larger than the cam you'd use for the same application in a petrol engine. They also like cams with more overlap if possible.
Do you have an idea of cam profiles for a daily-driven 302W in mind? I haven't "built" a daily driver in about 100 years. I've "bought" them all new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
Single plane manifolds are a definate but If you want to run an impco carb you might have clearance problems if you go for a high rise single. A weaind X-cellerator and an impco 425 gives me less than 1" clearance, with a 1" spacer i'm through the hood.
I have no problem cutting a hole in the hood or just buying a new hood with a scoop built into it. There are a lot of choices for a 302W. However, I might just build up a R302 block with a set of AFD 4V heads for a pseudo "BOSS 302."

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
Heads are also slightly different, unlike a petrol fuelled engine a mirror polished inlet port is better for LPG and it won't cause the fuel pooling issues that can happen at low speeds in a petrol fulled engine. Match porting is critical too.
That is good to know! I can definitely polish things up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
Compression is going to depend (as xbgs351 has pointed out) on the quality of the LPG you have available there. In AUS our gas was 100% propane and they have slowly whittled it down as low as a 60% propane and 40% butane blend (from some suppliers). I've heard of 13.5:1 + compression ratios with 100% propane.... wouldn't want to try that with a 60-40 blend thats for sure!
I can find out how much propane there is available at the LPG refueling stations, however, there are LOTS of propane tank filling stations here, nearly every street corner. I'd guess that these would be mostly propane and the cost is typically around $1.80/gallon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
Dizzy will also need recurving to suit LPG, also LPG tends to run a little more advance than petrol to make up for its slower burning nature.
Do you have a "springs/bushing" combination recommendation for a MSD? How about an inital versus total?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdc351
Thats all I can think of at the moment.
Sure appreciate it mate. I'll get around to putting together a parts list out of all of this!


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Old 06-04-2004, 00:00   #9 (permalink)
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Re: LPG Experts?

Quote:
Is a 425 enough for a modestly built 302W?
With the restrictor removed then it should be fine, there are heaps of people of these forums keeping healthy 351's alive with 425's.

You may like to check http://www.impco.ws/ for some more info, as I said, they have far bigger mixers available. Their main problem in australia is they've basically priced themselves out of the market with their mega-big systems and GRA has put themselves in a better position to capture the performace market.

Quote:
Do you have an idea of cam profiles for a daily-driven 302W in mind? I haven't "built" a daily driver in about 100 years. I've "bought" them all new.
I wish I could be of more assistance here, but not really knowing windsors and your prefered cam type for a daily driver i'm just guessing here!

After a quick look around the Crane Energizer Hydraulic grind 278 H10 looks nice to me, remembering LPG will tone the cam down slightly even with the advanced timing.

Quote:
Do you have a "springs/bushing" combination recommendation for a MSD? How about an inital versus total?
I don't own a MSD dizzy and don't have enough experience with them to make a call here. I just run a late model bosch electronic with the vaccuum advance module removed!

Initial vs total timing? Again with a windsor and not knowing anything else about your potential combo or the quality or your LPG over there i'm just guessing that 12-14 initial with 26-30 total. If your lucky enough to get 100% propane, the stuff is like AVGAS compared with blended which is just equal with premium unleaded. Currenly my timing is backed right off because i'm running lean up high and a lean+detonating combo sounds like a sure fire recipie for an engine rebuild sooner rather than later.

Hopefully i'll be able to scrape enough $$ together soon to get a mechanical cam and a dual GRA setup. I'd love to convert to a mech. roller but there's a snowballs chance in hell of getting that sort of cash together in the near future!
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