How to Convert a Small Engine to Propane

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Propane gas makes for excellent juicy hamburgers when used in an outdoor grill. But that same propane also can be used to make a trip to the store to buy the groceries, too. Small-engine carburetors also can be modified for propane use in a motorcycle, lawn mower, power washer and any other task in which an engine is used. There are conversion kit manufacturers for nearly every make and model of small engine and, if you purchase the correct one, the basic steps for such conversions are quite similar.

Things You'll Need

  • Engine information: make, model and manufacturer
  • Carburetor conversion kit for your engine model
  • Spare carburetor (optional)
  • Propane tank with regulator and fuel line with proper connection nozzle
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill and drill bit set
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Socket set with extension

Remove Carburetor From Engine

  • Remove all hoses, linkages and bolts from the carburetor and gently pull it away from the engine. Be sure to cover the intake ports to prevent foreign objects from finding their way into the cylinder.

  • Locate the plastic cap covering the vacuum-fitting location and remove the old assembly, replacing it with the new assembly and cap.

  • Remove the float chamber, also called "the bowl," and its gasket. Scrape off any remains of the old gasket with a sharp-edged hobby knife if necessary. Continue removing the float by pulling out the hinge pins and putting them in a safe place.

  • Remove the needle fuel shutoff valve assembly and the fuel jet assembly.

  • Follow the instructions that came with your conversion kit. They will likely require you to enlarge the fuel delivery jet port. This procedure will require a specific-sized drill bit for your carburetor model. Proceed according to your kit instructions using caution. Use RTP to seal any unused ports or passages.

  • Install the new propane fuel delivery jet assembly into the enlarged port and fill any unused fuel supply inlets.

  • Discard any parts remaining from the old carburetor, as they will not be needed again after the conversion kit has been installed. Reinstall carburetor onto the engine, follow fuel hookup instructions and fire up your new propane-powered engine.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you feel you want to revert back to a gasoline-powered engine, you may want to consider purchasing a used carburetor and modifying that one instead of modifying the original carburetor. Put the original carburetor into storage for later use. This article paraphrases and references pictorial step-by-step instructions as found at www.theepicenter.com/tow102899.html If you are unfamiliar with small engine carburetors and their parts, it is highly recommended you use this reference to your benefit.
  • State and federal laws apply to propane-powered combustion engines just as they do to gasoline-powered engines. Always refer to industry documents, which include NFPA 38, 54 and 58 as well as all local, state and federal regulations. Always use an approved propane tank with current inspection stickers.

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