Propane Engine Tuning Tips

Save

As an alternative fuel, propane has proven better than most as a viable substitute for both gasoline and diesel. Propane injection is generally simpler and more reliable than gasoline or diesel, burns cleaner, offers lower coolant temperatures and has a very high octane level (about 110). While propane injection has its limitations, it remains the fuel of choice for many large fleet operations.

Account for the Manifold

  • Engines utilizing multi-point fuel injection, as most modern powerplants do, have intake manifolds designed to flow nothing but air. Older manifold designs such as those intended for carbureted or throttle-body injection, generally don't contain the very long and oddly-angled runners found on multi-point manifolds, angles which can easily cause fuel separation and lead to backfiring as the throttle first opens. The result is a huge torch-like jet of burning propane in the intake-a serious problem if you have a plastic manifold. If you experience backfiring due to propane injection, you can either install a multi-point injection propane setup that keeps fuel out of the manifold or utilize a throttle position switch that ensures the injection unit doesn't kick in until the throttle has opened sufficiently.

Raise Compression

  • If you're building an engine from the ground up with the intention of running propane, you should seriously consider installing higher compression pistons. Because of its very high octane, propane-injected engines can tolerate compression ratios about 1.5 to 2 points higher than those permitted by 93 octane pump gas. Higher compression will increase horsepower and torque throughout the RPM range and enhance both performance and fuel economy. Propane doesn't have the energy density of gasoline, meaning the engine requires more of it to generate the same power. Higher compression will help offset the fuel economy losses inherent to propane injection.

Use as a Supplement

  • Refilling has always been a problem for propane-injected vehicles; the fuel simply isn't available at every corner gas station. If you want the high octane, clean emissions and engine longevity of propane but don't want to worry about running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, you should consider running propane as a supplement only. Supplemental propane systems are simple, fairly cheap and easy to install and tune (especially on diesel engines). A large enough propane injection system will allow you to tune the engine for gasoline, but switch completely over to propane while cruising.

Account for Timing

  • While propane has a higher octane than gasoline, it has a much lower "flash point." As soon as the propane enters your cylinder, it's not going to wait around to burn. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing for performance, it means you generally can't use aftermarket performance chips with propane injection. Performance chips advance timing to the outer limits of what gasoline can handle, which far exceeds the safety limit for propane. You might even need to retard timing slightly to prevent "knock" and detonation.

References

  • Photo Credit Propane Tank image by John Walsh from Fotolia.com
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • Kohler Generator Problems

    Kohler generators offer wide-ranging solutions for power needs with a range of generators. There are four categories of Kohler generators: Industrial, Residential,...

  • How to Convert a Vehicle to Propane

    Safer for the environment and priced lower than gasoline, liquid propane offers a fuel alternative designed for long-range driving. While you can...

  • How to Fine Tune LPG Vaporizer

    Liquid propane gas (or LPG) vaporizers are used with consuming equipment, such as process burners, boilers, radiant heaters and BBQs. Cylinders or...

  • How to Add Propane to Gas for Mileage

    Introducing propane into an internal combustion engine as a supplement to gasoline has the potential to increase fuel mileage and lower fuel...

  • How to Troubleshoot a Propane Burnisher

    When you want a high gloss surface on your floors, propane burnishers will use friction to smooth and polish your flooring. The...

  • How to Troubleshoot a Toyota Propane Forklift

    Forklift operators are taught during training that there are some signs they need to concern themselves with when using propane forklifts. There...

  • How to Idle Down My Forklift

    Forklifts come from a variety manufacturers, and they come in a host of configurations and sizes. Some use gas as a means...

  • How to Convert Liquid Propane to Gas

    Different gases have different compression ratios. A compression ratio tells you how many cubic meters a liter of liquid yields when released...

  • Causes of Backfiring in Diesel Trucks

    The sound of a vehicle backfiring can be startling, especially if that vehicle is a diesel truck. Backfiring is not only annoying,...

  • Do it Yourself Diesel Propane Injection

    Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) is both a primary and supplemental fuel in diesel engines almost since their inception a century ago for...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How To Travel For Free With Reward Points

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!