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How do I Convert a Car from Gas to Propane?

By P.S. Jones
Updated May 23, 2024
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Converting a car from gas to propane can be done one of two ways. The easiest way is to take the vehicle to a qualified conversion contractor and pay to have the process done. For those who hold the proper Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification, it is also possible to perform the conversion process on one's own.

The first step is to make sure that the car in question is well maintained, and in good working condition. Starting with a well-maintained car will avoid problems further down the road. Before converting from gas to propane, check the manufacturer’s warranty conditions on the vehicle. Conversion will most likely void the warranty.

Next, choose between a closed-loop system and an open-loop system. The biggest difference is that a closed-loop system will link into the electrical system of the vehicle. It incorporates a sensor that provides continuous feedback on the performance and adjusts the fuel to air ratio based on that performance reading. An open-loop system is a less expensive option, but will not allow the driver to gauge the system’s performance.

Once the type of system is chosen, a conversion kit that is compatible with the car’s engine must be purchased. The kit will include all the hardware required, including a carburetor and tank. The electronics and software for the conversion will also be included.

The next step is to mount the liquid propane tank to the vehicle. Next, run the hoses in such a way that they will not be damaged by any road hazards. Modify the engine according to the conversion kit's instructions. Don’t forget to adjust the cam timing and compression ratio. An electronic shut off valve will also need to be installed, keeping the propane away from the engine when it is not in use, and stopping the propane from flowing in the event of an accident.

The final steps in converting the car from gas to propane are to fuel the car with propane, and to check for any leaks in the system. Be especially careful about leaks around the filter. Make any necessary adjustments to the timing. Most cars will need to be set to idle slower in order to accommodate propane use.

One of the biggest benefits of converting a car from gas to propane is the cost savings. Liquid propane can cost as little as half that of the equivalent amount of gasoline. Another advantage is the environmental effect. Using propane means fewer greenhouse gases coming from the car's emissions. All of these benefits are achieved without decreased engine performance or mileage.

There are some things to consider before making the conversion. Keep in mind that it may also be harder to find gas stations that are equipped with propane filling station. It's a good idea to research them before converting the car from gas to propane. After the conversion, be sure to keep a close watch on the spark plugs. Most of the problems in converted cars can be traced back to the spark plugs.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jan 25, 2014

I'm all for spending less money on fuel and using green fuels, but this whole propane thing reminds me of the gasahol fad on the 70s. Everyone swore gasahol was the new thing and that regular gasoline was a thing of the past, but it never caught on. Like propane, it tended to cause other problems with the cars.

I'm holding out for an electric car that runs at Interstate speeds and charges on household current. I hear progress is being made and research continues. We'll see. In the meantime, I’ll do the best I can to conserve fuel. Gas is too dang expensive to do anything else.

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