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Pat

$500 Propane Cargostar

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I just picked up a single axle Cargostar to pull a manure nurse tank. I was told it has the big engine, and it's propane (might be tough if I run out at the wrong spot), 5 speed trans, hydraulic brakes, and what looks like a semi rear axle (considerably larger axle than the S1954 trucks I have). It drives ok and I'm sure it will work out for hauling manure - I needed a shorter wheelbase than my tandem with 20' box. Does anybody know what kind of mileage these propane trucks get? It has a large tank (maybe 50 gallons), but I have no idea how far that will take me. Also, was the large rear axle standard on these trucks - where they heavier than the 1900 series? I'd appreciate all the info I can get. I'll check for a model number tomorrow when it's light.

Thanks, Pat

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I drove LP rig for about 10 yrs and it got just a hair under what it would on gas as far as miles per gallon. Ran smooth as long as ignition was in good shape. Bad plug wires would put it popping through carb. I used to have a Cargostar---if that's the lightweight cabover. can't remember. It was a 66 cabover with a little 304 and a 2 barrel. Had a 5 speed on the column shift with a 2 speed with shift button on the dash. Took alot of gettin used to. Most people never seen anything like it. Was heavy on front axle and light in the rear--a real off roader for sure. Cab jack was a pain in cold weather as would pump but nothing happened. Steering was ---well---should not have been on the road if right people knew it. Box had a catch in it. Make a left curve and it would stick and you had to pull wheel back to go straight again. But, that thing ran like a sewing machine. Should have never gotten rid of it. Gary

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Mine has a normal floor shifter (or at least as normal as a COE shifter can be). We hooked a 3250 manure tank on the back of it (bumper hitch style) and it tended to spin the tires. That seemed strange with all the tongue weight, but I think it's as you were saying - front heavy. I wonder if fixing up a pickup truck style 5th wheel hitch would give me better traction.

Thanks, Pat

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We have a '64 'CO with a 304 2brl, 4 spd on the column. Like you say, it runs like a sewing machine. Still use it every year to bring the crop in. We also have a truck running LP. I think it gets a LITTLE bit less for miliage. Our is a hard starter if it sit's for more than 2 days. Have experienced the popping thru the carb due to bad plugs or wires on this one too. It runs good otherwise though. Oh by the way, the cab jack on ours is a pain too, it's my aching back!!! :wacko::P

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I've heard the propane produces a lower number of BTU's per gallon when burned--something like 85% as much--compared to gasoline, hence you will get about 15% lower mpg and 15% lower power on propane.

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In my propane driving days I drove a duel fuel setup. I don't think I had 15% less but it was just enough that you could tell it. When in hilly country I'd switch over to gasoline for better pulling. Propane had it's plus points. On startup you could go back in house and let it warm up. Idle was picture perfect. On gasoline you no longer got inside --- it would start flooding out or something. gary

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I finally looked at the tag and it says it's a model 18108. I didn't have anything to write the VIN unfortunately, but what does 018108 mean?

Thanks, Pat

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I did some searching through Google and found a number of places that gave estimates of the performance of propane. The estimates were all over the place (depending upon how hard the site was pushing propane use, I think.)

Converted vehicles perform very much the same as gasoline vehicles. The most significant difference a driver may notice is a slight power loss. Propane use may result in power loss of up to 7 percent. http://www.propanecouncil.org/trade/fleet/...conversions.htm

Q. How does propane affect engine performance?

Fleet operators report horsepower and torque capability roughly comparable to gasoline. Because propane is a less dense fuel than gasoline, power might decrease slightly, but operators rarely notice this loss. Fuel economy on new engines is also comparable to that of gasoline.

http://www.npga.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=623

Before you convert their vehicle to propane, you will want to know much it will cost to drive. We know that propane has a lower specific energy than gasoline. Taking information from the US Department of Energy:

Energy Density of Gasoline 115,000 BTU/gallon

Energy Density of Propane 84,500 BTU/gallon

Ratio of Energy Densities 1.36

http://cars.rasoenterprises.com/Propane-Calc.htm

This last one indicates my estimated 15% lower BTU's for propane was optimistic. But it doesn't seem that people experience a 36% loss in power, although this last site used that for estimating what mileage could be expected from a conversion. As they say on TV, your mileage may vary!

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I have a 72 Cargostar I got that ran on gas. The original owner said at 1 time it was on propane. He gave me the carb, Carb mounting plate and water regulator. I dont have the tank so other than that what would I need if i wanted to convert it back? I know where I can get a tank. And what does the Water Regulator do?

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"Water regulator" you are speaking of is actually the vaporizer----which also acts as a pressure regulator.

The vaporizer converts liquid propane into vapor via heat from a water jacket. Engine coolant flows through the water jacket----resulting in the liquid propane vaporizing and passing through a low pressure regulator. The low pressure vapor then moves to the "mixer" (carb) and into the intake manifold.

I see a wide disparity in LP prices across the country. Based on what we pay for LP here in the Mississippi Delta----there is very little economic advantage to running LP.

We have a 89 Ford F700 with the factory propane 429 engine with low gearing------gets approx 4 mpg.

If you are really working the truck-----LP will give you a clean burning and longer lasting engine.

We have a 113 gal (liquid) tank on the F700----filled to 80% capacity; carrying approx 90 gallons of LP. Small tank = short range.

Also----lots of difference in performance based on mixer unit and vaporizers. Sounds like you have everything to switch over (providing you have right mixer & vaporizer)----just plumb it together.

The factory LP engines carried higher compresson ratios to equalize power with gasoline engines. Supposedly my 429 LP engine has something close to a 11-1 compression ratio.

It is straight propane-----no gasoline tank or carb.

Delta Dirt

Avon, Ms 38723

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I have been running propane on my pickups for over 10 years and nearly 200K combined miles so I can give you some first hand experiences notes.

With most older stock gasoline engines there will be a drop in power and fuel mileage of between 5% and 15% however that can easily be gained back with interest by using higher compression pistons or head milling plus a more aggressive camshaft profile. What would be a lumpy moderately aggressive towing cam on gasoline is a nice smooth towing cam on propane due to the faster more efficient burn characteristics especially if the compression is in the 11:1 - 13:1 range. ;)

With the bigger cam and higher compression its very common to actually see the MPG numbers and power levels pass that of gasoline on the same base engine despite the lower energy level per volume of propane. Basically propane when burned properly transforms more of its potential energy into mechanical energy than gasoline does. B)

Now with newer emission compliant engines here is the real kicker. On my Fords, my Mazda, and the two Chevys I have converted so far they have consistently shown equal power and MPG averages to slightly better performances on propane than gas.

Given the widely varying qualities of both fuels there will be times when the gasoline will show an obvious power and MPG numbers over propane and then there will be other times where good propane will easily out due cheap gasoline but for the most part modern emissions compliant engines are already running 5% - 15% or more below their capable power and fuel efficiency capacities as is so for a propane conversion its a near wash. :(

The main thing to keep in mind is that an engine built to run on gasoline is built to run on gasoline and a engine built to run on propane is built to run on propane and that any engine set up to run on both has had some level of sacrifices made to have dual fuel functionality. ;)

BTW on a mass Vs mass comparison propane and gasoline are equal in average energy density. However if you know where to shop and fill your propane its going to beat gasoline every time on the simple cost per mile comparisons and in many cases that maybe at a 2:1 and occasionally 3:1 or better savings over gasoline.

$1.21 propane here this week and $3.83 gasoline. :D

Oh ya propane can sit in its tank for 100 years and it's still good.

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Tcmtech----

Interesting point on what you are paying for propane ($1.21/gal)------where are you located??

Here in Mississippi-----we are @$2.19/gal for propane; unleaded @ $3.45+/-.

I have noted these wide price variances for past several years-----never able to understand the justification for the wide differences.

Don't have any experience on the computerized engines------but used to run several farm trucks and tractors on propane back in my farming days.

As far as switching over the Cargostar----I would want the Impco 425 mixer, and a high volume vaporizer (model E ??)-----to make sure the engine got adequate fuel.

DD

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If you go with the new liquid fuel injection systems you can easily gain HP from the same engine as compared to gasoline. When I was servicing trucks for Schwans they were buying 8.1L GM engines set to 325 HP. After switching to propane they would dyno out at 340 -345 HP. The PCMs were flashed to eliminate the fuel enrichment for cold starts and a little spark advance tweaking. The difference comes about mostly as a result of the LP vaporizing in the intake runners dropping the temperature of the air/fuel charge to about -20° F with the engine under load. On humid days it would be common to see condensation on the fuel injectors even with the engine hot from pulling the load. Under the right conditions there would even be some frost on them.

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Whatis the item behind the motor located by the vaporizer the hoses ran into it from the vaporizer. If gas can this be removed?

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Don't follow your description----

On pre-computerized installations:

1. pressure hose from tank runs to vacumn/electric solenoid switch (acts as safety shut off if engine goes dead)

(some installations may not have the solenoid valve---and go straight to vaporizer)

2. high pressure to vaporizer----then low pressure vapor to carb (mixer); feed from vaporizer to mixer may be via large suction hose; or direct mount into mixer body by pipe nipple.

Vaporizer will have inlet & outlet connectins for heater hose water flow connections.

********

I suspect that what you are describing might be a solenoid valve----that actually mounts between the tank & vaporizer???? If so---not applicable for gasoline; good to have for LP, but not absolutely necessary in order to run.

DD

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Continuing from above---

On a dual fuel set up----there would be a solenoid switch in both the LP and gasoline lines; so that as you switched one off---you switched the other on.

DD

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One of the requirements of motor vehicles running on propane is required to have a means of automatically shutting off the fuel in case of an accident. This is usually done by either using a vacuum valve that opens with vacuum supplied by the intake manifold or an electric unit controlled by either the charging system or the engine lube pressure.

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I aint got a picture of it.If I ever figure how to post pics I will put it on here. If I do enough digging I figure ill find out what it is.

figure im just going to keep it running on gas. Its what I understand but I am gonna use this opportunity to learn what I can about them. I will keep the parts as well. some additional parts may show up too. Until now ive turned my back on propane trucks or parts, Some even offered to me for free. I am gonna be more open minded.

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I can assure you that once you start to understand how they work with a system that works reliably and you start seeing the price difference per mile Vs gasoline you will be far more open minded about using it in a daily driver vehicle!

My 99 F250 Super duty four dour V10 just turned 200K the other day and since I bought it with around 130 K on it it has put on at least 50K of that with much heavy towing and all while on propane. B)

(Needs a new set of plugs now though. The Bosch platinum fours apparently only last about 25K on propane before the porcelain starts to break down and carbon track.) :(

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When servicing the propane fueled trucks for Schwans it was standard practice to replace the plugs and wires every 25.000 miles.

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