Propane or not - Diesel Truck Forum - TheDieselGarage.com
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Propane or not

My question is for those running a 7.3l 99.5 to 03 that have put propane on their truck. How do you like propane, does it give you more mileage and power, would you do it again? I want to know if it is really worht the money. Give me all your thoughts on the pros and cons please. Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 03:27 AM
 
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Glad to others interested in this topic too. I've asked the same question but haven't gotten any responses yet. I'll follow your post too.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 08:01 AM
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NOT!!

While propane in moderate use will increse power and fuel economy it's just not a good thing. The reason being is it's an uncontrolled burn. The propane is burning in the cylender before the piston gets to TDC putting added stress on your pistons, rods, main bearing, rod bearning, and crank. In moderation it's not enough extra stress to dammage parts right away but over time it can. Not to mention the huge urge to keep tweeking it up little by little to get more power until something does go pop.

The reason it is an uncontrolled burn is because it is injected into the intake stream and is in the cylender before it starts compressing the air. Once the compression gets high enough to build enough heat to ignite the propane the propane will start burning. This will be before the injection event starts and there is no way to accurately start the propane burning. Idealy the diesel being injected and burning will ignite the propane but that's just not what is happening. Propane has a lower flash point than diesel much like gas so it will start burning before the piston reaches it's full upward travel.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 06:26 PM
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Is this just a cut and paste erroneous response from those of you who do not run propane fumigation nor have any actual experience with it??
Repeating misinformation does not make it fact, although in message boards, it certainly appears to do so.


The propane does not start the burn earlier in the cylinder, it can not ignite on it's own, it needs the diesel fuel event to take place, once that happens, the idea is to burn the propane vapor present completely and take more of the diesel fuel along with it. The power and mileage gains come from this more complete burn of the diesel fuel. Not the propane. The key is to use a small controlled amount of propane.

Do some research. Here's what you will find.

Propane combusts at around 487degrees Celcius. That's about 920-1029 degrees Farenheit. What that should tell you is there is no way propane will ignite first in our combustion chamber. If it did, then diesel would have to fire off much higher than that and if that were the case none of our trucks would ever start... Diesel is not ignited by compression. The compression raises the air temp then high pressure diesel is injected into this heated compressed air and combustion occurs. More research will show that diesel has a flashpoint of 125 to 150 degrees Farenheit. But when it is atomized (at our injectors) this temperature is significantly reduced. Diesel doesn't ignite under compression.....It ignites under high temperature and pressure in an gaseous oxygen or oxide rich environment
As long as the propane is below its L.E.L. (lower explosive limit) it won't burn, on its own.. if you increase the propane flow high enough, ~10-20% you can start getting close to detonation. Most manufactured systems should not allow that high of flow.

Propane doesn't burn the diesel earlier rather it burns it faster which makes it seem like it burns earlier. Unburned heavy large molecule hydrocarbons exit the engine as soot and gaseous soot.....black smoke. Higher boost levels provide two things, more pressure to combust the fuel earlier and depending on the inlet air temperature hopefully more air density....more oxygen to burn more fuel. Propane helps achieve the same results (in a completely different manner) at lower boost levels by causing the diesel to burn faster.

Many vehicles use propane fumigation daily to increase mileage and reduce soot as well as the nice power increase it provides. Many have used it daily for years. Most of them however, are out enjoying their trucks instead of posting. Hopefully someone other than myself with "actual" experience and testimony will come along to provide some useful information for you.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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1 upped!

I thought the idea of propane was help burn the extra air left in the cylinders that doesn't mix with the diesel, without throwing a bunch more diesel at it, and then getting that Cloud of Black Smoke we all love so much?

Correct me if I'm wrong, thats a legitimate question
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 06:43 PM
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It helps burn the diesel fuel already present more completely. Which unfortunately for those that like the black smoke, clears it up considerably, except for the initial puff when at WOT, since the black smoke is mostly unburnt fuel.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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ah I see
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powershotone
Is this just a cut and paste erroneous response from those of you who do not run propane fumigation nor have any actual experience with it??
Repeating misinformation does not make it fact, although in message boards, it certainly appears to do so.


The propane does not start the burn earlier in the cylinder, it can not ignite on it's own, it needs the diesel fuel event to take place, once that happens, the idea is to burn the propane vapor present completely and take more of the diesel fuel along with it. The power and mileage gains come from this more complete burn of the diesel fuel. Not the propane. The key is to use a small controlled amount of propane.

Do some research. Here's what you will find.

Propane combusts at around 487degrees Celcius. That's about 920-1029 degrees Farenheit. What that should tell you is there is no way propane will ignite first in our combustion chamber. If it did, then diesel would have to fire off much higher than that and if that were the case none of our trucks would ever start... Diesel is not ignited by compression. The compression raises the air temp then high pressure diesel is injected into this heated compressed air and combustion occurs. More research will show that diesel has a flashpoint of 125 to 150 degrees Farenheit. But when it is atomized (at our injectors) this temperature is significantly reduced. Diesel doesn't ignite under compression.....It ignites under high temperature and pressure in an gaseous oxygen or oxide rich environment
As long as the propane is below its L.E.L. (lower explosive limit) it won't burn, on its own.. if you increase the propane flow high enough, ~10-20% you can start getting close to detonation. Most manufactured systems should not allow that high of flow.

Propane doesn't burn the diesel earlier rather it burns it faster which makes it seem like it burns earlier. Unburned heavy large molecule hydrocarbons exit the engine as soot and gaseous soot.....black smoke. Higher boost levels provide two things, more pressure to combust the fuel earlier and depending on the inlet air temperature hopefully more air density....more oxygen to burn more fuel. Propane helps achieve the same results (in a completely different manner) at lower boost levels by causing the diesel to burn faster.

Many vehicles use propane fumigation daily to increase mileage and reduce soot as well as the nice power increase it provides. Many have used it daily for years. Most of them however, are out enjoying their trucks instead of posting. Hopefully someone other than myself with "actual" experience and testimony will come along to provide some useful information for you.
That's probably the most detailed, informative piece I've read on propane on this board yet. Thanks. I took your advice, though and looked it up. On wikipedia's listing for propane the flash point (lowest temperature at which it can form an ignitable mixture in air) is listed at -104 C (-155 F) whereas the autoignition temperature (the lowest temperature at which it will spontaneously ignite in a normal atmosphere without an external source of ignition, such as a flame or spark) is 493-604 C (919-1119 F). #2 Diesel on the other hand has a flash point of 52 C (125 F) and an autoignition temperature 210 C (410 F). So now I've got the data, but I've yet to figure out what to do with it...

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powershotone
As long as the propane is below its L.E.L. (lower explosive limit) it won't burn, on its own.. if you increase the propane flow high enough, ~10-20% you can start getting close to detonation. Most manufactured systems should not allow that high of flow.

Do you mean 10% to 20% concentration in air? Supposedly the explosive limits for propane are 2.3% to 9.5% for LEL and UEL (upper explosive limit), respectively. Below 2.3% there isn't enough fuel in the air to combust; over 9.5% the fuel has displaced so much oxygen that there isn't enough oxygen to sustain combustion. #2 Diesel has LEL and UEL of 0.6% and 4.7%. Again, just more information that I don't know what to do with...

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 11:04 PM
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I know how incredibly unpopular Banks equipment is on this board, but I stumbled across this article regarding over-the-road trucks: http://www.bankspower.com/Tech_bigriglogic.cfm

One of the entries that I found interesting was about propane:

Quote:
Equally important is what we don't see on big rigs. None of them run propane injection. If propane injection truly reduced total fuel costs enough to offset the cost of injecting propane, every big rig would have it.
So, it looks like I found my answer. Say what you will about Banks. But be mindful of the fact that they've been doing it and doing it successfully for almost 50 years. You can have propane. I'm sticking with straight #2 diesel and I will look to other means (more fuel combined with more air) to make more power.

FWIW, this thread started because I asked a friend of mine to see what he could dig up on propane.

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