Converting car from gas to propane/natural gas?

It is a 1993 Chevrolet Caprice, V-8, 5 L engine.
I am tinkering with the idea to get the car converted from running on gas to run on propane/natural gas for the sake of money.
I am here just to get honest opinions of the people here how much it will cost me for the conversion.
Will it be worth the doing in the long run, money-wise ?
I just can not sell the car, I have a weakness for it, and oil prices are never going to come down.
Any suggestions/opinions, good folks ? Thanks in advance.

7 Responses to “Converting car from gas to propane/natural gas?”

  1. Propane Guy Says:

    There’s a few factors you need to consider. First, how is the health of the engine in this car? you should have a wet/dry compression test performed and make sure you don’t have any weak cylinders and the overall compression is decent. Propane is a very dry burning fuel compared to gasoline, and an already well worn engine won’t last long if you convert it.

    Secondly, is it economically sensible?

    How much will the conversion cost you? How much cheaper is propane than gasoline where you live? How many miles a year do you drive?

    You will probably have about a 10% loss in fuel economy when you convert. ( It certainly won’t be twice as much fuel! ) The other thing you need to consider is availability. Propane stations are not as easy to find as gasoline. Make sure you have enough stations in the areas where you travel to remain convenient.

    Here’s how to figure this mess out…

    Say the conversion cost is $3000.00
    You drive 12,000 miles a year.
    your mileage is 20mpg on gasoline.
    Gasoline is $3.50 gallon, propane is $2.50 gallon

    12,000 ÷ 20 = 600 gallons of gasoline per year X 110% = 660 gallons of propane per year.
    600 x $3.50 = $2100.00 gasoline / 660 X $2.50 = $1650.00 propane
    So you are saving $450 per year in fuel.
    $3000 ÷ $450 = 6.67 years to recover the cost of conversion.

    I don’t know if these numbers are even close to what you drive and costs in your area, but that’s how to figure it out. You will need to get local numbers and insert them appropriately. I would say $3000 is probably pretty close for a proper conversion using new parts.

    As far as drivablilty, if the conversion is done properly and the engine is in decent health ahead of time, you will notice almost no difference. A slight reduction in mileage and power, but that’s about it.

    Hope this helps! Sorry it was such a long winded answer!

  2. monkeyboy Says:

    It’s not a good idea. Yes, gas is more than propane (depending on the day of course) however propane converted gas engines get worse economy than they do as straight gas.

    *IF* you want to run on propane, you would want to build the motor from the ground up for propane, since you can run much higher compression, which SOMEWHAT makes up for the reduced power output.

    Not to mention, to get any sort of range you’d need a huge propane tank, unless you custom fit something in place of the stock tank, it would be a real bear to deal with.

  3. e40 Says:

    Youre not gonna save much money with the conversion. Better off getting a small V6 car. Cause the Propane and Natural gas just burns off faster. Now It propane was 20.9 a litre then sure it well worth it.

  4. mc Says:

    Back in the 80’s I owed a 1 ton ford deliver van. I decided to go with propane to help with fuel cost. The initial cost to have it installed at that time was around 1200.00. I used it for about 6 months. During the 6 months I burnt up 3 motors, broke down at least once a week. They changed the device on top of carb. twice , but did not help. I know the technology is better, but i’m sticking with gasoline.

  5. Rich Says:

    I have driven a van converted to natural gas. It requires a lot of tank space. It has very poor range. It would be ok in town but not on a road trip. It also makes less power. Propane I had a pickup converted to was nice. If you can just get it set up for propane alone not dual fuel it can run much better. A propane conversion is roughly about $3000. (I’m in Canada) Probably cheaper if you are in the USA. If you consider to convert go with propane in my opinion. I don’t know if I would bother converting a car to propane or natural gas unless it is only a town car. Just won’t have the room to put in a good sized tank. Natural gas stations can be hard to find as there aren’t very many of them.

  6. idontgivafork Says:

    i converted and repaired many vehicles from about 1992 to around 2003.they run forever on propane,and as far as reliability,no problems.they will use roughly twice as much fuel as a gasoline rig though.
    we got propane at around .46 cents a gallon delivered.the price went up,but that was the only reason they were economical at all.if we paid road tax on the fuel,it would not have been economical.
    the guy posting about 3 engines in 6 months?maybe you should have found a better mechanic.propane will run so clean,that oil is non detergent,and pulling them apart at 500,000 they are clean as a whistle.man they just keep running.

  7. Jesse Gallagher Says:

    are you guys kidding me ??? far out do it , you will save tones , i should know my car is on LPG gas !! my car normally 70 to fill of unleaded petrol that would get me only 400kms MAX i have a v6 and its a heavy car real fuel burner , i got the conversion costs me 38 bux to fill its same size tank as my petrol tank and lasts longer !! do it