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Old 11-14-2007, 03:20 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: International Harvester
Engine: 304
Rated Cap: 60
Engine swap or alternative fuels a possibility?

Work on my Declaration of Independence continues nicely; I'm about to get body work, done, start getting ready for paint, etc, and rewiring many, many things...

The biggest downer I have about my rig is that she is powered by ga$oline. Or, should I say, ga$$$$$oline....

I'd like to swap her out for a diesel engine, and then do a WVO conversion. I have a good amount of space under the body for tankage and such, so that's not a problem.

Now, in 1971, they made about four gas engines, and one diesel, for this model of frame. So, if I found an International D354 engine, it should swap almost trouble-free, no? Or could I go for a newer engine (DT466, maybe)? Certainly, I'd prefer a more-modern engine, if I can work out how to make them trade places.

The alternative, of course, is to sell her, and get something with a diesel built in already. Or find an alternative fuels for the gas engine. Anyone tried alternatives to gasoline? Any success stories to tell?

--Dave
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Old 11-14-2007, 04:58 PM   #2
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Re: Engine swap or alternative fuels a possibility?

I am currently working on a propane small block chevy for my truck. I think that or E-85 might be a reasonable place for you to start. I know, I know...filling up can be a chore, but once you get off the interstate diesel isn't always a picnic either and since you're already thinking about WVO...well...you get where I'm going. If you want fuel you will find it.

E85 and propane seem to get a bad reputation from a mileage basis. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that they are going to need to burn more gallons to go a set distance as compared to gasoline because the energy density of both fuels is lower. However, they do benefit from higher octane. As such a person can build an engine to run on either propane or ethanol (the internals would be very similar either way but there would be small considerations) so that it makes the most of the octane available. If it is making more power via higher compression, high cylinder pressures thanks to a wide LSA cam, and because ithas the ignition advanced a lot it is going to burn less fuel.

That is kind of my stance on it...build the engine to run on alternative fuels and you should see similar power and similar mileage figures, but with a cheaper fuel and cleaner emissions. That is where the modern flex fuel vehicles kind of strike out...they inject more fuel and advance the timing as much as the computer can, but it still is an engine purpose built to run on 87 octane. The same goes for the propane conversions of 20 years ago. They took a stock engine and slapped a regulator and mixer on it and called it good enough. Sure it works...but there is more available if ya try.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:35 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: International Harvester
Engine: 304
Rated Cap: 60
Re: Engine swap or alternative fuels a possibility?

Since E85 is available exactly nowhere in my community (unless I'm willing to homebrew it....90 gallons per ton of corn; uhm... no.), propane is probably the best bet.

On my old 304 engine, adjusting the timing is a snap, of course, but modifying my compression may be more of a trick. Now, for propane conversions, where on earth can you get the parts and instruction for that? My searches talk a *lot* about really hairy regulations and such. Tankage, too, may be something of an issue; I could put it under the bus, just aft of the driver's seat, but is that the Right Answer? I'd want to wrap some sort of container around it, just to keep it from getting clobbered with road debris, for sure, and try to find a long, skinny tank, like my air brake tanks, so that it doesn't stick down so much.

--Dave
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:31 PM   #4
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Re: Engine swap or alternative fuels a possibility?

It pains me to recommend this site to you, but...

do a search (it is now open to the public) over on http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum because propane conversions are MIGHTY popular for the offroad crowd thanks to the simplicity (more so than a carb even) with the ability to run and play on hills like EFI. As for the conversion parts...there are many vendors out there, some more expensive than others. There is also always eBay. I can't see paying more than $100 for a Model E regulator and an Impco 425 mixer on eBay and then throwing a cheap rebuild kit at them. Heck, http://www.propaneguy.com sells rebuilt 425 mixers for only $80 if I recall correctly. Don't quote me on that, but I remember they were very reasonable.

As for raising your compression...well...you don't have to, but there have to be pistons available out there that will. You're going to have to get the heads off anyway to get hardened valve seats installed unless IH had the foresight to build them for unleaded in 1971. At the same time that was being done the machine shop could probably shave a few thousandths off to get you some compression that way as well, but I'd need to know more about IH gassers before I could say what that sweet spot might be.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:07 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: International Harvester
Engine: 304
Rated Cap: 60
Re: Engine swap or alternative fuels a possibility?

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
It pains me to recommend this site to you, but...
I can see why. Geez. I also ended up on http://binderbulletin.org, which was almost as bad, but I did find the information I needed.

Seems that IH 304 and 345 engines of the era were built to run either propane or gas, so they already have a moderately high compression, by design, and all you're *supposed* to have to do is tweak the timing. One fellow reported not even having to do *that* much. They came with hardened valve seats from the factory.

The group wisdom seems to be:

1. Make sure your ignition system is top-notch. Better spark = good results.
2. Be prepared to adjust the timing and/or idle settings and/or mixture. All easy adjustments.
3. Accept a *slightly* lower performance curve--which I found highly relevant in a Scout, but less so, I would think, in a 6.5 ton bus.
4. Have fun with a vehicle (the Scout/Scout II) that will run at any angle, even upside down. I'd like to see a video of that, personally.

Between that, and your device specs, I'm a happy boy. I'm looking for the Impco E regulator, 425 mixer, a VFF30 lockoff, to shut the gas off when the engine stalls out, and some sort of solenoid switch to shut off the gasoline flow and switch over to propane. Plus tank, hoses and such, right? (http://www.propaneguy.com, sure enough, has a kit for all this, for $450 Canadian, less the tank and service line. Probably, similar gear can be had elsewhere, possibly cheaper. I did find the Impco parts on eBay.)

Thanks a bunch for all the help; I think propane is the way to go, though I'm a fair ways from getting to that conversion....thinking ahead, so I can plan for tank space under the body!

--Dave
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