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Old 12-18-2006, 05:20 PM   #1
Gyva's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mtn. Home Idaho - 1982 Superior propane powered chevy 366
Posts: 40
Hello! I need some propane knowledge, How does it work!

I have had now for about a year and a half an 82 Superior/Chevy big block school bus and am now getting it registered and back on the road. Its got a propane setup and thats what my post is about. I'm very knowledgable with engines and have rebuilt several from the bare block up, along with carb rebuilding so you do not need to dumb down your response for me ha ha... But anyways I would like to know just how the propane system works. I know theres something called a vaporizer and other mics doo dads under that hood. can someone walk me though the travel of propane from tank to eninge and whats its doing? that would be great. Like when the engine is shut off I can press the gas pedal and I dont hear a wooosh of gas being released so somewhere unders there is an electronic valve opener when I turn the key correct? or if you dont want to type, I have searched the web with no luck for a site that would teach me, could you post a link? thanks guys. I hate having a system that I dont understand how it works.. thanks so much

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Old 12-18-2006, 09:06 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
It's been a while, but i'll give it a try. first off vapor or liquid withdrawl @ the tank probably liquid on anything but an air cooled engine. the tank outlet should be permanently marked, while your at the tank look for an automatic overpressure relief valve, lp pressure changes with temp(huge changes like 250 psi) next a filter that rarely needs service, then a safety switch usually electricly actuated(ignition sw) but it uses a vacuum signal from the intake to trigger it (if the engine doesnt crank,you get no lp) next a vaporizer/regulator sometimes combined sometimes seperate, vaporizer uses engine coolant to help vaporize the lp, (basic refrigeration, the liquid to gas process has a cooling effect,) the coolant even at low temp. 30/40 f is still warmer and more efficient at exchanging heat than the ambient air is, next the pressure regulator usually has an adjustable preset and vacuum signal line that increasespressure as the engine requires more fuel and finally the carburator to meter the fuel and air.
Try to identify all of your individual components and their make and model then go online and get the paperwork for specific information, also check with the engine manufacterer if it is a factory install they will have spent lots of time and money to optimize the system and their service information is as good as you can get especially if you can access the updated electronic service database.
My experience (forklift/industrial engines)is that their are many lp component manufacturers and the systems that work best are hybred systems assembled by the engine builder/converter, you typically lose about 10%power with lp over gas but if you are bold and careful ignition timing adjustments can help to compensate some.

Caution a liquid leak is going to cause severe cold injuries and the vapors are extreemly flamable/explosive.
try to find someone to help you become familiar with your system before you try to service it yourself, an old time forklift mechanic would be a good place to start.

I hope this is helpful information
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:20 PM   #3
Gyva's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mtn. Home Idaho - 1982 Superior propane powered chevy 366
Posts: 40
awesome, the vaccum activated switch makes perfect sense to me. Just a series of saftys I got to learn and where they are located. thanks for taking to time to write that.

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Old 12-19-2006, 11:42 PM   #4
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Rossland BC, Canada
Posts: 433
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 366 propane
Rated Cap: 56
I also say a big thank you as a propane powered bus owner. Our plan is to run a dual fuel system in the next couple of years. I had a line on a good system (switch activated), but time did not allow us to go forward. It would be nice for long distance travel. It's still much cheaper to run propane here (@ 49cents a litre), but that is not the case elsewhere.

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Old 12-20-2006, 01:11 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 238
I have a 78 Ford thats propane powered, but I believe its comeing off due to finding any decent mech that KNOW what they are doing around propane...some have flat scared me and I know very little. And the fact that someone has already started the conversion for me..all I need is a carb and a fuel pump and shes off and running.
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