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Old 01-15-2019, 04:06 PM   #1
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
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propane powered 454 bus

anyone have experience with propane for large vehicles? -
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:56 PM   #2
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Location: Unity, NH
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466E (195hp, 520tq)
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I've driven the propane powered (Ford/Roush engine, 6.9?) Thomas buses our district has. They use them for trips mostly. Certainly higher revving than the diesels and less torque. Not sure what tranny they have, but they like to shift a lot.... No engine braking either. Fuel mileage is around 4-5, but the fuel is cheaper so it works out to be the same or a little cheaper than diesel, and cleaner too.

We saw a few older propane buses for sale and the ones around 15 years old stated that the fuel tanks had aged out and needed to be replaced. Not sure of the laws around this, but something to check out.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:39 PM   #3
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Location: Prince George, BC, Canada
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Year: 1974
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: CHEVROLET C60 just under 19700 lbs body#B10353
Engine: 350 ci on propane
Rated Cap: 48
I have a 1974 Chevrolet bluebird 350ci on propane. Engine will run cleaner, last longer, mileage will be about the same. It takes planning to find fuel stations. The propane system needs regular inspections. Running propane in the cold takes special setup.

It's hard to find an automotive mechanic certified for propane, but lots of forklift mechanics.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
I've driven the propane powered (Ford/Roush engine, 6.9?) Thomas buses our district has. They use them for trips mostly. Certainly higher revving than the diesels and less torque. Not sure what tranny they have, but they like to shift a lot.... No engine braking either. Fuel mileage is around 4-5, but the fuel is cheaper so it works out to be the same or a little cheaper than diesel, and cleaner too.

We saw a few older propane buses for sale and the ones around 15 years old stated that the fuel tanks had aged out and needed to be replaced. Not sure of the laws around this, but something to check out.
shouldn't be any significant difference in engine braking after a propane conversion - one of my vans was dual gas/propane ( throw a switch ) and I couldn't notice any difference in power between the two fuels - I also had a 1 ton flat deck on propane and as long as the service station was able to keep their pump going, I could fill my tanks in Yellow Knife's -40 weather - I carried a couple of 20# or 30# bottles and a siphon hose in case propane outlets were further apart than my truck could drive on a fill up - had to use them several times during my trips north and across the Canadian prairies
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:29 PM   #5
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Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
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Engine: 350 Chevy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
- one of my vans was dual gas/propane ( throw a switch ) and I couldn't notice any difference in power between the two fuels
^...That would be the only way to tour in a vehicle that uses propane as a propellant!
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:36 PM   #6
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Just for the record...


Propane = 91,600 btu's per gal
Gasoline = 115,000 btu's per gal
Diesel Fuel = 139,000 btu's per gal
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:41 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
I've driven the propane powered (Ford/Roush engine, 6.9?) Thomas buses our district has. They use them for trips mostly. Certainly higher revving than the diesels and less torque. Not sure what tranny they have, but they like to shift a lot.... No engine braking either. Fuel mileage is around 4-5, but the fuel is cheaper so it works out to be the same or a little cheaper than diesel, and cleaner too.

We saw a few older propane buses for sale and the ones around 15 years old stated that the fuel tanks had aged out and needed to be replaced. Not sure of the laws around this, but something to check out.
should only be a matter of changing the valve and a fresh certification and fresh paint to cover the scuffs and spots of rust, if any
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:45 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,008
Chassis: still looking for my bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
I've driven the propane powered (Ford/Roush engine, 6.9?) Thomas buses our district has. They use them for trips mostly. Certainly higher revving than the diesels and less torque. Not sure what tranny they have, but they like to shift a lot.... No engine braking either. Fuel mileage is around 4-5, but the fuel is cheaper so it works out to be the same or a little cheaper than diesel, and cleaner too.

We saw a few older propane buses for sale and the ones around 15 years old stated that the fuel tanks had aged out and needed to be replaced. Not sure of the laws around this, but something to check out.
should be almost the same as driving the same engine on gas - difference in power should be hardly noticeable - the factory conversion is preferable because they have different valves that last longer when running propane
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:25 PM   #9
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Join Date: Mar 2019
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If you were building a propane engine from scratch I believe you could increase the compression ratio, as I recall from 15 years ago the octane is over 100, but do your own research.
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:14 AM   #10
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Coachwork: Bluebird
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Engine: C7 caterpillar Allison automatic heavy foot
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I've wondered if you can convert a propane engine to run off a wood gasifier easily a guy on youtube runs his pickup off wood gas he gets 3500 miles a cord lol
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