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Old 05-04-2022, 05:29 PM   #1
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Propane Engines vs Diesel

I am finding a lot of info on propane engines being better than gas engines but can't find anything that says if a propane engine (original, not converted) is better than a diesel. Hoping for some guidance on the following in reference to short busses:

I get that propane fuel is better than diesel or gas and a diesel engine lasts considerably longer than a gas engine... a propane engine lasts longer than da gas engine but does a propane engine last longer than a diesel?

I get that propane fuel is cheaper than gas or diesel but it takes more fuel. What is MPG with propane? Specifically looking at 2011-2012 chevy g3500 5 window school bus.

Should I shy away from propane if I am generally going long distances? Is propane is easier to find than in previous years?

Any other reasons I should stick to diesel vs propane?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-04-2022, 06:09 PM   #2
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The 3500 would be a van cutaway, so basically a 1 ton pickup truck running gear.

An automotive gas engine compared to a tractor trailer diesel will have a shorter life. However an automotive diesel compared to an automotive gas there really is not much difference in lifespan. The diesels in a van cutaway are nowhere near as heavy duty as a tractor trailer engine. Even the full size school buses do not have the durability of the class 8 trucks. So just be careful to compare the engines that are actually available for the bus you choose.

as far as propane I do not have any experience there, so really can not say. Although I do know the oil stays real clean.
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Old 05-04-2022, 06:38 PM   #3
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The big disadvantages of propane:

Lower energy density, and heavier tank weight per gallons, thus shorter range per higher efficiency overhead

Bigger one is just availability of standard refill autogas stations when roadtripping, cross country might take some planning.

Of course as BBQ gas ubiquitous everywhere, but the road tax issue plus certified dealers/techs' concerns about danger/liabilities

means you'd need to be a handy DIYer to put in a bulletproof jury-rig self-serve decanting solution sneaky enough not to raise eyebrows at the standard refill places.

The longevity advantage is very real, a motor that goes 150-200k on petrol might get to 500k on LPG.

And so clean and green, will be welcome in Cali for decades.
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Old 05-05-2022, 10:20 AM   #4
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The BBQ tank isn't going to work on a vehicle. Most vehicle systems are setup for liquid propane delivery. BBQ tanks are vapor delivery. A tank for a forklift should work it is liquid delivery. The issue with forklift is how to carry one as a spare. You're not supposed to carry propane inside a vehicle.
Being a short van type bus doing under body storage might be hard due to ground clearances.
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Old 05-05-2022, 11:41 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by PhilipE View Post
The BBQ tank isn't going to work on a vehicle. Most vehicle systems are setup for liquid propane delivery. BBQ tanks are vapor delivery
Read what I wrote. Nothing to do with running anything off the BBQ bottles directly.

DIY, sneaky, decanting are the keywords.

Yes forklift tanks can be used for the same, but not nearly as convenient at times / in places no live refilling is available, need to actually be installed.
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propane engine

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