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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Default Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    I am interested in converting a portable generator to be able to run on propane also. There are conversions out there and am wondering if anyone has tried one of these? Are they a sensible way to do this or a "jerry rig" that wortks halfway? The other option is to buy a Trifuel generator already set up to run gasoline/propane/natural gas.
    Dale

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Phils's Avatar
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    Cherokee, CA
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    PT-422

    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    I converted a gen I had to propane. It had wheels and a handle but "portable" wasn't a way I'd describe it. It was an EX5500 Honda.

    I had to order the conversion kit from a local carb shop but it was easy enough to install. It's just a spacer installed on the top of the carb, with whatever modifications are necessary to space the air cleaner brackets properly. There's holes around the inside of the spacer to provide propane to the engine. You'll need to attach the hoses, adapters, fuel pressure regulators and shut off. I don't think I'd try making the kit myself.

    I've also had tri-fuel generators. Once converted to propane I usually remove the 'gas' components (like float, needle valve, etc.) and plug the carb vent lines. Currently my main gen is propane and I have a rarely-used backup that is still gas powered. Propane is certainly my preference for powering generators.

    How big of a generator?

    Phil

  3. #3
    Bronze Member
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    Aug 2004
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    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    I am thinking about converting a 9KW generator. Talked with generator folks today and they said their warranty would be voided if I put the conversion on the generator. He urged me to consider a tri-fuel by Winco. By the time you buy the conversion stuff, it is close to the price of a tri-fuel. So that is probably the way I will go.
    Dale

  4. #4
    Elite Member
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    Oct 2004
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    limerick pa lycoming county pa
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    kubota bx23

    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    I used a beam regulator to do dual conversion on my generator at my cabin the only differance from link I tapped the ports in to the carb before it for gas in and after for vacuume to regulator. bump primer about 2 times and pull (harder to start with recoil) fires right off with electric start no primer needed. if it will void your warranty get anther carb and tap it and keep orignal for backup/ warranty.

    he re is link to one with adaptor plate
    Generator Dual Fuel Propane Conversion

    tom

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    MrJimi's Avatar
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    Case 1845 C Skid steer

    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    Dale, you will want to consider the cost of conversion, the cost of propane fuel, containers for fuel and your time and running around and the usual problems that go with a ( sounds easy project )
    And the cost of the other gen.
    Jim
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  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    lower part of Md.
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    JD310, ASV RC-100

    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by MrJimi
    Dale, you will want to consider the cost of conversion, the cost of propane fuel, containers for fuel and your time and running around and the usual problems that go with a ( sounds easy project )
    And the cost of the other gen.
    Jim

    Biggest consideration (to me) would be how often generator is used. If in a standby setup or infrequent use, propane will not "go bad" in the tank nor will it gum up the carb. assembly. For a genset of that size, you could get away with using a 20lb. tank and regualtor assembly from a propane grill.

    Last kit I bought was less than 200.00 shipped

  7. #7
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
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    Grants Pass, OR
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    JD TLB 110

    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    I have been thinking about this question for a few months now, and I am coming to believe that I am better off just learning to deal with storing gasoline.

    A 5-gallon gas can is $6 at WalMart, so I can keep 50 gallons (more than enough for any short-term power outage) on hand for $60. Add in about $10 for a quart of Stabil, and I am all set. I plan to rotate the fuel, by putting about 10 gallons per month in the tank of my pickup and re-filling the cans. Since the Stabil should keep the gas good for a year, and I will refresh it at less than 6 month intervals, I don't think I have a problem.

    This has a huge cost advantage, and a second feature that I rarely see mentoned. I can imagine many types of emergencies where 50 gallons of fuel that can be used in either the generator, or my vehicle, or my chainsaw, or traded for something else, would be a lot more useful than any amount of propane, which is not usable in a vehicle.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Mar 2005
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    Palmyra WI
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    BX2230

    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    CurlyDave - you have some good reasons for deciding to go the gas route. The only thing I would also do, if you are not already going to do this, is to store that large amount of gas somewhere other than your attached garage, garage, barn, tractor shed or whatever. I would get one of those outdoor storage cabinet/minibuldings, now available in plastic, and set it up away from things I value.
    BX2230 w/ FEL to care for 21 acres of woods, hills, pasture and swamp, 800' driveway

  9. #9
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by midlf
    CurlyDave - you have some good reasons for deciding to go the gas route. The only thing I would also do, if you are not already going to do this, is to store that large amount of gas somewhere other than your attached garage, garage, barn, tractor shed or whatever. I would get one of those outdoor storage cabinet/minibuldings, now available in plastic, and set it up away from things I value.
    There is absolutely no way I would use one of those plastic buildings. Gas FUMES/VAPORS are flamable/explosive. You want to store gasoline in a sealed container but also in a well ventilated area. So you are better off storing it in something that will allow the vapors to spread and disapate such that they are not contained and explosive if you end up with any sort of a leak. It makes perfect sense (and probably is mandated by fire code) to store large quantities of gasoline in a separate structure, just make sure the structure has plenty of airflow. Remember also that gas vapors tend to pool so you want vents are the base of the storage building around the perimeter.

    As for generators, I prefer a tri-fuel unit. Most gas generators only run for about 6 hours before needing to be refilled. We had an 8 day outage during an ice storm when temps hit -20 for the lows and -5 for the highs. The generator ran nearly non-stop during that timespan and there is no way I could have stored enough gasoline to keep the house modestly warm during that time period. We were completely snowed in for the first 3.5 days of that period and thankfully had 4wd so we could get out on days 4 and 5. The streets were not actually open until late day 5. I have my generator running on Natural Gas. Should I not have access to that, I typically have 2 or 3 propane tanks on the property and should I run out of that there is typically 5 to 10 gallons of gas.




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  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    Palmyra WI
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    BX2230

    Default Re: Generator Gasoline/Propane Conversion

    Bob S - good point on ventilation.
    BX2230 w/ FEL to care for 21 acres of woods, hills, pasture and swamp, 800' driveway

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