Fuel selection for engine in mobile application

   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application #1  

agjones

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I'm building a traction unit that will be a tool carrier and hydraulic power unit for forestry and farm operations.

The engines are honda gx family electric start, often with recoil backup.

The machine will often be stationary and close to people, at times in covered but not confined spaces.... Fuel Spills could be very very problematic (think national park). These things make me ask if propane is a good fit.

The properly configured Hondas run propane no problem so my main concerns are :

Starting reliability in low Temps
Sensitivity to rugged terrain

Thanks for sharing your experience
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application #2  
Propane at about 7 deg. f. has a tank pressure of about 125 PSI... As heat goes up pressure goes up.... As heat goes down pressure goes down..... At 0 deg. f. it has a pressure of about 28 PSI.... If pressure requirements for engine are low pressure (after regulator) such as same as BBQ grill I think you are in the ball park....

propane-4.jpg


If low temperature are not a issue then propane is probably fine, they use it for power for large floor sander/grinders indoors and to power Zamboni's in ice rinks..... As with any engine, bad by products are carbon monoxide, but if used out doors it should not be issue, may want to consider how exhaust is routed....

Neighbor bought a portable generator that is "green", uses gas or propane... Just a though, best of both worlds and end user has to make the choice of fuel and not you....Only issue may be refills, might put space for extras tank on unit ... Size of tank may be issue (hours of run time and potability) for refill, but same issues with "gas"...

Only real issue is if rapid draw on tank will cause it to freeze up (gas laws), BUT I seriously doubt the Honda engine will draw enough volume to cause tank to freeze....

Dale
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application
  • Thread Starter
#3  
Thanks for the informative reply. I'm the end user for this one... And yep.

I think the temp:pressure relationship is well w/in parameters.

All the mobile applications I see are on suspiciously smooth surfaces or portable but stationary in use... Floors, ice rinks, warehouse floors etc...

Makes me wonder if there's a reason or it just cost a little more than gasoline setup so only used indoors for mobile
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application #4  
BUT you are seeing just the commercial construction side of propane usage.... As long as propane vapor is being drawn off top of tank there should be no issues, if liquid is continually splashed up to top of tank and into valve that it may be a problem BUT I would think it would take a lot of very rough handling..... There is so many things propane powered today, I don't think there will be any issues ....

There is also the liquid draw concept that units like forklifts use but you are getting into less readily available tanks and more complex fuel delivery...

Think I have even seen some rock crawlers using propane, that has to be extreme... Might be
liquid draw though...

Clayton_2008_11_29_007.sized.jpg


GOOGLE IMAGE search, "propane powered rock crawlers"

Dale
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application
  • Thread Starter
#5  
Picture worth a thousand words! Experiment on.
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application #6  
Prototype ONE... See if you can break it....

I think I would maybe more concerned about rupturing hydraulic lines or losing oil from hydraulic tank ( forest environment applications) ....

Dale
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application
  • Thread Starter
#7  
You're right about the hydraulic concerns... I appreciate your line of thought... But I work with hydraulic powered machines in the woods all the time... Hardened but always an Achilles heel... Reusable fittings have saved me a lot...its telling that i have a hose crimper on the truck.

The propane seemed like a good option... Just unfamiliar. I'll look into a dual fuel conversion setup.
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application
  • Thread Starter
#8  
BUT you are seeing just the commercial construction side of propane usage.... As long as propane vapor is being drawn off top of tank there should be no issues, if liquid is continually splashed up to top of tank and into valve that it may be a problem BUT I would think it would take a lot of very rough handling..... There is so many things propane powered today, I don't think there will be any issues ....

There is also the liquid draw concept that units like forklifts use but you are getting into less readily available tanks and more complex fuel delivery...

Think I have even seen some rock crawlers using propane, that has to be extreme... Might be
liquid draw though...

Clayton_2008_11_29_007.sized.jpg


GOOGLE IMAGE search, "propane powered rock crawlers"

Dale

I like the capacity of the forklift type tanks, but tge availability and totability of the grill type tank is ideal... Pretty long run time on a gx390 (11-13hp depending what year you ask). For the gx630 version maybe just do 2 tanks.
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application #9  
Propane is an awesome fuel source, for low load and engine speed applications it's way more reliable... they use it indoors because the CO output is lower on propane without catalysts so that is default, that's why propane engines are propane not gasoline since they're mostly used in warehouses...

Small engines usually run off of vapor withdrawl, low enough fuel requirement to get away with it and BBQ tanks are stupid safe anymore, you could say annoyingly safe depending on your situation...
 
   / Fuel selection for engine in mobile application #10  
I would make it dual fuel for winter time use you can turn the engine on with gas then switch it over to propane while its runing
 
 
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