Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

GOT THE URGE FOR BLOWING BLACK SMOKE, NEED TOWING POWER, OR JUST WANT GREAT FUEL ECONOMY? POST UP YOUR DIESEL SWAP QUESTIONS HERE.

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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by potskie » Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:14 pm

Someone wrote:Propane and hydrogen both have the same fault. a 50 liter tank will get you 5 times farther on gasoline because they can not make containers strong enough to compress the hydrogen enough, currenly the tanks can hold close to 25000lbs of pressure but to be able to get as much mileage as you would out of a tank of gas of the same volume you would need a container that could hold over 100,000psi.

that is why you usually see propane conversions done to vans and busses and bigger vehicles as they can fit more tanks to make the range reasonable.

other than that either one works great. Hydrogen would be the optimal choice as with a small investment you can make your own... hopefully pretty soon on the fly. to run either of these fuels you have little modification, you just inject the propane/hydrogen directly into the intake, and have wide open air flow. you regulate the rpm with fuel supply. you also need to advance your timing as these fuels burn much faster and more efficiantly. on your gasoline motor your spark fires as the piston is still on its way up giving the gasoline time to ignite, so when it is at its peak combustion it pushes the cylinder back down. with the propane you have your timing almost right at top dead center because it ignites much faster. If you are running a blend you set it somewhere in the middle.

the closer you can get your injector to the intake valves the better. you can do a small experiment (at your own risk of course) with a BBQ tank and a lawnmower engine, just take the carburator right off and run a small line as far into the intake as possibe. regulate your throttle with the tank valve, or even better would be to have a valve somewhere in your fuel line. I forget how to adjust the timing on a twostroke at the moment but you can look this up in google if you really want to do it. :D
You can also buy converted lawn mower carb kits for propane and Natural gas for building generators. Pretty much all they are is a tube and regulator. Tube goes into carb and you block off all the injection ports and such and the regulator is the "throttle" They even have for a higher price vaccum operated regulators for generators so the throttle auto matically adjust up and down a bit depending on load to help keep a constant RPM.
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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by Mr_Roboto » Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:55 pm

Someone wrote:Propane and hydrogen both have the same fault. a 50 liter tank will get you 5 times farther on gasoline because they can not make containers strong enough to compress the hydrogen enough, currenly the tanks can hold close to 25000lbs of pressure but to be able to get as much mileage as you would out of a tank of gas of the same volume you would need a container that could hold over 100,000psi.

that is why you usually see propane conversions done to vans and busses and bigger vehicles as they can fit more tanks to make the range reasonable.

other than that either one works great. Hydrogen would be the optimal choice as with a small investment you can make your own... hopefully pretty soon on the fly. to run either of these fuels you have little modification, you just inject the propane/hydrogen directly into the intake, and have wide open air flow. you regulate the rpm with fuel supply. you also need to advance your timing as these fuels burn much faster and more efficiantly. on your gasoline motor your spark fires as the piston is still on its way up giving the gasoline time to ignite, so when it is at its peak combustion it pushes the cylinder back down. with the propane you have your timing almost right at top dead center because it ignites much faster. If you are running a blend you set it somewhere in the middle.

the closer you can get your injector to the intake valves the better. you can do a small experiment (at your own risk of course) with a BBQ tank and a lawnmower engine, just take the carburator right off and run a small line as far into the intake as possibe. regulate your throttle with the tank valve, or even better would be to have a valve somewhere in your fuel line. I forget how to adjust the timing on a twostroke at the moment but you can look this up in google if you really want to do it. :D
Propane is a liquified fuel. You only lose about 20% economy compared to gasoline. Ran it in the trucks at the plant I worked at. The bad part is you tended to lose power too IMO, but that's more because of the fact that you're running it in an engine designed for gasoline. With a higher static compression and more cam it should make up for it and then some.

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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by ihatemybike » Thu May 08, 2008 5:37 pm

Been thinking diesel again, wishing the wife's Liberty was a CRD. Then it hits me, Jeep has two engines that should fit. The VM Motori 2.8L I4 that was used 2005-2006 in the Liberty and the Mercedes-Benz 3.0L V6 offered in the new Grand Cherokees. Curb weight for a RWD Astro is 3865lbs, a 4x4 Liberty is 3849lbs. Close enough that I think the 2.8 would work. Even more fun would be the 3.0, as the Grand Cherokee weighs in at 4723lbs, yeah almost 1000lbs more than our vans.

Here's the engine data.
HP:
4.3 = 190 @ 4400
2.8 = 160 @ 3800
3.0 = 215 @ 3500

Torque:
4.3 = 250 @ 2800
2.8 = 295 @ 1800
3.0 = 376 @ 1600

I'm really liking the numbers for the 3.0, but the 2.8 is older and easier to find. http://www.car-part.com has several for less than $4K.

What about the trans mating though? Keep the 4L60E or use the 5 speed trans they mounted behind the 2.8?

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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by peter » Thu May 08, 2008 9:57 pm

Honestly, if I didn't hate those noisy/smelly/plugged-in-during-winter-months diesels as much as I do (or if diesel still cost roughly 1/2 the price of gasoline), I would seriously consider doing a swap just to say I tried it. But I just can't bring myself to even think of it. I drove a 97' GM 6.5 turbo-diesel and was blown away by the off-idle torque. I was also floored by the total lack of passing power at highway speeds. It sucked big time. I got old as I waited to pass the car in front of me.

Did I mention I hate diesels? :muhaha:
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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by JustSomeGuy » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:27 pm

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but I thought I'd share a few things:

1. I called a propane conversion place in Toronto, they do the majority of propane conversions in the city. He told me for my Astro to have a dual fuel propane/regular gas system, it would cost about $5000 (Canadian dollars, so could be bit more than in the US). So it would take quite a bit of driving just to break even. I figure I can buy a heck of a lot of regular gas for $5000.

In the 1990s I had a Ford Econoline 250 Cargo Van and was doing a lot of driving in it. Back then, natural gas was more popular than propane, but now it's almost non-existant. Seems I paid about $2500 back then for the conversion. Took a while to break even on it. But natural gas runs hotter than regular gas. I had several issues with that, and eventually blew a head gasket. The van itself had about 200,000 kms on it (125,000 miles) and about half of that was done on natural gas. I believe propane runs hot too, so the same could happen. Makes me leery getting a propane conversion now unless it was a factory installed unit.

2. I've thought about converting my Astro to diesel (or even getting a project van or any old vehicle to do a diesel swap). Since I'd have to pay someone else to do it, there's no way I'd be doing it to save money on fuel, even if I got all of it for free in the form of used vegetable oil. If I do a diesel swap, it would be for the fun of it and for the novelty of having a diesel powered Astro (or whatever vehicle).

For me, it would be far cheaper to just buy a diesel powered vehicle and drive that around. A few years ago, I bought a beater 5 speed '86 Volkswagen Jetta diesel (non-turbo) for $800. It ran great and was super cheap to run, even if diesel cost more than gas. Yeah, it's a car, not a truck or a van but I got my kicks driving it and sort of fulfilled my desire to drive a diesel. But I think for about $6500 you can buy a domestic full size pickup (or a diesel GM van) that's around a decade old. It would be ready for the road and good to go. You get your kicks driving a diesel without all the hassle and expense. Of course, if you like the challenge of swapping in a diesel engine into an Astro, just for the satisfaction of being able to do and have a unique vehicle, that's another story.

I get to drive diesel buses at work and in past jobs drove diesel vans (Fords and GM's) so that sort of fulfilled my desire to drive a diesel. But I admit, I still want to own another diesel. Maybe someday soon there will be a diesel vehicle parked next to my Astro.
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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by wkastro » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:53 am

2003 Astro AWD bought in January 2009
103,000 miles, Trucool 4590, ScanGageII, Michelin LTX 215/70R16, Tekonsha P3

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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by JustSomeGuy » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:22 pm

That's a nice van! I would drive it. It's not an Astro, and not too modern, but it's a diesel, in great shape for a great price and ready for the road. A whole lot less money and hassle than doing a diesel swap into an Astro. The last thing I need is another vehicle, but if I lived closer and had the cash, I'd seriously consider buying that van. Would be awesome for road trips.
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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by Coyote X » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:09 am

I still consider a 6.5 mechanical injection engine swap to be about as easy as a standard 350 swap :)

20k miles on mine so far and still chugging along just fine.

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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by 1Gary » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:20 pm

JustSomeGuy wrote:Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but I thought I'd share a few things:

1. I called a propane conversion place in Toronto, they do the majority of propane conversions in the city. He told me for my Astro to have a dual fuel propane/regular gas system, it would cost about $5000 (Canadian dollars, so could be bit more than in the US). So it would take quite a bit of driving just to break even. I figure I can buy a heck of a lot of regular gas for $5000.

In the 1990s I had a Ford Econoline 250 Cargo Van and was doing a lot of driving in it. Back then, natural gas was more popular than propane, but now it's almost non-existant. Seems I paid about $2500 back then for the conversion. Took a while to break even on it. But natural gas runs hotter than regular gas. I had several issues with that, and eventually blew a head gasket. The van itself had about 200,000 kms on it (125,000 miles) and about half of that was done on natural gas. I believe propane runs hot too, so the same could happen. Makes me leery getting a propane conversion now unless it was a factory installed unit.

2. I've thought about converting my Astro to diesel (or even getting a project van or any old vehicle to do a diesel swap). Since I'd have to pay someone else to do it, there's no way I'd be doing it to save money on fuel, even if I got all of it for free in the form of used vegetable oil. If I do a diesel swap, it would be for the fun of it and for the novelty of having a diesel powered Astro (or whatever vehicle).

For me, it would be far cheaper to just buy a diesel powered vehicle and drive that around. A few years ago, I bought a beater 5 speed '86 Volkswagen Jetta diesel (non-turbo) for $800. It ran great and was super cheap to run, even if diesel cost more than gas. Yeah, it's a car, not a truck or a van but I got my kicks driving it and sort of fulfilled my desire to drive a diesel. But I think for about $6500 you can buy a domestic full size pickup (or a diesel GM van) that's around a decade old. It would be ready for the road and good to go. You get your kicks driving a diesel without all the hassle and expense. Of course, if you like the challenge of swapping in a diesel engine into an Astro, just for the satisfaction of being able to do and have a unique vehicle, that's another story.

I get to drive diesel buses at work and in past jobs drove diesel vans (Fords and GM's) so that sort of fulfilled my desire to drive a diesel. But I admit, I still want to own another diesel. Maybe someday soon there will be a diesel vehicle parked next to my Astro.
I am absolutely 100 percent in agreement with you about fuel mods creating more heat(after all heat is the energy your seeing)and stressing OEM parts not designed for that.I don't care what people say,the hydrogen "shade tree systems" are dangerous.The early 5.7 Chevy Olds"want to be"diesels,which I owned one,are junk.Cracked head and blown head gaskets are common.
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Re: Who Is Going To Be First??.Diesel Conversion.

Post by JustSomeGuy » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:42 pm

Hmmm, well if the 6.5 with mechanical injection is as easy to swap as a 350 V8 gas, maybe I'll consider it. But down the road... would be cool to have a shorty cargo van with diesel, turbo diesel would be even better. It would be even sweeter with a 12V Cummins, but that's probably a lot more work, if there's even room for that straight 6. Again, it wouldn't be for the fuel savings, it would be for the novelty of having a diesel Astro.

And yeah, I wouldn't bother with an aftermarket alternative fuel conversion like propane, natural gas, hydrogen, etc. After my experience with the Ford Econoline (and the cost to do the conversion and the cost to rebuild the engine way too soon probably due to the higher heat it produced) wasn't worth it. Plus, there are usually very few places to do a fill-up.

Incidentally, my uncle had a front-wheel drive Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera diesel, so that would have been a 4.3 I think. Like the 350, it wasn't "born" a diesel, though he had that car from brand new in about 1983 to about 1990 and drove it coast to coast many times. Probably had 200,000 miles on it - he did a lot of driving. The only problem I'm aware he had was needing to install an extra battery, so he had one in the trunk and one under the hood. He did that when he lived in Boston, but then he moved to San Diego, and probably didn't need it there because it's warmer. Then he got a gas powered 1990 Toyota Camry, which I think he still has today!
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