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Old 04-03-2012, 04:39 PM   #1
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Onan Marquis Genset conversion to LP

New to this forum! Wondering if anyone has converted their genset over from gas to lp. Converted one of my Briggs generators over and was really surprised how easy and how well it ran. Looking to convert the 5th wheel Onan (5.5 HGJAB) over and am looking to replace the carb on it now with a less complex carb. Will use a Impco-Garretson low pressure regulator and a fuel lock. Really a simple operation but just wondering what carb to use that won't break the bank. Jay
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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Can't help with your specific question. Just wondering if you gave this careful consideration switching fom gas to LP in an RV.

Pros: better running, cleaner burning, a bit less maintainance and longer lasting.

Cons: burns more propane compared to gas and less efficent. Much more propane space is needed to maintain the length of time you enjoy now with gas (more or bigger tanks). The price of these tanks and all the expense for the conversion. Or, make a whole lot more trips to the propane filling station.

I'm certainly not opposed to using LP and don't want to turn this into a debate. Just want to be sure you have considered everything before finalizing your decision.

If you already have everything figured out, great. No doubt someone will be along to give you a hand. Again, welcome to the Forum.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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LP conversion

I have given it alot of thought. With the genset not being used as much as I would like to, I run it about an hour, under load, every month. I keep Stabil in the tank but still feel that the carb is going to gum up sooner or later. The research that I have done shows almost the same consumption for LP vs gas so I'm not concerned about that. I have extra tanks and the 5th wheel is a toy hauler so space is not a problem. The conversion I did on my other generator (tri-fuel) really impressed me so I have been toying with the idea of this conversion. I just saw where some of the other forum members had a discussion on this very thing, but where they were having problems with LP gensets. I will have to go back and review these discussions before I make my final decision. I do alot of gold prospecting so dry camping comes into play. Also looking into solar. I appreciate your come back. Thanks, Jay
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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At least you aren't going into this blindly, not doubt you'll make the right decision based on your needs.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:01 PM   #5
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Always Room!

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Old 04-04-2012, 08:56 AM   #6
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Way back in the 1950s we converted our farm pickups to butane (another name for propane). Actual to dual fuel gasoline and butane. The reason was because untaxed farm butane cost seven cents per gallon and gas cost about $0.29 cents per gallon. The pickup got about 25 percent less MPG on butane than on gas, but it was still cost effective.

We also had butane-powered farm tractors. For the same reason. They burned a lot more butane than gas, but the total fuel cost was enough less that the savings would pay for the conversion is a short time

I still own a late-sixties Massy-Ferguson model 50 highboy that is butane only. It hasn't had a tune up for about 15 years, but it still starts right up if the battery is charged. It's pretty much retired now, used only for smoothing our long gravel driveway with a box blade after a rain. And it doesn't rain much here, so it doesn't get cranked very often.

But the economics of using butane/propane are not the same now. We use propane to heat our house and for the water heaters and kitchen range, so we have a 500-gallon tank out back. Propane costs about the same as gasoline now, when delivered in bulk at 300 to 400 gallons at a time. So there would be no savings in fuel costs. And if you have to fill the tanks at RV propane fillup places, propane costs more than gasoline. There would be a tiny bit of savings because you'd have to tune up the engine less often - you might even go 15 years between tuneups like I have on the Massey-Ferguson. And the motor oil stays much cleaner, so you don't have to change the oil as often. But given all that, if I swap my big generator for one with a different fuel than gasoline, it will be to an Onan diesel. Regardless of maintenance and oil change intervals.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:31 AM   #7
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LP conversion

I understand the cost factor. My main idea is simply the maintenance factor. Since diesel has gone up and my '06 F 350 gets about 11mpg pulling my 5th wheel, it costs me over $500 each fill-up (130 gallon tank). So I don't use it like I used to. I may go full timing so I want to keep the tri-fuel option open. I like the fact that you don't need to worry about the carb gumming up and 15 years sounds good as far as maintenance. I have several LP tanks, 100 gal, 30's and 20's so if I boondock for extended time I can hunt down a LP fill station.
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:01 AM   #8
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One other thing to consider is when you convert is you will be downgrading to a 5.0 kw. propane does not burn the same and the horsepower of the engine will be lower. As far as the carb gumming up, if you run it once a month you should be fine. If it sits for three or four months then you will have problems.
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