LPG is it worth it

Discussion in 'Cars, Bikes 'n AFVs' started by spad, Jan 20, 2010.

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  1. The misses keeps harping on about having LPG fitted to the car, doing a bit of reasearch the figures look sound in 1 year we could save enough for it to pay for it's self and then year 2 onwards its savings all the way,

    with lpg @63p and petrol at 114p i can only see the difference getting bigger

    so is it worth it?
     
  2. Yes - but depends. I run my P38 Rangie on LPG. On a good day, with a fair wind, running on petrol might see 18-20 MPG. With LPG being so cheap you get the equivilent of high 30's MPG. Which is around the same MPG as the diesel version of my particular vintage Rangie

    There is about a 5-10% performance hit with LPG compared to Petrol for the same vehicle. When you have 180ish BHP on tap like my Rangie - no problem. It might be more noticeable on a smaller, less powerful car.
     
  3. A friend has an LPG Volvo (retrofitted, I believe) and he swears by it.

    Look at the availability of gas stations in your area and consider what happens if a future Chancellor decides he is losing too much tax!

    Litotes
     
  4. Went through exactly the same hype myself. Looking at c.18,000 miles a year, easy availability of lpg locally. Spoke to a fleet manager (1100 vehs) who had been using factory converted LPG Fords and Vauxhalls for a couple of years.

    They're not quite there yet, to recoup the instal costs you need to run on lpg from within a few seconds of starting the engine. This is fine but there was always something going wrong with them which meant switching back to petrol, eventually the downtime for maintenance exceeded the uptime for use on the road as lpg.

    Not a single lpg vehicle on the fleet now.

    You might scrape by as a private user but it could be a love affair with your toolbox / wallet. I enquired about having a small shopping car converted, many can't due to the valve head materials and it does seem the smallest you'll fiind already done will be about the size of a Focus. Plenty of big boys toys around secondhand, eg Jag or Range Rover, if you want to experiment.

    Perhaps someone has better experiences .....................
     
  5. LPG is worth it.
    The problems come when or if you want to take the vehicle abroad. Some countries don't have the LPG pumps in their garages
     
  6. In truth its cheaper to buy a car already converted to LPG in most cases.
    I was (I've let it lapse) an approved LPG installer and if the conversion can be done chea enough then you are onto a winner.
    Depends on what car it is really.
    Expect so save about 45% of your running costs and you'll be about right. Its not worth doing unless you intend to keep the car at least 3 years.
    The positive side is that the lack of carbon in LPG means your engine will wear less and last considerably longer than running on petrol.
    When I was on doing conversions a surprising amount of people wanted small shopping trollies done, I've converted everything from Renault 5's and Corsa's upto Range Rovers and big Mercedes.
    One customer had a Corsa done with the biggest tank I could jam into the boot for commuting, reckoned he was getting the cost equivelent of 110mpg....
    LPG likes big high compression engines, when you start with lots of horsepower you don't miss a few horses from the conversion but with a 1.2 Corsa its slightly more pronounced.
    Don't worry about duty increasing on LPG, its been talked about as a concern for the last 7 or 8 years and there hasn't been any real threat of it increasing. LPG retailers are careful to keep prices pretty close to half that of petrol, they know which side their bread is buttered.

    As a cautionary note, I made as much money correcting installation errors made by approved installers as I did doing conversions from scratch....
     
  7. It does have downsides as well as benefits...

    My experience comes from the Rover V8 3.5 and 3.9 EFi engines as fitted to Landies and Rangies, so not your average vehicle.

    Downsides:-
    Initial cost. This can be very high on modern fuel injected/ECU cotrolled engines.

    Insurance. Although not a legal requirement, many insurance companies will ask for a "certificate of Installation". They may also bump up your premium.

    Servicing costs. Lots of mainstream garages will not touch an LPG converted car. There are too many things for them to upset, so they don't service them. This means you have to go to a specialist, who may charge more.

    Warrenty. If you car is under manufacturers warrenty, as soon as you add LPG the warrenty is null and void.

    LPG tanks are normally bulky and take up valuable space in smaller vehicles. Also the typical range of an average LPG tank is about 150-200 miles.

    Wear on carbs. Its been noted on Landies running standard carbs that needles etc wear considerably faster when run with LPG.

    Complex. Fuel injected engines can be difficult to set up, with multi injector heads being required for the LPG system. More things to go wrong...an they can and do go wrong.

    Engine wear. There have been reports of engine wear increasing duw to LPG being a constant flame fuel rather than a detonation fuel like petrol or diesel. This means there is less "wet" fuel on the cylinder walls helping to lubricate.
     
  8. I did it to my Fiat Ducato 2.3 diesel, camper van some time ago and had the engine managment computer re-mapped at the same time I get great millage and performance and the cost is magic but not sure about small modern engines, my Fiat Punto 1200 diesel is pretty good as it is
     
  9. It seems to be quite a mixed park out there,
    since i have a new 1.6 mazda 3 its not the biggest or smallest of cars and 3 garges locally (within 50 miles) have all said it can be done with slight difference in price

    but the warranty bit and normal service is worring me with having a new car and wanting to keep the warranty,
    but the garage i'm looking at has this on there website

    Warranty
    Any existing manufacturers warranty on your car will remain in place. However, this will not cover the LPG system or any other part whose failure can be attributed to the LPG fitting. It is very important therefore that the fitter is competent both in the installation of LPG equipment and to carry out work on your car. Further, a warranty or guarantee should be supplied to cover this work.

    any expriences out there with normal garages doing the normal serivces and lpg garages doing the lpg service?
     
  10. I would be very very wary of the claim that the manufacturer will honour the warranty.
    What will actually happen is that if you get a major engine failure or engine management problem the manufacturer will claim the LPG system is the cause. LPG has different burn characteristics to petrol and the manufacturer would have some justification is disputing engine fault causes with an LPG conversion.

    LPG servicing is minor and shouldn't really be an issue. There is no reason why the vehicle cannot be serviced as normal and the LPG system serviced by the original installer. The only normal servicing item that can be affected by an LPG system is spark plug gaps are often set wider for LPG (especially on older engines), otherwise normal servicing applies.
    Older engines often have their ignition timing altered to suit the LPG too but this shouldn't really be an issue for routine servicing.
     
  11. Have you looked at a remap for the engine? For about £400-£600 you can get the mapping done to run more efficiently/more power.

    The figures for my Volvo C30 diesel are an increase of between 22 and 31% better MPG. Gives me anoother 30 bhp too.

    Some cars have even better savings/gains.

    No hassles with servicing and many dealers will honour warrenties..but check first.

    Just a thought.
     
  12. why or how could you get 30% more power and effciently surely the manufacture would set it at the best compromise between the both and you either get more power at the cost of MPG or more MPG at the cost of power?
     
  13. We had a car fitted with an Autogas LPG system and it was fine except for some garages are not insured to work on LPG systems and they just wont touch them.

    On an upside, I was very lucky that a local Calor Gas depot had an LPG dispenser / pump and was open up to public trade, the LPG was even cheaper, try them on line and there is also Flogas that will do the same.

    I do about 24 to 28 thousand miles a year
     
  14. good tip ill have to search and see if ones local,

    i know there are several garages with lpg at 63 a litre so if there cheaper.... cause most website i've looked at qoute 57 as the average.
     
  15. In Russia, where they have lots of cheap gas, about 10% of the vehicles on the road use it.