around oz in a LPG 4wd, with young kids and camping

Submitted: Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 15:08
ThreadID: 8279 Views:2918 Replies:8 FollowUps:5
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I hope that there are but a few 4wders out there that don't own deisels and have gone the road of LPG conversion for their vehicles.
My wife and I own a 1998 GU 4.2l Patrol. We had it converted to LPG (dual fuel actually) due to running costs. This removes the primary fuel tank and replaces it with a 110l gas tank (approx 92l useable) plus the standard 35ish litre sub tank (now with a Commodore electric fuel pump to provide sufficient pressure to the injectors).
We are comtemplating giving up work for 12 + months, packing up the kids (now 18mths and 3yo) and purchasing a camper trailer for the big trip. My concern is regarding the avaialbility of vehicle LPG during such a trip as we won't necessarily want to remain with the wave of vans doing the bitumen circumnavigation. Obviously, with only 35l ULP capacity and a thirsty vehicle (before having an attached trailer!) a lot of jerries will be required if LPG is not available.

My greatest area of concern is across the Nullabor, from Perth around to Darwin (plus the associated side trips), from Adelaide to Alice then Darwin, and back between Darwin, around the Cape country and into rural QLD.

I am not in a position to update the vehicle and I also require 6 seats for my part time kids when visiting. I get approx 450km to an LPG tank and 150km to the ULP. This is without towing a trailer. As I don't have the trailer I can't provide better figures.....sorry.

I have a couple of questions regarding the LPG and the trip:

1. What sort of LPG availability is there out there and how much impact is it likely to have on the trip with respect to acquiring it in remoter localities.

2. I know that much has been said regarding camper trailers but, with two young kids, plus 2 teenagers visiting during school holidays, what are peoples recommendations. Budget is probably a concern. I know that the very expensive trailers (KK, Trak Shak, etc) will accommodate the tribe but would probably prefer a fully setup rig (with jerries, water, etc) for less than $15K

I hope to detail our families memoirs during the trip to help others wanting to travel with small kids. Expected start date Jan 05 (allows planning time)

All help appreciated

Rob
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Reply By: GUPatrol - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 15:26

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 15:26
Rob,
I own a diesel but I have traveled with with people who owned either petrol and/or gas converted vehicles and I can tell you that towing a trailer or in off road conditions petrols tend to suck more fuel comparatively.
As far as gas availablity, there seems to be a lack of gas outlets as you go inland or north...
My suggestion to you would be to just replace the current 35L original sub tank with one of those after market units 75L (I think), that way you would have gas plus a fair amount of petrol for those places where gas is not available.
Even then you will have to carry some spare jerrys in the trailer as 75L will not give you enough petrol to explore around the cape and most places inland...
Will
AnswerID: 36072

Follow Up By: roblin - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 16:50

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 16:50
Will,
I discussed the option of a large accessory fuel tank with the local ARB and Opposite Lock chaps in Toowoomba. They suggested that, due to the location of the current sub-tank, that there wouldn't be sufficient room for a larger tank of sufficient capacity. Probably 20l greater capacity. But the cost would be significant to have one manufactured ($1000 +)

Are there specific accessory tanks available for the GU that are at a reasonable price and readily available.

Rob
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FollowupID: 26016

Follow Up By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 01:57

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 01:57
20 extra leters for $1000 its cheeper to buy 1 jerry can $30 sayHave 4WD will Explore
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FollowupID: 26054

Reply By: GOB member vic - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 15:50

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 15:50
roblin
we have travelled up and downto darwin from melb via adelaide alice springs and off to ayers rock .oodnadatta marie. broken hill to tibooburra and never had a problem getting gas some places it was a bit pricey dont know about going west though.travelling with young kids is great they seem to suck up all the bits and pieces as you travel we had 3 grand kids 1st trip to alice we and they loved it, that trip youngest was 3 eldest 6 they travelled well and now want to know when its their turn to go againimagine a 03 gu 4.2tdin the picture
as i am having trouble sizing the picture
AnswerID: 36075

Reply By: cruiser - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 16:58

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 16:58
If you go to the larger company servos and ask, there is a booklet that they put out showing where their servos have LPG. Bogas and Elgas also put out a similar booklet. We used these when we went north and it was good for planning.

Also, if you use Bogas or Elgas all the time while away, we found that they usually have a sticker on the bowser that tells you how far in each direction to the next Bogas LPG.
AnswerID: 36082

Reply By: Old Jack - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 17:22

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 17:22
Rob, sounds like a good trip to do!
if you fitted the conversion back in 1998 yopu should have re-couped the cost of the conversion by now. one option may be to have the gas tank removed by a qualified gas fitter & re-fit the standard or long range petrol tank for the time you are away and simply wear the cost of petrol for the time you are away then have the gas tank re-fitted when you get back. You never know you might find someone you can borrow a standard tank off.

I am a big fan of converting cars to lpg for city work or 4wd's for towing on road but as your finding going off the beaten track it can become a real hassel. I used to work with a guy with a ford F350 that was converted to gas. it had two large gas tanks plus two large petrol tanks. 180lt of gas & 220+ lt of petrol gave it long legs on either fuel for it's size.

good luck and happy travelling
AnswerID: 36086

Reply By: Cameron - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 20:27

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 20:27
Rob check out this site for gas outlets (it is generally up to date, but we got caught at Bourke a few years back)
http://www.alpga.com.au./home/index.asp.
Generally you are OK with gas on the asphalt, but as soon as you hit the dirt you cannot find it.
We have a Patrol Dual fuel, 100l gas & 60lPetrol. We also have 4 kids and a camper trailer. We have added a 120l fuel tank to the camper to give us some range touring, and we keep the gas a reserve. Depending on conditions fuel consumption can vary quiet a lot, so we generally only run petrol when we know gas is hard to find. If you cannot get a larger tank, there are always jerry cans, not ideal, but these are the compromises one makes when going dual fuel.
When we were looking at trailers several years ago it was hard to find one that would sleep all six of us. We can sleep all six in our trailer, but it is a squeeze now they are getting bigger. Consider an oztent or something equally quick to set up to compliement tha trailer. We have one, it sets up beautifully under the awning of the camper.

I am in melbourne if you want to discuss further?
AnswerID: 36110

Follow Up By: Ferret - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 21:00

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 21:00
Hmmm. How do you get the fuel from the trailer tank to the car?(safely)
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FollowupID: 26037

Follow Up By: Member - Paul - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 02:42

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 02:42
Yes please do tell how and what sort of equip you need to make it safe. I have been looking for ages to acquire a filler handle from somewhere but can't seem to get.
Cheers and cold beers
Clarky
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FollowupID: 26055

Follow Up By: Cameron - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 21:06

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 21:06
Ferret / Paul
The tank was made by LRA in Lilydale, it uses a diaphram pump (approx 2litres/sec) mounted just ouside the tank. I installed a stone guard to protect the pump, and run a rubber fuel line (enclosed in an old corregated dishwasher pipe for added stone protection) under the trailer, with about 2-3meters excess that I run out to the car when we stop. The general process is to fuel the car at morning tea and lunch stops, running the pump for approx 15-20minutes, depending on consumption. also comes in handy to fuel the stove!. It is not set up to transfer while travelling, but is a hell of a lot better than filling from jerry cans.
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FollowupID: 26116

Reply By: Dave ....Adelaide - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 22:38

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 22:38
Rob , my wife and i travelled half way around Aust earlier this year in our GQ patrol dual fuel towing a camper trailer. We had no probs obtaining LPG at any time. The only thing was cost - some places 95 cents per litre - we actually found at times it was cheaper to run on unleaded rather than LPG. We carried 4 jerry cans on the roof rack and kept them full all of the time. The only time i was a little concerned was whilst we were on the gibb river road, but no probs. My GQ has a 92 useable litres LPG tank and 75 litre fuel tank . If i can be of any assistance , feel free to contact me at borgy@ihug.com.au.....Will give you my ph no if you want
Cheers and happy travels .............DAVE
AnswerID: 36117

Reply By: Member - Paul - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 02:52

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 02:52
Gday the LPG situation in the Norwest of WA is pretty good though a little pricey (71c/lt @ Karratha) petrol is anywhere from $1 to $1.50/lt so not too bad. It is available throughout the goldfields ( Kalgoorlie , Leinster, Mt Magnet) and most roadhouses up this way have it. Coming from east up the middle through Newman etc there are no distance worries. I will be driving my 99 GU duel fuel towing a trailer and 2 kids to SA at chrissy so will have some good mileage stats after that hike (highway all the way , time constraints).
I once had a problem on the Nullabor but that turned out to be a faulty fuel pump 100km short of norseman after i had drained my gas tank , OH JOY. Got towed in by a nice british bloke and his son. Plenty of gas across there though.
Cheers and cold beers
Clarky
AnswerID: 36138

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 12:00

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003 at 12:00
Rob,

If you're planning on getting off the beaten track to any degree, you will have trouble getting LPG in some places. Freinds touring Oz with LPG conversion have told me that on a couple of occasions they've arrived at an outback roadhouse only to be told they're out of LPG until the next truck. Same has happened to them for unleaded though. Just something to be aware of when planning. In that situation with only 35L of unleaded on board you could find yourself with no option but to wait several days or more for the truck. I would definitely plan on carrying some jerry cans of unleaded.

Regarding a campertrailer to accomodate all of you, for $15K you could get a new soft floor type camper with plenty of extra's like a pull-out kitchen, water tanks, gas bottle and jerry can holders, 12V lighting system etc. Just take your time shopping around though as the range is HUGE these days. For the kids, consider double bunk beds. This'll keep everyone off the ground and save on floor space. When the part time kids aren't visiting you might find the spare bunks a good place to keep bags, clothing and other bits and pieces off the floor too. Freinds have a triple bunk set-up for their 3 boys and swear by it.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 36168

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