Does an LPG 4WD belong in the bush?

Submitted: Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 23:10
ThreadID: 92914 Views:4932 Replies:14 FollowUps:12
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Hello fellow 4WD ers.

For those that have read my previous threads about my problems with an LPG Prado, and you have an LPG 4 B, this may be of benefit.
To make a long story short, injectors were clogged, and a $45 button that flicks the LPG over to ULP was buggered, IMPCO system, 3 years old.
It was frequently run on ULP as well.
Injectors cleaned, LPG removed, drives and runs like a swiss clock, and now I have decent range again.
Won't be puttin another 4B on gas!
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Reply By: GT Campers - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 23:33

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 23:33
You can hardly blame the LPG system for clogged petrol injectors!

As mentioned in your other thread, I have injected LPG on my Toyota V6 and it is sensational. Costs next to nothing to run ($60 for 400km) and I can drive 700km without filling :)
AnswerID: 481939

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:05

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:05
Yeh you can most certainly blame the LPG for the blocked injectors.

there they are sitting in the combustion chamber and not running and therefore not self cleaning.

Particularly if the LPG is a little off tune and depositing carbon......blocked injectors..oh yess easily.

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Follow Up By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:36

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:36
I agree Bantam. A tight-arse who rarely runs on petrol & doesn't maintain his car properly may very well have the injectors block up ;-)
Cheers Craig..............
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Follow Up By: GT Campers - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:03

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:03
Ummm... No.
The petrol injectors are in the intake manifold, not in the 'combustion chamber'.
LPG EFI doesn't run 'off tune' and absolutely, definitely doesn't 'deposit carbon'
LPG EFI starts and warms up the engine on petrol, so the petrol injectors are seeing regular use

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 11:20

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 11:20
Remember there is positive crank case ventilation, and that circulates oil and crap into your intake manafold and remember there may be backdraft in the intacke system when the valves open......airflow is never perfect and in one direction

If it was all perfect, you would never see deposits on the manafold side of intake valves...but you do in almost all motors run on almost all fuels and depending on the system how far the injectors are away from the valves.

Just the injectors having residual fuel in them not running and being in a hot place...the engine bay is a hot place, will cause deposits to accumulate from evaporated fuel.

Remember if the car is run on LPG, there is a real posibility that the fuel in the petrol tank is stale, unleaded has goes stale very quickly in under 90 days, stale fuel breaks down and produces among other things varnish.

Further if you think LPG is all gas and perfectly pure you are kidding yourself.

There is an injector there not doing what it is suposed to do, getting clogged is a very reasonable posibility.

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Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 00:27

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 00:27
In one respect LPG adds further complexity to an engine which means more to go wrong but like anything if a quality system is installed & maintained there is no reason it can't be run successfully in the bush.
After being a diesel owner for 26 years I now have my 1st petrol/gas 4by & so far it's all been good. The extra power has been brilliant particually on the sand & fuel cost will see the system paid for in less than 2 years. To get the range, a few jerry's need to be carried at times plus closer attention paid to consumption & distance travelled while in the desert but nothing that can't be managed.
"Does an LPG 4WD belong in the bush?" A few years ago I would have said no. Now with improved systems, engines that are better suited to gas plus more availabilty I've being converted ;-)
Cheers Craig.............
AnswerID: 481941

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:19

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:19
No I don't think LPG belongs in the bush.

You can not legally do any repairs to the LPG system, neiter can a mechanic without a gas ticket...there are plenty of mechanics in the city who don't have gas ya gona be out in Outerwhykickamoocow

That alone makes LPG a problem in the bush.

Range is a significant problem, its not like you can just carry a few jerries of LPG arround.

Yes you can refuel LPG from bottles......I have done it.....but it is a complicated process and you need to carry compressed nitrogen as well as the LPG....and the legality is um interesting.

LPG is also one of the least compact fuels to carry. LPG has a low fuel value per litre and the containers are bulky with it....basicaly it occupies arround twice the space once you get it in a container.

Due to carbon pricing polocies, LPG will continue to increase in price over the next couple of years till it is no cheaper than liquid fuels such as petrol and diesel.

Then there is the reliability of supply..sure you will get LPG in major towns and highways, but past that, forget it.

For short trips, yeh fine, but if you are talking about remote touring, forget it.

AnswerID: 481950

Follow Up By: Trev&Ness B - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:07

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:07
i know its not a 4by but i run a ute on gas for work. Was good for cost when gas was cheaper. 93 cents a litre i payed the other day. And dont get me started on how much you use as soon as you put a trailer behind. No torque in gas as those with 4bys would know and im sure that torque is wat you need to get out off those tricky spots wen in the bush. Ive also been told you should always start your car on petrol and run it for the last couple of kms on petrol before you park it, if you dont have an oil injection unit anyway,to keep the valves etc loobed up, im not amechanic but thats wat ive been told by a few good ones. im not sure about getting gas up north but that would make a big diference if you cant get it on those big trips.

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Reply By: Life Member - Phil B (WA) - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:58

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:58
Hi Grant, here's my thoughts.

It all depends what you call the bush. If its a National Park 200kms return from home, its one thing.

If its a 4000 kms round trip taking in say the CSR and Gun barrel then that's a entirely different proposition.
Where will you get LPG out there,
What if it needs repair on the track
Can you carry enough petrol to compensate not having LPG
Increased risk of spinifex fires due to increased fuel burn temps
etc etc.

Would I buy a LPG vehicle for remote off road touring - No.

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Reply By: GT Campers - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:13

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:13
Grant, I hardly think that your (misdiagnosed?) problem with a $40 switch and obviously sad petrol injectors is reason to give people the wrong idea about LPG's suitability 'in the bush '. Single fuel LPG in remote areas is as silly as a steam power bicycle however a well-specified dual fuel LPG/Petrol vehicle has many advantages for many (not all) people over both single fuel petrol and diesel vehicles
AnswerID: 481958

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 11:29

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 11:29
Hi all, this is the graph sending shivers down the spine of LPG users.Image Could Not Be Found
European winter freeze partly responsible for price hike of 20 cents in 3 months , but greedy Aussie wholesalers tacked on another 10c so my local Sydney LPG has gone from 53 to 82 cpl.Melbourne is only 73 but Darwin $1.06. OK all you guys on petrol/diesel throw your rotten eggs now. LOL I know you're not sympathetic.

My two bobs worth on above debate. I have had LPG vehicles since '91, HT Holden 186, Tarago 2litre carby then Spacia 2.4injected? and two Pathfinders 3.3 . Thought it was bullet proof until #6 injector seized open on Pathy #2 last year. Wasn't identified as such by myself nor mechanic. Should have been a mere clean injectors and replace #6 for say $500. Nearly 3 grand later and heads off, seats done and now LH rocker cover seal leaks oil.
Now if injector had gone west of Mt Isa a substantial towing fee plus van and $$$$. I was lucky that it went at home.
Overall for me I have compared a mates diesel Prado for a 10K outback trip and 15K around town. He's ahead by $300 - my petrol/gas bill is $4,300, his is $4,000.
I use the LPG tank - 65 litres - as a reserve so run on petrol using jerries if need be and estimate when to switch to gas to arrive at servo almost empty to refill... Cheers...W

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Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 11:51

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 11:51
Took so long typing that I didn't cover a few points. The Bantam is making a lot of sense, thanks for your input. And Phil G re breakdowns. In '07 on Pathy #1 in the Flinders the wire from the tank solenoid got crimped then broken when rough 4WDing caused the tank to pinch it.I.e. no gas could get out of tank. Poor installation but luckily I was able to identify it and do a running repair.
Then coming back to Alice from Chambers Pillar it kept defaulting back to petrol. That was just a loose connection where the LPG wiring left the battery. A simple fix.

But I think your bow is a bit long re spinifex fires. However a simple experiment with a thermometer on the exhaust for either fuel should sort it out.

And finally Crackles may be right when a certain lower orifice is constricted and the vehicle is not run on petrol often enough to keep the injectors clean. Enjoy your day gentlemen.....W

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Follow Up By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 14:04

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 14:04
On it's own the graph appears bad but when compared with other fuels the price difference is what matters in the long run. Over the last 2 years using Melbourne pricing from the RACV site, LPG has gone up around 10 cents, ULP up 15 & diesel 20. Yes there's going to be more tax applied in the future to LPG closing the gap but there's sufficient margin to save the cost of the install & then some.
Cheers Craig.............
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Reply By: Kimba10 - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:07

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:07
Hi there Grant, (I think I replied to your last post ??) cant remember, but there is no way I will ever go back to LPG, I would sell my 120 prado petrol V6 before I go LPG and buy a vitara if need be just so I can still get out there. I hated it, my own fault not investigating it more in regards to range I lost due to the 90L main been removed. Useless for towing or where heavy throttle was required eg towing a big load or on the beach. The guage moved that quick to the empty position was unbelievable and didnt have the torque/power on the sand. I could tell the difference big time flicking between the two while on the beach to try it out. And now as mentioned the price of the LPG starting to climb north it will take a long while to get the $$ back but the rebate has dropped since i had mine done. Certainly suits others but not myself. And now Im even noticing people with diesels always seem to be after that extra grunt (not if you own a 200 series T/D lol) and with chips been roughly $1500, exhaust the same theres 3g already that people have paid out for more power where I just plant the foot in the 120 have 179kw and 380nm torque and yes use a tad more fuel but will take me a while to use 3grands worth of fuel others have used on there T/D's to get more grunt. There is always the talk/debates of which is better in terms of running cost/servicing etc petrol/diesel/gas/diesel,gas. Ive had diesel/turbo diesel/petrols/ and at the moment am loving the petrol. Few years ago if you asked me I was all for turbo diesel only but not so much now. These new D4D's and things are to the extreme in my opinion for replacement parts,injectors,pumps if they stuff up out of warranty, WOW I'd need to apply for a loan just to get them back on the road again, BUT if I had the $$$ to back me up and could afford one, it would have to be the 200 series 60th anniversary model in T/D, what a vehicle......
AnswerID: 481966

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 20:12

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 20:12
good advice Steve, we have had one Hiace commuter 12 seater cost $9000 twice, new pump new injectors etc. Both times the culprit was water. Mind you we have a heap of Luxs and other d4ds in Commuters that have never given a problem. The 4l engine is very good on fuel when you consider all that power. We are getting a good run out of tritons but the Td is very peaky, love the older bt50s have not driven the new ones yet and dont start me on d40s lol
Cheers Pete
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 19:35

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 19:35
Happy to start you on the D40 Pete.......absolutely great car.....admittedly mine has significant aftermarket modifications but the only engine related one is a Water Watch - which has saved me twice now from significant issues following picking up water contaminated fuel. I find the car to be excellent either off the beaten track, towing my boat or towing my off road Kanga campertrailer. Never had a single mechanical issue with it and it now has nearly 100000km on the clock. I do, however, look after my cars with regular (probably too regular) servicing, cleaning and checking over all the nuts and bolts for torque settings etc. But like I said it has been a great care for me and has done everything I've asked of it and more.

I will say that it is not the off road beast that my Patrol was, nor in the same league as my son-in-law's 80 cruiser (both also with significant aftermarket fitout)....but still good off road.

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Follow Up By: Madfisher - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 23:01

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 23:01
Hope it continues to give good service, keep and ear open for timing chain rattles, about 100000ks is when they start, and if it starts to rattle do it straight away.
Cheers Pete
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:11

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:11
For someone who is city based and doing big k's and vehicle is mostly business use then it may be viable as usually business vehicles are replaced every few years and all costs are tax deductible. For a private user that cannot write costs off to tax and is actually paying for the fuel it doesn't make sense despite vehicles being kept for ten years or more. Length of ownership also brings another biggie into the equation, after ten years the gas installation has to have certain bits replaced and the tank has to be inspected which runs to over $1k at current rates which puts a huge dent in any savings. Lower power output, the hassle getting rego inspections each year (not many inspection places do gas inspections) and the problems due to the petrol side of things not being used continuously has led to quite a few lpg setups being removed from 4wd's that I know of.
AnswerID: 481967

Reply By: WBS - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:48

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:48
Re the original post;
Been there and done that and would never go there again. My experience with LPG resulted in poorer fuel economy and less range per tank, where LPG was available. For remote travel I had to rely on petrol, which defeats the whole purpose of fitting LPG.

I switched to a diesel 4wd and won't be changing from this in the near future.

AnswerID: 481970

Reply By: GT Campers - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 13:11

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 13:11
OzHUmvee, you are incorrect: Cheaper fuel and cheaper overall running costs is cheaper fuel and cheaper overall running costs - no matter what your ATO paperwork, logbook etc has written in it.

The world has moved on from busted-arse LPG systems with the technical standards of a dribbling bathroom tap... Today's EFI systems have none of the old driveability/power issues. Yes, there are tank hardware considerations, but thsi costs, what, $40 and 20 mins extra annually?!!

Kimba, it is a shame you didn't do more research (or were wrongly advised) etc when selecting your LPG hardware and hence lost your Prado's touring range. But once again, you can hardly blame "LPG" for that. If touring range is/was a priority, best practise is to install a long range petrol tank as a main, and supplement it with cheaper, gooderer LPG when in urban situations.

Warrie, mechanical maladies are part and parcel of vehicle ownership - by chance, your "LPG" problem could just have easily been a blocked petrol injector. As frustrating and expensive as that incorrect diagnosis must have been at the time, you can't blame the LPG system for this, your situation is not a reason for someone to NOT consider an LPG conversion.

Anyhow, LPG may not be for everyone, in the bush or not, but there are NO reasons why LPG can't be (and plenty of reasons why it can be) part of the hardware in an off-road/touring vehicle.

In some situations it is a better choice (for performance and costs) then OE diesel (model for model).

I think it is a shame the original poster of this (and another) thread felt he needed to sacrifice all the advantages of LPG for the sake of some routine maintenance and a $40 switch!
AnswerID: 481971

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 13:51

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 13:51
Well, there I was reading away, & absorbing the varying points of view on this gas
thing...all good stuff methinks. Then GT says you are all I'm back to square one & confused.
I agree with Ohumvee re the difference tax deductability makes to running costs,
& the failure to grasp that theory must make running a business involving vehicles
a real nightmare..IMHO...but apparently ,we are both wrong...there you go..:))))).
AnswerID: 481975

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 20:19

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 20:19
Ummm... I'm not quite sure where I've said you are "wrong" about your input to this LPG discussion Oldbaz ... did I miss something?

Humvee asserted - I think - that LPG isn't worth it unless your car is a taxable item; used in urban situations etc... this is incorrect and I said so. Yes, tax deductions makes a difference to running costs, but LPG is cheaper, whether you are claiming your vehicle or not, and whetehr you are in Canberra, Cooma or Cremorne. Full stop. Doesn't matter what the tax man takes or wants. If your vehicle is a deduction and is on LPG, you spend less so you claim less than a petrol-only vehicle, but you still end up with more in the bank on July 1. Private owners benefit, too.
As for your 'GT says you are all wrong", I regard that is incorrect and unreasonable
FollowupID: 757293

Reply By: garrycol - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 14:49

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 14:49
My truck is dual fuel has an early 90s LPG system so not the most efficent. But it runs and runs and requires little maintenance and provides out safety factor when out bush - two separate fuel systems gives a bit of piece of mind.

I have not noticed much of a loss of power in my V8 but it does use a bit more fuel on LPG compared to petrol - HOWEVER given the difference in cost of fuels it still costs a 1/3 less to run on gas - engine maintenance costs are also better because lpg burns hotter and cleaner so the oil is cleaner and there is less carbon build up.

Yes out west there are not a lot of LPG suppliers so I always take the opportunity to fill with gas - in these conditions I run on petrol until within 250km of a known LPG outlet and then switch to LPG - keeping the gas in reserve provides me with security in case I have issues with a fuel pump or something similar. I get 300km out of my LPG tank offroad and 400km on the highway.

As far as the original posters issues - these were not caused by the LPG.

AnswerID: 481977

Reply By: rags - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 20:37

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 20:37
I am lucky to have best of both worlds, i drive daily an Ford FG gas only ute, and can say i have been very impressed in its economy and performance, and looking forward to upgrading to the new injected 190kw model later this year when the current one lease is up. My weekend warrior /touring 4wd is a 120s prado 1KZ diesel,which i find has adequate power/performance ,a great touring range and suits my needs as a tourer. When i was replacing my prev V6prado i considered a 120 sV6,then gasing it ,but was turned off by other peoples experiences of gas converted car/4wds and the problems that can present with these converted vehicles . I think most of the problems can be traced back to either poor workmanship in the aftermarket fitting and or poor quality components that may be used on some conversions, like the said $40 switch part. I guess if it was a dedicated system [factory fitted] like Ford and Holden are doing that was fitted to a 4wd then i would consider one for bush travel,but to have an aftermarket kit fitted then i would want to know that the fitter was good at his trade and the kit was the best available, but then finding that out would be difficult i would imagine, especially if the industry was feed with inflated price because there is money to be made when there is a govt rebate on hand.
AnswerID: 481999

Follow Up By: Member - Grant- Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 20:25

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 20:25
Looks like I opened a can of worms!
Thanks for the feedback, luv ExplorOz for exactly that reason.
I need to clarify some points.

The car automatically started on ULP, it was a quality LPG (IMPCO) system, and it was regularly run on ULP, it would have been run a quarter at least, of its running time on ULP, as often LPG was not available where we were.
It was only 3 years old.
So there were some suggestions of being a tight so and so, not so.

Also when I say the bush, I mean the bush. We've been up to the Cape via the OTL, Dailhousie, etc, so I mean the bush.

In summary, and there will be many that disagree, I don't think LPG vehicles belong in the bush. Great for taking your kids to school however.
I would not have removed the LPG if I didn't have a sedan on LPG that takes the kids to school though.

Why do I think LPG 4 B's don't belong in the bush, well a $40 switch that changes the ULP to LPG could potentially have cost me thousands for a tow in the bush.
Poor touring range, higher running costs re maintenance. After removing the LPG my bus goes and feels like a brand new 4 B.

In my opinion, LPG 4 B'S aren't the best for the bush. However, neither are ULP vehicles. If I had a spare $50k, I'd buy a D4D!

Again, thanks for those that responded to this subject.
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Reply By: The Landy - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 07:37

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 07:37
I think this is really a ‘horses for courses’ type question. It really depends on what you want to achieve. I think Phil noted earlier it your are intending to go down the CSR, or do similar type of treks, than committing to a fuel system that you can’t get fuel for in many places is probably not the best way to go.

When we rebuilt ‘The Landy’ we looked at many options, including LPG, but it would never achieve the range we wanted if it was a combination of diesel and LPG, as LPG is not available in many of the places we would travel.

On the other hand, if by the bush you mean somewhere close by to where LPG is available, than I’m sure it would be a worthy consideration.

I doubt there is a one answer fits all questions in this instance...

Cheers, The Landy
AnswerID: 482568

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