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Tractor Transporting Discussion Forum

8.1L propane power

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Jackboot Johnson

06-10-2011 17:56:00

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Looking at a Chebbie C5500 with an 8.1L propane powered engine and Allison auto (6spd.???) It"s an ex-Schwans truck. Looking to pull a tri-axle trailer at about 17,000 total lbs. The towing and braking capacity should be fine. I"m wondering what kind of mileage to expect. What is propane per gallon right now? I can get a good deal on this truck and if I"d come out money ahead over a gasser or a diesel I"m thinking about it. What do you guys think?

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06-15-2011 08:18:30

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
have 8.1s in my propane trucks. empty weight 24000lb allison 6speed overdrive. will get 6.5 to 7 mpg on highway crusing empty. loaded 32000lb making stops and pumping 3.5mpg. schwans has their own carburation system, its similiar to a PRINS system. Schwans usally detuned the 8.1s to get better mileage, they did not need 320hp in their smaller trucks. since GM quit building medium duty trucks Schwans switched to Ford V10s on propane. propane in my area sells for 2.10gal. your propane dealer could charge motor fuel tax on top of this price depending on the state your in. some states exempt propane as an alternate fuel. many dealers will just fill your truck and list it as a recreation vehicle. Scwans has 7000 trucks on the road, all propane powered. oil changes last 8to10000 miles. spark plugs and wires do not last as long, change 30 to 40000. most problems are not propane, but electrical.

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06-14-2011 06:08:40

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
Those Schwann's trucks are set up for long hauls, running from door to door for days on end. I bet they have over 1000 miles of useful range on them or more.

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06-13-2011 20:39:27

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
i just checked into converting one of my old trucks into propayne,its a old carbureted job, [ i will not own a new truck] but the kicker came from the propayne dealer, he told me that due to gov regs, the only way you can realize money saved is to fill it from a nurse tank at home,if you drive into the propayne dealer to fill up they are required to add road tax to the propayne since its used to power a truck, not heat a house, better check into that where you live

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Jon Hagen

06-15-2011 10:41:36

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to ericlb, 06-13-2011 20:39:27  
No reason you should not pay fuel tax on your propane fueled rig. It tears up the roads as much as any gasoline or diesel powered rig, so it is a fair tax.

We have run a couple of propane powered heavy pickups for many years.
Our state (ND) allows you to estimate (MPG VS miles per year) to come up with the gallons of LP used on road per year and pay the road tax on that amount. Bulk propane price plus road tax is still a bunch cheaper than $4 per gallon gasoline.

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FC Andy

06-13-2011 18:18:02

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
Well, I can't tell you any specifics about that truck, but I was using a c5500? (I don't remember right now, it was a 25,700 gvw truck to be under CDL, anyway.) with a 366 gas hauling dirt a month ago. Truck was tipping scales at 26,000 to 30,000. (Most of the trips were in the 25-27,000 range, one was 30,000.) I made 8 trips that day, 6 miles each way, and used half of a 40 gallon tank of fuel. Works out to about 5 mpg. I hear that 8.1's in 3/4 tons get about 10 no matter what you're doing with them. I'd expect closer to 5, though, in that big of a truck. And propane engines are supposed to burn cleaner and last longer. My concern? Just like another post- Refueling it on a trip. Unless you're going to stay within 50 miles from home no matter what, you'd have fuel issues. And converting that truck to a gasser would defeat the purpose of buying it, as I'm sure you'd have a few $$ into that. I'd find a used diesel if I were you.
Just my $.02 if it's even worth that. -Andy
This post was edited by FC Andy at 18:27:03 06/13/11.

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06-12-2011 21:03:21

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
I know the mechanic who works on the Schanns trucks, he is pretty busy. All the fuel parts are unique to those trucks. They have to wait for days to get fuel system parts. They have plenty of power though, but sure are ugly! I have a Ford, but would get a Cummins Dodge, or a 550 Ford with a Cummins. I guess I am bias against LP Gas trucks. I drove one back in the 70's. It wouldn't start when it was below freezing, if you didn't plug it in. Lp gas has about 20% less btu's than Gasoline, and diesel has about 20% more than Gasoline. So it will use about 40% more than a diesel. I am sure someone on here will know the exact differences. but I am close.

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John M

06-12-2011 09:29:03

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
The 33# cylinders in our lifts last 8 - 9 hours.

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Allan In NE

06-11-2011 07:29:56

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
I used to have a 454 propane/gas convertable in my '78 4x4, 1/2 ton pickup (no overdrive).

80 gallons of propane and two tanks of gasoline (total of 117 gallon) would carry me to Omaha and back, which was well over 1,000 miles.

Had to fill up 30 miles from home on the return. Figured out to be just under 9mpg, which I thought was great for that old guzzler.

454s are drinkers, ya know. :>)


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06-10-2011 18:54:46

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 Re: 8.1L propane power in reply to Jackboot Johnson, 06-10-2011 17:56:00  
biggest problem will be to find a place to get fuel when out on the road far from home.

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