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Pros and cons for LPG conversion

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Old May 7th, 2019, 20:31   #21
classicswede
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Have a read of this thread

https://www.volvoforums.org.uk/showthread.php?t=290215

Someone here is giving a lot of "advice" with no first hand experience
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Old May 7th, 2019, 20:47   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isettaman View Post
Hi All
I'm considering getting my 1996 850 converted to run on LPG.
Has anyone had it done?
Any pitfalls?
Are the current valve seats hard enough to resist consequential wear?
All contributions welcome.
Dave
I have converted a lot of 850's and phase 1 70 series cars. The engine you have does effect how well the system will work. 10 valve engine do not have such a smart engine management system and is harder to set the LPG system up well on.

Pitfalls, filling takes longer, Spark plugs and HT leads etc need to be in much better condition to run LPG than for petrol, you either have the spare wheel in the boot or not carry one, guys down the pub (and internet forums) will keep telling you it will ruin your engine.

Pros, fuel cost is lower than a deseasel to run, engine oil is less contaminated, emmissions are lower.

Valve seats are already hardened. After doing 100,000 miles on LPG you MIGHT find the valves are started to cut into the seats a little but likely still within wear limits.


You do need to consider the payback time. Ideally you want a 12 month payback time. With the typical cost of 5 cylinder conversion being £1200 you need to be expecting to have spent £2500 or more on petrol in the year. That would see your money back and there after you are saving money
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Old May 7th, 2019, 20:52   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicswede View Post
Have a read of this thread

https://www.volvoforums.org.uk/showthread.php?t=290215

Someone here is giving a lot of "advice" with no first hand experience
That’s a good point, you always have to watch out on forums for the keyboard warriors that don’t actually have any experience.

I myself have been in many vehicles and have close friends that own lpg vehicles. Some with good experience but unfortunately some not.
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Old May 7th, 2019, 23:06   #24
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As that thread,

https://www.volvoforums.org.uk/showthread.php?t=290215

if you're already spending money on fuel it'll be worthwhile. And it'll be worth your while to investigate how to do it well.

if you're going to deal in somebody else's lash-up, best you leave well alone. Done badly the results will at best be variable. But that's like anything else not done well, not LPG's fault. There's many poor installs out there,a dn LPG gets a poor rap for it.

If like me, you minded to put your own kit on, AND do it well, you'll definitely never regret it. If you're looking for a pro, look hard, and be sure you've got the right one.
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Old May 8th, 2019, 00:58   #25
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Originally Posted by classicswede View Post
I have converted a lot of 850's and phase 1 70 series cars. The engine you have does effect how well the system will work. 10 valve engine do not have such a smart engine management system and is harder to set the LPG system up well on.

Pitfalls, filling takes longer, Spark plugs and HT leads etc need to be in much better condition to run LPG than for petrol, you either have the spare wheel in the boot or not carry one, guys down the pub (and internet forums) will keep telling you it will ruin your engine.

Pros, fuel cost is lower than a deseasel to run, engine oil is less contaminated, emmissions are lower.

Valve seats are already hardened. After doing 100,000 miles on LPG you MIGHT find the valves are started to cut into the seats a little but likely still within wear limits.


You do need to consider the payback time. Ideally you want a 12 month payback time. With the typical cost of 5 cylinder conversion being £1200 you need to be expecting to have spent £2500 or more on petrol in the year. That would see your money back and there after you are saving money
On the subject of installation cost

I have been quoted £1650 from a chap who works in a back yard and £1700 from a professional LPG installer. A bit higher than I was anticipating.
Also, I've been informed that my engine was built as a dual fuel unit and is used as such in other models as factory fitted.

Payback can be debated at length but as I'm intending to keep the car for some years to come it's not a great issue for me.
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Old May 12th, 2019, 13:21   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isettaman View Post
Payback can be debated at length but as I'm intending to keep the car for some years to come it's not a great issue for me.
I'll share my experience, apologies for what may end up being a shaggy dog story.

My wife and I consciously bought a Volvo when we had our two golden retriever puppies and with an intention to start a family of our own. I was impressed by the pull down child seat in the middle rear but figured we'd never get around to using that as we hadn't even spawned sprog mk1 by that time and it was going to be have to be some years before being old enough to sit in that seat.

We loved the Volvo for everything that it did, comfort, space, equipment etc. The *only* bug bear started to become that of fuel economy and at around 28mpg was starting to get towards the "How much?!" at the filling pump.

The car had done 112,000 miles (bought at 60,000 miles, 4 years old at the time) and at such a "high" mileage I wondered about the merits of getting it done but we went ahead anyway on the basis that as others have said, if you do the miles for the ROI and then a bit more, you have at least saved something. The rationale was that the car had always been well maintained, everything worked and had always been kept working. The interior was still excellent, it was just that mileage.

To solve this problem would have meant changing a perfectly good car that we were already happy with, just to essentially swap to a diesel Volvo at the time and this would have cost more than the conversion and to then change to a car of unknown personal history, so that was the driving factor.

We had a few problems, the EML came on but that was just a "burp" at LPG changeover so no big issue. The next problem was that of the system itself. The LPG injectors of the type were supposed to be serviced with a kit that became unavailable and this lifetime was described as, forgive my memory here but I think each 10,000 miles? The parts were cheap...but became obsolete.

The pleasure of more than halving that fuel cost though was sweet and the EEPMPG (Effective Equivalent Petrol MPG - I just made this up by the way) came to about 56 vs the old 28.

The story doesn't end there though, to our surprise, not only did we get to put sprog mk1 through the built in child seat but then also sprog mk2. Sprog mk1 is now nearly 20 years old and sprog mk2 17.

The story still doesn't end there...we still have the car. It is a 1994 850, which was converted in early 2000's and of much newer cars on the drive is still the one of choice for the children as it is the most comfortable for them.

It's not the fastest, it's not the most sporty of the cars on the drive but, as a lowly underpowered 2.0 non turbo, it does nothing exceptionally but everything perfectly and because of its age, it has acquired the expected dings and scrapes but that makes it the perfect, cheap to run, go-to car to put in supermarket car parks and is presently sitting in Heathrow car park on yet another airport run.

I get 45p per mile so it's a nice little earner and given that I can do a routine service that costs next to nothing and depreciation is absolutely zero. In fact, the conversation with the insurance agent this year went along the lines of:-

"What's the current value of the car?"

To which my response was "Do you want me to base that on it having new tyres and a full tank of fuel or not?"

In the next month it'll turn 300,000 miles, of which other than the first 112,000 the majority of the rest will have been on LPG and only on the second set of LPG injectors. They will die at one point but i'll tackle that when it comes to it. Other than this, the only LPG related problems are the EML which I can just clear prior to an MOT. It's always the same issue triggered by an LPG changeover burp so i'm not fussed and along the way, a couple of vacuum leaks (one being a broken PCV hard pipe) and that causes the LPG to erroneously switch back from LPG to petrol but that's not even an LPG problem.

This Volvo is as much as one of the family as any of us, the dogs have long since departed and i'm working on trying to get rid of the children, shame the wife keeps feeding them, i'm sure it encourages them to keep coming home.

I'd say, do what makes you happy but if you plan on keeping the car as we have then go for it.
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Old May 17th, 2019, 11:26   #27
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Quote:
"Do you want me to base that on it having new tyres and a full tank of fuel or not?"
Oh so true!!

In short what he means is, very cheap car ownership...

1) Maintain it... a 20YO Volvo will run and run.
2) So that depreciation is not something to ever hurt you...
3) Own and run it forever.
3) Fuel it as cheaply as possible.
4) Do you really care what your neighbour thinks - they'll still think it? Don't be a registration plate queen. Pay off your mortgage or spend it on memories, not cars. No one cares what you have in your drive.

Cars are pricey. Any other way unless you are rich enough not to be reading this, will damage you, or your loved ones.

In my case, when my neighbours had new cars, I put my son thru' private schooling driving what others would regard as wrecks, and similar dictum. I know which the boy regards as the better.
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Old May 17th, 2019, 11:59   #28
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I'm proud to say my car is worth £300. "As much as that?!" you're thinking...
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