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Old 06-09-2014, 11:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Anthracite Warrior - '01 Volvo S60 T5
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Greetings from a Portugal-based Volvo S60 on LPG

Hello everyone,

I feel like I've been let through the Pearly Gates. Just browsing this site has shown me how I'm not the only person that would strip out a V8 from a sports-car and replace it with a clean diesel.

I drive a 2000 (a 2001 model in the US) Volvo S60 T5, that I converted to run on LPG six years ago. I chose it because of its relatively torquey engine, which allows motorway (freeway in the US?) driving without having to shift down every time there's a hill. It also has nearly no protruding parts (no antennae or door handles).

Despite this, fuel consumption isn't great but at least the fuel is "greener" and cheaper than regular gasoline. I hope to get leaner and greener consumption here with everyone.

Thanks for having me.


Last edited by alexandertorres; 06-09-2014 at 11:37 AM.. Reason: Extra info
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandertorres View Post
I drive a 2000 (a 2001 model in the US) Volvo S60 T5, that I converted to run on LPG six years ago.
(...)
Despite this, fuel consumption isn't great but at least the fuel is "greener" and cheaper than regular gasoline. I hope to get leaner and greener consumption here with everyone.
In my country LPG is forbidden as a vehicles fuel, only used in forklifts and some tractors, but CNG is widely used in light-duty vehicles. It's also safer than LPG not just due to the stronger hardware but also because it doesn't displace oxygen as much as LPG in case of a leak in a closed environment. BTW are LPG-powered cars still not allowed in underground parking lots in Portugal?
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi!

First off, thanks for the reply.

That CNG is safer than LPG is debatable. You can find a lot of crash tests using LPG tanks, both cylindrical and toroidal in shape, and the car comes away worse.

LPG vehicles are now allowed in closed parking spaces as long as:
A) They've had a special vehicle inspection that certifies their LPG kit is up to scratch and
B) The underground parking lot allows it.

The big problem before was how very little underground car parks complied with the law in terms of ventilation, so the government, in its wisdom, instead of enforcing the legislation and making car park owners and builders ventilate their parks properly, chose to ban LPG vehicles from parking there. Thankfully, this is changing.

I was in Brazil recently and was flabbergasted to find out diesels aren't allowed in passenger vehicles. At least you have ethanol, which is good.

Last edited by alexandertorres; 06-09-2014 at 04:44 PM.. Reason: Extra info at the end
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by alexandertorres View Post
I was in Brazil recently and was flabbergasted to find out diesels aren't allowed in passenger vehicles.
That's a shame. Many Brazilian-made vehicles were exported with the option for Diesel engines while it was not available for the domestic versions.


Quote:
At least you have ethanol, which is good.
What bothers me is that biodiesel and the usage of straight vegetable oils as an alternative to regular Diesel fuel was so neglected back in the days when the Pro┴lcool was implemented, and CNG was actually a recent introduction since it only became allowed for privately-owned cars (excluding taxis and other service vehicles) in '96 and its availability is still quite restricted, in spite of an enormous amount of biomethane getting wasted at landfills and blackwater treatment plants. Ethanol is a good fuel, but might not be seen as the holy grail of alternative fuels. There is a good market share for ethanol, biodiesel and gaseous fuels, but the politics are ruining it
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The T5 engine isn't known to be very fuel efficient, and the newer Volvo's have quite good aerodynamics stock. Ofcourse there is still lots you can do, so I'm looking forward to see some mods!
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi,
You called it: motorway = freeway in US, also called "Interstate Highway" by the pedantics.

Are your fuel log reports for propane or gasoline? I see one entry that calls out running on gas but most of them don't do that.

I'll second Joris' statement, that engine is nice but not widely regarded as a penny pincher. What you have there is pretty serious power for shoving an upscale compact executive saloon down the road at a good clip, NOT the usual paradigm for a highly economical car. I don't doubt you can improve upon it (though the other statement that Volvo has done a lot of good aero design on this machine is also very true), but the threshold will be a bit higher to start.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Are your fuel log reports for propane or gasoline? I see one entry that calls out running on gas but most of them don't do that.
As far as I know, in most markets ALL cars converted to run on LPG are dual-fuel (or bi-fuel), which means they can run on either gasoline or a propane/butane mixture which is Liquified Petroleum Gas.

Quote:
The T5 engine isn't known to be very fuel efficient, and the newer Volvo's have quite good aerodynamics stock.
Quote:
I'll second Joris' statement, that engine is nice but not widely regarded as a penny pincher. What you have there is pretty serious power for shoving an upscale compact executive saloon down the road at a good clip, NOT the usual paradigm for a highly economical car.
All very true, and I did realise when I bought the car that it was never going to be a fuel-sipper. I previously owned an LPG-converted 1.7l 1992 Volvo 460 (I believe they where never sold in the Americas). On LPG, I could get 27.2 mpg (US) easily, but I missed the lack of grunt that allowed me to stay in top gear all the time.

So following that logic I bought this S60, due to its low-range torque, but mainly because it was dirt-cheap (small caveat here: in Portugal, most cars sold today are either diesels or very small-displacement petrol engines, and in 2008 when I got the car, everyone was trying to flog their old big-engined gasoline-drinkers, and I was sort of broke, so I bought this car for a steal). And I found it to work. Full of people and air-con on, I can get 26-27 mpg (US) or better on long journeys. Unfortunately I don't often have a chance to repeat these drives, so the numbers you see in the fuel log are a fair balance of mixed driving.

But I'm happy with these figures because it's pretty interesting to squeeze some seriously frugal mpg numbers out of such a car.

Thanks, everyone!
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandertorres View Post
As far as I know, in most markets ALL cars converted to run on LPG are dual-fuel (or bi-fuel), which means they can run on either gasoline or a propane/butane mixture which is Liquified Petroleum Gas.
Usually in petrol-powered cars the conversion is bi-fuel, and the driver may select which fuel to use, while the dual-fuel setup allows both the liquid and the gaseous fuel to be used at the same time and is more common in Diesel-powered vehicles since they still require a pilot-injection of the Diesel fuel in order to generate the spark.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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True, dual fuel is for diesel+LPG, my mistake

I wouldn't mind doing a dual fuel conversion on a diesel car, the big problem is that it's a bit expensive.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I wouldn't mind doing a dual fuel conversion on a diesel car, the big problem is that it's a bit expensive.
Taking 4-cylinder engines as reference, how much is the cost difference between a spark-ignited bi-fuel and a Diesel dual-fuel conversions back there?

Anyway, if you would ever do so, a direct injection engine might fare better under a dual-fuel condition.

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