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DIY natural gas to propane conversion???


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  #1  
Old 11-09-2008, 11:37 AM
mysvt99 mysvt99 is offline
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Question DIY natural gas to propane conversion???

Help!

I hope there's someone out there that is a bit more knowledgeable concerning generators than myself. I purchased a used (I know it's not vintage) Kohler 11RMY generator built in 1999. It was setup at the factory to run on natural gas. I bought the unit and the auto transfer switch for $1000.00. The dealer closest to me that can convert it (Kohler certified) would like to charge me around $400-500!! It is going to be very hard for me to justify that kind of money, considering how much I spent for the whole unit. I live in the country and that's the reason for conversion.

I read in my manual that some units have an adjustable carb, and that's all the service technician would need to do, make an adjustment (seems easy enogh, if you have the correct specs). However, the manual also said some units have a carb that is not adjustable and I assume I would need to purchase a new carb preset for propane (seems easy also, as long as someone could tell me what I needed to buy). I am very mechanically inclined, have rebuilt carbs (vintage 50's and 60's), have restored two old 50's cars, built my own house, and feel confident in converting the generator over myself if someone could explain what I need to do. I run a machine shop and have many tools and gauges at my disposal.

If it helps, the engine that is in my generator it the 25 hp, twin cylinder. There seems to be a valve of some sort spliced into the fuel line going to the carb already, (not sure if this is from the factory or not). The generator DOES run, my father and I tested it on natural gas not to long ago and it ran fine.
I can supply other information if it is needed. I'm looking for someone that can shed some light on this topic. Thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:22 PM
Jim Rankin Jim Rankin is offline
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Default Re: DIY natural gas to propane conversion???

What do you have already as far as LP equipment is concerned? Tank size, line size and length etc.

What do you have on the generator already? Most of what was used for NG can be used for LP as well. LP vapor has more BTU's per volume/pound etc than NG so it will tend to run rich, but the supply pressure etc should be the same.

The main difference between NG and LP is supplying the LP vapor since it comes as a liquid in the tank and when you lower the pressure to let it vaporize it refrigerates very well. A too small tank can get so cold that the vapor pressure is too low to push enough through the regulator and lines to the engine and it starves for fuel. This is most likely to happen when an ice storm has taken out the power and you are depending on the generator, so it pays to plan for the worst case temperatures.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:02 PM
ehpower2 ehpower2 is offline
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Default Re: DIY natural gas to propane conversion???

just dont smoke
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:21 PM
mysvt99 mysvt99 is offline
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Default Re: DIY natural gas to propane conversion???

Jim,

I currently have a 500 gallon propane tank, it runs everything in my house. The generator has been piped after the secondary regulator (by my propane co., free service) approx. a 15 foot run with 3/4", so the pressure is already set at 11" by them. I noticed there is yet another regulator inside my generator cabinet right after the solenoid on/off valve. Does any other this information help?? Thanks -Spencer
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:46 PM
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Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
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Default Re: DIY natural gas to propane conversion???

Sounds like you already have the system you need. The regulator inside the housing is most likely the demand regulator. Gives the engine more or less gas as needed. You do not use a carb for NG or LP. Really you only use the top half to mix the air and gas. If you have already ran it on NG just hook up your propane and go. Some pictures will help if you can post them. They make kits that will switch from LP to NG if one side fails. So since you have already ran it on NG you should be good to go.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:49 PM
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Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
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Default Re: DIY natural gas to propane conversion???

If you need to talk my number is 903-536-3202.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:38 AM
mysvt99 mysvt99 is offline
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Default Re: DIY natural gas to propane conversion???

Thank you for your help. I think I will give you a call to confirm things before I try to start the engine for the first time on propane.
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