Totally off topic but there is a wide user base here so thought it worth an ask…
I am considering purchase of a new generator, I don’t need a lot and was looking at the small Honda’s, after a little searching I see that they are avalible fitted with an LPG conversion.
Now I’m unlikely to need it regularly so the storage of propane suits my needs nicely, it will also be handy as i can cook with propane easier and the cost is significantly cheaper here than petrol.
My main concern would be increased engine wear, some say it’s an issue but some claim on quality engines it is minimal. I see additive kits can be added to help lubricate the valve stems etc but I think it probably not worth the hassle when spares should be easily avalible and relatively cheap.
So any real life experience? Any tips greatly appreciated.
For regular use valve stem wear might be an issue but for emergency use LPG makes great sense. Being a gas once injected instead of a liquid it ignites far more readily and it’s shelf-life is forever. Plus you’ll never deal with a gummed-up fuel system. I know some folks with high-end whole-house LPG gensets for emergency use and they love them. I’m sure those engines were designed for that. I use gasoline (petrol) because I need the best portability and the ability to refuel wherever I’m at. Regular maintenance is a bugger I dare not forget doing if I want it to always start for me. LPG won’t let you down, needing little attention. If LPG was viable for my usage I’d switch to it in a heartbeat.
Just remember that lpg is not as energy dense as gasoline. It takes a lot more of it to run for the same length of time. As lng as you are comfortable replacing valves, theres really no downside.
While I dont officially own a small engine shop, I might as well. I’ve seen a couple propane run engines and they were a lot more chewed up than if they had been run on gas, but these were run nearly every week and run a little too hard as well.
If it wont be a regular use thing, propane for sure, just keep extra on hand. For more frequent use, gasoline all the way. A little fuel stabilizer goes a long way.
On a side note, make sure you have a cast iron cylinder sleeve. Aluminum cylinders run hot enough on gasoline.
A friend of mine has been designing off grid PV systems for 20 years. Many of his systems operate without any generator at all. When a generator is included he mainly uses Honda EO3000i converted to operate on propane. He buys them from Central Maine Diesel. Conversion voids the Honda factory warranty. CMD offers a two year warranty in place of the factory warranty. He’s never had a problem with one.
We had one of their triple fuel conversions based on a Yamaha EF2800i. It had over 1900 hours on it when lightning blew it and some other electronics a few years ago. It was running fine right up the strike; still started with one pull. We replaced it with a Honda EF3000i triple fuel job (electric start). Triple fuel = propane, natural gas or gasoline out of the box. No tools needed for switching. I use synthetic oil exclusively.
I like a propane generator for the clean running, which you can really see because the oil stays cleaner. I like propane because it doesn’t go bad like gasoline will. Burning propane will mean using a larger volume of fuel compared to gasoline or diesel; about 25% more propane than gasoline for comparable size and use. That could be a small drag if you are using portable tanks. We have a 500 gallon tank so I don’t worry about that.
I believe all Honda generators have cast iron cylinder liners.
For emergency use LPG makes perfect sense, and Honda small engines are top of the line. Propane will never match the efficiency or lubricative properties of gasoline, but will still run for thousands of hours with proper maintenance and lubricants. I would highly reccomend the use of synthetic lubricants such as Mobil 1 with propane.
I forgot to mention one disadvantage of propane is cold weather if using 20# cylinders. If it getrs cold enough LP doesn’t turn to the gaseous state well enough.
Thanks for the replies guys, sounds as good as I hoped. I shall get a service kit and use quality oil from the get go.
I see the suitcase 10i (GXH50) has an unsleeved engine but everything bigger in the Honda range is sleeved I believe. I will likely go with the GX160 engine, or possibly the GX100 in 20i guise but it’s pricey.
The temperatures here only go a few below at worst so hopefully no issue with that.
I’m OK with the fact it will use more fuel, it will be a standby only so the reliability of first time start after a year+ sat is appealing.