Thread Number: 71526  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
propane lawn mower
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Post# 946459   7/3/2017 at 02:20 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Anybody tried converting a lawn mower or tiller to propane?  Here are a couple of videos for how to do it.  There are many ways to accomplish it, depending on how much money one wants to spend from simple to complex with an actual propane carburetor.  I have an old tiller my dad gave me.  It has a carb problem...runs ok but smells horrible, probably needs rebuilt.  I just may try the propane thing with it just to see how it works.


Post# 946528 , Reply# 1   7/3/2017 at 12:21 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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Years ago I had considered doing it to an old Toro I had at the time. There was a propane conversion carb that was pretty inexpensive. I always hated smelling like unburnt gas when I got done mowing.

Once you get away from a 6:1 compression ratio L-Head engine to a modern OHV engine they don't stink anymore.

Would be a fun experiment though!

Post# 946578 , Reply# 2   7/3/2017 at 18:06 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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yeah, that's one thing I hate...smelling like gasoline.  It attaches to clothes in an instant.  Wish I had a diesel mower!

Post# 946587 , Reply# 3   7/3/2017 at 19:18 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Battery Electric

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Is the way to go. I bought one 20 years ago and love it, when I had the gasoline mower I used to have to change my clothing and take a shower after mowing the lawn.

Post# 946625 , Reply# 4   7/4/2017 at 02:24 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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I've had no problems with the Honda powered MTD push rotary mower I got about 10 years ago. Granted, the lawn it needs to mow is only about 900 sq ft, at best.

I tried a corded electric for a while but it was just too damn complicated with the rose bushes and magnolia tree in the way. Moved to a B&S flathead powered MTD, but it wasn't very fuel efficient. The Honda seems to run better and sips gas. And it doesn't stink one bit.

A lithium battery powered electric would probably work OK too, but they were not available when I was making my final mowing decision.

Post# 946632 , Reply# 5   7/4/2017 at 04:32 by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Just saw one of these last week.

Really Cool and I love their products...

Post# 946641 , Reply# 6   7/4/2017 at 06:14 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

I can't remember the maker but some mower company had a propane powered mower several years ago-it used disposable propane tanks or a refillable one.I don't use gas mowers anymore-gone to rechargeable cordless electric.The ultimate electric mower----commercial grade--costs about 10 grand.Look up "Mean Green Machines" and see-their walk behind mower is---$2500 but looks like it could last a LIFETIME-the battery pack can run it like for several hours.Their ZTR riders can run from 3 hrs to 7 hrs depending on the battery pack installed-they use lithium batterys.I signed up in their contest to win one---we can only hope!!!!These mowers are intended for the commercial market.They even offer an enclosed trailer to carry the machines in and its equipped with chargers-you supply the 220-240 V 30A to the trailer.They also have lithium battery powered hand tools-trimmer,blower,chainsaw,hedge shears.also they can provide a blower attachment for the rider-you can blow the clippings away as you mow.The DREAM mower!!!!!

Post# 946722 , Reply# 7   7/4/2017 at 19:44 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Lehr was the maker of propane mowers, weedeaters, and boat motors.  I don't know what happened but they don't seem to be selling them anymore.

Post# 946857 , Reply# 8   7/5/2017 at 21:58 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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I don't know about others, but I'd rather have a gas mower than a propane one. In fact, I'd rather have a lithium battery mower than a propane one. Unless one's home is serviced by a big propane tank for heating/cooking, getting 5 gal propane tanks filled is sort of a PITA. But we get gasoline on a regular basis. And of course, electricity to recharge a lithium battery is a nominal cost, although the time lag can be a hassle. I'd look for a spare battery too. Just as with battery operated hand tools, cameras, etc.

Post# 946877 , Reply# 9   7/6/2017 at 02:42 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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They say propane is excellent for motors that aren't used much, like my dad's old tiller.  The carb is in need of attention anyway, but if it would run on propane it would be worth a shot.  I haven't used it in 2 or 3 years.  Started it a few weeks ago just wasn't easy but finally fired up....and stunk!

Post# 946906 , Reply# 10   7/6/2017 at 12:05 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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Propane does burn very cleanly and or course it doesn't go bad with age the way that gasoline (especially oxygenated gas) does. We have a 1973 Toyota 3,500lb propane forklift at work. It has a vintage 4cyl Toyota engine complete with points and all. It needs a little attention every 6 years or so. We generally go through a 40lb tank every 15 months or so.

Personally other then as a fun experiment a propane lawn mower would be a pain. Gasoline is so much easier to handle. Seek out gasoline without alcohol in it if you can get it where you live and you won't have fuel issues anymore :)

Post# 946922 , Reply# 11   7/6/2017 at 17:11 by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        
Propane burns very cleanly

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Yes it does... and because of that, the engine oil takes FOR EVER to show even the slightest hint of dirt!   I've seen oil drained out of propane powered cars with 10K+ miles that's as clean as the new oil being poured in!


RE: a diesel power mower.  Many, many, many years ago I knew a guy who's father was SO cheap... (OK everyone... "how cheap was he...?") that he ran his Briggs & Stratton powered lawn mower and edger on diesel fuel because it was a fraction of the cost of gasoline!  Honestly I can't remember if he mixed gas with the diesel or not (not sure if that would work thinking about it).   I do remember each were difficult to start when cold (required a number of pulls) and once it started, it blew light gray smoke out the exhaust until it warmed up completely.  After that the exhaust smelled like a regular diesel!    


 Our maybe he should have just have bought one of these........

  View Full Size
Post# 946948 , Reply# 12   7/6/2017 at 20:59 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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I'm very surprised a gasoline motor would run smoothly on diesel. It's very low octane (think 20) and would probably make the motor ping and/or pre-detonate. I suppose there may be additives to boost diesel octane, but that would add to the cost and sort of defeat the whole cheapskate motive.

I had a friend (since deceased in a car wreck) who said he once put diesel fuel in his mom's Plymouth Aspen by mistake. You know, the ones with the legendary slant-6 motors. Well, he said the thing ran very poorly, but it did run. I suppose there must have been some regular gas in the tank to help things along.

Post# 946951 , Reply# 13   7/6/2017 at 21:23 by iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
Diesel In gas car

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Back when we lived on the farm my step dad kept saying he thought our farm gas tank must be leaking as he didn't think he was using that much gas.

Fast forward a few months, and he bought a new diesel chore tractor so he had farm bureau pump out the gas tank and replaced it with diesel. A few mornings later we woke to find the neighbor from about two miles up the road sons car still parked at the pump. He had filled the tank with our diesel, thinking it was the gas tank he had been hitting all along, and the car wouldn't even start.

Least we knew the tank wasn't leaking, well underground anyway.

Post# 946994 , Reply# 14   7/7/2017 at 10:13 by RevvinKevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        
Reversing that: gas in a diesel car

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Going back the same number of (many, many) moons ago... I worked at a Chevron station / mini-mart, which was one of the few stations in the area that also sold diesel.  Being a car guy I had heard a handful of stories from both friends and customers alike, about people not paying attention and fueling their diesel powered car with gasoline.  It's not a good thing, just more of a (costly) pain in the ass because the car just shuts off and won't start again.


One Friday or Saturday evening, a fairly regular customer (cute and rather effeminate hispanic kid) came in with his 1978-79 Cadillac Coupe De Ville diesel on his way out to the dance clubs.  He walked in, gave me $10 and said "pump number..." for the diesel as he's done many times before.  He walked out and..... not paying attention, grabbed the "premium" nozzle and put that in his tank.  Without leaving the store, I really tried to let him know, 4 different times, that he grabbed the wrong nozzle.  However, he kept insisting, so I finally said O....K..... "the customer is always right" and turned that pump on.  He put in his $10 and drove away.


It was  4-5 months until he came in again and he was driving a different car.  As I somewhat expected, he got a few blocks away from the station and the engine started running rough and died.   He completely killed the battery trying to start it again.  The mechanic told him the tank had gas, rather than diesel in it and the cost to completely flush the entire fuel system, plus replace filters (maybe the injector pump too? can't remember) was more than he could afford and he walked away from the car.



~ Harley, serves the bazztard right for stealing your gas!  laughing tongue-out


I've seen... that if there's a smaller percentage of diesel fuel in a gas car (and you then fill the tank with gas), the car will still run, but will blow light gray-ish smoke out the exhaust and smell odd, almost like diesel, but will still run.  The spark plugs may also foul prematurely because of the diesel fuel.


Post# 947004 , Reply# 15   7/7/2017 at 11:48 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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It is likely true that propane will help keep combustion byproducts out of the engine oil, but remember 90% of the darkening of used engine oil is just oxidation of the base stock. You really can't look at oil and decide it is time for a change out, the darkness isn't a problem that alters the oils lubricity.

Since the 80's I change my oil twice a year in my cars, no matter what the mileage is. Every so often I send a sample in for a used oil analysis to keep track of things. I have used nothing bu Mobile 1 since 1980. Today I have put 10,000 miles on the oil in my Honda and it still drains out clear and golden thanks to fully synthetic base stocks.

The propane fork lift at work gets an oil change every 6 years or so. But it leads a charmed life, always 70 degrees. Only bad thing is that we never get the oil hot, since 1973 the hour meter only shows about 1800 hours, it doesn't run much.

Post# 947612 , Reply# 16   7/11/2017 at 06:45 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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VW says I can go 10k miles between oil changes in my diesel Bug but I still do 5k intervals with synthetic diesel oil.  It's black as coal from the soot that accumulates in it!

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