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Anyone tried propane fumigation/injection on a TDI?

Smokin Joe

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Location
Caifornia
TDI
2006 Beetle, 2013 Golf
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has set up their TDI to breathe supplemental propane. I'm looking into this and want to see if it's worth it. Company called EcoDiesel makes an electronic, computer controlled and programmable unit, but the cost is $2300+. Then there is the Powershot 2000 for around $800.00. Its not nearly as sophisticated as the EcoDiesel, but from reviews I've been able to find, guys seems satisfied with it.

Be interested in hearing from anyone with hands-on experience.

TIA
 

Smokin Joe

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Location
Caifornia
TDI
2006 Beetle, 2013 Golf
The goal is improved fuel economy---but I wouldn't object to a little more power on an "as needed" basis. Curious in what manner "it did not end well" in your non-TDI applications?
 

Smokin Joe

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Location
Caifornia
TDI
2006 Beetle, 2013 Golf
That's what scares me a little about the less expensive (cheap?) version (Powershot 2000). The EcoDiesel is electronic, redundant, laptop computer programmable and monitors numerous engine parameters in determining how much propane to meter. The Powershot just meters based on boost and a simple spring loaded metering/valving system. However, the Powershot web site has a video with a functional display (using compressed air). If the display is representative of how the system works with propane, the changes in metering appear pretty instantaneous and precise in response to changes in boost pressure. However, the criticism of the EcoDiesel people is that boost pressure does not tell the whole story of how much propane to inject. They seemed to scoff at the idea that an increase in boost pressure should result in an increase in amount of propane injected.

Would love to hear from others who have tried out propane fumigation.
 

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
Mine was a grill tank in the backseat with a hose up to the air cleaner and me reaching back and turning it on (a little bit at a time) :). Yes, it was stupid.

So, what will tell the ECU in your Beetle to reduce diesel fueling when you've added propane to the mix so you can reduce diesel consumption? I seem to remember researching this in my IC engines class and it was only slightly different than diesel in terms of Air/fuel ratio, etc and it's autoignition temperature was less so there's not really any control over the ignition timing so in a turbocharged application, the more boost you have the earlier the mixture will ignite. Propane can be less expensive than diesel for fuel costs, but even at $800 for one of the kits you mention, you'd have to save 400 gallons/20k miles worth of fuel just to break even on the system itself, not to mention the cost of the propane as well. Even if you were to double your diesel MPG's, it would take you 40k miles + propane costs to break even. No maintenance, no time spent, no problems, etc.

Not trying to discourage you, just want to make sure you're aware of what it will cost to gain a few MPG's.
 

Smokin Joe

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Location
Caifornia
TDI
2006 Beetle, 2013 Golf
You make a very valid point on cost: is it even worth the cost, especially on a TDI. I could see it on a big diesel, but the fuel consumption of the VW is so low that it would take a lot of driving to recoup the investment.

As far as mixture ratio, I had the same question: how does the engine know to reduce the amount of diesel injected. The answer I got was more power at lower RPM means less throttle which equals less fuel. Not sure I buy that. My New Beetle with the DSG lugs pretty constant on the RPMs, even pulling a decent grade. Now, the engine is probably getting more fuel because of more boost (when pulling a grade) even if RPMs are constant, but I'm not sure I'm seeing how the engine fuel consumption is being reduced. They do say that you get close to a 100% fuel burn (of the diesel) with propane, as opposed to only about 75% without which is supposed to increase efficiency. But how does the engine get this feedback (increased fuel burn and thus power) so as to reduce fuel fed to the injectors?
 
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[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
They do say that you get close to a 100% fuel burn (of the diesel) with propane, as opposed to only about 75% without which is supposed to increase efficiency.
Smells like BS :p

As to the "engine knowing about the fuel added" diesels are throttled by fuel input, and the idle is governed. Put in false fuel and the governor (or your right foot) will see raised RPMs and decrease metered fueling to reduce engine output back to the desired range.
Learn how a diesel works before you start thinking about changing it up too much.
 

Smokin Joe

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Location
Caifornia
TDI
2006 Beetle, 2013 Golf
The folks at EcoDiesel say that fuel economy improvement from introducing propane (and thus causing a more complete burn of the diesel charge) is 10%. They call it the "fudge factor".
 

mk1-83

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2010
Location
Holland
TDI
LUPO 1.9 tdi 300+ hp
Youre better of with a eco ecu tune
Problem with propane iTS hard to controle and can make a lot of damaga
Maybe try w/m and see how That affect mpg
 

Layerz

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2007
Location
Leicester
TDI
Audi A4 2.5 TDI AKE
I see this a fair bit on Cummins trucks in various online places.
Ignoring the efficiency side and properly measured or just dumped in (again maybe increase fuel from map/nozzles/evry etc...) how much of a performance gain is seem from this?

Fix until broke - until it broke how did you find it? Not looking to do this myself but always interested to hear on results as the potato cam videos on youtube pointed whilst at the dash whilst driving with the other with no basis from comparison give little context.
 

devonutopia

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 1, 2003
Location
Devon, U.K
TDI
PD300 Skoda Fabia
I tried it many moons ago - I even forget the brand used, but in the end the fact I was lugging a huge tank around outweighed the performance / economy benefits, so it was all ripped out and I ended up going down the nozzles route for enhanced fuelling, and having the car about 50kg lighter.
 

GTiTDi

TDIClub Enthusiast, Macht Schnell! Vendor , w/Busi
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Location
3 Spruce st Wareham, gateway to Cape Cod Massachus
TDI
91 GTDI,'02 Jetta wagon ALH swap, '99 Eurovan, '79 Audi Fox 1.6TD, '03 GTI 1.8T rally car
Taking into consideration loss of cabin space and added complexity make propane/CNG systems impractical for your average automobile. Heavy trucking, earth moving or container ships? Sure!
 

Smokin Joe

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Location
Caifornia
TDI
2006 Beetle, 2013 Golf
Skodia TDI Propane

I tried it many moons ago - I even forget the brand used, but in the end the fact I was lugging a huge tank around outweighed the performance / economy benefits, so it was all ripped out and I ended up going down the nozzles route for enhanced fuelling, and having the car about 50kg lighter.
Jason:

I saw your youtube vid on your propane fumigation system. You're exactly the guy I was hoping to hear from. Sounds like the costs exceeded the benefits for you. Do you recall how large was your propane tank? Lastly, what nozzle tweaks did you use to improve fuel economy.

Thanks,

Smokin Joe
 

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
I see this a fair bit on Cummins trucks in various online places.
Ignoring the efficiency side and properly measured or just dumped in (again maybe increase fuel from map/nozzles/evry etc...) how much of a performance gain is seem from this?

Fix until broke - until it broke how did you find it? Not looking to do this myself but always interested to hear on results as the potato cam videos on youtube pointed whilst at the dash whilst driving with the other with no basis from comparison give little context.
Not sure I know what you're asking here - How did I find what?
 

CNGVW

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Location
Bob Mann Auto, 111 High St, Pembroke MA 02359
TDI
Many TDI Jettas and a Beetle Race car fitted with CNG dual fuel conversion.
I have over 10+ years with CNG injection system on gasoline and diesel system.
If you used the search here you should fined my post on this.
Below is from my racecar with 20% injected

In my Youtubes I show it on the track.
I will be showing my TDI/CNG VW Beetle Chump Road Racer at the Dust Off car show May 1 at Thompson Speedway
system installed on my Loaner car
 

Digital Corpus

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Location
Ontario, California
TDI
'97 B4 w/ 236K mi body, 46K mi soul
For $2300, heck even $800, you can get more fun, power, and quite readily keep or improve economy with nozzles, tune, and even a turbocharger...
 

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
Sorry fair point, how much of an extra kick did you find the propane added for you.
Not much really - 10-15% maybe. Enough that it would almost maintain 55 MPH on the level parts of the road with very minimal throttle input.

Back on topic...

My memory was wrong about auto ignition temperatures. From http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fuels-ignition-temperatures-d_171.html

Diesel: 410F
Propane: 878F
Methane (CNG): 1076F

However, there's still no injection timing control so if you're at low load (low cylinder pressure/temperature) it probably will ignite when the diesel ignites. As the boost gets cranked up and cylinder pressures/temperatures rise at TDC of the compression stroke, you move toward the autoignition temperature.

Maybe the additional 200F autoignition temperature of CNG is enough that it stays away from detonation?
 

CNGVW

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Location
Bob Mann Auto, 111 High St, Pembroke MA 02359
TDI
Many TDI Jettas and a Beetle Race car fitted with CNG dual fuel conversion.
I guess I must be the only one to get a 2L TDI to work right in a street/racing platform on CNG.

Link to one of my first track days running CNG
https://youtu.be/txdLKok5J80
As you can see in the dyno test. The red is with 20% CNG injected It has never burned a piston or ever gone over 1600 ET.
I have pulled the head and had to replace the head gasket and it still looked new.
It was turned on at 2000RPM and shut off at 4000RPM and is fully ECM controlled.
For a system that you can just turn on and drive with out having to add fuel ( NO2 systems need ) and can fill up at a CNG pump ( if you have one near you) and get that kind of kick is some thing.
I think the kit he has talked of is why over priced he would best to spent it on as other have said. Build a good engine first then look this way.
 

devonutopia

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 1, 2003
Location
Devon, U.K
TDI
PD300 Skoda Fabia
Jason:

I saw your youtube vid on your propane fumigation system. You're exactly the guy I was hoping to hear from. Sounds like the costs exceeded the benefits for you. Do you recall how large was your propane tank? Lastly, what nozzle tweaks did you use to improve fuel economy.

Thanks,

Smokin Joe
Ah right - I think I had a donut tank effectively the size of a spare wheel. Weighed a LOT when full of gas.

I did no nozzle tweaks at all to the car when using propane. The car simply needed less pedal to go so I got perhaps +20% fuel economy.

Nozzle tweaks since then - Went to Bosio R783 first, then fitted Firad +80s and currently using DSSR130. :)
 

Zeitgeist

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2004
Location
Cascadia
TDI
past: '96 Passat tdi
Not TDI related, but I did install a Powershot 2000 propane system on my 3.0L OM603 engine and saw some impressive performance gains, but I also did blow up a turbo when I ignored the obvious signs of over-fueling. It's pretty cool to click a switch and feel the car push you back in your seat just like in the movies. It really doesn't take up much space and is pretty simple to install. I might be convinced to sell the kit if someone is interested.
 

DivineChaos

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
gets cold here
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
Not TDI related, but I did install a Powershot 2000 propane system on my 3.0L OM603 engine and saw some impressive performance gains, but I also did blow up a turbo when I ignored the obvious signs of over-fueling. It's pretty cool to click a switch and feel the car push you back in your seat just like in the movies. It really doesn't take up much space and is pretty simple to install. I might be convinced to sell the kit if someone is interested.
is your old propane injection system for sale still?
 

PakProtector

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
AnnArbor, MI
TDI
Mk.4 and the Cummins-es
No matter what the spare fuel that gets stuck in w/o the injector timing, the combination of its concentration and ignition point have got to stay under auto-ignition. You do not want things taking off w/o the fuel getting squirted in.
cheers,
Douglas
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
Northern MD (HAGERBUSH)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress)
NOS injection is much safer. Too much and it cools the combustion too much and stops the burn.
If you run anything you want to control it with a pulse injection ramp controller and an egt relay gauge like auber so it wont run once egts get too high for it to run safely. Ibe been messing with this stuff and its tricky and oldschool. Water meth mix also has issues but tends to be controllable just like NOS but is much cheaper.
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
NOS injection is much safer. Too much and it cools the combustion too much and stops the burn.
If you run anything you want to control it with a pulse injection ramp controller and an egt relay gauge like auber so it wont run once egts get too high for it to run safely. Ibe been messing with this stuff and its tricky and oldschool. Water meth mix also has issues but tends to be controllable just like NOS but is much cheaper.
nitrous oxide is air, not fuel
kind of opposites

I mean if you're just trying to bolt on a bunch of flashy garbage so you can make lists and talk about it on the internet then...
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
Northern MD (HAGERBUSH)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress)
nitrous oxide is air, not fuel
kind of opposites
I mean if you're just trying to bolt on a bunch of flashy garbage so you can make lists and talk about it on the internet then...
That's why you map more fuel. Any tdi that has some power mods and smokes even a little bit can benefit from nos. Those of us who just throw fuel at the road like me can see big gains.
There was even a top gear video where a completely stock diesel pos in the UK was able to pick up some impressive power just on a 10 dry shot. Not only are you adding more air your adding cold air!
Even though diesels run lean af, you cant toss enough of it in.
 

Festa

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Location
South east uk
TDI
Vw t5 van
Been running lpg on my 5 cylinder pd for a few years now. Just need to calculate the mix and it does increase bhp/torque but becareful of knock and run on. If setup correctly it shouldn't be a problem. Haven't noticed an increase in egt's but it may have increased combustion pressure. I also haven't noticed any other wear in the engine in the last couple of strip downs or burnt pistons/valves. I have noticed localised hot spots within the combustion chambers but that could be the +80 injectors.
 
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