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Lpg For Towing


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Just sold caravan as looking for something bigger, but car needs changing first 2005 VERSO bullet proof but needs too much spending to keep her towing so time to chop her in. I only drive car when towing or long journey so not fussy but missus is so she gotta be happy with it. She would like rav4 lovely car but a bit light and costly lot of people saying go for lpg conversion to save money what they like to tow with is torque ok etc as usually on petrol engine. Are they really cheaper to run in the real world - school run etc? Budget max 6K she wont drive anything long eg estate, any ideas would be much appreciated.

I may look like an idiot and I may sound like an idiot, but don't let that fool you. .... I really am an idiot !!

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Both my in-laws & we tow with LPG converted 4 litre Jeep Grand Cherokees (probably a tad too large for you from your post!). To be honest we don't notice any more torque loss when towing vs solo - there is some when running on LPG in comparison to running on petrol even solo, but we do tow pretty light caravans (both under 1300kg MTPLM & well within the capabilities of the vehicles) .

 

I'm sure I read somewhere to expect somewhere around a 5% loss in power on LPG.

 

It is certainly cheaper to run on LPG, even around town. Your biggest consideration really is whether there is anywhere nearby where you can fill with LPG, especially if you intend to run mainly on LPG - you can't rely on the LPG station finder websites as they aren't that up to date (all have a garage 5 miles from me as selling it, but they've not done so for years!)

 

If your budget is a max of £6k, & you want to go down the LPG route, I'd look for the car you want for about £4. 5k & get it converted (nearest place to me is doing full conversions for between £800 & £1400 depending on system & no. of cylinders etc). Without a valid certificate & entry on to the LPG register, expect to pay in the region of £150 for inspection, certification & entry onto the LPG register - whilst being on the register is not a legal requirement, not being on this register, it can be difficult & costly to insure (as we found out). Also factor in that you need a new tank every 10 years (we just paid £300 supplied & fitted). We used MintLPG in Newport - they do conversions in a day, & have a lounge & wifi while you wait - really nice, helpful guys too.

 

Hope that is of a little help, & best of luck xx

2005 Bessacarr Cameo 635 gl & 2005 Nissan Terrano II SVE Di 3. 0l

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Welcome to the forum.

 

Power.
There is no noticeable difference in power when towing with an LPG fuelled car. The difference when not towing is slight and barely noticeable. Statistically there is about 5% - 10% less power, but simply not noticeable under normal driving conditions.
If you decide to take your car to a race circuit for a track day or want full power for a traffic light drag start, then with the engine still running just hit the changeover button to switch to your petrol reserve. With 200bhp, (528i) to 268bhp, (530i) on tap the performance is both startling and stunning. The 530i has a six speed tiptronic automatic gearbox as standard.

 

Torque.
There are no worries about torque with a petrol/LPG engine if you choose a car with an automatic gearbox. The purpose of the stator inside a torque converter is to multiply the available engine torque. If you are used to a manual car you will be amazed at the increased available torque for the same sized engine when compared to the same car with an automatic gearbox. The design purpose of the stator is to double the available torque for standing starts and lower gears.

 

Car Choice.
If you want a really bullet proof car find yourself a sound BMW series 5 with a full service history, a 530i would be an excellent choice. They are rear wheel drive and the touring version, (Estate car) comes with self-levelling pneumatic rear suspension. Regarding traction, fitted with the wider M5 wheels and snow/mud tyres on the rear axle they will outperform most AWD 4 x 4 cars fitted with summer tyres. All series 5s have a limited slip diff capability as standard, either mechanical or electrical.

 

Towing Capability.
With a nose weight capability of 90 Kg and the Gross Train Weight is 4250 Kg they will pull most caravans that you are likely to want to hang on the back.

 

Fuel Economy Solo.
There is very little advantage on short runs, (Stop start) with LPG, but on long runs you will effectively double the distance you can travel per pound. I regularly make a trip to Ramsgate from NW London. The distance is 105 miles, M25 and M2. Using cruise control at 55 mph solo my fuel cost on LPG is normally £9. 50. That is the equivalent of better than 60 miles per gallon on petrol and that is with a 3 litre engine. .!

 

Fuel Economy Towing.
I tow a twin axle 1700Kg caravan, my fuel consumption when towing is variable depending on the prevailing winds, terrain and traffic conditions. My last towing run of this season was from NW London to the New Forest. On LPG I achieved the equivalent to petrol of 30. 8 mpg on the trip out and 30. 9mpg on the home run. I have done better than that, albeit in the flat lands of Lincolnshire.

 

Across the country the cost per litre of LPG varies greatly. I am currently paying 0. 659 pence per litre at a nearby Sainsburys super store.

 

Your Budget.
With 6K to spend you should be able to find a good BMW E60, saloon or E61, estate - 530 for around £4k. Mileage will be around 100k. For these cars that is just run in. ! The cost of a new multipoint LPG system will come in at around £1k, including certification and registration. The cost of an annual gas service is around £60.

 

Reliability
Regarding longevity I would expect over 300K miles from a BMW 530i. I have now owned and self serviced three series 5s, my first completed over 350k miles when I sold it on. My second 300K when sold on, my current one is at 167K and in fine running order.

 

The series 5 BMW is rated by “Parkers Guide” road test team as a five star car. I have had 17 years with BMW series fives and believe you will not find a better all-round car.

 

Good luck with your choice.

Edited by WindlePoones

Twin Axle Fleetwood Heritage 640 EST - pulled by a dual fuel, (Petrol/LPG) BMW 528i Auto

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What a helpful and comprehensive response! :goodpost:

 

Mind you, a solo journey of 105 miles with a cruise control set at 55mph is mind blowingly pedestrian! Smiling! :(

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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Your biggest consideration really is whether there is anywhere nearby where you can fill with LPG, especially if you intend to run mainly on LPG - you can't rely on the LPG station finder websites as they aren't that up to date (all have a garage 5 miles from me as selling it, but they've not done so for years!)

 

I entirely agree - my Triumph Stag was on LPG as was the Discovery V8 that followed it. Between them I probably covered some 100,000 miles on gas - perhaps 20,000 towing. But when I changed cars last time I went for a TD5 and haven't regretted it at all.

 

However the LPG tanks are fitted, they will almost always give a shorter range than will petrol*. My Disco had under-sill torpedo tanks which meant I didn't lose boot space, but range when towing was little over 100 miles. This was OK on French autoroutes which usually have LPG at the service stations, but a nightmare in this country. One particularly bad trip was from Birmingham to Plymouth for the Santander ferry - only one place to get LPG Winning Post near Exeter) and that had a very awkward positioning of the LPG pump so that access was almost impossible. There are other possibilities if solo (eg just off the motorway near Taunton) but that one required reversing up to the LPG pump so not on with the van on the back.

 

We now have a near 400 mile range, costs are broadly similar (I was only getting about 14 mpg on LPG, dropping to around 12 when towing), and the TD5 has very nearly the same performance as the V8 although not sounding so nice!

 

 

*The only exception is when the patrol tank is replaced by the LPG one and a small "emergency" petrol tank fitted - but then you lose the backup factor.

Ian.
2013 Freelander 2 SD4 Auto / 2005 Bailey Pageant Vendée; 1952 Norton ES2

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Thanks for your comment John_b_45.

 

I always calculate and log my mpg on every tankful, whether I am towing or solo, city or long runs. A few more solo stats you may be interested in ….

 

At 70 mph while motorway driving in cruise control I regularly achieve = 45. 34 mpg
At 60 mph while motorway driving in cruise control I regularly achieve = 52. 94 mpg
At 55 mph while motorway driving in cruise control my best fuel consumption was = 61. 46 mpg

 

Inner city stop start traffic, typical of a school run at peak traffic times, my worst ever fuel consumption was = 19. 62 mpg.

Regarding inner London driving, short journeys normally return between 24 to 26 mpg and is more representative of short runs, e. g. 3 to 5 miles.

 

I am surprised to have my preferred motorway speed of 55mph described as pedestrian. However a BMW 530i could never be described as such. The maximum speed of a 530i is electronically limited in Europe to 155mph. I guess it’s nice to know you have another 100mph in reserve. :)

 

Being retired I rarely want to rush anything. It is surprising how pleasurable and stress free driving can be at lower speeds. The majority of other road users rush past you, often wired and tail gating each other. I am more than happy to cruise in lane one watching them wasting fuel and taking risks, while I reap the stress free benefits, including the economy of lower speeds. ;)

 

Theoretically on a 100 mile journey the difference in arrival times is not great. At 55 mph the travel time will be 1 hour 49 minutes. At 70 mph the travel time will be 1 hour 26 minutes, a difference of only 23 minutes. :mellow:

 

A great free mobile phone app to use for LPG is "Fill LPG". It shows LPG stations and prices in relation to your real time location .

Edited by WindlePoones

Twin Axle Fleetwood Heritage 640 EST - pulled by a dual fuel, (Petrol/LPG) BMW 528i Auto

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A friend of mine ran a Grand Cherokee a really luxurious car.

You could feel the difference with LPG but nothing dreadful.

What surprised me was the cost of a service was very low.

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In my view 55mph on a motorway is pedestrian.

 

If gauged by speedo it will probably around 53mph, I fail to see what the quoted top speed of the car has to do with progress on a motorway at 55mph!

 

Whilst I understand the notion of little time being saved when time means little that's not the case with every motorway driver. I fail to see how anyone can drive in a relaxed way when HGVs are continuously catching up and overtaking. And as for the congestion that causes as the second lane is occupied by HGV drivers frustrated at being held up by a BMW 330i doddering along at less than the speed they can travel at. ............!!!

 

Mmmmm I rest my case. ;)

 

(Of course this will be my view alone - most motorway traffic travels at 55mph as we all know!)

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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I understand your point re-pedestrian and believe a lot would agree with you. However speed is subjective and it’s just a speed at which I feel everything that’s good about cruising is maximised. :)

 

The top end capability of the car is neither here nor there, because of the national speed limit in this country. However if required there is a lot of latitude for going faster. :o

 

The 55mph I set my cruise control to is the 55mph shown by my Sat Nav. I am not continually overtaken by irate truck drivers, so I guess it must be approximate to the 56mph the tachograph truckers are often limited to. B)

 

If I encounter a truck going slower than me I just accelerate past it. When I ease off the louder pedal my car automatically returns to my pre-set speed. If I encounter a bunch of HGV’s struggling up a gradient I either follow them by matching their speed, (If the motorway is busy) or power past them if it is not.

 

Oh… and I don’t dodder, at least not yet. :huh:

Edited by WindlePoones

Twin Axle Fleetwood Heritage 640 EST - pulled by a dual fuel, (Petrol/LPG) BMW 528i Auto

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Do the BMW engines suffer with the valves burning out?

As you don't many LPG convertors out there any more, due to the fact the LPG does more harm than good on a lot of the modern engines out there.

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I have owned a total of four BMW’s, three where series fives, but I have never had a valve burn out in any of them.

 

You seem to be labouring under the misconception that LPG damages engines. This could not be further from the truth. LPG is a much cleaner fuel than either petrol or diesel. LPG leaves no carbon deposits. Some installers sell flash lube, which I think is totally unnecessary. :rolleyes:

 

My current BMW is now 13 years old. It has completed 167,000 miles. The car was converted in its first year to a dual fuel car and has run on LPG since that conversion. I have the full service history for the car and aside from normal service items; i. e. filters, plugs, belt tensioners, serpentine belt and oil all parts are totally original.

 

My previous series fives all had over 300k miles on the milometer when I sold them on. None of them suffered with engine problems.

 

Six cylinder BMW engines are noted for their reliability and advanced design. The larger BMW engines of course are also used in Bentleys and Rolls Royce. Even Land Rover has used the 4. 4 litre V8 BMW engine. Their engine units are unquestionably sound. ;)

Edited by WindlePoones

Twin Axle Fleetwood Heritage 640 EST - pulled by a dual fuel, (Petrol/LPG) BMW 528i Auto

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We ran a series 1 Discovery V8 which had been converted to LPG from new. In fact it was previously owned by the MD of a business that installed forecourt LPG tanks & equipment.

 

It had two thin tanks under the floor on the outer edge of the chassis rails and a larger tank where the petrol tank used to be. A small petrol tank was installed behind the rear wing. So no LPG tank in the load area taking up space.

 

It had done around 70,000 miles in three years when we bought it and we added another 20,000 or so.

 

The V8 ran faultlessly and seemed to suffer no adverse effects from running on gas. I used to run it on petrol for a few miles every now and then because I thought it would do the fuel injection system good to work once I a while.

 

Every time I changed the engine oil I was amazed how clean it was. After 6,000 miles almost as clear as the day it was put in.

 

If you can find a vehicle you like with a well fitted conversion (or a factory fit in the case of Vauxhall and I think one or two others from a few years ago then I would say go for it.

 

That being said, modern diesels are giving excellent fuel economy, and as you don't want a massive vehicle going diesel may be a better option if there isn't an LPG station close by.

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Worth noting that there are different types of LPG systems, some give a fairly noticeable power loss, some give no difference at all. There are also some cars that there engines will be a very bad choice for conversion due to valve seats etc. .

I would strongly recommend checking out some of the LPG specialist websites and forums.

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

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I have owned a total of four BMW’s, three where series fives, but I have never had a valve burn out in any of them.

 

You seem to be labouring under the misconception that LPG damages engines. This could not be further from the truth. LPG is a much cleaner fuel than either petrol or diesel. LPG leaves no carbon deposits. Some installers sell flash lube, which I think is totally unnecessary. :rolleyes:

 

My current BMW is now 13 years old. It has completed 167,000 miles. The car was converted in its first year to a dual fuel car and has run on LPG since that conversion. I have the full service history for the car and aside from normal service items; i. e. filters, plugs, belt tensioners, serpentine belt and oil all parts are totally original.

 

My previous series fives all had over 300k miles on the milometer when I sold them on. None of them suffered with engine problems.

 

Six cylinder BMW engines are noted for their reliability and advanced design. The larger BMW engines of course are also used in Bentleys and Rolls Royce. Even Land Rover has used the 4. 4 litre V8 BMW engine. Their engine units are unquestionably sound. ;)

LPG doesn't carry any of the lubricating properties or petrol and diesel, BMW engines in particular CAN be sensitive to it, a certain batch / year group had issues with Nickasil coating which really didn't like LPG. It does put additional stress on the cooling and ignition systems. Plenty of cars can run it OK, depends whether you're happy having a bomb onboard, I wasn't in my Range Rover and sold it after a year, it did run very well though.

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In my view 55mph on a motorway is pedestrian.

 

 

 

Mmmmm I rest my case. ;)

 

(Of course this will be my view alone - most motorway traffic travels at 55mph as we all know!)

 

 

 

Although the OP said this was solo

I just wondered, JB,

What speed do you tow at, on the motorway

Edited by wigelywoo

Lunar Zenith Citroen C5 2. 2 HDI Citroen Picasso 1. 6 HDI. , Vauxhall Vectra Design 150 bhp Soon to be, 2014 Sprite Major 4 sr. With ATC.
The Internet has had no effect on my life whatsoever. com

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Although the OP said this was solo

I just wondered, JB,

What speed do you tow at, on the motorway

 

The 55mph as you say is a speed that was quoted when driving solo. I aimed the comment bearing that in mind to be honest but. ..........

 

My motorway speed whilst towing it is as close to 60mph as I can manage. I am someone who prefers to find open space and not be hemmed in by lorries.

 

If overtaking I will probably drive a little over the speed limit to pass quickly and safely. You may wish to comment on that admission! ;);)

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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I have owned a total of four BMWs, three where series fives, but I have never had a valve burn out in any of them.

 

You seem to be labouring under the misconception that LPG damages engines. This could not be further from the truth. LPG is a much cleaner fuel than either petrol or diesel. LPG leaves no carbon deposits. Some installers sell flash lube, which I think is totally unnecessary. :rolleyes:

 

My current BMW is now 13 years old. It has completed 167,000 miles. The car was converted in its first year to a dual fuel car and has run on LPG since that conversion. I have the full service history for the car and aside from normal service items; i. e. filters, plugs, belt tensioners, serpentine belt and oil all parts are totally original.

 

My previous series fives all had over 300k miles on the milometer when I sold them on. None of them suffered with engine problems.

 

Six cylinder BMW engines are noted for their reliability and advanced design. The larger BMW engines of course are also used in Bentleys and Rolls Royce. Even Land Rover has used the 4. 4 litre V8 BMW engine. Their engine units are unquestionably sound. ;)

 

 

 

 

LPG does damage most engines, I have a list which ones in fact.

 

I was simply making a enquiry on your pesonal experiences with bmw on gas. I am also aware that the six cylinder is a great engine.

Lpg as said many times is a dry fuel and does tend to make the exhaust valves get very hot. Some engines converted with lpg won't even make 10k without issues.

Edited by brotherdeal
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The 55mph as you say is a speed that was quoted when driving solo. I aimed the comment bearing that in mind to be honest but. ..........

 

My motorway speed whilst towing it is as close to 60mph as I can manage. I am someone who prefers to find open space and not be hemmed in by lorries.

 

If overtaking I will probably drive a little over the speed limit to pass quickly and safely. You may wish to comment on that admission! ;);)

 

Only to say that, whilst overtaking a lorry at 60 mph,we were overtaken ourselves, By a large van, with the suction of the van as we were pulling back in, the caravan became unstable and if you see my profile signature. You should be able to work out what happened

 

Signature changed 3 weeks after above incident

Edited by wigelywoo

Lunar Zenith Citroen C5 2. 2 HDI Citroen Picasso 1. 6 HDI. , Vauxhall Vectra Design 150 bhp Soon to be, 2014 Sprite Major 4 sr. With ATC.
The Internet has had no effect on my life whatsoever. com

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Only to say that, whilst overtaking a lorry at 60 mph,we were overtaken ourselves, By a large van, with the suction of the van as we were pulling back in, the caravan became unstable and if you see my profile signature. You should be able to work out what happened

 

Signature changed 3 weeks after above incident

Everyone's worst nightmare, at least it hasn't put you off though.

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Wow looks like I opened a can of worms!, thanks to all for advice/opinions done a bit of research since posting but looking like it may a bit of a stretch on my budget, tempting to buy one already converted but, would have concerns over how good/ safe it was etc, also people telling me the tank has very limited life? Tempting tho, as you can buy a low mileage, high spec PETROL for lot less than low spec higher mileage derv. Not too worried on loss of performance was just wondering if it was a major issue for towing with regard to loss of torque, or overheating issues really. Next van prob not be much more than 1400 odd kg loaded anyway so power not a major issue, car would be mainly school run etc so lots short journeys hence got a derv at the mo. thanks for your posts, what a helpful bunch!!

I may look like an idiot and I may sound like an idiot, but don't let that fool you. .... I really am an idiot !!

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Wow looks like I opened a can of worms!, thanks to all for advice/opinions done a bit of research since posting but looking like it may a bit of a stretch on my budget, tempting to buy one already converted but, would have concerns over how good/ safe it was etc, also people telling me the tank has very limited life? Tempting tho, as you can buy a low mileage, high spec PETROL for lot less than low spec higher mileage derv. Not too worried on loss of performance was just wondering if it was a major issue for towing with regard to loss of torque, or overheating issues really. Next van prob not be much more than 1400 odd kg loaded anyway so power not a major issue, car would be mainly school run etc so lots short journeys hence got a derv at the mo. thanks for your posts, what a helpful bunch!!

If you are covering low mileage you could potentially save more money, have more fun and a better towcar by buying a large engined petrol exec car like a petrol volvo V70, S80 etc. ..

The money you save buying it would contribute to the cost of fuel and it may well be more reliable and have lower servicing costs.

Edited by dreadly

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Some interesting comments by other CT users, but some are incorrect.

 

The Nikasil issue referred to affected many car manufacturers, but is totally unrelated to the use of LPG. What is being referred to is cylinder bore coating corrosion caused by some types of cheap supermarket petrol that was high in sulphur content. The use of Nikasil for cylinder bore coatings has long been discontinued and mainly replaced by Alusil.

 

Valve seat damage by the use of LPG is also incorrect. All German engine manufacturers use high quality materials in their valve seats. Most manufacturers that sustain early valve seat damage are from the Far East and use cheaper inferior materials to save on production costs. Only in that instance would UCL be of benefit. I have never come across instances of valve seats burning out after 10k miles, because Liquefied Petroleum Gas is a dry fuel. I can only quote from my own experiences. My own car has completed over 150,000 miles on LPG without flash lube and has shown no ill effects.

 

I think some are buying into the marketing hype from companies that unnecessarily sell Flash Lube systems for all LPG cars. Flash lube and the additional kit to automatically add it to the fuel system is totally unnecessary in any quality car. It is offered by some installers during installation just as extended warrantees are offered by the likes of Curry’s and PC World. It is nothing more than a way for the seller to make extra profits, by playing on the owner’s paranoia.

 

In the past Upper Cylinder lubricant products such as Red-X were sold for petrol engine cars on filling station for courts, supposedly to protect the upper cylinder bores from wear, again another marketing exercise and also totally unnecessary.

 

The claim that having LPG in a car is like driving around with a bomb is one of the most ridiculous comments I have read to date and demonstrates a lack of knowledge about LPG installations in automotive vehicles.

Edited by WindlePoones

Twin Axle Fleetwood Heritage 640 EST - pulled by a dual fuel, (Petrol/LPG) BMW 528i Auto

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The Nikasil issue referred to affected many car manufacturers, but is totally unrelated to the use of LPG. What is being referred to is cylinder bore coating corrosion caused by some types of cheap supermarket petrol that was high in sulphur content. The use of Nikasil for cylinder bore coatings has long been discontinued and mainly replaced by Alusil.

I know it has been discontinued but the OP isn't talking about a new car and despite what you think, Nakasil definitely does not work well with LPG'd cars.

 

The claim that having LPG in a car is like driving around with a bomb is one of the most ridiculous comments I have read to date and demonstrates a lack of knowledge about LPG installations in automotive vehicles.

Again, having converted my Range Rover myself under the watchful eye of RPG engineering in Norwich I feel qualified to voice an opinion, I have also seen the results of gas cylinders in a fire and whilst it's not quite the same due to pressure relief valves etc, it's still a potential bomb and one the fire brigade are very wary of. For a simple test, I'd be quite happy to put a lighted match into a container of diesel, you do the same with LPG? ditto putting a container of diesel into a fire and stand around would you do same with an LPG vessel? The fact that the tank is under pressure circa 200 psi means it really is going to try and get out. Console yourself however you like, if I was in a vehicle fire I'd rather not have a pressure vessel at 200 psi with highly flammable liquid / vapour attached to me, especially the ones inside the vehicle.
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Everyone's worst nightmare, at least it hasn't put you off though.

Frightening at the time, but, we walked away from it and then found out how good our insurance really was.

Sorry for going Off Topic

Lunar Zenith Citroen C5 2. 2 HDI Citroen Picasso 1. 6 HDI. , Vauxhall Vectra Design 150 bhp Soon to be, 2014 Sprite Major 4 sr. With ATC.
The Internet has had no effect on my life whatsoever. com

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