Briggs & Stratton is partnering with Propane Power Systems to bring propane conversion kits to several of their Vanguard, Commercial Series and Professional Series engines. While alternative fuel systems have long been available for outdoor equipment, these new kits offer a way for owners to switch fuels while retaining emissions certifications and factory warranties.
A Cooperative Effort to Bring Propane to Lawn Care Professionals
While Propane Power Systems has offered conversion kits in the past, this new effort is being done in cooperation with Briggs & Stratton to ensure factory original quality is maintained with the switch to a different fuel source. These conversions are also EPA and CARB certified, keeping machinery legal no matter where they’re used.
To get dealers up to speed with the installation and service of these kits, Briggs and PPS are working with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC.) This training program is still in its early stages so it may be a while before you’ll be able to drop off your equipment at your local dealer for conversion. As for servicing, PERC’s recently established Propane Equipment Dealer Point program has over 500 listings for outdoor equipment dealers who can repair propane-powered engines.
Why Convert to Propane?
Propane is mostly known for low operating costs, and in this case, PPE says operators can expect to spend about 30% less on a propane engine than they would on a conventional gasoline-based system. However, that’s not the only benefit to using this fuel:
— Burning propane releases 15% fewer greenhouse gases and 40% less carbon monoxide.
— Cylinders are filled using a closed loop system, greatly reducing the chance of spills and fuel theft.
— Cylinders can be delivered to landscaping businesses and transported with equipment to be swapped out as they’re used. Taking care of a large facility or have more than 10 engines that run propane? A large tank and dispenser can be placed on site for refills. Either way, less time is needed to refuel equipment.
— Thanks to the closed fueling system and lack of additives, propane doesn’t need to be treated and replaced like gasoline.
For professional landscapers, the conversion can mean major decreases in overall operating costs while a lower environmental impact can be used to attract customers.
How the Conversion Works
The equipment owner contacts a dealer asking for the conversion. The dealer gets the engine and equipment information from the owner and sends it to PPS. PPS contacts Briggs & Stratton, informing them of the conversion for warranty and emissions records, then ships a conversion kit to the dealer.
Once the kit arrives, the dealer can convert the engine to run on propane. This includes new carburetors designed to deliver the correct amount of fuel for the application along with new fuel lines and mounting points for propane cylinders. PPS becomes the Manufacturer of Origin (MOR) when the engine is converted by a dealer, and the engine gets a new emissions label showing regulatory compliance. The owner gets a new manual and instructional video on how to operate and maintain their engine using this new fuel.
From then on, PPS warranties all the parts of the engine that come in contact with the fuel, while the rest of the engine is covered by Briggs & Stratton.
Which Engines Can Be Converted?
PPS is just starting to roll out these conversion kits. Currently, the following engines can be converted:
Single cylinder horizontal shaft 205cc
Small block V-twin horizontal shaft 570cc
Small block V-twin vertical shaft 570cc and 810 cc
Commercial Series V-twin vertical shaft 810cc
Professional Series V-twin vertical shaft 810cc
Conversion kits for these engines are coming soon:
Big block V-twin horizontal and vertical shaft 993cc
Small block V-twin horizontal and vertical shaft 479cc
Commercial Series V-Twin vertical shaft 656cc
Is My Mower a Candidate for Conversion?
It makes sense to do the conversion on a new or nearly new engine to get the most value from the conversion; PPS says the best results will come from installing kits on engines with under 200 hours on them. There also needs to be a place to mount one or two propane cylinders. On mowers, the installer can determine the best places for these tanks, whether they’ll need to be put on the sides of the mower or over the deck. Mounting a cylinder on other equipment may be more of a challenge.
While the upfront costs may be high, some of this can be deferred with incentives. The PERC Propane Conversion Program offers up to $500 per mower, and there may be other programs in your state to help cover the cost.
Where Can I Get Service and Parts?
Shank’s Lawn Equipment isn’t just a Briggs & Stratton dealer, we’re also a PERC Propane Equipment Dealer Point. If you need parts or service, come by our shop, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s just off Route 11, one mile east of I-81 from Exit 10/Marion.
Need parts for your Briggs & Stratton engine? We ship across the US. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.