The best part of propane conversion kits is that they open you up to two kinds of customers: the customer who wants the mower as is, and the customer who wants that same model but converted to use propane as a fuel source. If you are going to get into the conversion kit business, there are a few things to consider when choosing the right kit for you, and the right kit for your customer.
In order to participate in the incentives that are available from the Propane Education Research Council (PERC), you have to use a kit manufacturer that is EPA-certified. Those incentives are really what is going to help you to convince commercial customers to move over to propane. There are numerous companies selling conversion kits on the internet, but most are not EPA-certified.
When choosing a kit manufacturer, you also want to consider the warranty they offer on their kits. As with anything that you add on to a piece of equipment, the manufacturer will cover their equipment under warranty, but not any added kits or equipment. Some companies will maintain their own warranty like EnviroGard. Choose a product with a warranty that adds to the customer's satisfaction of their propane experience.
Added features and benefits
Aside from warranties and EPA-approval, some kit manufacturers offer their own unique features and benefits that should be considered in kit selection. TechServices offers an electronic tuner that monitors the exhaust to help operators tune the engine to run as lean as possible and not waste fuel.
When installing the kit on a piece of equipment, there are two things to consider:
1. You want to make sure you have the right kit for the engine. Kits are designed to team up with specific engines. There is a conversion kit for each engine classification. It may be the same kit, but it is classified for that size of delivery.
2. You want to be sure you buy the correct tank mounting straps and brackets for the specific mower model. There are generic and model-specific tank mounts for dual and single-tank mounts.
There may not always be a universal mounting kit available or an OEM-specific mounting kit. Tech Services offers mounting bracket solutions that have been approved by equipment OEM's for certain units.
Some dealers may decide to complete a conversion without an OEM-approved system using their own fabrication. Once you start custom manufacturing mounting kits that are not OEM-approved for that specific model, then you are taking on that added liability. Consider the rigorous testing of manufacturers and decide if you think you can still maintain the integrity of the machine without hour own testing.
Dave Wood of Smitty's Lawn & Garden in Olathe, KS, is a stakeholder in a company called Tech Services Incorporated. Tech Services has partnered with EnviroGard to become its exclusive sales and marketing arm with worldwide rights for EnviroGard EPA-certified propane conversion kits.