A forum for van conversions, van living and travel

Author Topic: On board fuel  (Read 1785 times)


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
On board fuel
« on: March 21, 2018, 11:02:07 PM »
Hey Guys,

I am in the process of designing my first conversion. I was thinking about fuel sources and was wondering what people's thoughts were. I like the idea of a single fuel source, be it electrical appliances run from battery and alternator / solar panels. The other alternative I was considering was diesel cook top, diesel water heater and space heaters.

The former is reasonably priced but I am not sure how practical it is. The latter seems to be more practical but also super expensive. What is the conventional wisdom on multiple power sources.

Is the diesel appliance worth the expense?
Is LPG that big of a pain to install and maintain?
What about LPG fueled vehicles?


  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 493
  • Karma: +15/-90
  • 20+ years of Life On Wheels
    • View Profile
Re: On board fuel
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 09:20:08 AM »
Greetings & Welcome!

My choice of fuel for heating, cooking, and optional lighting is kerosene.  All of mine are classified as kerosene, but will run on kerosene, diesel, or even alcohol.  I have been told that not all kerosene appliances will run on anything other than kerosene, so your mileage may vary.  Mine are all wick type rather than pressurized, and that may be what lets them be multi fuel.  None of my appliances are built in, they are all portable so I can use them both indoors and out without duplication, and if anything needs to be replaced it is simple and easy with no rebuilding required.

Without shore power or a generator, electric isn't a good option for heating, cooking, or refrigeration.  3 way fridges are readily available, and can be run on 12v while driving and electric or propane when parked.  There used to be kerosene powered fridges/freezers available, but I don't currently know a source. I switched back to a good old fashioned ice chest myself.  One big block of ice per week, and no power or fuel required, and nothing to go wrong with it.  If I need a freezer, any cooler can be turned into a freezer by using dry ice.  With dry ice, you can also make your own ice for your cooler for free.

I don't have a dedicated water heater.  I have a water jug painted black, that will provide warm water when placed in the sun.  I can also heat water on my stove or heater.  If I need a lot of hot water, I can have endless hot water via a fire coil, which can be used on my stove, heater, or even on a campfire.

I currently have a big 23k BTU kerosene heater because I winter in very cold places, that can also be cooked on, and two smaller bunsen sports heaters/cookers which are also both heaters & cookers.  All were purchased used for under $20 each. 

Normally I use kerosene in mine, it burns cleaner than diesel, and my two 7 gallon jugs will normally last me at least a year unless it's a really cold winter.  Kerosene is usually available at the gas stations in farm country, and is about the same price as diesel.

When it comes to vehicles, gas is always the best.  They are the cheapest to own, operate, drive, maintain, and repair.  Personally I prefer the older pre computerized models because there's that much less to go wrong with them, and owner repairs/maintenance is far easier and cheaper.  The older vehicles were better built, and far out last the newer ones. Propane conversions are more trouble than they're worth and can cost a fortune if they malfunction.

Diesel and kerosene stuff for boats or RV's is terribly expensive, but kerosene/diesel heaters, cooking burners, and lanterns can be found cheap, because it is the standard in 2/3 of the world, including the poorest of countries & especially those areas with little to no electricity.  It is also the preferred fuel for many off gridders.  While I enjoy having power, being able to live comfortably without it is important to me, and kerosene/diesel allow that.

My negative karma ratings reflect the number of spammers,
scammers and bad advice that I've exposed, feel free...