Our gratuitous burnout ripping the tires to shreds demonstrates this ROUSH F-150 burns petroleum-based rubber. However, this very special pickup doesn't fuel up with pedestrian dinosaur juices like gas or diesel. Instead, it's powered fully by propane, the same thing powering a backyard grill.
Recently, ROUSH gave us a shot behind the wheel of an F-150 converted with the first ever propane kit system —a new complete plug-and-play propane conversion kit for 2007.5 and 2008 model years equipped with the 5.4-liter V8 engine. The installation kit includes a fuel pump, fuel injectors with matching fuel rail, a reprogrammed ROUSH ECU, all of the proper fluid lines and wiring and either an under-bed 25-gallon tank or the one pictured here that sits in the bed and holds 59-gallons. Installation can be accomplished at home with a reasonable set of tools in about eight hours.
So how does driving the propane-powered F-150 differ from the gasoline or diesel-powered model? It doesn’t. ROUSH's earth-friendly Ford drives, stops and steers exactly like its conventional cousin. Since this truck runs off liquid propane, starting the engine is as simple as turning the key. This is vital, as models from other manufacturers burn gaseous propane, resulting in issues with turning over in the cold; that wouldn't cut it up here in the Dirty Glove (Michigan, for the uninitiated) with our freeze-your-ass-off winters. Horsepower and torque numbers are supposedly identical to the gasoline-fed model, but we noticed a bit more pep. Cargo loading and tow ratings remain unchanged.
Mother Earth is all "Hell Yeah" about this truck as much as Hank Hill would be if he got his hands on one. Propane touts a much lower carbon footprint than gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil and even ethanol; the exhaust contains virtually no toxic compounds. Safety actually improves over the gas-fed truck: The propane storage tank is tested at six times the usual pressure to ensure you don't turn into a mushroom cloud on your way back from Best Buy. Try saying that about the fuel tank in your Camry.