Vehicle selection

Hi everyone,
I’m new to this site and love what you have done. I am keen to get into building one of these too. I live in New Zealand and we don’t have to many big american trucks about. We do have some smaller single cab utes with 5000cc V8’s. Also quite a lot of straight 6 4000cc models on the same type of truck.
My question I have is regarding what happens up front. Some of these utes here in NZ are running dual fuel, petrol and LPG. Is it worth looking for a truck plumbed up to run both to make it a little easier to plumb and operate the truck on wood gas?

Would love any feedback. I’m going to buy the plans here as there seems to be a wealth of info on this site. Also want to get it to not just run, but be usable on a regular basis.
Our vehicles cost quite a bit more in NZ than the US for a big V8. is it worth looking at something cheaper with a smaller engine and is it worth looking for something running dual fuel to hack into that?


Anything with a big engine and a bit of deck space seems to go for silly money here in NZ. has anyone had any experience with building these on trailers and running the Gas through flex hose to a tow vehicle. We have lots of cheap V8 Range Rovers, Ford Explorers etc.

Welcome Richard M. Nice to see a Kiwi on here. I live in the US but was considering emmigrating to NZ during the first part of the 2000 decade. What part of the islands are you from?

I know Mike LaRosa has some experience with trailer-mounted gasifiers, though his are on 2200cc I-4 passenger cars. I’m fairly sure that I’ve seen some other trailer-mounted units around.

Hey RichardM
Since you say you intend to be buying the Keith System/Plan book and building that you will get a better response for these questions doing that, and re-asking these same questions in the paid in Premium section.

Not letting out too much specific details some of the reasons the Keith System gets it’s great fuel efficiency, wider turn down ratio, and wider fuel flexibility is how it in a back of a truck bed install it is able to more effectively recycle and use it’s own system process heats and also put engine exhaust waste heat into the gasifer energy system. In my opinion these would be impossible to do on a remote mounted trailer system.
Additionally the fellows I know talking with non-Keith trailer mounted systems all say to trailer mount versus vehicle mount will almost 2X your now additional to be accelerated/decelerated added weights further reducing fuel economy and usable power. And they ALL say they can not just hand over to the SWMBO’s and others in their lives, a trailer towing vehicle without “complaints” or getting them back turn and back-up damaged.

Now I do think a Keith System components could be installed front, over the top and rear bumper mounted on a UTE having enough reserve weight capacity and still retain the majority of the Keith system refinement features. At least one guy now actively building a Keith to do this.
This the parts none of us can back and forth discuss here in the read all free General section.

The non-Keith system trailer guys are Finns: Fredrick Ek, Vesa Mikkonen, and American Mike LaRosa. Mike is here in membership.

Steve Unruh

Hello Richard,

I wish I could be of some help on the trailer unit but I have never used one so I can’t give you any advice from experience. The way I use my trucks with day to day use a trailer would be in my way.

I only know of one trailer unit here in the states and have seen pictures of the two Steve Mention in Finland.

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the feedback. I will chase these comments up further once I get premium membership sorted. The trailer was just a thought to keep the cost down on my first go at this. I would love to set one of these up on a ute of some sort so will continue learning about this before getting into the workshop. I have read on this site there a couple of sought after trucks for this conversion and neither a too common in NZ either. I’m sure once I get a bit more info from the premium section of the site I will find a suitable vehicle here.

Brian, I live in the centre of the South Island in a small rural and ski industry service town called Methven. I also fly choppers in our Glacier Region on the West Coast and commute from one side of the country to the other a lot… By road unfortunately. Lucky our country is a lot smaller. My wife is a sculptor working with mainly steel and corrugated iron, she is the only girl I know with 3 welders. Check out some of her work at

Thanks for the response guys. I will be bugging you again soon.

Morning all!
I have had this in the back of my mind for a while…
I have a '97 S-10 that I would like to use as my gasser. The truck has a 2.2L four cylinder engine.
Has anyone successfully converted one of these trucks? From what I have seen it looks like the bigger the better for the engine size but I really don’t want to run out and drop a few grand on a project. I suppose I could find a crowbar and a 350 and stuff that into it, but doing something like that is usually the downfall, too many inherent problems with a project and it gets shoved into a corner.
I drive 50 miles each way to work; most of it is rural highway only getting busy the last mile or two of the trip. Speed limits are a steady 60 mph. Gas is killing me! I am hoping to get ROI (return on investment) pretty quick!

Thanks for the input!

a s10 with a 4.3 in it would probably work… i know if I had one i’d give it a try

Installing a 350 & 700r4 is extremely easy in an S10.


Some years ago we dropped a 360 in a F150, replaced the 6 cylinder. …I still have nightmares, hahaha.
Nothing wanted to fit right.
It does sound like you have been down this path once or twice. Everthing match up pretty well?
The truck itself isn’t in bad shape but I need to pull the motor and rebuild it anyway. I might just go ahead and grab a 350 and the trany and go for the conversion. I could probably find a good running take out someplace. Any sugestion as to what to look for? Carb vs multi-port fuel injection, distributor vs electronic ignition etc?
If it is going to be a custom rig I might as well start with the right stuff!

… Just checked, running take out, local yard (Brandywine) $2200.00 for the 350 engine assy. Though it seems easier to find the 7.4s. 1997 7.4 with AOD trans at 64K miles, $3180.00. Crowbar and torch not included, but wow what a ride! I guess I could stick it in the back and put the gassifier up front. (… quickly! get that picture out of your head!!!) lol

Hi Jeff,

It’s actually such a common swap there’s whole forums dedicated to it.

Couple listings on Ebay.


I can only help you with carb – dist. engines. A 350 with a 700r4 automatic trans is an excellent combination in an S10. Pre 1986 is the era that we use.
The only problem is 1996 & up vehicles need to be plugged in for inspection in our area, so we stay with 1995 & older vehicles.
A complete junk vehicle with a good motor & trans is usually $500 or less.
The only parts needed are front motor mount adapters, correct oil pan & aluminum radiator. Correct stock manifolds will work or headers are available for this conversion. Google V8 S10 Conversion, all parts are readily available.


Thanks Peter,
The year cut-off is the important info.
I will google the conversion and see what they have out there.

Hi guys
Do realize inspection requirements vary a lot state to state and often even within the state and certainly country to country. Here in Washington State USA in the four manditory emmisions inspected areas you would have to use a base chassis older than the rolling 25 year inspection cut off - now 1986. Outside these areas anything goes.

Back to NZ’s RichardM’s original questions.
Richard even though “I think” the Keith System could be redistributes front bumper, over the top and rear bumper on a four door ute - NOT how I would do it!! Far too system vulnerable to road hazard damage!
On my current driven 94 Ford pick up I have been parking lot back into the front of twice, once to the side. Once I did need to front bumper hang a de-mounted tire and push a disabled vehicle to clear the traffic lane or drive 20 miles around. My previous 1969 pick up was rear end collided twice. As a fire wood hauler I side rubbed it many times on trees weaseling it through the forest taking out wood. My later owned 1999 Honda CRV mini-ute was rear ended at 50 mph while traffic light stopped with the wife driving. My previous 1987 Suzuki Samurai mini-ute when out on a one time 15 minute parts run the borrower (an employee/ T boned a pregnant gal in a Toyota sedan. Sigh. That was expensive.
All of these with some screw jack work I was able to wheel unlock and drive the vehicles home. Outside hung gasifer componets would have been smashed unusable and especially with the hearth spilled hot burning embers lighting off the surroundings. And I would have been liable.
The Wayne install as he shows it is the most practical, safe way to do it.

Look at the various install pictures here under the Forums drop down in the WWII gasifiers sections.
Think about it and the install that has proven the best is central located, inside the vehicle side edges and even higher than bumper zones.
There are experienced evolved reasons the rotary wing you show pictured is configured the way it is. Crash and burn experiences.

In your situation unless illegal to do this I would get a long wheel based Ford Explorer with the 5.0L SEFI V-8 and body hack it open in the back and build a fire/gas proof fire wall between the back and the passenger area.

Then use this to trailer tow as needed your cargo’s such as your wife’s art and welders and other supplies.

Steve Unruh

Thanks Steve,

I was always keen to instal it on a single or double cab ute, I will post some picks of the type of thing I had in mind. The are still a little pricey which is why I was asking about the trailer option but it is not the way I want to go. I also always envisaged setting up a Keith unit on one of these utes. I still have to join the premium section to find out more of whats involved but from what I know so far I kind of hope it is possible to set one up on the deck of something like this. Lots of these utes in New Zealand also run dual fuel, LPG / Petrol due the price of fuel. I guess from the latest thread that it is worth looking for one that is already set up to run LP gas. I never wanted to have any any external components. I hope I can fit the instal within and under the deck of one of these.

Good day RichardM
Again without spilling too many details out - from the pictures easy to see Mr Wayne favors a through the bed install of the tall gasifier hearth. Also aproximatly 1/3 of his total system in the piping, multiple consensate tanks and starting up blowers is out of sight below the bed. Easy and sensible to do on a higher body on frame pick-up truck or 4x4 ute design with lots of empty and re-purpose-able underside space.
There have been almost all in the cargo box installs done on the type of vehicles you picture.
Two D-O-W members: Sean French and Woody specifically have made their systems in the bed slide in type for their local forest fire hazard requirements and vehicle swap-abilty.
Search up their names in the members list and then their “most recent posts” to view their experiences. They are Premium members and so much of this will be in the pay-in Premium members section.
So doable I’d wager on one of these you show - you will just have to be very, very clever and handy with your install.
Steve Unruh