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Proud to be an Infidel
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope this is posted in the appropriate thread.
My apologies if its not.
The following article is off AOL. (AOL? :eek: )


From the Fry Tank to Our Gas Tanks?
By Eric Peters

A moped -- or hoofing it -- are not the only answers to the energy crunch. If you own a diesel-powered car, truck or SUV, salvation may be as close as your local greasy spoon.

It's possible to run a diesel engine on used -- albeit filtered and otherwise prepared for internal combustion -- fry oil, also known as Waste Vegetable Oil (W.Va.). There's also Straight Vegetable Oil (aka "SO" and a bit less stinky), a mix of grease and diesel -- or "biodiesel," which is also sourced from vegetable oil or animal fat.

The upside to "going greasy" is liberation from the tyranny of OPEC and $3 per gallon fuel; theoretically, you may never have to visit a gas station again.

The downside -- well, downsides -- are that fry vat fuels only work in compression-ignition (i.e., diesel) engines -- and that there's "some assembly required." You can't just pour "Mickey D High-test" into your tank and motor on.

But it can be done -- and it does, indeed, work.

The fact is that the inventor of the diesel engine -- Rudolf Diesel -- intended his design to run on vegetable oils. But vegetable-based fuels were supplanted by petroleum-based diesel fuel, principally because it was (at the time) a more effective fuel. And of course, at the dawn of the automobile age some 100 years ago, fossil fuels were both incredibly cheap and incredibly abundant. The United States produced more than enough to provide for its own needs; there was no OPEC -- and no worry about Middle Eastern oil barons, terrorism or dwindling supplies.

Today these are very real problems -- which explains the resurgent interest in feeding diesels something other than refined dead dinosaur juice.

Vegetable oils -- both "straight" (WVO/SVO), mixed (WVO/SVO/petro-diesel) and "processed" (biodiesel) -- can work as fuel in a diesel engine because a diesel relies on heat and compression -- not spark -- to ignite the air/fuel mix that creates the power that moves the car. This is why diesel engines are also called compression-ignition engines. It's also part of the reason why diesels tend to be much more durable and long-lived than gasoline (spark-ignition) engines. The fuel in a diesel provides lubrication as well as power. Gasoline, in contrast, is a highly volatile solvent -- and can (and often does) wash away the thin film of oil that keeps internal engine parts from grinding themselves into an early grave.

But don't call Col. Sanders just yet.

In order to run either WVO or SO in your diesel vehicle, you'll need to prepare the fuel; and you'll need to prepare your vehicle by modifying it to accept the different fuel. For WO and SVO, you'll typically need a separate tank, plumbing to heat the tank using engine warmth (to keep the vegetable oil from congealing, at which point it won't get you anywhere), a new filter system and related bits and pieces.

WVO and SVO systems are designed to work with most (but not all) diesel engines and cost approximately $700. (For more info, see www.greasel.com and click on "products").

If you work the math, the conversion should pay for itself after about a year of driving -- and will cut the emissions output of your vehicle by 50-75 percent right away, without affecting power or performance.

But you still have to get the grease.

If it's SVO -- rapeseed, canola, peanut oil, etc. -- you can buy it from any store or supplier that sells it in bulk. But it still needs to be degassed and deacidified -- and absolutely free of water (which diesel engines do not like one bit). WVO can be had for your favorite price -- free -- by negotiating a deal with an understanding local restaurant owner. But once you get the goo, it's got to be prepared for use as a fuel by filtering it (to remove water and impurities, including any stray french fries and leftover nuggets of General TSA's chicken) and/or adding viscosity-enhancing agents to keep it from congealing.

Biodiesel also must be procured by purchasing it -- if you can find a supplier -- or cooked up at home via a chemical process called "transesterification" in which glycerin is separated out from the fat or vegetable oil. It's kind of yucky -- and definitely labor intensive. Plus, you still need to have a small tank/supply of dino-juice diesel for cold starts -- and to help purge the fuel lines to keep them from getting gummed up.

And there's the rub.

As bad as it is to pay $3 per gallon at your local fillin' station, the only work that's required of you is opening up your wallet. No filching buckets of loathsome excreta from the dumpsite of local fast food joints -- then lugging them home for filtering/mixing/treating. And, of course, both conventional diesel (and gasoline) are available everywhere -- so no worries about finding your next fill-up, even on a dark and stormy night.

There's also the smell to consider.

While no one likes the New Jersey Turnpike ambiance of an idling diesel engine, switching over to grease for fuel will saturate you in cholesterol cologne -- the heady, high-class ambiance of the fry station at Wendy's.

It's not for everybody -- and won't help if you're trying to diet.

There are also warranty issues to consider -- if you want to avoid losing yours, anyhow.

Proponents of vegetable oil/biodiesel claim that there should not be any negative effect on a diesel engine's function or reliability as a result of installing and properly using a conversion system -- or the WVO/SVO/biodiesel fuel itself. But warranties are often very persnickety and heavily lawyered-up with clauses and "buts" and "whereases" about just what an owner may -- and may not -- do with his vehicle in order to maintain coverage. Any "modification" or use of other-than-recommended fuel could result in the manufacturer balking at reimbursement -- even if the problem arguably had nothing to do with the use of WVO/SVO or bodiless.

The hassling of proving it didn't, forcing the manufacturer to pay for the cost of fixing whatever broke could be the price you pay for going "off the grid," fuel-wise.

On the other hand, if you own an older, long out-of-warranty diesel, this could be just the ticket.

And the next best thing to a free (if a little aromatic) ride.
 

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Proud to be an Infidel
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
swapping to a Merc Diesel

As soon as I can swing it, I will be asking for data and "how to" info on swapping out this SE7 gas engine for a Mercedes Benz Diesel. :buttrock:
 

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The conversion kit to running straight Biodiesel in your motor may apply to old model diesels but it is not necessary for later model ones. I know of a person and have seen his discovery running on Biodiesel, without any kits. Heating systems also, only apply for areas where the oil will solidify during winter, and it also depends on what type of waste oil you have collected. Some oils are solid at ambient temperatures due to additives.
 

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Former LR tech, Albany NY
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Biodiesel doesnt work on any Direct injection engines.

Seen a few pictures of Ford Diesels with offroad diesel and biodiesel and its a gummy varnished mess.

I can see this on older vehicles but not new ones. Too many tolerances.
 

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beezel said:
Biodiesel doesnt work on any Direct injection engines.

Seen a few pictures of Ford Diesels with offroad diesel and biodiesel and its a gummy varnished mess.

I can see this on older vehicles but not new ones. Too many tolerances.
I'll second that.

Running a direct injection diesel on straight vegetable oil will quickly cause all sorts of horrible deposits on the cylinder walls and piston crown because all the fat droplets condense when sprayed through the injector when the engine's cold.

In-direct injection diesels don't have that problem as there is a more gradual mixing of the air and fuel, and the injectors run at lower pressures.

Likewise, rotary injection pumps will not take to biodiesel because it does not have enough lubrification in it to keep the pump rotor from seizing.

So- the worst engine in terms of work needed for conversion is a rotary-pump direct injection engine, like the Land Rover Tdi.

Likewise, the only engine that will cope if you just pour vegetable oil into the tank and fire it up is a plunger-pump indirect injection engine. Land Rover never made one, so you'll be looking at an old Gardner, Lister, Perkins or Bedford engine if you want to do that.
 

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Biodiesel is made from waste vegetable oil. This is entirely different from Straight Vegetable Oil, which needs a special kit if it's to work in your engine. Biodiesel cannot gum up your 'works' as the glycerine that's in the Waste vegetable oil drops out of solution. The process basically involves filtering the waste vegetable oil. Heating it to drive off any water that might still be left in it. Once you have calculated the amount of oil you have you apply a formula based on approx 100ml of Methanol & 5 grams of Sodium Hydroxide per litre of oil. This can vary slightly depending on the pH of the oil. These two chemicals are mixed together separately an added to the WVO and stirred in. After a number of hours the glycerine in the WVO separates and sinks to the bottom of your drum where it is drained off. Next, you apply a small 'shower' of water over the, what is now "Biodiesel". The water also sinks to the bottom of the container, taking with it any remaining traces of Methanol and Sodium Hydroxide. To achieve maximum purity, the Biodiesel is washed a further 2-3 times. It now will run in your engine without any complications, if you have made it correctly, but you'll discover this during the refining process, long before you go to use it.
 

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My 300tdi runs fine on it

beezel said:
Biodiesel doesnt work on any Direct injection engines.

Seen a few pictures of Ford Diesels with offroad diesel and biodiesel and its a gummy varnished mess.

I can see this on older vehicles but not new ones. Too many tolerances.
I produce bio diesel and I have 4 cars all with 300tdi's and no running problems. If you 'convert' the waste oil properly then there are no 'kits' required for your vehicle. I.E It can run in 'any ' diesel vehicle, old or new (yes there can be warranty issues) It's also a better solvent so your engine will run cleaner. I have only recently started making my own but have a friend that's been running all his company vans (6 I think, all new and no warranty issues) on it for two years and has yet to have a problem.
The only problem that can happen is that is dissolves rubber but as 99% of cars stopped using rubber pipe work post 1995 it's not really an issue. They also suggest changing your fuel filter when you start using it and agin after a few weeks as it is such a good solvent that it needs to clean your engine!
 
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