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WVO in my sprinter van; next is biodiesel for the TDI passat

Post in 'The Green Room' started by mackconsult, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    I finally finished installing my WVO kit in my sprinter van. You can't even tell when switching from diesel to WVO except for the smell of french fryes and not seeing the diesel fuel gauge move :eek:).

    Now I can go up and get wood for free!!!!!! Probably going to go Sunday the whole way up and back on WVO. To bad the Stihl doesn't run on it :eek:).

    Next effort is to get the bio-diesel production going and make my first batch of bio-diesel.

    Soon I will update my website with details and photos.

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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I'm interested. Apparently the ford powerstroke is easily converted to veggy. So do you have some sort of source for the oil? I've often wondered how cheap straight vegetable oil is to buy. It's great fun to be able to burn multiple fuels but you've got to be able to easily get the fuel.
  3. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    I get about 30 gallons a week from my local Safeway, 2 miles from my house. It is hard to find & keep sources for oil, but once you get locked in treat them like kings.

    My wife makes them stuff, and we give them xmas cards. I am very friendly and professional when picking oil up. Always clean my containers for them, and even clean the floor underneath the containers I provide for collection. I use very nice 15 gallon containers, and provide them with a nice big funnel for pouring oil into the container.

    Any body that fries some food uses oil that can be used. I.E. Chinese, mexican, donuts, deli's, restaurants, etc.

    Buying SVO is very expensive (SVO becomes WVO once used for frying foods).

    For example: The oil I get from Safeway is called Mel-Fry, it is a high grade oil. I saw a 30 lb cube of it (just shy of 5 gallons) at restaurant depot the other day. It was $53!!!! Sourcing WVO, filtering, and de-watering is the way to go. My time for collection and filtering brings the cost of using WVO for me to around $.20/gallon :cheese:.

    When I started this venture back in February here was the order of events:

    -Research, research, research on WVO use and Bio-diesel production. Analyze the benefits & risks. Does it fit you and your lifestyle.
    -Find an oil source; and quality of the oil
    -establish the vehicles and kits/parts/technology that would be needed
    -start collecting/filtering WVO
    -build up collecting and filtering capability
    -sell the toyota tundra
    -buy the first vehicle (sprinter van)
    -sell the taurus wagon
    -buy the second vehicle (95 TDI passat wagon)
    -buy the kit to be used in the sprinter van; & install
    -setup biodiesel production <- this is what I am working on know

    Its been a long journey, but I am know starting to see the fruits that this effort bears.
  4. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Mel Fry is less desirable in the cold northeast as the it tends to result in high pour point temp. We have a regional biodiesel facility that is quite aggressive at collecting waste oil. There have been cases in Maine and NH of people being arrested for "stealing" waste oil from restaurants as what they used to have to pay to get rid of, they now can sell. I was surpriised when a saw a padlock on a seafood restaurants waste oil tank last summer. Good to know that this recycling stream is working, beats that "dirty" biodiesel made with indonesian palm oil.
  5. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    I don't know man.

    I have a bucket with 2" of that Mel Fry that is filtered and dewatered in my garaqe. The other morning it was down to 8 F, and all the fluid in that bucket was still very fluid. Can't beat that. Others on the frybrid forum see their oil gel up at 30 and 40 F!!!! They have personally told me that the stuff I get is good.

  6. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    I'm just guessing, but 8 degrees F in the middle of January probably feels like summer to peakbagger...
  7. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    Oh I am sure. The PNW pales in comparison to midwest and NE in regards to low temperatures. I would just like to know what he is referring to when saying that Mel Fry is not good oil when it comes to temperature and gelling. Please inform if there is something better just for informational purposes.

  8. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Indeed it is. The major advantage is that the fuel rails are actually drilled into the heads which ensures that the oil is good and hot prior to injection. The HEUI system that Powerstrokes use also have a lot of qualities that lend themselves well to veggie use. New vegetable oil is way too expensive to use for fuel unless you're buying in HUGE quantities (like by the railcar full), so WVO is the way to go. Small restaurants are the best sources-large establishments usually contract with rendering companies, where as pizza/burger joints, small Chinese food places are more likely to work with you.

    So long as your fuel system has adequate heat, the temperature the fuel gels at is pretty irrelevant. The Vegistroke V3 has been tested in Alaska to temperatures in excess of -20. Furthermore, with the amount of heat the system can impart to the fuel you could run on bacon fat if you wanted to. The one thing to consider however is how and where you do your processing. I do all of my filtration/storage in an unheated garage, so even though I can use oil that gets Crisco-like at low temperatures in my truck, I can't filter it in my garage. Most of my sources use canola thankfully, which still flows relatively freely at 0 degrees F.
  9. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    I filter in my shed also. Use a kerosen 10,000 BTU heater 2 hours before processing and then spend one night doing my filtering. So far so good.

  10. wenger7446

    wenger7446 Member

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    mackconsult, are you running a Frybrid system?
  11. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    Yes its a V3 3 valve frybrid system with my own plastic 36 gallon tank. I had to do some modifications myself to add an additional pump and relays so that when switching between the diesel and WVO systems one pump would go off and other come on and vice versa.

    Its been a project to say the least and not really using it much right know because of short trips. But hopefully all the work will pay off this spring/summer/fall with trips to the coast, mountain, cascade locks, Willamette Sailing Club, wood cutting, and road trips to Long Beach and Yellowstone.

  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    It's just that pumps and unit injectors are expensive if you have to replace them.
    (I had a diesel Beetle for 225k miles, only put a couple of tankfuls of commercial b20(?) and got nervous.)
  13. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    Motor is the most expensive on this vehicle, about $4k, I am going to use a blackstone oil analysis to manage the risk of a motor replacement. Injection pump $700, injectors run about $400, the only way to mitigate risk on these is to ensure you have good quality oil and that you are heating it up properly before consumption.

    I am a mechanical engineer with all my own tools, the only thing I don't do myself are oil changes and tire changes. In 2008 I spent $4500 on fuel. To maintain some type of lifestyle I am used to, I had to do something. Not only that but I am on a sustainability kick :eek:).

    Wood stove and solar panels are next.

  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I hung around people who did this kind of stuff during my TDI years ( www.tdiclub.com ).
    I recall oil dilution being a long-term concern in Europe with their good quality BD.
    It's messy too. Never mind when you brew your own BD.
    Time consuming: have to collect it. Then the stores wind up selling to some big company.

    Now, if it's a hobby, and the significant other is okay with it (if applicable), all bets are off!!! :)
  15. bayshorecs

    bayshorecs New Member

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    I run B100 in my TDIs for over 100k miles so far. I would never run raw veggie though. Very hard on the motor, pump, filtering mess, remembering to switch over, remembering to switch back, car conversion, etc. I make BD for about $1 a gallon and when the weather gets cold, i buy/mix with diesel.

    I have seen ALOT of motors trashed on straight veggie. The TDI is just not the right platform for it. An older VW ID or MB, go for it. Modern TDIs, can get expensive quick.

    Make bio and sleep well at night.
  16. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    I am also/only going to burn bio in my TDI. I am only burning the oil in my sprinter van with a Mercedes motor. I spent almost $3k on a separate tank kit that heats the oil to 190 before reaching the injection pump or injectors on the van, as well as a controller that eases the burden of switching & purging. Using Blackstone analysis in between oil changes to determine correct oil change interval on both vehicles.

    There is always some risk in my/these efforts. Yes veggie has ruined a lot of cars, but here is my take on it:

    1) if your greedy or rush getting into WVO; yes it will kill your car; I am only using the WVO in the van on highway/roadtrips; petrol/bio the rest of the time.
    2) Using good WVO, filtering, and proper temperature, as well as purging are the things that have to be done to be successful.
    3) I did not want to make 1000's of gallons of bio every year for my fuel needs; methanol is dangerous and not good for you and on top of this you need the oil first before you can ever make the bio; only plan on producing 40 gallon batches of bio once every month at most; the rest of the driving is on oil in the van.

    I ride a motorcycle as my daily driver and wife stays at home with the kids. 95% or our driving is on the weekends doing road trips to the beach, mountain, and down to cascade locks in the Van loaded up and towing some times. The passat TDI is the round around town vehicle (50 MPG) also capable of doing the lighter road trips.

    It does not fit for every one, but its a good fit for me. Running on oil is running me about $.20/gallon; bio will also be about $1/gallon for me.
  17. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Hi Mackconsult, I'm curious how much you have to baby or hypermile the Passat TDI to get 50 MPG. What is the EPA rating for that car? Is that MPG highway or combined? With or without AC? Winter or Summer?

    I'm driving a 2002 Saturn SL that is rated (old method) for 40 MPG on the highway (would probably be rated 37 MPG) now and I can hypermile it on highways to 45-47 MPG in the summer. I know that the new Golf TDI is rated to 42 MPG, so I have an expectation that I could probably get nearly 50 MPG, but am curious as to whether I could get even more.

    I haven't been too impressed with what hybrids are providing in terms of highway mileage, so I'm looking for alternatives for my next car. I would appreciate any feedback you can give me.
  18. bayshorecs

    bayshorecs New Member

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    Actual MPG of the passat will be closer to 40-43 range IMO.
  19. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    We get steady 42/43 around town. Gets 50 on flat highway with one person in the car at 55 MPH, driving around town on the highway typically see around 46 MPG. Going to do a 5th gear swap which is supposed to add about 3 to 4 MPG on the highway rating.

  20. bayshorecs

    bayshorecs New Member

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    And running B100 will drop about 5-10% on MPG.
  21. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    As expected. I still don't mind being able to make bio @ $1/gallon, and get 39 MPG. 5th gear swap should bring the MPG of the passat back up close to 50 on bio.

  22. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    What is the source of the new gear for the 5th gear swap - VW or aftermarket? If I didn't install this myself, is it something that someone else would do? Also, you mentioned you do mostly flat highway - would the 5th gear you have in mind be good for hilly highways also?
  23. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    The 5th gear swap comes from a another VW model. Do a search on TDIforum.com and you can research this. A 5th gear swap brings the rpm's down about 400/500. If your only doing 55 then maybe hills would be a problem, but if you speed the vehicle up to 65/75 like most people do with these TDI's because they are road machines they take hills fine. They are torque machines. 4th gear is still there and present, and I don't mind shifting my passat, its kind of fun.

  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I did the 5th gear swap in my 2000 TDI Beetle, back when the ratio gained wasn't as steep as it is now.
    I also still have a tranny scissors jack (which I would let go very cheaply) for when I changed out the wimpy dual mass clutch for a VR6 clutch since the original clutch slipped with the bigger .205 injectors and revised programming (Rocketchip). Still got 58 mpg more than a few times.
  25. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    I'm still in theoretical mode, but looking ahead to about 3 years from now when I'll need a new car. The hybrids don't have me too excited thus far. Not very fun to drive, not very great mileage, all things considered.

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