Vehicle to begin Vegetable oil conversion project? - Fuelly Forums

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Old 05-24-2013, 01:05 AM   #1
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Vehicle to begin Vegetable oil conversion project?

Hello, Good Day.

-I Am a Newb Here.
-First Thread Created online.
-I am going to do more research in my spare time, beginning now.
-But i was wondering if anyone knows the answers to these questions.

I was wondering what would be the best car to begin a diesel to vegetable oil running engine?

I had read watched a video on youtube about someone who used a 1996 vw tdi truck that already had a second fuel tank that the commentator apparently stated came with the truck stock. -not sure if true.
Sounded like an easy project car for a beginner.
And commentator mentioned it was about $100.00 to make adjustments to this truck to run used french fry / veggie oil.

Note: I know there is time and procedure money to prep used oil.
I believe that would considered another thread questions.

#1 Which is the best viechle to start project?
#2 How much should someone Estimate to Invest in for the additional viechle parts?
#3 Which is the most reputable car companies that makes diesel cars and pickup trucks in general?
#4 Which Makes and Models are there most likely to be found in Mass Numbers on online in classifieds like "autotrader" and "Craigslist"?

Thanks for your comments, patience and leniency to first time threader.
All Comments and information Welcome.

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Old 05-24-2013, 01:17 AM   #2
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* Edit comment above*
-I Read it was 1996 vw tdi in the more information on video section.
-But in the video he states its 1988 f250 7.3 liter diesel v8 engine

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Old 05-24-2013, 05:18 AM   #3
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My ex-brother-in-law did this with his F-250 and it cost him a small fortune. I will say he did none of the work himself. He also had to add a programmer so it would switch back to diesel fuel after he cut the vehicle off to purge the lines of the vegetable oil so it wouldn't solidify in the lines. It was quite an ordeal and you have to have a place to store all the vegetable oil and strain it. diesels can run off of straight vegetable oil or you can do some chemical stuff and turn it into biodiesel. that adds to the cost but it doesn't solidify when it gets cold. he also had a heater in the veg-oil tank.

His mom had a jetta (I think) and she did the same conversion but just used his oil since he had quite a stock pile of it. it took up a lot of room and was really messy. I think in the end he decided it just wasn't worth it... his drive to work was less than 10 miles and he was doing it more to see if he could.

VW diesels are awesome cars but they come at a premium (new or used).
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:32 AM   #4
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I don't think VW had any trucks on the US market in 1996, nor have they ever had a vehicle in the US market with dual fuel tanks. The F250 was certainly available with dual tanks.

It would cost more than $100, even if you do all the work and use salvaged parts. Vegetable oil must be heated very hot to use in a diesel engine like that, and as BEEF mentioned the vehicle must be started and shut down on conventional dinosaur juice or at least bioidiesel; you can't leave VO in the fuel system when you shut it off. If he was brewing biodiesel out of vegetable oil at home and then fueling with that biodiesel, that would require minimal or no modifications to the vehicle.

For VO conversions, it's my understanding that old Mercedes diesels from the 1970s and early 1980s are the best option, as they tolerate it best. They are not too hard to find on craigslist and tend to be inexpensive, too. In general, I suspect that older low-tech vehicles are easier for this.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:20 AM   #5
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+1 on the old Mercedes diesels. When gas prices were at their highest a few years ago there was a guy a few blocks down on my street that was buying them, converting them to veggie oil, then selling them at a profit. He always had one or two early 80's Mercedes sedans for sale. Also, I would think old Volvo's would probably lend themselves very nicely to a project such as this.

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Old 05-24-2013, 07:34 AM   #6
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I once read that for a VW TDI you want a 2003 or older for biodiesel. A pre-DPF engine might be a must. The oil might clog up the filter during regen cycles.

I thought a dual tank system is a must to avoid the oil gelling in the engine when off, but this forum has a section for single tank systems.
The equipment might cost more, and installation be more involved with the inline fuel heaters. It might not apply to you, but it might need diesel blended in for colder locations to prevent the gelling.

A truck/van with dual fuel tanks would be the simplest to convert. Perhaps just adding a heater to one tank. I couldn't say which brand and model would be better. Plenty of sites debate this. If you are looking at older vehicles, I'd say go with the one with lower parts cost. No matter how well made, things are going to wear out at that 20+ year mark.

Mercedes seem to be a popular choice, but Volvo also had some diesels from that era. Avoid the early GM diesel cars. They used a gasoline engine block back then that couldn't stand up to the forces required for a diesel engine. Those diesel VW's of the '80s also used a gasoline lower end that can lead to reliability issues.

Before investing in a conversion, give this site a read. They have been mixing SVO with gasoline to run in unmodified equipment. The only investment, beyond that for processing the oil, appears to be a hydrometer.
Bio-Diesel: Farm Grown Profit

Finally, if you consider trying your hand at biodiesel, or just get it at station that has it, you will have to replace the rubber fuel lines. Manufacturers didn't start using biodiesel compatible fuel lines until some time in the mid-90s. It eats away the older material. Some people just wait for the lines to fail, but that's up to personal comfort
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:15 AM   #7
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Early 80s Mercedes diesel 200 and 300 series. Watch Mythbusters video on this. They simply poured post cooking oil into tank, turned key and went. Not saying it's the right thing to do continuously, but that diesel engine pretty much runs on anything that burns in oils realm. And they are cheap to buy on craigslist, and run forever. Official Guinness record book record keeper.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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Hey Guys! Im Back After more than a Week.
And I BOUGHT A CAR for the Project!!!
Good Luck to Me.... its an old car.

-I did already write a post here and somehow my comp went backwards on the webpage and erased my message.. so lets see if i can remember what i originally wrote

Ok First to Answer my own questions... after doing a "little bit" of research = "alot " of research online and looking over the classifieds every day over auto trader and Craigslist all over California. i kept finding reacquiring cars and finding their general price ranging and cars general quality.
Time spent = 6-8 hours a day searching online classifieds and making calls... i know i have alot of free time.

So First I will answer question Number #3
#1Mercedez Benz, High Quality Interior, Engines Last a Long Time, Marketed towards middle to upper income.
#2Volkswagen...Unique Trucks Vans and Convertables which are very desired from diesel specialties. Unique and high in number available
#3 Volvos...only a few of them

The Second Question i Will Answer, is question #4.
Which car is for sale on online classifieds the most, in high quantity.
The Answer is:
#1 Mercedes Benz, Specifically the 300 Series. there are a ton of these everywhere ranging from all types of condition and price.
#2 Several Types of Mercedes not memorized becasue out of MY price range.
#3 Volkswagen "Rabbit" = "MK1" ="Cabriolet" or "Caddy", made for like 10 years or more from Europe to north America to Mexico and else where. And they come in a truck and convertable version which are also called "caddy's" and "rabbit's" and "cabriolet" which are very interesting
#4 Volkswagen several Vans Available.

-Now this conclusion has been made only after one week of searching and prices for old cars can fluctuaute twice the price and half the price depending on waiting of the seller and local demand...but its my conclusion

Now I will Answer Question Number #1
And the Answer is: CHEAP...there really is no answer.
They are going to be old, and need work.
-Find the Cheapest the Car your youd feel comfortable driving.
-If I could i would buy a Mercedes Benz, The Inside is Obviously Quality and was built for middle income and up. but Mercedes benz are currently going for between $2,500- and 5,000 for 15-30 year old cars NOT rebuilt engines at that price, and include example: electrical problems, wripped seats and neglected suspensions = miscellaneous parts..
-But for the same quality, but maybe slightly less..
The Volkswagen made several DECENT diesels. Now the Volkswagen usually go for about... $1,000 - $3,000.This happens to be more in my price range.
-Being that I need to have money to fix random maintenance, upgrades, and replacement parts that have been neglected for years. And Accounting for internal engine problems that may come up, down the road and saving money for a new engine or transmission.
-And Saveing Money for a WVO Vegtable oil conversion Kit that maybe $600-$1,200.
-I Simply feel more comfortable betting investing and buying volkswagen.

I will comment about the details later.

My Individual Final Conclusion to this First Step, of Finding the Right Project Car is if you can afford a Mercedes go for it. But if you cant and cheap like me and risky. Buy a Volkswagen. the are the german hondas of the 70's and 80's baby! ;-)
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:08 PM   #9
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1980 Volkswagen Rabbit G series.
1.5 liter 4 Cylinder Diesel Engine. 4 Gear Manual Transmission.
150,000 Miles, Everything original
With what i believe is 70 hp engine..idk feels like 50hp.
I could be 4th gear easy doing 20 mph on the street haha or gradually pushing the engine up to 65-70 mph while on the freeway.. but it feels like it doesnt want to be driven past 50-65 tops. I notice alot of internal tension when going past 65 mph and take alto of time to increase in speed after that mark and feels like alot of fuel wasted. so i dont go above 65. I drive between 50-60 on the freeway.
-The Interior is strong red leather.. except the driver seat :-(. Dashboard Cracked and faded real bad, this is common in this model, and dirty floor rug. All the Lights interanl and exterior work. Heater works, Stereo Works. Doors Close good. Hood Closes Good. Back Hatchback Door Hydraulics are good opens and closes Good. Interior Roof %80 Good Condition. No Window Cracks. And Front Windows roll up and down good.
-The Exterior has some light rust all along the car. With a Light coat of bondo overthe car... no strong rust clumps, no brittle pieces falling off except for 2 small shallow rust beginning at the bottom end behind the rear wheels, which i seen a frequently looking at the vw rabbits of this time. this is one is a light.
-There was a coolant leak i under estimated, when i had initially inspected. and was dooped on -noted.
-And there is some extreme rattling going on inside the car between engine and driver.
Im not sure if that issue is the motor mounts need to be replaced OR dashboard needs to be re-screwed in and maybe diesels from 1970-1980 are just louder in general.

I saw several 2 -4doors rabbits, and 2-4 door rabbit convertables and Rabbit Pickup Trucks or "caddy trucks" for $1,500 - $3,500 at the most asking price.

It feels like its going to ride for along long as i dont drive to drive it above 70 mps.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:10 PM   #10
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it does NOt have light coat of bondo over car.... i meant to say .... it has a light coat or PRIMER over the car.

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