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Friday, August 26, 2011

Alternative energy idiot move

I tried to start my truck today to go into town. It wasn’t going to happen. My truck runs on waste veggie oil along with diesel. The trick is switch from veggie to diesel a few minutes before shutting the engine off. Veggie has to be hot to lower its viscosity enough to run in the engine. From past experience, I know it won’t start on thick cold veggie oil. That’s why it’s important to shut down in diesel -so it can be started with diesel. For some stupid reason, I shut the engine while it was still in veggie.

It had all night to cool down. No way was it going to start cold. I do this bone headed error about once a year. Fortunately, it’s the summer and fairly warm. Another lucky break is that I’m using canola oil, which is a lighter oil to begin with. Good thing I wasn’t using a hydrogenated oil that stays solid at higher temperatures. Imagine trying to start an engine filled with Crisco.

Diesels in colder parts of the country are equipped with electric block heaters. Even regular diesel fuel won’t flow if it’s cold enough. For ease of winter starting, a block heater prewarms the engine. There’s no rule saying I couldn’t use it in the summer for a veggie choked engine. A couple hours with the block heater and it started up -not very easily, but start it did.

In colder weather, even the block heater won’t cut it alone. I’ve used space heaters, changed fuel filters, and blown out fuel lines. It’s a lot of nasty and messy work.

It’s a good thing the veggie system is trouble free most of the time. About 90 - 95% of the fuel burned in the truck is free waste veggie oil. That makes it worth dealing with the occasional mistake.



  1. I'll be that, unfortunately, you'll be paying for that veggie oil in the near future.

  2. When it reaches the point where it's more expensive than diesel, then I'll park my vehicles and do something else.

  3. All of us forget something important from time to time! At least it wasn't freezing cold outside!

    Glad you got it started, my friend!

  4. Just out of curiousity, why can you not run a blend of diesel and vegetable oil? Is it because they would separate in the tank?