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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Custom Work

The rain let up for a while Friday afternoon. It was a good time to do some exploratory surgery on the diesel to waste veggie oil vehicle project.

Removing a shelf in a compartment allowed enough room for the veggie tank to fit in. That’s a big relief. The location is good because it’s near both coolant lines and fuel lines. Both will have to be tapped into. The coolant will heat a copper coil that’s submerged in the fuel tank. There’s room for the 6 port fuel valve and a veggie fuel filter in the same compartment. Everything will be easily assessable from an outside compartment door.

While under the vehicle checking out the fuel lines, it was a good time to check everything else under there. Most vehicles in snow country have corrosion from road salt. The underside of this this vehicle is in excellent shape. Its heritage as a former ambulance shines through. Those things are well built. The ambulance builders made extensive use of heavy gage aluminum and top quality rustproofing.

While the tools were out, it seem like a good idea to try and find the diesel fuel filter. As soon as the vehicle is running veggie, a lot of gunk will be washed out of the engine. While that’s great in the long run, in the short run it will eat up a few fuel filters. Finding the fuel filter proved to be a chore.

The vehicle is based on a 350 Ford van. That means part of the engine is accessed from a removable dog house in the cab. Removing the dog house works best if the plastic dash covers are taken off first. Once all the covers and clips were removed, it was possible to slide the doghouse back far enough to see the engine. Now I know what’s under there, but it’s not the diesel filter.

The fuel filter sits on top of the engine, behind the air filter assembly. To reach the fuel filter the whole air assembly has to come out: bolts, clips and clamps. Once that’s out there’s enough room to access the fuel filter housing -barely. There’s a whole toolbox that’ll come along for the ride, for when it’s time to change that filter.

Now that I know where everything is, I have some idea where everything will go. I’ll sleep on it to see if any ideas percolate up out of my murky subconscious. Every one of my veggie conversions has been a cobbled together custom job. They’ve all been works in progress, even once they are up and running. I just can’t leave well enough alone as I’m thinking of ways to simplify things or improve performance.

Once I have a working system, I’ll take some photos. Right now I don’t even know where my camera is.



  1. Can you not move the location of the fuel filter to a more accessible place even if it involves relocating the fuel lines. More work now will save a lot of extra effort later.

    1. Too much work to move the diesel fitler, but the veggie filter will be in a easily accessible place.

  2. I really wanted to find a diesel when I was truck shopping, but there weren't any in my price range at the time. At $75 per fill-up (or more), I could have bought one with all that gas money... Looking forward to your conversion pics!

    1. I got this vehicle for a seriously silly low bid. Very lucky. I think the guys at the ambulance company were just really interested in what I'd do with it.

  3. If that thing has a 7.3 L power stroke diesel in it, I want to point something out to you.
    Under the fuel filter housing are two bluerubber fuel lines that are not very long and are clear down in the bottom of the valley.
    When these start to leak the fuel will puddle up in that valley until it gets high enough to run through a hole at the back left side of the engine and run down the bell housing.

    They are a bitch to change in a pickup, I can only imagine what a horror they would be in a van.

    Something you may want to tackle before you hit the road in that thing.
    You have to pull the filter housing out to get to them.

    Good luck.