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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Veggie Conversion -rough draft

This is what a home brewed waste vegetable oil conversion (WVO) looks like. Consider it the rough draft. The idea is to get all the components assembled and running. Once all the bugs are worked out of the system, then I’ll tidy up the installation a bit.

In the bottom center of the photo is the fuel tank. It’s a modified 12 gallon marine tank. On the left hand side of the tank is where the copper coil has been installed. This tank has already seen 100,000 miles of service in a previous vehicle conversion. Eventually, I’d like to replace it with a bigger and newer tank, but for now this is fine.

The upper right side of the photo shows a two stage fuel filter. This has also been salvaged from a different WVO conversion. This filter assembly has already seen 400,000 miles of service. The white part is a disposable spin on filter. Those are pretty cheap. They allow me to run unfiltered veggie. All I let do is let it settle a bit before filling the bank.

On the upper left side is my Pollak 6 port valve.

This is a better photo of it. Yeah, it looks like a mess. Like I said, rough draft. Normally, the valve would be mounted under the vehicle or inside the engine compartment. Instead, I’m taking advantage of this being a decommissioned ambulance. This compartment is heated and insulated, but isolated from the passenger area. The components won’t freeze in the winter.

The really nasty part of the job was cutting into the fuel lines under the vehicle. One of the lines got away from me before I could plug it and I got a good hosing of diesel fuel. It took two showers before I didn’t smell like diesel fuel anymore. My clothes will probably have to be thrown out. That’s why we don’t do these jobs in our Sunday best.

I’ve some testing and tweaking to do before I’ll trust taking this very far. It was getting dark by the time I finished up, so that’ll wait for another day.

There are some nice commercial conversion kits, but none are very cheap. This conversion cost under $200. Had I started with all new stuff, the job still could be done for under $400. With the price of diesel over $4, payback won’t take too long.

A guy a few towns over from me just spent $10,000 on a commercial conversion. I’m sure it’s much prettier than mine. The payback on his investment might take a bit longer.



  1. Anything you can do yourself saves money, unless you are me. Seems everything I do backfires and costs me double.

  2. Everyone's had projects backfire like that.

  3. I'll take function over form any day, especially when it's a fraction of the cost of "pretty"...

  4. That's the way I feel about it -especially on my budget.

  5. That is awesome you did it all yourself and saved a lot of money. How much do you have to know in order to do this yourself versus buying the commercial kit?

  6. It boils down to a few things that have to happen. The veggie has to be heated to lower viscosity. It also has to be filtered. Many ways to do that. This conversion uses the waste heat from the coolant. I've also done it electrically.