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Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Mad Science



Everything’s a mess, but it’s not as bad as it looks.



Here’s the deal. The veggie system wasn’t running the way it was supposed to. It took a few days to find the problem. Poor engine performance was either due to air leaks or poor fuel supply.

I checked all my connections to see if air was getting into the system. Once that was eliminated as a likely problem it was on to the fuel supply.

In the center of the photo is a different fuel filter set up.


In this photo is the first one I tried. Looks pretty sketchy, but that’s how it goes when reusing old parts. I thought there was a chance that there was old gunk limiting the fuel flow.




Putting in a new filter set up helped, but only a small amount. The last place where the problem could be was somewhere in the fuel tank. Of course, the fuel tank is also a reused component.

At the very base of the white filter (top photo) is where the veggie fuel line comes out of the tank. Notice there’s a 90 degree connector as it comes out of the tank. That’s where the problem was. Bits of filter screen, plastic, metal and odd bits of gunk had nearly plugged the connector. Once cleaned out and reinstalled, everything ran perfect.

Notice the copper coil wrapped around fuel filter. That coil, and the coil inside the fuel tank are formed from soft 3/8 inch copper pipe. The coil in the tank was formed by wrapping the pipe around a 1 gallon paint can. It made a good sized coil. The one around the filter was wrapped around the filter itself. Care is needed to not kink the copper when doing the filter coil. Those coils are what heat the veggie, lowering viscosity and making it work.

1/2 inch coolant hose slips right over the pipe and all I do is clamp it. That saves a small fortune in special connectors. If the hose is too tight, soaking it in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes softens it up enough to stretch out a bit.

Once all the connections checked out, I wrapped up the filter in that silvery insulation to keep the filter hot.

My lovely wife and I did a 52 mile round trip. 50 miles of it were run completely on waste vegetable oil. The van performed well. There’s something almost magical when the hot vegetable oil hit the engine. Detonation knock quiets down and I know it’s working.

That’s when I know I’m saving money and running cleaner.

-Sixbears



16 comments:

  1. Congrats on running clean! Are you getting your new found fuel from your local restaurants?

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    Replies
    1. I've a long standing agreement with a local restaurant. The've excellent, gently used oil.

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  2. Cheap and simple, my favorite combination!

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  3. Sometimes it takes a bit of trouble shooting, but it sure feels good when it works.

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  4. Glad to hear it was simple!
    I'm wondering where the veggie tank is kept since it's not a pick-up and no bed.

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    Replies
    1. Since it started life as an ambulance, there was this nice outside compartment that worked out well. It used to have O2 bottles and other gear.

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  5. Glad your van is running great now. All the hard work payed off, or will pay off.

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    Replies
    1. The payback will take less than a month. How cool is that?

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  6. ah, a warp drive

    clever human

    Wildflower

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  7. "saving money and running cleaner" Good for you. You are a smart man, in many ways.

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  8. Maybe just cheap and stubborn. :)

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