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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Veggie van field repair



My waste veggie powered started to sputter at the start of a 300 mile trip. It ran fine on diesel, but diesel costs money.

One advantage of having engineered the diesel to veggie conversion myself is that I know the system inside out. It behaved like a fuel supply problem. The veggie filter was brand new, so that wasn’t the issue.

My fear was that it might be the diesel filter going. Here’s what happens when those start to go bad. The filter is not quite completely plugged so straight diesel flows through it. Switching to veggie is an added strain as the veggie is more viscous and has a filter of its own. The added resistance overwhelms a bad diesel filter.

Due to extremely poor filter design, it would take 2 - 3 hours to change it. I know, I’ve done it before. All the necessary tools and a spare filter were on board, but I didn’t have to time to do the job. My lovely wife and I had an appointment to make and only had a half hour’s leeway.

The easier thing to check was the fuel line in the veggie tank. That can be unscrewed and removed by hand. Sure enough, there was a big ugly fibrous plug of something blocking most of the fuel. Removing that restored fuel flow and it ran great the rest of the trip.

Where did that junk come from? It could have been anything. After all, I am using a waste product for fuel -essentially garbage. Most of the time I’d notice something that big and not pour it in the tank. It might of happened one night when I was fueling up in the dark. Rarely is there anything big enough to plug the line. Normally, the veggie filter catches the grit and grime. (Fleetguard FS1000 filters or NAPA 3406, for those who want to know)

Considering my fuel sources and a home made veggie fuel system, it’s a wonder it works well most of the time.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. I'd think it would pay to strain the stuff, but I'm not sure what would be the best way, as thick as the oil would be.

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  2. Same here , I'd highly recommend a bit of pre-filtering. After all ,sailors must do extreme preventative measures to survive in the long run...
    Happy for your sake and appointment met that it was an easy fix, good diagnosis !

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    1. I can filter it with a pump, but normally I just let it sit and let gravity and time do most of the work.

      Most of my oil has been pretty good, so when I get something bad, I'm not watching for it as much.

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    2. Problem with just letting it settle out is that some things are lighter than the oil and will never settle out. Thus the need to pre screen and filter as a 100% sure fire no-fault insurance. Besides it saves on the more expensive engine filters.

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    3. The veggie filters work pretty good. I will screen if I see floaters.

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  3. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)November 14, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Just curious - what do you do with the oil that you can't use? The stuff with the gunkies in it?
    Silly question, I know...

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    Replies
    1. All "bottoms" are combined in a jug and left to sit for a long time to settle. Then the top is poured out. The inch or two of crud left in the bottom can either be thrown out with the trash or mixed with sawdust for use as a firestarter.

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  4. It is good to hear that you don't waste waste veggie oil. (Grin)

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    1. That would be a waste. :) Only rich people have garbage.

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  5. I'm glad you got the fuel blockage fixed! Nothing is ever easy all the time, is it?

    Like you say, it works fine most of the time!

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    Replies
    1. If life was easy all the time, it woudn't be interesting.

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