Follow by Email

StatCounter

Friday, October 24, 2014

News from the garage



My mechanic got back to me today about the veggie van. The problem, for once, was not a bad fuel pump. Instead it was a plugged line. That was good news. I'm much more likely to keep the van now. Another bad pump would have been a deal breaker.

I'd had some fuel lines replaced. The quality of the new lines was better than the stuff I'd used previously. What I had not realized was that the connectors for the lines choked down the flow substantially. It wasn't much of a problem when flowing diesel. The thicker veggie fuel, especially when not fully up to temperature, couldn't make it past the fitting. Then the engine would stall out for lack of fuel. Usually the plug would break free once switched back to diesel. My guess is that the cold weather caused the veggie plug to solidify much quicker, completely plugging the line.

The fuel line problem might not have been an issue except for something that happened this spring. My main waste veggie supply switched form canola oil to soybean. Canola is a thin oil and stays liquid at much lower temperatures than soy. Recent cold weather made the problem worse. So it was a perfect combination of narrower fuel line connectors and thicker oil.

The mechanic has put in a temporary rubber fuel line. I've used that kind of line in the past on other vehicles. Over time veggie will break down the line and cause leaks. Rather than put in really expensive lines, I used to just change out the rubber ones every year or two. That might be the thing to do again.

At any rate, I'm feeling much more optimistic about taking the van on a long trip. It does give us the option of towing our Oday 19 if want to.

However, I'm also tempted by that diesel VW New Beetle that a friend has for sale. Much will depend on how the finances look at the end of the month. My wife's car isn't long for this world and I wouldn't mind having another diesel, especially one that gets exceptional fuel efficiency.

-Sixbears

11 comments:

  1. Would it be worth it to put a bottle of Canola oil per tank to thin it down some until you make it to warm Florida weather? You're still saving money and hopefully some heafaches.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The canola wouldn't mix well enough until the soy was hot anyway. Once the soy gets that hot it'll run without plugging. Just takes more running in diesel to get the temperature there.

      Delete
  2. A second diesel sounds good, but towing with the van gives you extra options.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad the issue is solved! Now it sounds like time for a serious re-plumbing job.
    Don't overlook using race car braided fuel line. Its impervious to just about everything and the aircraft fittings use with it are engineered for full flow.

    I'm with Gorges, if the beetle is in good shape overall, buy it and make more use of the veggie oil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll look into the braided fuel line.

      Delete
  4. Does your oil source serve crinkle cut fries, and maybe used to serve slender McD type fries? That could be the source of the blockage..??
    Bigfoot in TX

    ReplyDelete
  5. Does you oil source switch from slender McD style fries to crinkle cut fries? That could be an issue with blockage.
    Bigfoot in TX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thinking it's the chicken wings . . .

      Delete
  6. What about wrapping the fuel line with a heat tape like they use on RV waterlines? I understand that they make both AC and DC powered heat tapes but I don't know how much affect the DC one would have on your batteries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Normally I'd run my coolant line next to the fuel line and wrap everything in insulation. Maybe I'll at least insulate it. The coolant lines in this rig are not close to the fuel line here.

      Delete