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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vehicle plans



I had an interesting talk with my mechanic the other day. He's been with me for over a dozen years of waste veggie vehicle experiments: a Mercedes 240D, a Mercedes 300D, a Ford F250 pickup, and now my Ford E350 van.

One of the things I've aimed for in my veggie conversions is simplicity. If it costs too much to do the conversion the return on vestment just isn't there. I've seen $10,000 conversions, and that's just silly. My first conversion cost $1400. Once I understood the principles involved I got the cost down in the $250 - $350 range.

Until now my inexpensive van conversion worked well enough. Recently my main source of waste veggie switched from a light canola oil to a heavier soy. Now that the weather has turned cold, it's easy for the soy to become too thick to run properly.

My mechanic and I have decided to put in a larger diameter insulated fuel line and to add a second fuel pump to help the veggie move along. That should allow me to deal successfully with the soy oil. I do miss the dead simple, fully mechanical diesels of old. They were bulletproof.

While I was at it I asked my mechanic what he thought about the VW diesels. He said that if I was buying a brand new one and traded it in before the 100,000 mile warranty ran out, fine. I told him I was looking at used. He said forget it. He refuses to even work on VW diesels -too many outrageously expensive parts plus special VW tools to work on them. That's all I needed to know.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. You're lucky to have such a mechanic.
    Whatever you do, don't lose him...

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    Replies
    1. I've learned it's cheaper in the long run to pay for a top notch mechanic. Quality only hurts once.

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  2. Glad you saw the problem with VW tech before you got into it. Your mechanic is too smart. Would have thought you were doing insulated large diameter fuel lines all along. Having a redundant double pump is an awesome idea.

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    Replies
    1. When I was heading south early it didn't matter if it was insulated or not, especially when using lighter oils. I got lazy.

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  3. Your mechanic is far and few between today. Keep him happy but know what he is doing just in case.

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    Replies
    1. Most of the stuff he does I could do myself, but I lack the tools, the lift and it'd take me a lot longer. Paying him sure beats lying on my back in semi-frozen mud busting my knuckles.

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  4. If you don't already have some sort of way to preheat the oil a bit, perhaps you should consider it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've a heater coil in the veggie tank and a coil wrapped around the veggie filter. The problem has been that the narrow fuel line connectors cools the veggie too much before it hits the pump.

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  5. This may be silly but could you have some sort of a header tank on the engine that you fill in the cold weather with oil heated on your stove top?

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    Replies
    1. Theoretically it could work, but I'd never stuff one under the van hood. I do put veggie jugs next to the woodstove to liquify so I can pour them into the veggie tank.

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  6. ever considered marine grade diesel engines or parts?

    Wildflower

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    Replies
    1. Yes . . . and decided against it. The marine premium expense is just not worth it. A lot of the "marine" stuff is the same as the regular stuff but with a different coat of paint.

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