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Friday, January 4, 2019

Done with Veggie Vehicles



There are still a lot of people out there running diesels converted to run on waste veggie oil, but I'm not going to be one of them. With the sale of my 2001 Ford diesel ambulance van I've come to the end of my diesel days.

There are two major problems. The first is that veggie is a lot harder to get. It used to be a waste item that restaurants had to pay money to dispose of. In recent years uses have been found for the stuff, everything from creating commercial bio-diesel to dog food additives.

The second is that the newer diesels are much harder to convert to veggie. It can still be done, but it's more expensive and not exactly a shady tree mechanic type operation. My old early 80s Mercedes diesels were bulletproof. The 90s era Ford F-250 diesel I had was dead simple to convert. It even came with two fuel tanks. About all I had to do was to drop a heater coil in one of the tanks. The Ford diesel ambulance was a bit tougher. In fact, I fried a number expensive electric fuel pumps in the early days. That's a far cry from the days when my old Mercedes tolerated just about anything.

There are still plenty of people driving around those old diesels on veggie. Diesels are tough and can handle a lot of miles. Come spring I hope to get rid of the last of my waste veggie storage to one of those guys. If they won't take the veggie, there's a local church group that uses waste veggie to heat their buildings.

My problem is that I still have need for a tow vehicle. My lovely wife and I have been discussing what we'll do. We aren't going to bother with diesel this time. There are plenty of older and inexpensive vehicles with strong gasoline engines. Unless we come across a great deal, we probably won't be looking for one until the spring.

A pickup truck would be nice, but those tend to hold their value. Of course, that doesn't mean we won't find a good deal. You never know. One option is an older SUV. The early ones were basically just an SUV body slapped onto a pickup truck frame. They make pretty good tow vehicles and the market is flooded with cheap ones.

I am going to miss the whole home brewed fuel thing, but conditions change. We ran waste veggie in four different vehicles for well over 20 years. That saved us a ton of money and was fun too. However, conditions change and it was time to move on.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. Check out commercial vans. Big, strong, ugly as sin, capable of towing, hauling or van camping. And they can be had for a decent amount and if bought from fleet sales, usually in pretty good condition.

    Good luck.

    Veggie diesel is like old-school satellite tv. Real fun and inexpensive until someone sees money or an exploitative hack. Oh, well.

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    1. I wouldn't mind a commercial van. My big issue is getting something with a decent engine and transmission that can tow. Not particular about the looks. Good suggestion. I'm in no hurry so I can keep my eyes open to see what comes up.

      I had a blast with veggie diesel,but its time has past -at least for me.

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  2. Next time you head south buy one in FL or TX. You can still find older clean rust free examples for short money down there. Drive the Nissan down and use the purchase to tow it back on a dolly.

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    1. That's a thought. I'll have to look into dolly rentals. Just got notified from a friend in KY that his son's 3/4 ton van might be for sale. It already has 250 watts of solar on the roof.

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  3. I have an '85 Ford F250 with a 6.9 diesel. I never even start it. I just can't seem to get in the mindset to sell it. It would only bring $1,500. I love those noisy, old, true non-computer diesels.

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    1. They got a lot more complicated in the 2000s. Your old Ford is also probably pretty EMP resistant too.

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  4. Hard to make a change like that, I would imagine. Still, you have to go with what is best for your situation.

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    1. Life is change. You deal with it and move on. My dad never looked back and I think it helped his mental state a lot.

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  5. I think that veggie vehicles have moved out of the spotlight, at least for now. They have become more trouble than they are worth.

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    1. That's a fact Dizzy. Before you know it, everyone will be driving electric -or may hydrogen, who knows?

      horses?

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  6. That's too bad for you, but that's the evolution of business. Can't blame the restaurants for being paid for the oil.

    As for another tow vehicle I vote for the van. Great for a solo camper and great for towing. Best of both worlds.

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    1. Vans are usually cheaper than trucks too -at least around these parts. Thanks Mike.

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  7. At least you know we can get the boat into the water for you this spring... if the shutdown ends soon. Trucks ain’t cheap.

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    1. You've been a great help. Hope you guys don't go broke before they wise up and settle. Stupid politics.

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