Thursday, November 10, 2016

Recurring fuel problem

The dirty diesel problem reared its head in the veggie van . . . again. I'm getting pretty tired of it. The short term fix isn't all that hard. There's access to the fuel line at the side compartment where the veggie tank is. The idea is to remove the diesel fuel line at the six port valve and blow the crud back into the tank using a small air compressor. If I'm at home where I can do more work I can then drain some diesel from the bottom of the tank and remove some of the dirt.

I had a really nice plastic pan that was perfect for catching the dirty diesel. Unfortunately, I left it outside and a bear poked a bunch of holes in it with its claws. They never mention that problem in the car magazines. Once it's repaired I'll drain some more dirt out of the system.

The diesel fuel line plugged up at a bad time. I'd just left a friend's house near the Massachusetts border. That part of Rt. 93 is always busy and to make it more interesting there's a lot of construction going on. Really did not want to pull off the side of a busy highway in a construction zone.

Fortunately my friend had given me some waste veggie oil he was saving. Unlike the veggie stored in the back of the van, it was at room temperature and liquid. The veggie tank has to be hot before the veggie fuel will flow properly. Since the veggie my buddy gave me was already liquid it didn't take too long to get to operating temperature.

Once the engine started to sputter I said a quick prayer, crossed my fingers and flipped the switch for the veggie tank. The engine stopped sputtering and slowly picked up speed again. It was less than a minute before we were back at full highway speed. Thanks to having two fuel systems the van made it back home without any more problems.

Now all I need is a bit of nice weather to work on the van. I am making progress getting the crud out of the diesel tank. For a while it was so dirty the sending unit plugged about every 10 miles. Now it takes hundreds before it clogs up. It had been long enough that I'd thought the problem solved. Oh well. I'm keeping my tools and 12volt compressor in the van.



  1. Maybe the place you buy has an old rusted tank. Is there any way you could make a filter to clamp on the end of the fill nozzles?

    1. I can trace my fuel problems back to one bad load of diesel. Since I run on the veggie tank a lot, it's taking a long time for the diesel tank to run down.

      The part that plugs is the sending unit inside the diesel tank. I wish it was as simple as putting another in-line filter. It's one of those things I have to keep plugging away at until it goes away for good.

  2. I really ought to look into doing a conversion setup like yours on my '85 F250 diesel 6.9. Should work fine down here in TX.
    But I'm about as mechanically inclined as an ardvark. So maybe not.

    1. Should be a good truck for it. I didn't know much about diesels before I starting messing around with veggie. It's been a long road with some interesting lessons along the way. However, thanks to my dad, I am mechanically inclined. It's a way of thinking more than anything else.

      There is a lot of information out there if you every want something interesting to do.