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Old 04-22-2004, 09:57 AM   #11
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Update: 4-22-04

Back at my real job today. I work two 24 hour shifts per week.

Yesterday i spent another full day working on the conversion. I got the tank mounted, coolant lines run to the tank, wvo line ran from tank to filter to pump. Spent big money and purchased a $100 diesel fuel filter/heater. I also filtered another 5 gallons of WVO.

Not everything went well however. I spent a very frustrating half-day trying to find an air leak in the main fuel system line. I installed several valves, "t"'s elbows ect and one of the connections were obviously leaking air. I was just about ready to go insane when i finally found and fixed the problem.

It was midnite when i fianlly finished for the day. I had to leave for work at 5 am. uggggg!

What's left? Tomorrows agenda includes driving around to heat up the veggie oil, then prime the wvo line. After that, She should be ready to run on wvo. I still have to run a return line from the pump to the wvo tank.

Total price so far?? Approximately $200. half of that was just for the heated diesel fuel filter. I hate to spend money, but i think it's well worth the investiment.

I have several photo's on my camera i need to upload. I'll do that when i finish the project.

I'd like to come up with a better plan to transfer the used wvo from the container at the restaurant to the bus. Preferably filtering it first, and transfering it directly into the WVO tank.
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Old 04-22-2004, 11:27 PM   #12
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Maybe you can get a self priming 12V pump that will suck the oil out of the restraunt tanks. Then before it goes into your fuel tank it could run through an automotive oil filter. Even if you have to use 1 filter per filling it is still much cheaper than diesel. You will have to be careful though because if there is any water in the oil tank you could mess up your injectors.
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Old 04-23-2004, 09:30 PM   #13
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my fancy 100 dollar fuel filter is also a water seperator. How efficient are these at removing water? I"m not sure. Before going to the injector pump, the veggie juice also runs through the stock water seperator fuel filter.
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Old 04-23-2004, 09:46 PM   #14
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Update Friday April 23:

After a significant amount of trouble and several failed attempts trying to prime the veggie line, i decided to install a 12v pump to feed wvo to the injector pump.

I drove around to heat everything up, primed the veggie line, switched over to wvo, and let her run in the driveway for a few minutes to make certian she wasn't going to die immediately. Then i took her for a test drive. Everything seemed to be normal on wvo. She ran just fine for a couple miles. Even powered up a steep hill with 3 thousand pounds of water on board. After a couple miles, the engine coughed, then died. I pulled off the roadway, switched over to diesel, and she fired right up.

Diagnosis: My 12v pump stopped pumping. I think the problem is the vaccuum line feeding the pump. All the fuel lines are copper, except the fuel pickup tube, which is made of rubber. My theory is that as the veggie oil got above 150 degrees or so, the rubber pickup tube got so pliable that it pinched itself off not allowing wvo to flow.

Tomorrow I'll install a copper pickup tube and hopefully this will fix the problem.

When i find more money to spend, i'd like to remove the manual quarter turn valves, and install electric solenoid valves instead.

I altered the original design of the system. I had bad luck getting her to run with the return line plumbed directly into the inlet. Instead I added 2 more valves, and ran a return line to my wvo tank. The return fuel is either returned to the wvo tank, or the diesel tank, depending which valve is turned on. this allows the system to work like the manufacturer intended when the engine was built.
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Old 04-24-2004, 09:27 PM   #15
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update sat april 24:

I upgraded the fuel pickup tube first thing this morning.

After filtering about 5 gallons of goo and pooring it into the tank, i took off for a test run. I drove about 10 miles or so then switched from diesel to wvo. The engine never missed a beat ! There is no noticable difference between driving with veggie oil and diesel, except the smell. I drove for about 40 miles total on wvo today. Stopping, starting, running full out, and idling were all part of the testing i did today. I even shut the engine off and restarted. The engine performed wonderfully.

Cleaning used veggie oil is miserable ! The filtering method is getting better though. I can heat, strain, and filter about 10 gallons an hour. That's about $17.00 worth of diesel fuel. If i keep working at improving the filtering design, i'm sure i can significantly improve the amount of time it takes to filter.

I talked to a couple more mechanics today, they couldn't think of any reason the bus wouldn't be happy running on veggie oil.
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Old 04-25-2004, 05:54 PM   #16
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Drove another 50 miles or so on veggie oil today. No problems to report.

Great news about filtering. I spent the afternoon driving from place to place scoping out waste veggie oil dumpsters. Sounds like a lovely thing to do on a sunday, don't you think? I found several dumpsters with very clean, very liquidy wvo. This stuff is so easy to filter! When i'm finished, it looks almost as good as SVO. Now i think i'll start picking up my new fuel in 55 gallon drums.
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Old 04-25-2004, 10:51 PM   #17
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SHHHHHH!!!!!

SHHHHHHH!!!! Everybody will be going after that WVO before I even get a chance to buy a bus!

Seriously. though, go back and read through some more of the literature on bio-diesel. There is a potential problem associated with WVO of which you may not be aware. Or you may be. I say "potential", in that I'm not really sure that it is necessarily as bad a problem as it sounds in some of the literature. Perhaps it's just bio-diesel vs. WVO advocate snobbery.

One thing that I have read is that the iodine content of the vegetable oil is directly related to the "gumminess" of the oil. You might want to check out the kind of oil that these places are using. All vegetable oils are not created equal with regard to their chemical make-up. Look at the bio-diesel sites and at the byproducts of the "cracking" process. Glycerine and FFAs (Free Fatty Acids). If the WVO is not cracked, it retains these compounds and they are burned in your engine, where they gum up the crankcase and the cylinders when they are burned and blown under pressure into the block. Glycerine has a temperature of vaporization of something like 500 degrees F, so if it were to blow-by the rings and into the block I can see how it could, over time, condense in the block. Maybe running a can or two of engine-solvent through the engine at oil change time would prevent that from becoming a problem. I wanted to make sure you had heard about that issue, but I'm not trying to be a WVO naysayer, 'cause I'm planning to use it myself one day. Right now I'm trying to figure out what kind of small diesel auto engine I could retrofit into an old Jeepster Commando. If WVO will run a skoolie, there's no reason it wouldn't run something to be used as daily transportation!

As far as filtering the oil, I noticed that on the schoolbusconversionnuts site there is a diagram of a "motor oil recycler", that heats and pumps (?) or percolates (?) used motor oil through toilet paper tubes housed inside upright concentric PVC tubes. It's not clear to me how, exactly, it works. Maybe that would work for filtering WVO? I copied the bitmap for it and will either e-mail it to you or try to post it here if I can figure that out. I'm trying to figure out a way to do it with solar power.

Shoot, if you could fill a 20 gallon drum with nasty WVO and set the filter running to cycle a few times while you were at work, you might be able to come home to nice clean WVO at the end of the day without having to spend any time on it beyond filling the drum and putting the final product into your tank.

Keep us posted, and good luck!
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Old 04-25-2004, 11:26 PM   #18
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To me it seems that running a system like this is more practical in a large truck, like a bus. You need two gas tanks, pumps, heater, etc. That's a lot to fit into some cars without losing space that you wish you had.

Anyways, it would make a lot of sense now to buy a bus that is extra long for what you were looking for so that you could put a small room in the back or side with a self contained WVO refinery

BTW, is there a lot of waste that gets filtered out, what do you do with it?
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Old 04-26-2004, 11:48 AM   #19
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Since i've been working on a small scale, i've been pooring the veggie oil by hand from the dumpster to my 5 gallon buckets. The last couple trips i made, i brought a screen with me that fit's over the bucket. I toss the waste back into the grease dumpster.

The first couple batches i made, i did the coarse filtering at home, leaving me with some waste. I just sealed it in a container, and put it in a garbage dumpster.

If a person had a fireplace i think it could probably be burned as fuel.

I plan to start using a pump to move 55 gallons of veggie oil at a time. I plan to have a strainer to keep the big stuff out of the pump.

I would like to then pump the oil through a heat exchanger i created for my hot tub. I can heat water from the garden hose 50 degrees as fast as it can flow through a 1/4" orifice at 60 psi. That should heat the oil sufficiently enough to be filtered.

Then the oil will be forced through a 20 micron filter followed by a 5 micron water filter. These filters are about 3 dollars each (but $30 for the filter housing)

The end product should be ready for the tank. The tank can't really be much bigger than 30 gallons. The amt of time it takes to heat the oil enough to switch from diesel to veggie will be extended as the tank gets bigger. I think i will mount one or two more 30 (or 35 ?) gallon drums under the bus to hold clean oil. A fuel pump could be used to refill the main svo tank. This would allow quick switching of fuel, but also allow long range between fill-ups.

How does one go about paying road tax on bio fuel??
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:03 PM   #20
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as far as bio fuel being better in a big truck.....I still think it would work out very well in a VW passat diesel. These vehicles get 50 mpg.
A 5 gallon tank could be put in the trunk, which would yield 250 miles. Space is a disadvantage. I'd have to carry less "stuff" in the trunk. Another disadvantage is that you would have to drive a lot of miles just to make up for the money one spent on the svo kit.

5 gallons is literally just a drop in the bucket in the bus at 8.5 miles per gallon. There are lots of advantages of having the bus use bio fuel however. The bus can handle transporting several hundred gallons at one time. Plus there are many fewer space restraints in the skoolie. All the equipment for refining could be mounted to the bus. If the bus stopps running, the bill from a tow truck driver would be huge compared to a vw car. The overall cost savings is much much higher over the life of a skoolie than a 50 mpg car.

$300 worth of diesel (at 1.50 a gallon) = 10,000 miles in a vw
$1764 worth of diesel = 10,000 miles in a skoolie @ 8.5 mpg

As you can see, the savings is considerably higher with the skoolie.
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