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Old 11-02-2005, 09:38 PM   #1
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WVO Conversion Process -- My Request for Advice Page

I am about to commit to a WVO conversion. Tomorrow I am going to take a 50 gallon diesel tank off a junked truck.

I'm going to post my WVO conversion questions to this page as I go through the process, rather than on my bus conversion thread, since this is a fairly specialized topic, but one that several people have expressed interest in. I figure that having it in the general conversion section will make it easier for people to find than burying it in the conversion thread for my bus.

So, here goes...



In looking at the picture, I realize that I probably can't just splice a valve in the lines at the locations that I mention.

1) The valve(s) is going to need some kind of support bracket. Especially if it is a valve manifold as below in 2.

2) I'm probably not going to have two single valves (3 way), but instead some kind of valve manifold that will electronically switch.... No, cancel that. I want 2 simple valves with mechanical actuations from inside on the dashboard, like lawnmower throttles. They would be cheap and give me better control over the fuel flow and return switching. Mainly they would be cheap.

3) The hose coming from the filter looks like some kind of industrially manufactured high pressure hose, and I probably can't just cut it and splice something in...it may need special fittings swaged on at any attachment point.

Has anyone drilled on their main frame rails before? Is it going to be hard to drill the 4 mounting holes for the fuel tank mount bolts? I drilled my rear bumper for a quickie hitch attachment, but I'm suspecting that the frame rails are going to be heat treated. I need to drill 4 holes to mount the fuel tank that I'm getting...tomorrow! Woot!

Any suggestions or comments? (Lapeer, that's your cue to chime in....)
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Old 11-02-2005, 10:22 PM   #2
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On second thought...

JCWhitney has this 6 port electric selector valve on sale for only $53.

Do you think this would be a good idea?

The problem I see with these is that the return line is instantly switched from wvo to diesel, and that means that any WVO fuel left in the line coming off the injectors from the return side will get pumped into the diesel return. Right?

Thats what I meant about having control with the manual switches. You can delay switching the return line for a few seconds while the diesel fills the return side of the system. Then you can make the switch, and no WVO is getting pumped into your diesel tank from the return side.

Does that make sense? It's late. It made sense earlier. Maybe I'm just hot for the good deal on this manifold. LOL.

On the other hand, if you could wire in two switches instead of the one, that would solve the problem. One switch would control the return selelction and one would control the supply selection.
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:11 PM   #3
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Got diesel tank. 50 gallon step tank. $50. Sanded, primed, and two coats of IH Red paint on it. Need to do the mounting brackets. It's REAL pretty

I'm leaning toward two individually switched valves for the fuel system. I just don't like the idea of putting a little bit of WVO in my diesel tank via the return line when I switch from WVO back to diesel. Still looking for manual valves or possibly electric (if cheap).

I got 3 free gallons of fuel today at work! A group staying at the lodge evidently fried a turkey, and they left behind 3 gallons of used peanut oil in a plastic carboy.

I'm considering how best to heat and insulate the WVO tank. I had decided against any kind of foam insulation because diesel fuel will disolve it -- DOH! I'm not putting diesel fuel into the WVO tank! I may just insulate it by gluing foamboard to it, and then covering the foamboard with corrugated fiberglass (at least on the bottom of the tank) to protect it from road trash.

Ideally, I'd like to tie in the (theoretical) solar collector on the roof with the hotwater heater, radiant floor heating, and WVO tank, and be able to direct heat to either of the sources. That way, I could have the WVO warmed up some pretty much all of the time, and it would be easier to heat it further with engine coolant.

So many projects, so little time! :P
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Old 11-07-2005, 07:05 PM   #4
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http://www.dieselsecret.com/index.html

I found this today (have the chance of getting a volvo car thats deisel)..haven't tried it but the info they have looks interesting....and if true makes the whole conversion thing a waste of time *S*
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Old 11-07-2005, 11:16 PM   #5
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Somebody on some group has posted a link to that before. It sounds like they are mixing something like kerosene and or gasoline with the oil to thin it. One guy said this mixture is tried and true. I would not test it on a good engine though. If you can get a diesel off an old reefer trailer for free that would make a good test engine.

10% kerosese, 5% unleaded gasoline, 85% clean WVO
+ 1/4% 'Diesel-Kleen +Cetane boost' is a proven recipe. But only good in warm weather(above freezing), add 5% more kerosene for each 10 degrees below.
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busone
One guy said this mixture is tried and true. I would not test it on a good engine though.
I am not opposed to trying different fuels in a big diesel. The mercedes benz manual sais you can mix 30% gasoline in with your diesel in the winter, or 50% keroseine. Mixing that percentage of gas or kero in with wvo shouldn't hurt anything. I did notice with 20 % or so gasoline in my MB there was more knocking than i was comfortable with. Sounded like spark knock in a gasser.

I've ran my bus on straight keroseine before after running out of fuel. I needed to get to the fuel station and didn't have any diesel handy. In othe countries, people run buses on straight kero all the time just to avoid road tax.
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:45 AM   #7
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What engine is in your bus?

The 50 dollar valve from JC whitney (6 port) is an excellent idea. it's realatively simple, and it's what everyone else is using, so it obviously works. Alternatively you can use 4 brass quarter-turn valves with some "T's" and other various fittings....but you end up spending almost 50 bucks by the time you're finished....Go with the JC whitney valve, that's my advice.

How do you plan to heat your oil? Engine coolant is the only logical way if you ask me....unless you full time at camp grounds.

How about pre-filtering?

As for fuel lines....to tap into the lines on your bus, you don't need any fancy fittings. The steel lines have compression fittings and i didn't know where to find them, but I found that the threads on the filter housing are NPT and most likely 3/8"

The other alternative is to just cut the fuel line and use rubber hoses with hose clamps to connect the steel tubing to your new 6 port valve. They are not under much pressure. Just use regular fuel line.

One more word of advice.....ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS CARRY AT LEAST ONE SPARE FUEL FILTER!!! I have to change mine about every 1,000 miles or so.

Somewhere i have a great photo of small copper tubing inside of bigger tubing that produces an excellent way to heat your oil. it offers probably 100 times more heat exchange to the oil than greasel.com's "tricore" tubing.

One more thing i've been getting ready to expierement with are electric band heaters. They are 110 volt and 200 watts each. Available from McMaster Carr online for about 12 bucks each i think. Together with a thermostat they can be used to add a good deal of heat just before the injector pump. People have been using these to heat wvo in their waste oil burners at home. Obviously they would have to run off of an inverter. I used to be opposed to any sort of electric heat for wvo, but have since decided that these heaters don't draw much current, and could allow you to switch over to wvo faster.

It's late and i'm rambling...but one more thing..

Having the fuel tank higher than the injector pump is a good thing. It eleminates the need for a fuel pump. Let gravity be your friend! Finding a suitable veggie oil fuel pump is difficult.......This means the tank needs to be mounted inside the cab of the vehicle. Under the bus will work, but you'll most likely need a auxillary fuel pump.
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Old 11-08-2005, 05:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
What engine is in your bus?

The 50 dollar valve from JC whitney (6 port) is an excellent idea. it's realatively simple, and it's what everyone else is using, so it obviously works. Alternatively you can use 4 brass quarter-turn valves with some "T's" and other various fittings....but you end up spending almost 50 bucks by the time you're finished....Go with the JC whitney valve, that's my advice.
What about getting WVO into the diesel tank? If the electric valve switches both supply and return lines simultaneously, whatever WVO is in the rail and injectors ahead of the return valves is going to get sent into the diesel tank when one switches to diesel. The same is true for diesel when switching to WVO, but that doesn't seem to be an issue.

Quote:
How do you plan to heat your oil? Engine coolant is the only logical way if you ask me....unless you full time at camp grounds.
I was thinking about an engine coolant powered heat exchanger that would go down inside the tank. It was going to be made of 1/2" copper tubing bent into an L shape with the top part of the L just long enough to reach to the bottom of the tank, and the bottom part of the L very long, long enough to reach from one corner of the tank to the other. I'd have to cut a hole in the top of the tank to insert it and mount it.

Instead....

My next door neighbor was a mechanic, and he said that having a water line inside your fuel tank sounded like asking for trouble. I got to thinking about that, and so I'm considering a coil of 1/2" copper tubing mounted to some kind of heat sink that I could strap on to the bottom of the tank. If I need to repair it or modify it, I can access it without having to pull the tank. If it leaks, it won't leak into the fuel tank. I won't have to cut on the tank to install it (saving $$$, which is .... extremely important right now). Plus, the copper tubing comes in a coil when you buy it, so I wouldn't have to do much work to shape the heat exchanger!

And...Since I'm hooked up to shore power most of the time...

My neighbor suggested that I get a conversion kit for an RV gas water heater and use that. It consists of a 120VAC heating element that screws into the 3/4" NPT drain on the water tank. The kit, including thermostats, element, and power cord, costs about $90. The problem is that the only 3/4" NPT ports are the drain ports on the top and bottom of the tank, and that would mount the element vertically, where it would be exposed to air as the fuel level varied, something that is VERY BAD for heater elements.

So... I'm thinking about getting a 2" square of 1/2" cold rolled steel welded onto the side of the tank just above the bottom. I would then drill that and tap it for a HOUSEHOLD water heater element, and use HOUSEHOLD thermostats and wiring to supply it. I'm sure the household stuff would be CHEAPER than the RV store stuff. The tap-size for the hole will be different, but that's no problem at all.

That way, when I'm hooked up to shore power, I can heat the WVO with the 120VAC element so that it is nice and warm when I start the engine. I won't have to wait for the engine to heat up to get the oil hot with the engine coolant powered heat exchanger. The heat exchanger will kick in after I'm under way, but I'll be able to start burning WVO right away (assuming I'm coming from a shore power hookup). I can even put a timer on the heater element so that it gets the oil hot when I need it, instead of keeping it hot 24 hours a day.

Quote:
How about pre-filtering?
I'm planning on using a coarse filter on the WVO when I collect it. Tractor Supply Company sells filters for agricultural systems that look interesting. The javascript won't let me copy a picture, but here is the description:

Corrosion resistant for use with most chemicals. Economically priced. Non-sticking, heavy-duty threads. Directional arrow molded in.

It is a screw on housing with a steel mesh (50 mesh or 80 mesh or 100 mesh) screen inside. I don't know what "mesh" translates to in microns. I'm guessing that mesh is holes per inch, and 100 mesh would be about .01 inch, or 10 microns. Right? I need to double check that.

I checked... wrong... microns is 25,400 to the inch. 100 mesh would be 254 micron, which is still good as a pre-filter.

I'm wondering about household water purification filter housings. That is what I want to use, but can they stand up to hot oil? I would hook 2 of those inline with the pre-filter/strainer, a 20micron one, and a 5 micron one.

More later, gotta go to study group now.[/url]
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:04 PM   #9
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I just use regular house water filters for my oil. They stand up to hot oil just fine. Home depot sells the housings for about 15 bucks, the filter elements are about $2.50 each

WHAT ENGINE IS IN YOUR BUS?

If you have free electricity then heating the tank with an electric heating element is a fine idea. The hot water heating element sounds like a good plan to me. The elements are under $10.00 at home depot, thermostats are not much more $$$

As far as switching between wvo and diesel, i wouldn't worry about the extremely minimal amount of wvo that ends up in the diesel tank. You can add a few gallons of wvo to any tank of diesel without any modification. It won't hurt anything. Too much wvo would make the diesel gell at a higher temperature, but i think it would take more than a couple gallons mixed in to be noticable. There is a lot of #1 diesel mixed into our regular #2 in the winter to keep fuel from gelling. #1 diesel is pretty much just keroseine.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
As for fuel lines....to tap into the lines on your bus, you don't need any fancy fittings. The steel lines have compression fittings and i didn't know where to find them, but I found that the threads on the filter housing are NPT and most likely 3/8"
Are you running your WVO through the diesel fuel filters? I was planning on having a whole set of filters strictly for WVO, and keeping the two fuels separate until just before the injector rail.

Quote:
The other alternative is to just cut the fuel line and use rubber hoses with hose clamps to connect the steel tubing to your new 6 port valve. They are not under much pressure. Just use regular fuel line.
I don't have any steel lines, just rubber lines (unless they have steel inside them). They have crimped (swaged) on fittingings at the ends that screw into NPT tapped sockets. Or maybe it's a nipple that screws into both the line and the socket. It's NPT, and it looks like 3/8".

Quote:
One more word of advice.....ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS CARRY AT LEAST ONE SPARE FUEL FILTER!!! I have to change mine about every 1,000 miles or so.
These are regular diesel filters? And you are running your WVO through your diesel filters?

Quote:
Somewhere i have a great photo of small copper tubing inside of bigger tubing that produces an excellent way to heat your oil. it offers probably 100 times more heat exchange to the oil than greasel.com's "tricore" tubing.
I'll re-review your pictures in the Jacuzzi bus album. I don't have convenient internet access, so using the internet is a catch as catch can situation for me right now.

Quote:
One more thing i've been getting ready to expierement with are electric band heaters. They are 110 volt and 200 watts each. Available from McMaster Carr online for about 12 bucks each i think. Together with a thermostat they can be used to add a good deal of heat just before the injector pump. People have been using these to heat wvo in their waste oil burners at home. Obviously they would have to run off of an inverter. I used to be opposed to any sort of electric heat for wvo, but have since decided that these heaters don't draw much current, and could allow you to switch over to wvo faster.
Would you run them from a small inverter? 200 Watts/120 VAC = 1.6 Amps AC, which would be about 16 Amps DC. That's not too bad if your alternator has plenty of output capability. I'll look for the electric band heaters.

Quote:
It's late and i'm rambling...but one more thing..

Having the fuel tank higher than the injector pump is a good thing. It eleminates the need for a fuel pump. Let gravity be your friend! Finding a suitable veggie oil fuel pump is difficult.......This means the tank needs to be mounted inside the cab of the vehicle. Under the bus will work, but you'll most likely need a auxillary fuel pump.
I'm planning on using an auxiliary pump. Tractor Supply Company has a 12VDC pump (like an RV pump) that is rated to handle liquids at up to 180F. They sell it in their agricultural sprayer section. It costs about $50, and pumps 1 gallon per minute. I was going to mount it in the stepwell of the 50 gallon step tank that I have, but that area won't be accessible once I mount the tank to the frame -- the sheet metal skirting on the bus will be in the way. I'm probably just going to mount it to the frame.

I did find some reasonably priced manual 3-way ball valves rated for WOG (Water Oil Gas) at 600PSI. A company called Anderson Valve manufactures them a few towns away. I don't know where a retailer is, but I'm going to contact the foundry and see if I can buy some on site. They are $27 each, which works out to the same price as the electric pump that I mentioned, but gives me complete control over the switching of the supply and return lines. I'll use throttle control cables mounted on the dash to open and close them.
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