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Old 10-23-2004, 02:57 PM   #1
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my new toad

Here's a photo of my next veggie oil victim! It's a 1977 mercedes diesel with less than 100k miles on it. I just put a downpayment on her. She comes home wednessday.

I'll be the 2nd owner. I"m pretty excited. I'm going to do things a little different on this wvo conversion. I want to make this one as "winterproof" and userfriendly as possible. I"ll post the progress of the conversion as it happens.




http://www.skoolie.net/albums/Jacuzzi-B ... .sized.jpg
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Old 10-24-2004, 04:05 PM   #2
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Here are my thoughts for making a simple wvo conversion using as many commonly available parts as possible that will work very well in the winter.

The tanks are going to be made from wasted non opd propane cylinders. There are millions of these just sitting around, i'm sure they can be had for free or very cheap. 20 # of propane = ~ 5 gallons. I am now considering using at least 3 tanks. One dirty tank, two tanks with clean oil.



inside the tank will be a used heater core from the scrap yard. Price: $10.00. A length of copper tubing could also be used, but it would not be as efficient of a heat exchanger.


the dirty tank will be heated in this manor, so will one of the clean fuel tanks.

For insulating purposes, the tanks can be put inside an ice chest
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Old 10-24-2004, 04:13 PM   #3
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To allow for nearly instant switchover from diesel to veggie oil, The tank can also be heated when the vehicle is parked with a 110 volt electric heater insdie the tank. There are different options here: A 1,200 watt heater would heat the oil up to operating temperature in a hurry, but it would draw a lot of electricity, or require an auxillairy thermostat. The other option is to use a 15 watt submersable heater that could be left on all night long without much amperage draw at all. This would take a lot longer to heat up 5 gallons of oil.

Because the tank is insulated so well, the oil should stay hot for several hours after the vehicle is shut down. For even more insulation, the tank itself could be covered in a couple inches of spray foam insulation.

insdie the tank will also be a probe to allow the driver to monitor the temperature of the oil.
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Old 10-24-2004, 05:37 PM   #4
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Neat Project!

Neat project. Keep us posted on your progress. Where do you find the non-OPD propane bottles? I'm looking for one to cut apart and use as the shell for a small foundry to melt metal.
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Old 10-24-2004, 11:46 PM   #5
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The small scrap yard here in town has a huge pile of the old tanks. You can buy them for the price of scrap steel. You could put and ad on freecycle or craigslist.com.
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Old 10-25-2004, 01:38 PM   #6
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There is a local propane company that has a huge pile of these tanks stacked up. The local hardware also has a good size pile of non opd tanks out back. I've yet to ask about aquiring some, but i'm sure they'll be nearly free.
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Old 10-26-2004, 10:49 PM   #7
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The new car comes home tomorrow morning. I'll begin gathering supplies and try to make a list of everything i need including prices photos, and links to some of the hard to find stuff.

4 used propane tanks
2 used coolers
1 Racor heated fuel filter/water separator (5 micron)
2 1,200 watt single burner stoves
3 temperature guages
can's of spray foam insulation
vairous fittings
4 heater cores
1 aux. coolant pump (12V)
several feet of rubber coolant line
3/8" copper tubing for fuel line
3 whole house water filter housings (20 micron, 10 micron, 5 micron)
zip ties to connect fuel line to outside of coolant line.
2 three way solenoid valves 1/4" outlets
1 sealed 1/2 gallon metal container.
3 12 volt diaphram pumps (two for filtering, one as a lifter pump if needed)

I'll add more details to this list, and add any parts i decide i need along the way. I'd like to make this user friendly enough that anyone can make their own wvo system regardless of what mechanically injected diesel vehicle they drive.
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Old 11-15-2004, 11:44 PM   #8
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Here's where i'm at so far with the conversion: My brain seems to work much faster than my hands, it's taking longer than originally anticipated, but it's coming along.

Instead of four 20# propane tanks, i opted for two 40 pounders. They hold 10 gallons each. I got a little fancy and purchased alluminum tanks like you see on fork lifts. There were ton's of different tanks at the scrap yard and all were avialable for scrap prices.

Last weekend i cut holes in the tanks and inserted a heater core, then had them welded back together. Had to get a buddy to help me because i do not have the equipment or expirenece to weld alluminum. I also installed a 110 volt heater into one of the tanks. Home depot sells 110 volt water heater elements for under $10 bucks. It's 1,200 watts or so, screws right into a pipe thread hole which was already in the tank. I also purchased a hot water tank thermostat for under $20. This will provide preheating with 110 volts before starting the engine, especially helpful in cold weather. Used in conjunction with a timer will minimize the amount of electricity used.

Still waiting for the 6 port electronic valve to come in the mail. Currently i'm using some manual 1/4 turn valves.

I ran all of the coolant and fuel lines from the trunk to the engine compartment. Installed a 12 volt auxillary coolant pump. Purchased and assembled three water filter housings and connected them to a 12 volt 50 psi diaphram pump.

An aux lifter pump is not needed to move the oil from the trunk to the Injector Pump.

Polished one of the new tanks. The other was covered in a layer of spray foam insulation tonight. I'll put another layer on when i get a chance to resume working on the project.

These tanks will not fit inside a cooler. Instead i'm only insulating with lots of spray foam insulation. Only the primary tank will be insulated.

How the system will work:
This should be an excellent system for gathering oil on the fly. There will be 2 heated veggie tanks. Tank #1 is The primary tank and will hold clean oil, filtered to 5 microns. This tank will be heated by engine coolant whenever the engine is running.

Tank #2 is for dirty oil. The dirty oil will be heated, then pushed through the filters 20 micron, 10 micron, 5 micron (in that order) and into the clean tank. I've found that hot oil makes my filters last much longer than they do with cold oil. This tank will only be heated when the coolant valves in the trunk are turned to allow coolant to flow through this tank, thus letting the car warm up faster by not heating the oil in this tank until needed.

Both tanks can be filled while at the restaurant. Eventually i'd like to put a float switch in tank #1 allowing oil to be moved from tank #2 to tank #1 automatically while driving.

I have this coming wed and thurs off of work, hopefully i can get everything mostly working before the weekend.
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Old 11-17-2004, 10:33 PM   #9
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Not busy?! Who are you kidding?!

Man, you have gotten a heck of a lot accomplished! The dual tank arrangement sounds like a good idea, especially for collecting and processing the used oil without having to schlep it from storage tank to strainer to processing tank to fuel tank..... You have it all in one nice package. Good work!
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Old 11-21-2004, 10:04 PM   #10
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I got the tanks mounted in the trunk and filled up with my first load of veggie oil.

Unfortunately, the system doesn't work quite like i had planned. The idea was to leave the car running in high idle mode, then pump dirty oil in to the first tank where it would be heated almost instantly then pump it into the clean veggie tank.

How it works in the real world: I fill the first tank with dirty oil,,,,,then drive around the block to heat it up. Then i can easily filter the dirty and move it to the clean tank.

I've very happy so far, but it's early in the winter. We'll see how it goes a couple thousand miles from now.
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