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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > VW TDI Discussion Areas > Alternative Diesel Fuels (Biodiesel, WVO, SVO, BTL, GTL etc)

Alternative Diesel Fuels (Biodiesel, WVO, SVO, BTL, GTL etc) Discussions about alternative fuels for use in our TDI's. This includes biodiesel WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil), SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil), BTL (Biomass to Liquid), GTL (Gas to Liquids) etc. Please note the Fuel Disclaimer.

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Old December 31st, 2009, 05:56   #1
thebigarniedog
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Default A Guide To Almost Properly Using WVO

There has been a lot of back and forth on WVO usage on this board. Many disasters, alot of name calling and a failure to post any complete workable guide for people that are legitamately interested in the workable science of WVO. It appears that the closest workable system out there is a modified hodge-podge approach not available in any one kit. This article seems to be the only almost workable guide out there if one insists on pursuing this endeavor properly:


Executive summary: It works perfectly if you adhere to strict procedure and NEVER vary from it. Even so, the engine could blow up at any time, or I could just be the luckiest guy on earth.

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In late summer 2005, I purchased a brand new VW Golf GLS 5 speed, loaded. A couple weeks later I had a Greasecar kit installed by Daryl Beck. At the time he worked out of the Greasecar location in Easthampton MA. He now has his own shop in Greenfield MA; Evergreen Motors.

Everyone said I was a mad man, taking a $20K car and putting this goofy french-fry juice kit in it, voiding most of the warranty, and ensuring that it would blow up in my face in a few thousand miles. Everyone said the Pumpe Duse engine could not handle WVO due to the high pressure unit injectors. Or the WVO would cause buildup on the injectors which would cause them to stream and blow up my cylinders real good. Or the catalytic converter would get somehow destroyed. Or the space time continuum would be torn asunder, much worse than when the new HADRON super collider goes online and sucks the planet into a black hole. Unless the transition to the afterlife is totally seamless, looks like none of that has occurred.

Now, to be fair, there were those who warned against the possible problems I might encounter in an honest, pragmatic, and non-judgmental fashion. To those people, I tip my hat, for if it was not for them, I might not have been as anal retentive as I was. Its ok to warn people about the risks. Its not ok to be a hostile baboon who flings feces at anyone who violates their territory. Its not ok to rip a WVO system out of an unsuspecting customer's car, sending her away in tears. Its not ok to rip a WVO system out of another car and then shoot holes in the tank with a rifle. Its not ok to belittle people for having even considered WVO. Behavior like that is quite simply infantile. Maybe grow up?

First off, my filtering setup.




That is a panorama picture stitched together. Black drums on casters are the "dirty" oil. Conical bottom tank is the baking soda treatment. White plastic drums are the Stage 2 filtered oil. White plastic drum with hand crank gas pump is the Stage 3 "finished" oil. So to review:

1) Pour collected oil through 100 micron pail strainer, then into "dirty" drum. You don't have to strain it, but it just means slower gunk buildup on bottom of drum.

2) After dirty drum has settled for weeks, heat to 150 for a day with band heater and insulation, run through filter into conical tank, drawing from top down to bottom third of drum. Do not take from bottom third of drum. You can gradually feed the hose in from the top as you filter, or install a bulkhead just above the lowest ring on the drum.

3) Mix in 5 cups of baking soda with a paint mixer for a minute or two while oil is still hot. (Why 5? Voodoo, that's why. Use however much you want)

4) Allow conical tank to cool slowly while insulated for at least a week.

5) Heat conical tank to 100 with bucket immersion heater and run through filter into next empty second stage white plastic drum. Keep heater suspended above the baking soda/spooge line which is visible through tank wall, you don't want to stir that crap up.

6) Drain baking soda/fat spooge from bottom of conical tank sometime before next fill. Use a spatula on a stick to get it all to drain out rather than stick to the walls.

7) After settling for weeks, heat second stage to 130 with band heater and insulation for a day, run through filter taking from top down to bottom third, into the "finished" drum.

The more drums you have per stage, the more settling time for each drum.

The reason I have a whole house water filter in series with my industrial bag filter housing is because I like redundancy. Logically, it is unnecessary. But my OCD demands it.

I'm yet to be convinced on home centrifuges.

My car.

Totally stock. No performance enhancing drugs. Same goes for the kit. No FPHE, no supplemental electric heat, no block heater, no computer control unit. Just a vanilla Greasecar kit circa 2005 with a copper coil in the WVO tank. Well, OK, a little while ago I installed a very high end Alpine stereo system with Sirius, nav, amps, capacitors, sub. Visually low key and sound quality over volume. Howard Stern never sounded so good, and being able to pause it while I go into the store or a meeting is awesome. Oh yea, music sounds pretty good too. F-Jackie.

Here's my regimen:

Never switch to WVO until stock engine temp gauge hits 190.

Always purge for a full 30 seconds if there is any chance of stopping the car long enough for it to start cooling down to any extent. At 15 second mark I quickly switch back to WVO for a moment, then back to purge for the remaining 13-14 seconds. This makes sure that there is not that little plug of WVO between the looped return T and the solenoids. (Its all in the details.) Do this purge so that when done I still have about a mile of driving on straight diesel.

Never vary from those two points EVER.

Change my engine oil every 5K instead of the factory recommended 10K.

Change my WVO fuel filter every 10K. It never seems to clog, but I do it anyway.

When I change my WVO fuel filter, I fill it with Lubromolly Diesel Purge. Since my WVO return fuel loop T's in after the WVO filter, this means I get to mainline the Diesel Purge for a good bit of time.

Never leave WVO tank empty such that copper coil is exposed to air. Yes, on a long trip I might run it dry, but as soon as I get home I fill the tank.

Some investigation.

At 106K I had a Blackstone oil test. In the beginning I had several, then I stopped when things seemed nice and stable. This newest sample resulted in the Blackstone tech picking my brain since it was the cleanest WVO user sample he has ever seen with this kind of mileage. He said that he is usually the one to test the WVO user samples.

At 107K I was experiencing a general feeling of less power. I pulled my EGR, and then learned all about intake manifold clogging on TDI's. Chris Hill from Kraftwerk came over and we swapped out my intake. Mine was about 40% clogged, and Chris said this was expected from any TDI after 100K. The buildup was not at all different from what would be found in a non-WVO TDI. This was a big nail in the coffin for the naysayers. We did an EGR delete at that time too. No need to clean the intake again.

112K, I replaced the 02 sensor that is between the catalytic converter and the engine. Daryl Beck at Evergreen helped me do this at his shop. While the sensor was out, we used his digital scope to take a look at the CAT and the turbo from the inside. Here are the pics:






That CAT is even cleaner than you would expect from a non-WVO TDI. The turbo blades were spotless. Its simply amazing how absolutely wrong the naysayers were. Maybe if there was a little buildup in the exhaust, or the buildup in the intake was rock hard polymerized WVO, or I had to service my injectors due to clogging, or something, anything. But no, nothing, nada, zero point zero, zippo, and oogatz. Makes me wonder how many other subjects these supposed "experts" and "gurus" are wrong about? (change 20 timing belts in one day, perhaps?)

118K, replaced Intake Flap Motor, Cam Position Sensor, and Waste Gate Solenoid. Nothing WVO-related, just typical crap with VW.

120K, seemed to be running a tiny bit rough. Nobody else could notice it and they thought I was crazy, but I could. Horrible images of my injectors finally clogging up haunted my sleep. Oh, wait, it was consistently below 0 out during that time. Things warmed up a bit, car runs perfectly now, and everyone still thinks I'm crazy.

Some observations and thoughts.

I did change my WVO return loop T to after the WVO filter. In 2005, Greasecar changed to instructing you to T in before. They did this because they felt that having the return WVO go through the filter again would let it pickup more heat and filter out any theoretical particles picked up inside the engine. The problem with this is that the filter did not get backflushed with diesel when purging. So the filter would cool with WVO in it. It seems that the cooling WVO would somehow react with the filter medium and cause the pores to clog up with something that did not re-melt. Filters would last maybe 2K at best. I spoke with Fleetguard about this and they confirmed that the cooling WVO created some kind of wax buildup in the pores that did not re-melt. After changing the T to "after", my filters certainly last at least 10K. I suspect much longer, but I like to do my Diesel Purge treatment every 10K.

In my perfect system, I would have 3 solenoids. This way, while driving, the return WVO would go through the filter again, but when purging the filter would get backflushed with diesel. Kit makers should offer this option since its just one more solenoid. I think Frybrid already does. I may finally do this just because I'm like that.

That copper coil and polymerization.

I concede that, in the best case scenario, a stainless steel coil and stainless steel fittings at the solenoids would be desirable. My coil developed a thin coating of poly that has stayed stable since the very beginning. Once in a while it throws a scab of poly, which the filter catches nicely. A little while back, when rerouting and cleaning up my fuel line placement, I discovered that the inside of the stock stainless fuel lines on the valve cover had a thin coating of poly inside them. This freaked me out, since this was after the filter. I ran two tanks of B100 and it seemed to get rid of most of it. Would I like not to have to even worry about this? Sure. But those lines are stainless and the poly was there none the less. Is this an argument for making sure the return WVO goes through the filter again? Kinda yea. So this is why I still plan on a third solenoid.

Heating the whole WVO tank.

This is where I think there is a market for a big change in the typical WVO kit. Heating the whole WVO tank to 190F, then having it cool, then heating it again, is what very much accelerates polymerization, regardless of the metal used for the coil. Yes, some kits have "heated pickups" or Hotfoxes. Those simply heat the tank more slowly. Physics dictates that unless the tank is losing heat faster than heat is being introduced, the tank will ultimately reach the same temp as the coolant. Most people have their tanks in the spare tire well or in the cabin, so this means they are pretty well insulated. Have a heated pickup? Go for a 1-2 hour drive and take the temp of your tank. I bet it's the same temp as your engine coolant.

My solution to this is a solenoid controlled coolant bypass at the tank. A computer control unit like the ones offered by Greasecar and Frybrid could easily handle another temp input to control this valve. Once tank hits 100F, coolant is bypassed right before the tank so that the hose-in-hose heated fuel line still receives heat, but the tank does not. Simple and elegant solution. Come on kit makers, step up with this already, its unprofessional not to at least offer the option.

That cam-shaft premature wear problem with BEW engines. Well, since my oil reports have not shown high wear metals, I can only assume I'm not yet experiencing that. Maybe, just maybe, my 5K OCI has had the added effect of preventing this problem from occurring. That would be ironic? WVO saving me from a pricey engine repair.

Now, am I a typical tinkerer who decided to go WVO and has realized great success? Hell no. I'm an anal retentive kook extraordinaire. My car looks better than the day it came off the showroom floor. The engine bay is spotless. The undercarriage and wheel wells are spotless. There is not a drop of WVO outside the tank. There is no WVO smell anywhere in or around the car. Put my car on a lift and I will spend hours finding little things to clean or fix or tweak. I never cut corners with my grease. I AM NOT NORMAL. Basically its like this: WVO is like SCUBA. In SCUBA, you either follow the rules 100%, or you die. There is no 99%. I swear, if I hear of another WVO tale of woe, only to discover the person was using a turkey fryer and old jeans legs to filter, or a crappy kit that does not purge properly, I'm gonna lose my mind. ***, people, if this is your mindset, go find another hobby. And to anyone who even entertains the thought of going to Lovecraft for a WVO system...oh never mind.

Proper credit for the above article goes to CHASE. Now if he can only get it to work with a functioning egr. Anyway, it appears that everyone else that has tried to do a write up or guide has failed to complete the task or has to go back and ask him howto do it --- so here it is from the horse himself. So take it for what it is worth. Happy New Year everyone.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 07:22   #2
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Chase does great work and we are all quite proud of him. But I didn't know he never added a FPHE or Vegtherm. I wouldn't be comfortable without that.

And I think the Frybrid is a pretty complete system right out of the box. (Even though I have two Greasecars).
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Old December 31st, 2009, 07:25   #3
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Nice write-up from a guy that figured out how to make it work. My system also works, is similar but different, more anal on some things less on others. If I am not mistaken, T's-TDI is also working on a write-up.

Wouldn't it be great if someone put together an ultimate bible of WVO successful conversion design. I am thinking that there are at least a small handful of successful and experienced WVO users on this site that could work together to find true best practices based on real world, proven conversions. With a few ground rules and a leader it wouldn't be that hard.

With a fully reviewed conversion sticky to guide the noobies, perhaps the forum could serve more as a tool for solving specific applications problems instead of being a captive audience for the "chicken little" bunch.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 08:01   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebigarniedog
In my perfect system, I would have 3 solenoids. This way, while driving, the return WVO would go through the filter again, but when purging the filter would get backflushed with diesel. Kit makers should offer this option since its just one more solenoid. I think Frybrid already does. I may finally do this just because I'm like that.
Since the direction of fuel flow would not reverse you would not actually be back flushing the filter, it would just be a diesel wash. My reason for the 3rd solenoid is to have a VO preheat loop that would allow the use of waste heat only to get my VO completely up to temp before injecting. Making an easy way to purge air from my looped return was a bonus to the design:

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread...48#post2735148

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebigarniedog
This is where I think there is a market for a big change in the typical WVO kit. Heating the whole WVO tank to 190F, then having it cool, then heating it again, is what very much accelerates polymerization, regardless of the metal used for the coil. Yes, some kits have "heated pickups" or Hotfoxes. Those simply heat the tank more slowly. Physics dictates that unless the tank is losing heat faster than heat is being introduced, the tank will ultimately reach the same temp as the coolant. Most people have their tanks in the spare tire well or in the cabin, so this means they are pretty well insulated. Have a heated pickup? Go for a 1-2 hour drive and take the temp of your tank. I bet it's the same temp as your engine coolant.

My solution to this is a solenoid controlled coolant bypass at the tank. A computer control unit like the ones offered by Greasecar and Frybrid could easily handle another temp input to control this valve. Once tank hits 100F, coolant is bypassed right before the tank so that the hose-in-hose heated fuel line still receives heat, but the tank does not. Simple and elegant solution. Come on kit makers, step up with this already, its unprofessional not to at least offer the option.
Excellent point, can't agree more. I went the simple low budget way with a manual bypass valve. In using it I found that due to my oil quality and robust system that it really didn't need to be very warm in the tank at all, just enough to flow. January here and I only have that bypass valve cracked open a little bit:

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread...54#post2735954
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Old January 1st, 2010, 07:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucebanes
On the Greasecar forums some recommended times varied from 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on temperature. The Co-Pilot is set at 30 Seconds according to their materials. I guess the official line is now 30 seconds.
Actually Greasecar reccomends setting your purge time according to your install. Once you first install your kit, you start the car and set the switch to purge. You then note the time it takes for the diesel to make it all the way back to the tank. This should be your purge time. It is unique to your vehicle, it just happens that most TDI's take about 30 seconds with a Greasecar style two tank conversion.

Linking to a Ford truck diesel forum and trying to correlate the purge time from a 7.3 to our TDI's simply shows you do not know enough about properly running WVO. Not trying to bash you here, but seriously you are writing some outlandish stuff lately that has no basis in fact.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 08:38   #6
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Later this weekend, I WILL be paring this thread down.

I cannot believe how naive it is to assume that a WVO-fueled vehicle will automatically be "cleaner" ... surely there are countless examples on these forums of what happens when one gets it wrong (and/or runs out of luck, as the case may be). What happens if those detailed instructions aren't followed? What's the balance of probabilities here? Why would someone be selling their WVO-fueled car?

Don't use the statement that the thread is going to be pared down to post useless drivel, either. Anyone who spews crap in this thread, from this point onward, WILL get a ban.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 10:32   #7
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Just make sure THIS doesn't happen. (Edit: This is a "pumpe-duse" engine similar to the one that is being dealt with in the first post, but with what is apparently a less-suited conversion kit and less diligent operating procedures.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwyETYLAHHE
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Old January 1st, 2010, 15:17   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselfitter
Today, I will pull a quart of WVO out and try an experiment with the baking soda. i already know that it turns into a semi-solid in the Freezer Compartment.
I want to find out how well it separates with the Baking Soda. What I skim off the top,I will also Freeze to see the difference. I will even freeze the waste to see what happens. Thebigarniedog mentions that in his post!

For those of you interested, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a source of the buffering ion bicarbonate. A buffering ion can, in the presence of water (it needs water to dissociate to its full potential (Ksp limit value)) neutralize acids as well as bases. The byproduct of a neutralization reaction is more water, and a newly formed salt. The byproduct water then dissolves more sodium bicarbonate. The cycle terminates when all the acids and bases have been neutralized, under equilibrium conditions. There is a practical limit of diffusion/kinetic limit too which means that the thick oil practically guarantees it will not reach equilibrium pH in a practical amount of time.

However, baking soda treatment does eliminate some of the water and shift pH a bit toward neutral. It reacts with free fatty acids to produce sodium oleate, and other sodium salts of the parent acids. These substances are also known as 'soap'. The soap is quite heavy and falls to the bottom with the excess sodium bicarbonate, which continues to suck up moisture as it is mildly hygroscopic (water loving) and will form a heavy, soapy brine which will stay at bottom.

I think Chase's cone-bottomed tank settling procedure of a well blended baking soda/WVO mixture is a great idea. IIRC, he mixes it with a drill and paint mixer, lets it settle for some time, and passes the gunk out the bottom.

In summary, baking soda treatment can partially dry and neutralize WVO, both good things.

Last edited by nicklockard; January 1st, 2010 at 15:20.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 15:20   #9
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Default BAKING SODA/ Sodium Bicarbonate

Did 1st phase of my experiment with Baking Soda and WVO. About 1/4 inch of white matter settled to the bottom of the jar. Will see if any more settles out. This looks like about 5% of capacity of jar. I used 1tsp of baking soda with about 1 quart of WVO. I mixed this in MY blender, for about 1 minute. I heated the oil up to about 120F before mixing it.

So far, so good! Safe and Not Hazardous!
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 07:49   #10
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I have done a thread clean-up.

Anyone who considers using veg-oil fuel needs to read post #1 to see what is involved in one successful application. I have left a link here to another one that was not successful, as a reminder of what can happen.

And if you want to buy a *used* TDI that has a veg-oil conversion ... at a minimum, you need to have a serious conversation with the previous owner to establish whether they were knowledgeable and followed suitable procedures. If you have a situation like that described in post #1 and the vehicle itself checks out okay, maybe it's alright. If you have a "fail" then don't buy the car! It's certainly naive to assume that waste veg-oil is a "cleaner" fuel that has "better lubricity" ...

I'm going to lock this thread at this point. T's if you want to make another thread with your own write-up, I can arrange to have it merged with this thread even though it's locked, if you want to.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 18:17   #11
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This thread is open solely for people to answer the poll. Don't post replies to it.
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