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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old September 14th, 2017, 11:11   #1
VWWV
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Smile Hurricane Irma

Unsure if this is right section. Please move if needed.
1. Hurricane irma eye passed over us with inevitable power loss on Sunday. Power was restored today (Thursday) Whoopee. During those long days and longer nights while my neighbors relied on generators...we used an inverter hooked to the battery of my 1996 B4, 1Z The inverter outpur is 400 Watts and with that we were able to power a couple of curly 60 watt bulbs, 2 pedestal fans( wattage unknown) and a 55 inch LED tv, along with the satellite receiver. The TDI idled in my driveway at the spec'd 900 rpms for 10-12 hours a day for 3 1/2 days without fail. The temp gauge never exceeded 190 degrees and the fans only came on one time. I did have to prop the hood open after the inverter overheated a couple of times. I disconnected the inverter and shut down the engine when I went to bed late at night. I haven't yet refilled the fuel tank but the gauge shows I might have used 2 gallons. THIS CAR IS 20+ years old. I think that's amazing!!! I plan to load up the tank with DieselKleen and get out on the highway for that time-honored Italian tune up in a day or so. This is not my first time doing this inverter thing. I once ran an inverter for 5 days from an 86 Jetta NA with the same results. I'm not sure what is the maximum watt inverter one can operate from the 90 amp Alternator but I intend to find out and
upgrade, if possible? VWVW
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Old September 14th, 2017, 11:16   #2
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The practicality of a B4 never ends!! I'm glad you all made it through the storm--and especially that the Passat didn't get flooded!
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Old September 14th, 2017, 11:23   #3
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Great thing to be able to do in an emergency!

I'm not sure that the alternator can reach its full output at idle - I suspect it needs a bit more RPM to do that. 90A at 14V is about 1200W, of course the car will be using some of that for itself. A 120A alternator is a direct swap, that can generate 1600W though again I don't know what RPM that would be at.

It should be mentioned that TDIs don't particularly like to idle a lot. The lack of cylinder pressure can lead to poor ring seal over time. But in a disaster scenario like you're going through I probably would have done the same thing.

Keep your eye out for an old VW 1.6 diesel if you ever want to build yourself a generator. You can easily run your whole house from one, plus it'll run on anything you can get your hands on (diesel, hydraulic oil, motor oil, veggie oil, etc).

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Old September 14th, 2017, 12:22   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanbcguy View Post
Keep your eye out for an old VW 1.6 diesel if you ever want to build yourself a generator. You can easily run your whole house from one, plus it'll run on anything you can get your hands on (diesel, hydraulic oil, motor oil, veggie oil, etc).
That's an interesting idea. I would have never thought of that. I'll have to look into it since I could probably get a 1.6 for almost free, if I wanted.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 13:31   #5
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Excellent - I did something similar after an ICE storm up here.

Had to run my Grandmother's boiler off my car for 8 hours to heat the house. Temperature was dropping to the point where the pipes were about to freeze.

Used my 1000w travel inverter and some really sketchy wiring to get 110v across the 50 feet from my neighbour's driveway and into the basement.

Worked like a charm, and used negligible fuel. Didn't have to worry about overheating either.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 13:40   #6
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That's an interesting idea. I would have never thought of that. I'll have to look into it since I could probably get a 1.6 for almost free, if I wanted.
If you get really clever you can rig up a heat exchanger to keep your water tank hot too... :-D Plenty of waste heat with an IDI.

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Old September 14th, 2017, 15:12   #7
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amazing and good story. although i has one (serious) problem associated. i doubt its really that good to idle a car for more than 10mins, not to say 10hrs or more. it can be trying to rev it up (some) that much/from time to time.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 18:51   #8
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Somebody should invent a hackaday/instructable bolt-on generator, so I won't have to.

- A dyno rig made of 6" PVC pipes. Jack up the front end, lower it onto the dyno, and don't forget to chock the rears.

- A genny that bolts directly to the front hub (4x100 or 5x100 pattern)

- A rube goldberg array of JY alternators bolted to 2x4's, all turned by one longass belt

- Maybe a custom-built alternator, with extra stators, rotors and regulators


These engines are capable of 90 HP, or 67 kW. Lots of wasted potential, if you only get a few hundred watts. In a real bad situation, you could be that "Monsters on Maple Street" guy from the Twilight Zone - deciding on a whim which neighbors get to live or die.
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Old September 14th, 2017, 19:15   #9
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Any reason you'd run a gang of alternators and not an AC generator head?

OP, I'm guessing your alt was swapped? Should be 120A, but it's good to hear it kept you going. I have a friend in Boca and she came back to NJ, before the storm hit. Power has been out for over a week.

I've priced diesel generators a few years back and they're pricey. I'm curious what one could be built for, cost wise.

I ended up buying a 10kw/8kw gas/propane unit for $500 on a Black Friday deal. I installed a generator inlet box that feeds a primary on a breaker lockout, in my breaker panel.

Bought some 6/4 SOOW and the outlets on Amazon and eBay. Wired up a cheap annunciator that alerts me when utility is back on.

Total project cost me under $700.

Tested it a few weeks ago and it was able to run a bunch of lights (converted 95% of the house to LED), AC, kitchen, home theater, surveillance system, etc. more than enough to keep me comfortable.

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Old September 14th, 2017, 22:17   #10
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I've thought about the same things, what would be required if power went down for any length of time. In the mid-west we have the ever popular ice storms that can down power lines for quite a while.

I have a very tiny generator that I was gifted for doing some work for some very nice people. I've never run it and based on what it looks like I don't think it's ever been run. I need a carb float bowl o-ring but otherwise I've gone through and cleaned it and checked out most everything. If I had to guess I'd say it's from the late 70's perhaps, the brand I don't readily recall.

I need to see if it actually works but I would guess that I could power the furnace and refrigerator in the winter should the need arise. The fuel tank isn't what I would call large however.

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