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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 3rd, 2019, 17:10   #1
yitzak1388
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Default Engine ruined by Biodiesel?

Hi,

This guy on craigslist is selling an 80s caddy with the 1.5l diesel and says the engine stopped running due to use of biodiesel. Is this possible? Is it possible to clean and save the engine or is it trashed? I'm messaging for more info, just wanted your guys opinions. I'm interested and may be buying because he only wants $800.
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Old December 3rd, 2019, 17:47   #2
atc98002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yitzak1388 View Post
Hi,
This guy on craigslist is selling an 80s caddy with the 1.5l diesel and says the engine stopped running due to use of biodiesel. Is this possible? Is it possible to clean and save the engine or is it trashed? I'm messaging for more info, just wanted your guys opinions. I'm interested and may be buying because he only wants $800.
I can't believe BD could trash an old IDI engine. They could run almost anything. Worst case might be having the injectors cleaned or rebuilt. But BD isn't going to damage anything. If they ran it in too cold of temps that might have sludged the pump up, but warmer weather should clear that.
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Old December 3rd, 2019, 17:56   #3
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Proper biodiesel won't do that. Bad biodiesel and or other oil based products some people try to use can stop the engine. Probably hasn't ruined the engine but may require cleaning out the whole fuel system and replacing injectors and such. I would be more suspect of the belt jumping out of time or losing teeth and such. That will ruin an engine or at least the heads/valves. First thing to try is to turn it over by hand 4 or more revolutions to see if there is any interference issues. If so just run away unless you are ready to do a bunch of work and spend some money. Same if the fuel system is clogged. At the least the tank, lines, pump and injectors will need to be cleaned.
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Old December 3rd, 2019, 18:46   #4
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+1 - Biodiesel shouldn't do anything (except as noted above). However - if the seller attempted to use WVO instead, and then it gelled up because it got cold - well, that could be a source of problems.
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Old December 4th, 2019, 12:28   #5
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I agree with all the above posts, especially Lighflyer1. Be very cautious - the engine may well be destroyed, and because it was running on biodiesel the owner blames that. You should probably assume the engine needs rebuilding or replacement, until you can prove otherwise. Unless the body is in great shape, or you just love those cars, the price may be $800 too high. That said, they are interesting cars, it would be fun to own and if the engine is good, it will probably run on anything.
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Old December 4th, 2019, 13:10   #6
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Having been down this path with a $400 2003 Beetle I can guarantee you, you will spend more money on it than it is worth having the car for. I have bought better $800 cars that were running and passed inspection.
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Old December 4th, 2019, 14:16   #7
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I will say one thing as well. VW switched to the 1.6 IDI in 1981, which I believe was the same year the Caddy came out. My 1980 was still the 1.5.

And I can't believe that Bio-D, in and of itself, could ever damage one of those engines. I bought mine with the engine disassembled, because they had warped the head running out of coolant. I replaced the head and drove it for another 30,000 miles before discovering they had also cracked the block. Replaced the short block, drove it another 60,000 miles, then sold it to a co-worker. There was no such thing as Bio-D back then, at least to my knowledge. But plenty of those old things ran on WVO or such. As mentioned, cold weather could gum things up, and at worst it might need a new set of injectors and piston rings. How enthused are you about pulling the head and doing the work yourself? For $800, I might consider it myself, assuming the rest of the truck is in decent shape.
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Old December 4th, 2019, 15:38   #8
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As Lightflyer1 said, if it was good quality biodiesel, which met ASTM 6751 standards, it is not at fault. If it was somebody's home brew, however, that's a totally different story.
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Old December 5th, 2019, 18:04   #9
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Thanks for the responses guys! atc98002 I'm more than willing to pull the head. I almost bought a different one for the same price that had a bad head gasket, but it sold by the time I messaged the guy. I'll definitely check the timing as lightflyer1 said. My only issue is that his issue sounds unknown and if I can't troubleshoot it, I'll just resell. I'll be trying to talk him down on price so that I hopefully won't lose any money. Preferably though, I'd rather know what I'm getting into than opening a can of worms. We'll see...
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Old December 5th, 2019, 21:05   #10
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Non running cars aren't worth much generally speaking, especially older ones with no following and not in good shape. Unless this thing is rust free and in decent shape and the engine turns over freely, I would offer half what he is asking. That is the haul away price for the junkyard to come and get it, max.
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Old December 6th, 2019, 05:11   #11
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I agree that the rest of the car should be in decent shape. I remember trying to find a Caddy to restore about 10 years ago, and I couldn't find anything that wasn't half rusted through or completely trashed. But I'd likely still jump at a clean Caddy with a bad engine. Always liked the car.
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