Biodiesel!

1493

Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Am interested in hearing about biodiesel (B100, please)success stories from TDI owners...much on this site seems negative on the topic, while I know there are those out there doing their part from a sustainability standpoint. Please relay me concerns, stories, editorials, etc. I'm a new jetta tdi owner and biodiesel homebrewer.
 

Ricdude

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2003
TDI
NB, '03, Pt Grey, GLS
Biodiesel success stories? Here?


I'd call mine a biodiesel success story. 2003 NB TDI, currently at 22000 miles. About 1/3 total fuel has been biodiesel, in blends from B30 to B100. Switched to petrodiesel last winter (didn't want to risk gelling, didn't feel like driving the extra 25 miles to get it, just plain lazy). No problems at all.

Issues you will want to keep an eye on:

1) cold weather usage - biodiesel gels at a higher temperature than petrodiesel. Petrodiesel at the pump has additives to keep it from gelling. Biodiesel may or may not. Check with your vendor. If not, you'll have to cut it with petrodiesel, or use an anti-gel additive. Search here and elsewhere, and the answers will be revealed.

2) warranty issues - VW claims your entire warranty will be null and void if a drop of biodiesel makes its way into your fuel tank (so some people claim). VW does not (nor can they) warranty the fuel you put in the car (bio nor petro). If you get a tank of crappy biodiesel, and it ruins sensitive parts of your car, you *may* have to pay for the repairs out of your pocket. New fuel injector pumps aren't that cheap. If you get a tank of crappy petrodiesel, you should be able to get the repair money from the fuel station. Check with your local biodiesel vendor as to what, if any, warranty they offer with their fuel.

That being said:

My engine runs much more quietly and smoothly on biodiesel. Between myself and other biodiesel proponents on this board, we have likely over one million trouble free miles between us, at various blends. The only problems (one or two if you care to search the forums) I've seen mentioned here appear to be due to noticeably bad batches of biodiesel. Some people here like to claim that biodiesel will melt your engine if allowed to contact it, or something close to that, but the majority of us who actually use the fuel don't seem to be seeing these problems...

The bottom line is:

Do your research. See what can go wrong. Weigh the costs against the benefits. Take responsibility for your choice, whichever choice that may be. Good Luck.
 

McBrew

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Location
Annapolis, MD
TDI
2003 Golf GLS TDI, 5 speed, Silver/Grey
RC is not telling you about the kerosene he uses in the winter! He's still sipping from the Devil's tea! Imposter!


Just kidding, of course...

I started using biodiesel when my car was just 600 miles old. Like Ric, I have used various blends. I have to admit that I'm using B-zero right now. I can't always find the time to make the trip. I do have an intermittent check engine light due to "quantity adjuster, upper limit reached", which has to do with a part inside the injection pump. I don't know if this has anything to do with biodiesel use or not. I doubt it. Anyway, it hasn't caused any problems that I am able to detect. The car has lots of power and gets great mileage - 49 to 51 MPG nowadays, a bit lower in the winter.

I think most others will agree that the engine is a bit quieter, depending on the blend. At lower blends, there is a slight difference in the smell of the exhaust... but at high blends it changes entirely... and is more pleasant than regular diesel exhaust. Bio smokes less, too. It's hard to tell in most TDIs, because they smoke so little, but in an old Mercedes diesel it is night and day.

I wish I had a station near me that served up B20. That would be easy on the wallet, and also easier for people who have older diesels with rubber fuel lines and seals.
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
Not a Jetta so I didn't vote, but approaching 100,000 miles since I switched to biodiesel.
I've had problems.
Less than ideal quality home brew from a local producer left me with a blocked strainer at the in-tank pickup several times.
My fuel now comes from a high volume, ASTM certified source.
I've experienced two cold weather gel (crisco is more descriptive) occurences. Both were undesired, but not unexpected, considering I was deliberately pushing the conventional wisdom regarding untreated B100 in sub-freezing temperatures. Ah, the suffering I do in the name of research.
I start to dilute/pollute my B100 with minimum required percentages of petrodiesel when the temperature drops below 32F. I use B67 down to 15F, B50 down to 0F, and B33 from there down to -15F. I run B100 the rest of the time. My annual average is about B85.
 

PWN

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2002
Location
Gainesville, Florida
My family has been running a 96 Passat wagaon and sedan and 98 Jetta on B100 since christmas.

From Ward Oil in Tampa.

Off and on we ran B100 for about 35% of the previous year. After two clogged filters all is well. The cars run much better on bio than diesel but MPG is down to upper 30's for the passats and lower 40's for the Jetta.

The fuel is made from 70% WVO and is a dark color. Other than inducing?? reduced MPG the dark Biod is not much different in performance than the gin clear stuff that I love to see.

The milage on the cars is 109,000 for the wagon, 117 for the sedan and 113,000?? for the Jetta.

The wagon and Jetta had 90,000 or so when I bought them several years ago.

The only problems I have faced as the second owner of these cars has been 2 faulty n72 valves and a recently unpredicatble driver window on the wagon.

These are great cars!!!

Peter
 

BeetleGo

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 21, 1998
Location
Cambridge, MA
TDI
5-door, 5-speed Golf GLS replaced BeetleGo.
Not sure why the specific interest in the Jetta. The engines are identical in the Golf and Beetle too - FYI.

That said, I've been on B20 (at least) in my '98 Beetle since 4/02, ~35k ago. Never going back. The car runs smoother with it. Looking forward (and working toward) greater availability and higher concentrations being made available to the consumer from a typical fuel pump.

See my signature. You should check out the link.
 

RC

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 13, 2000
Location
Maryland`s Eastern Shore
TDI
Two White 96 B4 Wagons
RC is not telling you about the kerosene he uses in the winter! He's still sipping from the Devil's tea! Imposter!


Just kidding, of course...
You`re right McBrew, we are not totally off the stuff, still a little Petroleum Madness lingering here. Four vehicles sharing about 75 gallons per year of K1... I figure our vehicles average about 500 MPG on the Devil`s Tea per year.
 

McBrew

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Location
Annapolis, MD
TDI
2003 Golf GLS TDI, 5 speed, Silver/Grey
Four vehicles sharing about 75 gallons per year of K1...
Hopefully someone will come out with a good biodiesel anti-gel soon. I can't wait to get over to the shore and fill up on bio... I've been so busy with guests, wine festivals, house building...
 

ikendu

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Location
Iowa
TDI
2003 Golf Indigo Blue
2003 VW Golf...25,000+ miles; over a year; 75% of total fuel B100

Love it! Works great! No problems. Used manufactured B100 (not home brew).

My conservative winter blend:

>40F: B100
20-40F: B50; buy 5 gal winterized, retail diesel, THEN add 5 of B100
0-20F: B20; buy 8 diesel, THEN add 2 gal of B100
Below zero, run all petroleum diesel

Did this all winter (Iowa), no problems what-so-ever.

Although, do your research, make your choices.
 

BioDiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Location
CT
TDI
'98 Jetta
I used mostly B100 for 20k miles in my '98 Jetta. Similar experiences as Jon. Bartlett. The car won't be a problem.

As a homebrewer you should spend a couple hundred hours reviewing posts by other homebrewers for tips and pitfalls.
If you can't, make sure you follow fire safety precautions and let your bd settle for at least one week to allow any unreacted glycerin to settle out. Don't pour the entire jug into the tank. Always leave the bottom 1/2" in the jug.
 

JohnP

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2003
Location
Longmont, Colorado
TDI
1997 Jetta; 2004 Jetta Wagon
We have a 97 Jetta and 97 Passat, both purchased 12-18 months ago with roughly 100k miles each. Started using B100 last summer, went down to B10 - B20 over the winter, now back to B100. No clogged filters or any other problems.

Biodiesel primarily purchased from Blue Sun .

John P.
 

bean boy

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2002
Location
Saco, Maine
TDI
03 Wagon
03 Jetta Wagon that has 42000 now. Started running b100 since first tank. No problems at all. Living in the cold northeast, I do pretty much the same as ikendu in terms of blending as the temp goes down.

I'm lucky to be close to a b100 dealer, but I still fill up a couple 5 gal diesel jugs for convienence. I don't store those jugs more than 2 months tho.

Did I mention absolutely no problems. No loss of power. No smoke. No warrenty problems. No gelling. No bad biodiesel.
 

delste

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Location
Pittsburgh PA
TDI
Jetta Wagon GLS 2004 Black/Black leather
What are you paying for B100. Our dealer just raised price from $3.00 to $3.52 per gal. I do a B33 or B66 blend. 04 Jetta.
 

avantaholic

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Location
Seattle, WA
TDI
2003 Jetta Sportwagon.
i've been running B-100 for over 18 months, in the tropical PNW, and only had one gelling incident in the Golf- which hadn't been run much. now have over 17K miles on the Jetta, B-100, no worries.

just say NO to the terrorist tea...
 

spifflifkin

Member
Joined
May 11, 2003
Location
***
TDI
none
I've gone about 16K of 21K in a 2003 Jetta with no problem. In the winter, if it gets in the 30's I run about B50, otherwise it's B100. I haven't tried home brewing yet.
 

Wally

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Location
The Springs, CO
TDI
98 NB, 96 and 97 B4Vs, & 03 A4V
Check the signature for price of my fuel and current vehicles.

4 years of nothing but smiles. Cummulative of hundreds of thousands of miles on B100 most of the year and as low as B50 for jan and feb.

I just installed larger nozzles in the passat and it is amazing the amount of power but with a complete lack of smoke that others complain about with this mod. We also just got back from a driving vacation where we topped the 1000-mile-on-one-tank-of-fuel mark! So its only good news from Biodiesel.

And again, the engines are all the same. Minus the PD, but I really doubt if they would have a problem either. The very same arguments were made against using BD for the TDI's way back when I joined around here and they have proved to be completely false. Enjoy your TDI and and enjoy it more knowing your part of the solution
 

jimbo500

Active member
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Location
south central tennessee
TDI
red 1998 jetta
1998 jetta
biodiesel for about 7k. i bought the car at 83k and it smelled god-awful when running petro diesel. w/ BD100 from ward oil in tampa, it smells a lot better (i think the cat conv is bad from the sins of the previous owner). also, there is a definite low speed lurch and pulse w/ petrol that just doesn't happen w/ BD
- generally smoother and quieter.

right now, i'm using ~75% wvo and 25% unleaded regular gas. aside from the filter getting plugged (it was time, it was the original fuel filter), all appears well.

time will tell since i don't drive a lot. the ultimate solution is to not own a car (i usually ride the bus). but that's another soap box. BD100 is great!
.
.
 

SilverBullet

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2001
Location
pasadena, CA
TDI
'98 Jetta (Silver)
I started running B100 back in 2001. Had to change the fuel filter twice and put a hydroguard filter on my pump. that's all. otherwise, it's been pure frosting.
 

geon116

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Location
Seatac
TDI
04 Passat GLS Wagon, Silverstone
No jetta, but a 04 passat; getting me to where I'm going, 3000 plus miles...and loving it!
 

Bio-Beetle

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
Location
Maui
I've been running biodiesel (B100) in TDI's since March 2000. We have 2 Golf's (1 2000 & 1 2001) and 3 Beetles (2 2000's & 1 2004) with another 2000 Golf to be delivered this week.
 
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