A. No. I knew I would invalidate the warranty. However they state that dewatered and de-acidified wvo can be used if cold filtered to 1-micron using absolute rated filters. If you wanted to go SVO, and didn't want to spend $7/gallon, non-food grade veg. oil. might be found for <$7/gallon.
Q. "Wow $1000, how come you didn't just go with the tank kit that goes in the trunk?
1. I'd lose space in the trunk.
2. It avoids leaks and spills in the trunk.
3. Elsbett is the only vo conversion with 30 years of vo experience. Their kit ensures coking won't be a problem. The other kits can only claim 20,000 miles w/o a problem.
A. No. I buy some from a man who collects from mult. sources. Plus I have my own restaurant I go to. They're all good clean wvo. Amber color. Soy or canola usually.
Also, small restaurants typically pay to have the oil picked up, so they'll be happy to have you take it for free. Fast food chains get paid for their oil, and it's usually crappy oil too. Be polite and talk to the kitchen help or manager. One guy usually will order a soda, ask what type of oil they cook with, then if it's good oil, he'll ask about taking it away. Managers are usually intrigued by the thought of using it for fuel and are happy to cooperate. Most wvo'ers get it out of the dumpster, so you'll need a pump and screen and some jugs or barrels. If you can be there when they empty the fryolaters, you can provide 5 gallon plastic jugs and take it away. Unless you're using a lot, one or two restaurants is all you'll need.
A. Yes. However, a single tank running a 50/50 blend of wvo/diesel or kero works for me. The longest mine stayed out was 4 hours. It started fine on a 70/30 mix. But there may have been some incomplete combustion till it warmed up. You have to balance it against the risk of forgetting to switch back and needing a tow. In CT, avg outside daytime winter temps are always above 5*F usually 20's, and I 'survived' on a 60/40 blend. Usually 80/20. Thining helps atomization, and reduces the coking risk, but I can't know if it's as safe as following Elsbett's requirements, and always starting the engine at 70*F. My engine temperature gauge only went to 110*F, but I believe the engine was at least 70*F when starting even after cooling off for a few hours outside. Too bad I can't speak German. I'm sure there are a lot of practical use threads on cold weather operations in the German 'plantomot oil' forums.
A. Yes, an '85 Mercedes-Benz 300 TD. We did the conversion to an Elsbett single-tank. It's pictures are elsewhere on this site.
Q. How long can you store the WVO?
A. My personal longest is about 6 months. Most report 1 year. But it depends on temp. too. Colder the better. Rancid stuff is no fun to filter. Best chuck it. Some open jars I have grew fungus after a couple months. Others reported simply filtering it out.
Q. Does screening the WVO to the right micron level bring it to the Weihenstephan standards?
A. No. The W. std is for canola SVO. It sets limits for acidity, and water content, particle size, and several other parameters. I think Alexander Noack recommended 1 micron filtering for those trying wvo. Water content is a guess. Absolutely no free water as a minimum. All but one of the 4 barrels I processed had no free water. Determining the actual water content would require an expensive test. Others have stated that as long as there is no free water, there is no risk of rusting. Setting a limit below the saturation point of the vo allows the vo to absorb some water due to condensation, with out water settling out of the vo. But you may be at the limit, hard to tell. It's a risk. I set aside some jars, and nothing has settledout in 10 months. Also ph is important. I measured mine with some pink ph litmus paper strips. It came out 6-7, which is almost neutral. I dipped it in 100% wvo, and also in the water portion of a 50/50 blend of wvo and distilled water. Same 6-7 result. Better results could be found by titrating it, but avoiding the work of biodiesel is my goal. I didn't convert the W. std ionic limit to ph, but a chemist could. Others processing wvo for bd usually find the wvo is acidic. If it's acidic, it will etch the pump metal. Some wvo'ers de-acidify their wvo by mixing it with water and letting the acid transfer to the water, then settling or boiling off the water. If it's this much work, you might as well make biodiesel, imo.
The other parameters are either characteristic of the veg. oil and won't change, or are inconsequetial or difficult to test and correct.
Q. When you mix in Kerosene, do you do it in the tank of the car, or do you mix before you put it in?
A. I do it in the car. I did some experiments in glass jars that made me reasonably confident it mixed thoroughly in the tank. Curiously, 50 micon filtered wvo did not mix, while 1 micron filtered wvo did. At 35*F too. Try it yourself with your wvo. Then let it settle for a few weeks or warm it to 180*F briefly to accelerate the settling.
Q. What filters do you use to filter to 1 micron?
A. McMaster Carr 4" and 7" sock filters. I have a few 4" 50 micron nylon mesh filter bags. They filter out the gooey lard from the wvo. And they're cleanable. They hang inside a 4" or 7" cotton 1 micron final filter. It's not cleanble. All hang above a 5-gallon paint bucket. When I get 1 -2 gallons in the bucket , it either goes into the fuel tank or a 5-gallon jug.
I use a filter in filter technique to lengthen filter life. I use a 100 micron washable nylon mesh filter inside a 1 micron final filter. One filter is over a year old. It probably cleaned 100 -150 gallons. Below are the mcmaster.com P/N's. Get an 'Absolute Rated' filter, they filter out 99% of the rated particles. Non-Abs. rated ones only filter out 95% ( I think ). They are cheaper, but you'll probably plug your fuel filter sooner. I doubled up two non-abs. and got better life from the filter, but it still doesn't filter all the visible particles. Not good for your fuel system. I really think you need abs. rated filters to remove all possible contaminents!
1 Micron , 7" x 32" 51695K71 or K61 (best), or 5726K21, or 9844K21
100 Micron, 7" x 32" 51705K6
The 7x32 will filter an entire cubee. I have to clean them out in the sink with hot water and soap. Then once in the dishwasher.
Q. What is your system for removing water?
A. I don't. There is no free water, and free water ( imo ) is what causes rust. I test it on the stove top by heating it above the boiling point of water. If it's there, it will form tiny bubbles. There is a little, but I have no idea how much. The restaurant's fryer already heats the oil to >300*F, which boils most of the water out. They also help by putting the wvo in a sealed 30 gallon barrel, instead of the wvo dumpster. This keeps out rain water. If I do get free water, I give it a couple weeks to settle to the bottom and just use the vo on top. This doesn't remove all the water.
Q. It seems like lots of people are scared of using WVO in the TDI. I am thinking that as long as you can control the variables that might damage the fuel pump, injectors, or engine you should be ok.
A. I agree. But it is not without risks. I wouldn't recomend this to someone who is just trying to save money. You need ( imo ) a higher motive to risk a $1K repair bill if damage is done to the fuel pump. However, there are more and more people running wvo in their TDI's. And that doesn't count the hundreds running SVO in Germany. Someone claims there are 2 dozen WVO TDI's in Vermont alone. One TDI'er claims 100k miles on WVO. Plus the guy in Germany with 200K miles on his Elsbett SVO Passat TDI. If the WVO is as good as the SVO, it should work. But it is an experiment. Don't do it unless rebuilding the pump for $1000 won't wipe you out. Then again, biodieselers spend about $500 more for fuel / year, so in effect, they 'rebuild' their pumps too, every few years ;)
Q. The reason I don't like the biodiesel idea as much as the WVO idea right now is that biodiesel production involves recurring cost. Even if i had to process my WVO alot before using it in a tank, the only recurring cost would be electricity for pumps, and filter elements... (or at least I think so.)
A. And heating the wvo to evaporate any water. This might be expensive. So far I don't have pumps. I've just been siphoning and pouring. Ok, I do get a taste of cold vo once a week or so.
But my current filter setup cost less than $60. And I spend about 1-hr/week tending it, and another hour picking up a barrel of wvo / month.
Q. When you were doing your research did you look at Biocar's computer controlled stuff?
A. Only briefly, and 2 years ago. I prefered the Elsbett system because of their research, 5,000 conversions and warranty.
Q. I found some 1/4 micron bags, but i dont know if this is overkill or not?
A. Only possible downside is that the flow will be too little. My 1 micron bags drip about once every 1 - 3 seconds at temps around 45*F. Thats enough to collect about a gallon a day.
Q. I'm assuming you filter your oil cold ?
A. Yes. Others report that warm fuel slips too easily through a filter and is not as clean. But my garage temps are now about 33*F and to get even a minimal flow of wvo, I heat the barrel with a muscle heating pad. Gets it to upper 30's maybe.
Q. I'm thinking of going with the Elsbett kit. I'm kinda concerned about it being one tank, but i guess if I really had problems with it, I could turn it into a 2 tank system without alot of trouble?
A. To me, it depends on your location, ie how often is it below 40*F, and if you have a garage, and can power the coolant heater at work. They also make a 2-tank system. You could add a second tank if necessary. Or do as I do, just run blends of wvo/kerosene to keep the viscosity low. This works for me cause I only drive 1k miles / month. Someone who drove a lot of miles might not want to burn that much kerosene or diesel.
Q. I was wondering about the replacment injectors. How long was your car out of commision for this ?
Check the dates at my site. About 3 weeks. Mine was overlong because the tech who modifies them was on vacation. Coordinate ( if possible ) with Elsbett, then assume 1 week to get in and out even with 2 day shipping, and another week to convert. Renting a car is cheaper than a used set of injectors.
Q. Do the new injectors have larger ports ??
What Elsbett does is proprietary information, but knowledgable vo'ers speculate that the spray pattern is modified to keep the spray away from the cylinder walls, especially when the engine is not fully warmed up. There's a thread on this at biodiesel.infopop.cc search on Elsbett and injectors.
Q. Will Elsbett sell the modified injectors separately?
Q. Will Elsbett modify 'fatter' / enlarged nozzle/ non-stock injectors? A. No. Darren Hill of vegburner.uk reportted one Denmark s-t owner who 'chipped' his TDI and had a 'catastrophic failure'. He does not recommend 'chipping' conversions. You don't want unburned veg oil fuel in your cylinders. It has lead to coking, and deposits and possible crankase oil polymerization.
Q. Have you run tanks of 100% oil yet ?
A. Yes. Always 100% wvo from May through October. Then 10% diesel or kero. Up to 30% kero. Kero is twice as effective as dzl at lowering the viscosity. As long as outside temps are > 45*F I can run 100% wvo.
Q. I wish you could help me with the electrical portion.
A. I can photocopy the directions and send them to you so you know what you're expected to do before committing to the kit. You have to connect to the TDI wiring at about 6 points, and then wire up 3 relays.
Q. What problems did you have?
A. I haven't had any problem with the kit at all. I did plug a fuel filter when I stupidly put in un-filtered wvo. And I'm confident the gasket shrinkage in the FIP was pre- wvo. The new gasket is still sitting in a jar of wvo and has not shrunk after over 3 years. Update: Dirt got into the f.f. heater connection and caused it to blow out the fuse. Also a crimped wire connection I made near the temperature sensor came loose.
Q.Whats this deal about FL, CA and TX? A. Single tanks are ideal for warm climates. You can proabbly run them on 100% VO for the warmest 50 weeks of the year. For a single tank, Elsbett recommends the engine be at 70*F before starting on 100% VO. I do that with an AC powered engine heater every morning. If you live where temps rarely or never go below 70*F, you don't need any of that and can go 100% VO all year round. If yo can't warm the engine to 70*F, I recommnd thinning the wvo to the viscosity of pure biodiesel. This is so that you get good atomization and avoid deposits in the combustion chamber.
Q. Don't I need to thin the VO when it gets cold? A.Below 32*F, you also need to thin the VO just to keep it liquid in the tank and fuel lines. If it gells, you won't get fuel flow and it won't run.
Q. So there are two thresholds for blending a single-tank. One to allow clean cold starts, the other to prevent gelling. A. Yes. You must blend in enough to keep the fuel liquid. If you can't pre-heat the engine to >70*F, then you must add additional thinners to reduce the viscosity to avoid smoky starts. If you get the Ebersbacher, or always access to AC power, you need only worry about the fuel gelling.
Q. What's an Ebersbacher? A. Another way to keep the engine warm. Commonly used by truckers in Alaska. It's a flame powered by diesel fuel, and it sits where your spare tire is. It's plumbed into your coolant lines and runs 24 hours a day. It uses a cup or two of fuel / day. It is an option and costs about $1000. Similar to models made by Espar and Webasto.
Q. Which is more common, the Eslbett single tank or dual tank? A. Most Elsbett conversions go with the single tank. All the TDI's I know of in the USA are s-t. However, Ford , Dodge and GM trucks have to go dual tank. The only vehicles which should favor dual tank are those run in very cold climates, or frequently operated on runs of less than 10km or 6 miles.
Q. Which VW TDI should I get? A. Since single tanks are preferable, but can only be used in non-common rail engines. A single tank kit is now available for the Pumpe-Deuse BEW coded TDI's. Th einjectors are not modified, but the ECM needs to be sent to Germany for reprogramming. TDI's made for the N.A. market for 2009 have a particle filter cannot be converted to single or dual tank.
Q. How much does it cost to convert a _________? A. A single tank VW TDI costs about $1350 USD for the kit. A single tank pre common-rail M-B costs about $1050 for the kit, plus about $300 to rebuild the injectors. Ford, Dodge and GMC trucks can only go dual tank, and cost about $2295 for the kit. Installation cost will vary depending on your choice of second tank, but will normally be $1200 for a dual tank setup. Single tanks need an AC powered heater such as a Zerostart for about $50. Kit installation is about $900 for a single tank.
Q. Should I buy a kit or should I "do-it-yourself"?
A. DIY regrets and time spent
Q. Are there better methods to filter the WVO?
A. Yes. A centrifuge is one way: DieselCraft centrifuge from SunWizard Q. Are there books on SVO? A. 1. From Germany, but in English, a DIY single tank Stepahn Helbigs "The Edge of Veg"
Q. What about spare parts?
A. For the M-B kit, the fuel filter is Mahle KX35 and is available from Filter Seals also needed separately.
A. For the glow plugs you must use BERU -GN suffixed for the "post-glow" period of 3 minutes. BERU -GN Glow Plugs
First 1K miles. No driveability problems. It began to take 1 - 2
seconds of cranking to start, and there was a cloud of smoke at startup
too. I now do 2 glow plug cycles and it starts quick w/o smoke.
[Update: One g.p. cycle is enough. I was used to the 2-3 second instant on
cycle time of stock TDI's. I now wait 10-15 seconds and it starts w/o
smoke the first time.]
July 1st. LEAK! Just discovered my fuel pump is leaking wvo at the top
cover. Damn. I'll attempt to seal it with a new seal made of Viton.
Update. Security bolt socket on order from www.metalnerd.com., as is a
new top cover gasket from Bosch. Since many other BOSCH FIP's have
failed the same way running on petro diesel, this may not be bd or wvo
related. Once I see the gasket, I'll know more.
July 28th: Replaced another gasket in the fip. This one is where the
main body joins the housing that contains the fuel shutoff solenoid and
the 4 injector ports. It's a std O-ring, but was now a "D"-ring. It was
flattened where it contacted the cylinder pump wall.
I just removed the connector bracket and
the bracket at he bottom that holds the timing adjustment screw on the right
side of the fip ( as you face it from the front of the car). IWhile
the pump is not leaking there are 6 other O-rings in the gasket kit,
so they are probably shrunk too. You'll
need a #25 or #27 Torx bit. Preferably mounted in a socket. And a 5 or
6mm hex bit, also mounted in a socket. Mark all positions of the bolts
as you remove them as they are different lengths.
Pull the housing out and it will slide off a shaft inside the fip. This
shaft has a collar on it. The collar has a detent that holds a thin rod
that descends from the top of the pump. Make sure that the rod is in
the detent when re-assembling.
[Update: 11/05 A friend was not so lucky when removing his dist.
head to replace this seal. Several small pieces fell out internally. The
whole pump then had to be removed and the gasket replaced and re-assembled.
[Update: 5/06 - I just read online of another TDI owner with a f.i.p. leak that
temporarily sealed it by adding in a bottle of "Transmission Stop-Leak". This transmission
treatment swells seals, and apparantly can do the same to fuel system seals.
IMO, faster reslults might be had by adding 1/2 a bottle directly to the fuel filter, and
letting it idle for 5 minutes, then sit overnight.
I'll post pictures too. The top cover
area has a gummy film that wouldn't come off easy with carburator
cleaner. The cyclinder was clean w/o any corrosion or deposits.
Cleanliness is important. I sprayed all parts off with carburator
cleaner before re-assembly. The BOSCH gasket kit is p/n 2467-010-003.
Try your local BOSCH service center. I ordered mine from H.G. Makelim
Co. in San Francisco CA. 650-873-4757. They're very helpfull and know
what they're doing. I'm running it on bd
for the next 2 months. I have a new gasket soaking in a jar of wvo, to
see if it shrinks. [Update: 11/05. Gasket ok after 2 1/2 years in wvo.]
The car is running fine. Because I didn't move the
main body, it doesn't need to be retimed.
Sept. 2 2004 - Experiencing occaisional power dips above 3,000 rpm.
Replaced fuel filter, air filter and cleaned snow screen and MAF. The
fuel filter had a little sediment and white flakes in the water trap,
but NO water. :) The air filter was dirty. Both filters had 20k miles.
Cleaned the MAF with aerosol electonics cleaner from Radio-Shack.
Flushed out some soot. Result: Hooray! Power is restored! Top speed of
95 m.p.h. That's better.
Oct. 2004 - No more problems with the fuel pump. The gasket half
submerged in wvo has also not shrunk, so I believe the
original gasket shrinking was not due to wvo use.
November 2004- Cold weather brought a new problem while running 100%
wvo. When temps dropped into the upper 30*F's, the car could not go
faster than 65 mph. The engine power would fade. Added 10% gasoline and
10% kerosene. Still had the problem on cold days. Added 10% biodiesel
and no more problems running on the highway. However on mornings, the
car won't go faster than 40 mph before it's fully warm for several
minutes. It's time for the long delayed block heater. After installing
a 1500 watt Zerostart 'tank heater' from J.C. Whitney, cold startups
are no longer a problem. It's capable of warming the engine from 50*F to
180*F in 20 minutes.
November filtering - Cold temps's made the wvo too viscous to flow
using my hand rotary pump and cartridge filter. Now filtering using
filter bags into buckets. I use a 100 micron bag in side 1 micron 4"
and 7" filter bags from mcmaster.com. WVO is siphoned from my 30 gallon
wvo barrels. Flow is very slow, about one drop / second, but I can collect a
gallon / day in two buckets.
March 22 2004 - One year aniversary of the start of the conversion.
so far, no problems. Still running 80/20 wvo/kerosene, although I did use
60/40 in January and February.
May 2004 - 11k miles. Running pure wvo now that temps are above
50*F. No leaks. Changed oil and fuel filter. Chugging along.
Sept 1. - 15k miles. No problems so far. I got a lot of water in this
summers wvo due to the placement of the barrel under the restaurant's eaves
and no gutter. So I let the tank go to 1/8th full and put in 10 gallons of
biodiesel in the hope it's hydroscopic properties will absorb any free
water. Oil level ok, not going up. Long term gasket soak in wvo still good
too, the gasket is unchanged from a year ago. I also was filtering several
gallons/day this summer to support my F-250 which is on loan and running on
a 50/50 wvo/diesel blend w/o switching tanks.
Oct. 2004 - 17k miles. No problems.
Jan. 2005 - 19k miles. No problems. Burning 75% soybean/p. hydrog.
soybean/canola with up to 5% gasoline, 10% kerosene and 5% naptha ( Coleman
fuel ) . Started the car cold once at 40*F with barely a ruff idle.
Mar. 2005 - 20k miles. No problems. Running 10-20% kerosene as temps
vary from 30*F down to 10*F. A report warning of gasket shrinkage due to
ULSD from New Zealand is online. I think that's what happened to me and
others who have used biodiesel or ULSD fuel. The new gasket is still
unchanged after 18 months of sitting in a jar of wvo. I just found a lot
of single-tank system in N. Europe online too. I'm confident it will work
w/o coking and fip damage if I get the wvo up to Weihenstephan standards.
I'm going to order an acid kit from BioCar and start de-watering the wvo.
May 2005 - 20k miles, no problems. Inspected the intake at the EGR
valve. As clean as on B100 biodiesel.
Aug 2005 - 25k miles, no problems. A shop tested the fip injection
quantity and it was in spec. I ran 520 miles, mostly at 65-75 mph
with 3 adults and the A/C was on. I estimated about 40 mpg.
Oct 2005 - 28k miles, no problems. Had to replace the sacraficial
filter after only two months. Also replaced the main filter after
about 15k miles. I had a glow plug error and pulled the g.p.'s to
check them. They looked normal, just a little blackened and some flecks
of brown powder. No erosion of the tips. Also bought an IR
thermometer. When fully warmed up, the fip surface read 135-140*F. So the
vo inside is probably at 150*F, the minimum safe temp. for vo.
Jan 2006 - 31k miles, no problems.
Jan 16 2006 - A new driving style. Up to now I had always driven from home and
pre-warmed the TDI before I left for errands. Now I'm working and commuting to a place
where I can't plug the AC heater in and pre-warm the engine before I return home. So
the fuel must be thin enough to a) not freeze when temps are below 10*F, and also is
not too thick so that the fuel pump isn't damaged by fuel that is as too viscous. I'm
guessing that if a WVO and kerosene blend had the same viscosity of B100 biodiesel, it
would no be a problem to start it cold at 10*F. So I diluted the WVO with 30-40%
kerosene. For two weeks it has been fine. No smoke at cold start, and it fires up
instantly just as when it's pre-warmed. No problems or side effects from running 40%
kerosene. Lubricity will be more than adequate. Studies have shown only 2% VO is
needed to provide proper lubrication in un-additized petro diesel. And I have 60%.
Mar 2006 - 34k miles, no problems. Adding cetane booster exhibits more power above
Mar 2006 - 35k miles. Suddenly lost power in the morning commute
through Hartford. I quickly got in the breakdown lane, popped the hood and
opened the valve on the spare fuel filter. Finished commute. I replaced
the sacraficial filter that night. Next day it happened again. Same
routine. This time I replaced the main fuel filter. I drained the filters
and found small dark flecks/ particles in the fuel. Probably an algea
bloom. I remembered filling with wvo that was cloudy, and not the usual
clear , translucent brown. I got a bottle of diesel fuel bio-cide and
added an ounce or two to each tank at refills. The third day, I had a
different problem. The engine would stumble when revved above 3,000 RPM,
or accelerated. I came home on the back roads. The problem was that
the engine was sucking in air and this caused the sudden stumbleing.
Once I got home I replaced the sacraficial filter again. I had mistakenly
replaced it with a larger sized one, and this cracked the fuel line,
allowing in air ( VW TDI's suck the fuel into the engine ). I had
used a 3/8" filter instead of the the correct 5/16" inlet f.f.
Apr 2006 - 37k miles. No problems.
May 2006 - 38k miles. No problems.
July 2006 - 42k miles. No problems.
Aug 2006 - 44k miles. Replaced both fuel filters due to loss of power.
Sep 2006 - 47k miles. Replaced both fuel filters again due to loss of power.
I noted that I had switched sock filters and was using a cheaper non-absolute 1 micron
filter. I rembered seeing visible sediment in the filtered wvo, something I never saw
before. So I believe the non-absolute filter caused the rapid fuel filter plugging.
I have switched to virgin soy oil for the time being. When I go back to wvo, I'll
double up the the non-absolute filters or use them as a pre-filter inside the old
absolute rated filters. I also cleaned the MAF and snow screne and replaced the air
filter. I did a top speed test and hit 92 m.p.h. up a slight hill. Same top speed as at
60k. miles before biodiesel or conversion:)
Oct 2006 - 49k miles. No problems.
Nov 2006 - 50k miles. No problems. 40*F now, running 20% ULSD
Dec 2006 - 51k miles. No problems. 40*F now, running 20% ULSD and plugging in the
coolant heater at home and at work ( with a long extension cord ) for 30 minutes
Jan 2007 - 53k miles. No problems. 30*F now, running 25% ULSD
pre-heating at work.
Feb 2007 - 55k miles. No problems. 30*F now, running 20% ULSD pre-heating at work.
Mar 2007 - 56k miles. Fuel almost jelled when I was running 80/20 and left the car outside and temp.'s fell
to 8*F / -20*C. The car was plugged in and started ok, ran about 2 miles then the engine sputtered and died. Luckily I wsa able to
coast to within 100 meters of a gas station, and got a helpfull push to the pump. I added 3 gallons of diesel. While waiting for it
to thin the svo canola/soy/diesel blend, I manually pumped very thick fuel to the filter using the Elsbett priming pump. After 5
minutes of that, I tried to start the car, and surprisingly it started and ran fine. I continued to pump fuel for another couple
minutes. The VW TDI recirculates warm injector fuel to the fuel filter. That helps prevent jelling. I drove on main streets past
several gast stations for the next couple miles in case the engine had problems again. After 10 minutes of running I was confident it
was fine and hopped on the highway at went to work. That unexpected cold period was too cold for 80/20. A safer ratio for
temperatures that low would be 60/40 SVO/diesel.
Ap 2007 - 59k miles. No problems. Temps, above 35*F, running 100% VO, plugging
in first to pre-warm to 70*F.
May 2007 - 61k miles. No problems.
June 2007 - 63k miles. No problems.
July 2007 - 65k miles. Poorly filtered WVO caused an early fuel
filter replacement. No more cheap non-absolute filter socks for me.
I'll double or triple the remaining ones up.
Aug 2007 - 66k miles. No problems.
Sept 2007 - 68k miles. No problems.
Oct 2007 - 70k miles. No problems.
Nov 2007 - 72k miles. No problems.
Dec 2007 - 74k miles. No problems.Running a blend of 86% soybean
oil, 10% kerosene, and 4% gasoline when temps go below 18*F. Running
96% SVO and 4% gasoline otherwise with temps as low as 25*F.
Jan 2008 - 76k miles. No problems. Same blend as December.
Feb 2008 - 77k miles. No problems. Same blend as December.
Mar 2008 - 77k miles. No problems. Same blend as December.
Apr 2008 - 78k miles. Low power when cold, within the first 8
minutes after startup. Max speed limited to 50 mph. Thinned the fuel
down to 30% veggie oil to allow more fuel flow when cold.
This weekend I inspected the fuel filter heater and found it
was not hot at startup. The heater fuse was burned out and the heater
connector was dirty and melted. Replaced the connector and fuse.
Heater now comes on and engine power is normal at cold startup.
Wrapped the connector in electrical tape to seal out dirt and oil.
May 2008 - 80k miles. Still have CEL's. Run's ok except when
cold. Replaced N75 solenoid, seems to help. Running 100% VO.
Jun 2008 - 82k miles. Replaced one bad glow plug. Unfortunately
another was cross threaded and an extractor
snapped in the cyl. head trying to remove it. Waiting to have ext.
burned out on an EDM machine.
July 2008 82k - Head fixed. Checked condition of pistons and cyl
head. There were a some small deposits, but no signs of ring coking or
gumming. Two mechanics looked and said they looked 'average' and in
'very good condition' for the mileage. Engine runs great. They also
cleaned out the cylinder head which had about 25% blockage due to
sooty deposits. These were loose and flaked right off. Typical for
these engines, and probably all done in the first 60,000 miles driven
on sooty LSD by the original owner. The intercooler has never been
cleaned. Fixed a broken coolant sensor wire that was causing the
engine to not get the coolent sensor signal and always go into
extended glow plug cycle , even if it was hot. Also fixed the
intermittant turbo problem. Happened sometimes after cold startup. No
turbo till warm. Replaced N75 and some related hoses. Shop cleaned
out the turbo actuator , it was sticking from soot. Turbo works 100% of
the time now.
Aug. 2008 83k - Lots of new power above 3500 RPM now with the
clean cylinder heads. Maybe 10 or 15% more.
Sept 2008 85k No problems. 165k total miles.
Oct. 2008 87k No problems. Oil consumption still low, ~5k miles
/ quart. No signs of VO in the crankcase oil.
Nov. 2008 88k miles. No problems. Running Canola WVO and SVO.
Dec. 2008 91k miles. No problems. Running Canola WVO and SVO at
40 - 80% blends.
Jan. 2009 93k miles. Changed oil after 11K miles. No
vegetable oil contamination found.
Feb. 2009 95k miles. No problems. Running 50-60% WVO
Mar. 2009 97k miles. No problems. Running 75% WVO
Apr. 2009 98k miles. No problems. Running 95% WVO
May. 2009 99k miles. One problem. Running 95% WVO. It got cold ,
about 50-55*F and when I went to start, it stumbled and smoked for about
30 seconds. A fast idle heated it up to stop the smoke, but there was no
power. I ran a few miles, then opened the spare fuel filter valve.
That removes any main fuel filter. restriction. Still no power. CEL was
I stopped the engine, re-started and full power was restored.
The ECM must have gone into limp mode when I started
and it was running rough. Just to be sure, with the spare fuel filter
valve open, (and with 10% diesel and 0.5% turpentine and two new tires )
I did a top speed run on I-95. I hit 105 m.p.h.! A new record for this
car. Obviously it's running as good as ever. I don't want to make it a
habit, so I won't try again w/o the turpentine and 10% diesel for
comparison. But both help, especially above 3000 r.p.m.
May 23 2009 100k miles! No problems. Running 100% WVO
June 2009 100k miles! No problems. Running 100% WVO
July 2009 103k miles! No problems. Running 100% WVO
Aug 2009 106k miles! Algae due to lots of water due to
lots of rain. Replace fuel filter. Running 100% WVO
Sept 2009 109k miles! Still algae Replace fuel filter. Running 80%
Oct 2009 113k miles! Even with Biocide, algae persists. Replace
fuel filter. Running 70% WVO
Nov 2009 116k miles Replace fuel filter. Hopefully for the last
time. Algae can't survive 40*F ( can they?) Running 50% WVO
Dec 2009 119k miles Replace fuel filter again. Not due to algae but now hydrogenated fat in the wvo that
plugged the filter when cold. My cold filtering setup needs heat from a radiant heater when it's cold in the garage.
Too much heat and I got partially hydrogenated wvo. Running 50% WVO
Jan 2010 122k miles Replace fuel filter. Switched to SVO to avoid problems in the winter cold.
Still a little thick sometimes at 70-80%SVO so I turned on the spare filter to get up steep hills 70 mph.
Running 50%-70% canola SVO. Starts easily w/o smoke usually. Temps typically 25-30*F Sometimes as low as 20*F
Also got into race with a Dodge pickup that I won at 105 mph. Fortunately I was out of SVO that day and running 90% diesel.
The VO is just too thick to allow sufficient fuel flow at rpm's above 3000rpm. Top speed is limited on SVO, even when heated.
But it's nice to see the TDI is running well. Not burning oil, or VO in the crankcase oil.
Jan 2010 120K miles no problems. Got really cold one night, about
18*F and the TDI was running about 40% WVO + 60% diesel. Stalled in the
parking lot 1 minute after starting. Had to use hand pump to refill the
fuel system. Fuel was like honey, way too thick to pass through the fuel
filter. I restatred after 10 minute sof pumping and then ran around to
the front and pumped more by hand till the car ran for another few
minutes on it's own. Drove really slowly first few miles. But he
electric heater was making the difference and no further problems.
Feb-July 2010 122k-134k miles The following is a summary of events
that started in February. Low power, couldn't get up steep hills over 60
mph. Replace fuel filter, car would work fine for an hour or a day,
then the symptoms would return. I replaced the spare filter 8 times and
the main filter four times over 5 months. Each time it woul dbe better
for a while but then problems would return. I assumed it was a fuel
quality issue, related to the water, perhaps algea. This was finally
ruled out in June after I had cut open severla 'plugged ' filters, only
to see they were not plugged. I blew out the fuel lines with a tire
pump. I put a fuel pressure/vacumn gauge on both sides of the main
filter and measured ~2-4" of Hg at the tank side, and 3-5" of Hg on the
fuel pump side. very little restriction, so plugging filters was nat th
eproblem. I had noticed that power dropped off instantaneously right at
the end of the highway entrance ramp, within 50 feet of the same spot
many times. It finally dawned on me that the TDI computer was going into
"limp mode". It shuts down the turbo causing a loss of 1/2 power. The TDI
ECM clears "limp mode" on a ignition key cycle. So every time I replaced
my fuel filter, what was really making it work was simply powering it
off then on. I then used VAG-COM to read the check engine light MIL
code ( it's always on so it's always ignored ). It said 'Boost pressure
control deviation from commanded" or something like that. The ECM was
calling for boost, but it was not reading any increase, so it thought a
major fault might exist and went into safe/limp mode. It turned out that the
rubber hose connecting the intercooler plastic tube to the EGR valve had
a two inch / 5cm split in it, allowing all the boost air
to escape and preventing any boost pressure increase. I replaced the hos
ewith an aftermarkey 45 degree elbow and the car has run nicely
since. It probably split when I was running over 100 mph.
July 2010 134k miles no problems
Nove 2010 136k miles no problems
June 2011 155k Two problems One is loss of power, can only climb steep hills @ 50 mph.
Added gasoline ( too much 15% ) to thin to help fuel flow. developed vapor lock. Car would stall
after climbing a steep hill, but run fine afte rcooling down 5 minutes. Drained tank and in
process found small air leak in the fuel pickup in the fuel tank. Replaced a small rubber O-ring. on
the fuel pickup tube. It slides alitlle due to thermal expansion. Put in fresh diesel and vaapor
lock problem cured. The original problem was not fixed with new fuel filters. The Elsbett hand pump /
ball pump was collapsing under suction, even at idle. This indicated the blockage was upstream, but
the lines ot the tank were blown out with a tire pump and clear. Fuel strainer in tank was clean.
Surprisingly, the tank was very clean too, even after 8 years of bd and wvo. The blockage was within
the ball pump itself. Dis-assembled and found pine needles, hair, and debris, all stuff that fell in
while I refueled wvo through a funnel. Power was restored.
Nove 2011 157k Wire and the relay to the fuel filter heater got dirty, then hot due to increased
resistance, then it melted. Disconnected fuel filter heater. Only needed in winter, so I'll just have
to add a little extra gasoiline or kerosene to thin it some more.
Jan 2012 158k Limp mode again. Checked the error code and TDI club power troubleshooting guide
which led to the conclusion it was the small rubber boost sensing hose that runs from the ECM to the
intake. Removed ECM and replaced the inner hose and the long hose to the intake. Problem resolved.
May 2012 160k Needle position sensor on the 3rd injector failed. Replaced with a new
injector. Swapped in the old Elsbett modified injector for the new std one. The Elsbett tech.
examined the injector tip. It had a thin layer of hard carbon, bit the area around the nozzle was
clean. The nozzle itself was not eroded and put back into service.
Sept 2012 164k miles no problems. Using Lucas biocide from truck stop, $80/gallon. One ouncper 5
gallons. Fuel Filter lasted 6 months till an algea or bacteria growth plugged the filter. Getting a
MIL/CEL light at cold startup. It's the fuel quantity adjuster. If I clear the code, it's stays off
till next cold start. Car runs fine with the error. No discernable difference. No excess smoke at
Oct 2012 165k miles no problems. For those keeping track, most of the kit is still installed
and working. The only thing not working is the fuel filter heater. Most of the problems so far have
been due to bacteria or algea growth or debris in the fuel system, or dirt in the wiring.. Still have
all the original TDI fuel system parts except #3 lift sensor injector at
245K total miles.
May 2013 176k miles no problems. Running 50 - 80% WVO to keep it
thin at cold startup so I dont get the CEL for the fuel quantity adjuster.
Same fuel filter for 1 year! The double filtering of the wvo and the Lucas
biocide have made a huge difference. 256K total miles.
Sept 2013 190k miles no problems. Running 70-80% WVO. 270K total miles.
March 2014 198k miles Coolant 'T' at the oil cooler leaking
coolant and the AC powered tank heater is now shorted. replaced
both. USed an equivalent 1000W from Amazon for $46. Used a brass 'T' from
McMaster-Carr. The plastic ones lasted only 5 - 10 years. The old tank
heater lasted 10 years. Saw frequent winter usage. definately happy with
it. Running 40-70% SVO. 278K total miles. Engine still starts on the
first second even when temperatures are in the teens and I am running
50% SVO. The engine still runs like new. Oil consumption is 1 quart /
2-3000 miles. Car now has rusty floorboards and leaky coolant hoses. Veggy oil is the least of my worries! Have not gone
into limp mode in almost two years. But I still have a CEL and GP
light flashing from the error code thrown at cold startup.
April 30 2014 199k miles. Running 90% WVO. 279K total.
Fixed the coolant leak ( loose hose clamp ), and the fuel leak at the sensor on the
fuel injection pump. Just needed to tighten the 3 Torx screws.
June 2014 204k miles no problems. Running 95% WVO. 284K total miles.
Nov 2014 211k miles. Running 75% WVO. 291K total miles. Fuel
injection pump leaking at the quantity adjuster. Due to increased use
of low aromaticity ULSD for cold weather. Saw a Youtube video of a
guy who cured his TDI's leak within 6 minutes using B100 biodiesel so I got
some, about 80% biodiesel, 15% WVO and 5%ULSD, and it worked! Stopped
leaking within 15 minutes. Now I have to determine what a maintenance
level is, starting with 5% biodiesel. Go to
March 2015 218k miles. Running 50-85% WVO. 298K total
miles. had problems in February. Had a CEL for fuel quantity control
erratic. Car went into limp mode, then it came out of it if it coasted ( 0
fuel demand ) for 6 seconds or more. Turned out to be a partial fuel
blockage caused by a bacterial or algae growth. Added some Lucas
Biocide to the wvo to kill it and the blockage cleared itself. No
fuel pump leaks as long as I add 5% biodiesel when running 50% diesel
when it got into the single digits. Started on 50/50 wvo/diesel at
5*F one morning after the car sat outside! Thats a record low cold start
on wvo blend for the car. Mechanic replaced the coolant hoses around
the water pump and oil cooler that had gooten degraded by leaking
fuel last fall. Car has gone about 6000 miles while consuming only a
quart of oil. Not bad for an old car.
April 2015 220k miles no problems. Running 90% WVO. 300K total