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  #1  
Old 08-18-2005, 03:24 AM
Noel Noel is offline
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Default Just starting and need guidance

Hi,

I need some good advice on getting started. What are the best cars/ and cheapest to convert? Can you use unmodified VO? Where are the places you can purchase the kits from? What the inherent problems to look out for? Are there any hidden costs. To tell you the truth I came across this wealth of knowlegde only this evening. And now I starting to read a lot of literature but would appreciate if some one would like to start conversing so I can learn the ins and outs of this 'stuff'!

Hope to hear from someone

Noel
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2005, 08:48 AM
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chrisf chrisf is offline
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There are many people on this forum that have more experience than me but I'll tell you what I know.

Best cars - From all my reading I've found that almost everyone feels the 82-85 Mercedes diesels are the best suited for conversion. They have considerable room to make the modifications and the engines are rock solid even past 500K miles. I bought one of these cars based on this information. I also see many people upgrading VW diesels (Passat, Bugs) as well but these cars have some space constraints.

Unmodified VO - Are you talking about the fuel or the engine? If you asking about the engine then yes you can run heated VO through almost all diesel engines. The key is that the oil be clean and hot (150 degrees or hotter). Just pouring VO into your diesel tank is asking for trouble.

Where to purchase kits - There are many places to buy kits. The three that competed for my money were Greasel, Greasecar and Frybrid. Here are my conclusions:

Greasel - is a very cheap kit but you get what you pay for. Heating the oil before it gets to the engine is the primary job of these kits. I wasn't convinced the Greasel kit would do it.

Greasecar - is the moderately priced kit. I think the kit would work in most cars in most climates but I worried that the temperature would not be quite as hot as they promised. I almost bought from them and I liked their website.

Frybrid - is the top-of-the-line kit. Great engineering and quality materials (you won't get a plastic tank from them). I like my vehicles to, above all, be dependable. I also wanted it to be easy enough to use that my wife could operate the car on VO while being distracted by screaming kids in the back. Frybrid is the all-around best kit out there. The computer adds to the cost of the kit but the first time my car wouldn't start because I forgot to purge the VO I'd be on the phone ordering one anyway. This is the one I chose.

Problems with kits - My advice is buy the one that you think will heat the VO and not tear up your engine. It is possible to buy a bottle of Wesson oil and pour it straight into the tank of your diesel car. It will run just fine in the short-term. However, what we are talking about here is burning VO in a car everyday. Trying to start on a good winter morning. Depending on the car with your kids in it on a busy freeway. I don't know about you but I'm willing to spend a few hundred dollars more to know that my car will be dependable for years to come. I want quality and a design that supports these ideas.

Hidden costs - You need to think about the filtration and dewatering of your VO. Everyone has different circumstances and ideas about how this is done. You have to filter your oil down to 10 micron or below plus get any water out of it. I advise looking around the 'net and reading the abundance of info out there. A simple search for WVO in google will get you plenty.

Good People - There are some people that you need to know:

Chris Goodwin - is the Frybrid owner/engineer. This guy knows VO and he knows diesel engines better than anyone else I've spoken/typed to. Almost anything he posts can be taken as gospel. I trust this guy.

Dana Linscott - is another guy that knows VO. I want to mention him because he has helped me indirectly with many things pertaining to this subject. He is everywhere online and has some plans you can purchase for making a kit yourself out of parts you buy at the hardware store. If you enjoy a challenge you may want to look at his stuff.

Hope that helps.
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1984 Mercedes 300D - Converted to Frybrid Aug. 20th, 2005 @ 282K miles - went 40K+ miles on Veg - Sold
2001 Ford F250 - Custom built system May 1st, 2006 @ 160K miles - 115K+ miles now on Veg
1999 Mercedes E300 - Custom built system June 10th, 2008 @ 80K miles - 55K+ miles now on Veg
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  #3  
Old 08-18-2005, 09:11 AM
dana linscott dana linscott is offline
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I produced a introductory post for newbies with lots of links for more info about a year ago. It is on the top of the infopop forum HERE

It should speed your introduction to VO fuel use/conversion a bit.

I agree with chrisf.
There is a trade off kit makers must make between cheap and efficient.
After the cost of parts some profit must be left or they go out of business. And research is expensive so once a product is selling kit makers tend to not spend much on reaserch and the resulting kits are soon left in the dust by those that choose to spend time and money on continuing research.

Greasel and GC both seem to have opted to sell kits that may have been state of the art several years ago and cash in on the growing interest in VO fuel. Frybrid seems to have chosen to sell the highest quality and up to date kit design available and continue to invest heavily in continueing research.

My main thrust has to design as advanced and efficent "kit" as can be easily made with common "off the shelf" materials and parts by the vehicle owner....and use most of the profits from sales on research and promoting VO as a more mainstream fuel choice by commercial fleets.

If you want the cheapest and do not want to start from scratch choose GC. The highest quality Frybrid or Neoteric. Skip the "kits" sold only on Ebay and Greasel....they both have similar flaws which will eventually eat up any savings you may realize initially.

I too reccomend Mercedes for conversions.
I would add though that up to 1987 seem pretty safe...and if you have any hankering for accelleration get a turbodiesel. The old 4 cylinder MBs took forever to get up to road speed.
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2005, 06:53 PM
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thtguy thtguy is offline
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come on dana

15 min down a 5% grade with a tail wind is not that long to get to 55

haha
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  #5  
Old 08-19-2005, 07:15 PM
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DieselBurps DieselBurps is offline
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Mercedes 300SD's were produced from 1979-1985 with a turbo 3 liter engine. I believe 300D's and TD's didn't get them until 1981. The turbo is a nice option, offering something like 40% more power with not much difference in economy. I have a 1981 brochure somewhere that talks about the turbo advantages. Basically any turbodiesel Benz from 1979-1985 would be about the best choice you can make - assuming you can find for the right price in the right shape. The engines and tranny's last a long, long time (think 400k miles minimum! Assuming they are maintained). Skipping the turbo, they are still good cars - it just requires some patience to get up to speed.

After '85, a lot of things changed. The newer engines weren't that bad - they just weren't legendary in their over-engineered qualities. Just make sure the car has have been well maintained and doesn't have rust. It will cost you a LOT more to buy a cheaper car and make it right than it will to buy a good car and just maintain it.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2005, 10:07 AM
Mike Hauser Mike Hauser is offline
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The engines put into the 86 and later models have more power and most importantly they smoke far less than the 85 and earlier models. I believe from 87 on they came with the oxidation catalyst which further reduces the amount of smoke.
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  #7  
Old 09-22-2005, 03:08 PM
Noel Noel is offline
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Thanks to the guys who responded,

I have been looking into particular cars, and am leaning towards a 2000 model VW golf. I think it would be a good place to start.
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  #8  
Old 09-22-2005, 03:47 PM
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DieselBurps DieselBurps is offline
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Noel, the 2000 Golf works pretty well - but the engine is a little more "sensitive" than the Benz. No matter what kit you decide on (or if you build your own) put in some decent gauges to monitor temperature and fuel pressure. Don't burn cold grease in it - a gauge is cheap insurance. I also mounted a pressure gauge on the return side of the injection pump. When it starts approaching zero during normal operation (usually accelerating up a hill), it means that it is time for me to replace the WVO filter.

I'd recommend an A-pillar gauge pod for the Golf as well - I went with a dash pod for my car and the A-pillar pod for my wife's truck. I like her setup much better - sooner or later I'll replace mine.
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