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  #1  
Old 05-02-2005, 03:08 PM
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Location: Annapolis, MD
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WVO, oh no! I'm going to ruin my engine!

Or am I?

I'm taking the plunge to WVO but with a twist - I'm not going to use a two-tank system (at least not yet).

Much has been written about the damage that will occur if you run straight WVO through our engines. But not all is bad. Seems lots of guys in Germany do it without ill effects. And I have not seen a credible account of an engine being ruined if some precautions are taken. Guess I'll be the local guinea pig.

Here's my plan. I've found a source for oil at a yuppie grocery store. Seems like 20 gallons a week, though it's only been a week. I gave them a 55-gallon drum to dump it in and got my first score yesterday. I sucked up 15 gallons with my bucket-mounted 12v oil changer pump ( I put it in 3 5-gallon buckets thinking that it will settle and be easier to pump out than standard jerry jugs - I can't get cubies). I'm letting it settle until next weekend at which time I'll cold-filter it through 10 micron filter bags into a drum. From there, it goes through a handpump and Goldenrod filter ala Dana's plans, though not heated. (I put a through-hull fitting in the bottom of a bucket with a 9-inch piece of 3/4" clear vinyl hose that rests inside a bag filter suspended through a hole in a plastic 55-gallon drum. I intend to fill the bucket and slap a lid on it. As the oil flows from the bucket and fills up the filter bag to the bottom of the hose that is sticking in it from the bucket, it should stop draining until the oil has drained out of the bag below the hose, at which time a bubble will be allowed in the bucket via the tube, and the flow will start again. This should make for unattended 5 gallon draining and I have room for a second bucket/filter bag. It should work great. I hope.)

Initially, I will blend 20% wvo to 80% diesel. In a few weeks, I'll gradually increase to 50% (I fill up every 4-5 days, so I can monitor pretty well how certain blends perform). At that point I will install an electric heater before the fliter and use it until the car is warm, or constantly if I think the viscosity is too great. I'm hoping at the mid-summer point to try at least 80% wvo/20% diesel, if not 100% wvo. As the weather cools this fall, I'll install a coolant heat exchanger for the fuel to further warm up the stuff. As it gets cooler yet, I will try different blends to decrease viscosity including RUG (regular unleaded gas). In the winter (assuming no meltdowns have occurred as has been/may be suggested) I may have to go back to a 50/50 mix or a 50% wvo/40% diesel/ 10% RUG. Or something completely different. If I have to, I'll go back to 100 diesel (but I'll keep sneaking some wvo in as an experiment until I've been stuck on the side of a cold highway too many times) I'll also run a diesel fuel cetane booster/conditioner.

I have stocked up on fuel filters and I'm meticulous about filtering and cleanliness. I expect some junk initially from the fuel tank that is released by the wvo, but my tank was completetly cleaned out 5 years ago by the PO, so I may be lucky.

My goal is KISS. No 2nd tank, no return lines, no HOH, HIH, no fuel tank heater, no 6 way valve, no switches, nada. All the mixing and filtering will be done in the comfort of my lab (OK my shed). The only changes in the car are for heating the wvo in the engine compartment.

I recently experimented with acetone to prove or disprove the mileage increase claims (disproved it to my satisfaction) and the more I read, the more I learn that these engines are tough as nails.

With the current price of diesel, I spend $250/month ($3000 a year!) so you can see I have much to gain and not too much to loose - if I'm careful.

I'm really psyched about this. Getting the source was the hardest part for me and now that it looks like a reliable one, I can't wait to start burning veggie.

So far, my total expenditures are:

$20 for two 55 gallon drums. I was given an additional 5, but I had to buy steel for the collection site.

$25 for filters (Mcmaster-carr).

$75 for collection pump (retail is about $150, but I have a source...).

$30 for hand pump (Harbor Freight).

$35 for Goldenrod filter and spare filters (Northern Tool).

$20 for hoses, clamps and fittings.

$30 for 4 new 5 gallon jugs (nothing but clean filtered wvo goes in them).

$0 for 8 5-gallon buckets (new house going up down the street and the drywall guys are nice).

$10 plywood for barrel top (my barrel looks 1000% better than the gross stuff the recyclers use and I want to improve the image of WVOers).

$25 misc stuff I can't remember.

$270 total. The heater will be about $170 and the heat exchanger maybe $60. If I'm able to average 50% wvo, I'll save $1500 a year, not to mention 600 gallons of imported dino.


I want to find out for sure wether or not this idea works. It might save somebody some (besides me) some $$. Lots of companies sell conversion kits now and it is not in their best interest if this works. Lots of contradictory information that I hope to cut through.

I'm certainly willing to listen to more experienced wvo-ers as to the effectiveness of my plan - or anyone else who can see holes it it. If you have any comments, fire away!

V-day is 6 days and counting...
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1984 300Sd 210k

Former cars:
1984 300D 445k (!!) (Strider) Original (and not rebuilt) engine and transmission. Currently running on V80 ( 80% vegetable oil, 20% petroleum products). Actually not, taking a WVO break.
1993 300d 2.5 275k. Current 120/day commuter
1981 300SD 188k (Hans) Killed by a deer
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2005, 04:28 PM
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2005, 04:49 PM
Old300D's Avatar
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Location: Denver, CO
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Don't blend your veggie with diesel. It's ok to switch between one and the other, but there's a few people who have experienced wax precipitating out of the diesel when mixed with WVO. That will plug things up well; the cleaning process is not pretty. Search the biodiesel.infopop.cc forum in the SVO section to review this issue.

You won't ruin a Benz running WVO, but you might have to clean injectors and change engine oil more often. Good luck to you.
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'83 240D with 617.952 and 2.88
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'89 Toyota 4x4, needs 2L-T
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2005, 09:00 PM
Veggie Power
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 48
You can do a WVO conversion for less than $400, cheaper if you use salvaged parts. even 50% diesel adds up and you realize savings on a convension rather quickly. Conversion takes less tha two days. Blending isn't simple, sounds like a pain in the ass to me. So you have switches, etc, but you also still have your engine in a year or too. Do read the posts at the infopop forum. I'm not sold on blending, myself. But I had a lot of fun converting my 300D
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2005, 09:13 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 136
I'm not Mercedes, however I am running a 40% blend canola oil/diesel right now, with night temps down close to freezing. A bit ugly to start in the AM, runs fine after half a minute, smells strange. NO pre-heating or anything. Fuel mileage is the same, as is power (or the very lack of it that I have...58hp).
I get used canola from a local Pub, where they fry french fries and sea food. No animal fat in it. I just have to filter out food bits from it. They give it to me in 16L pails (little over 3 gal). Each week I get 3 pails, last week 4. I plan on doing the heated second tank, going 100% canola, etc, but until then I'm going to continue mixing it, because believe it or not, I get way more than I can use at the moment. My truck gets good mpg, but like you I want to experiment and make french-fry smells .
I have a VERY simple filtering system in the basement. I have a steel 5 gal can with a fitting in the side, up 2" from the bottom. It has a piece of window screen on the top to stop the bigger pieces. From the can it goes through a water filter with a 5 micron filter in place, then from there through a short hose and ball valve to a cleaned plastic pail, the same ones from the Pub. The upper can is on a small stand, the filter underneath, all this wrapped with fibreglass insulation, and a 75w spotlight underneath to keep everything warm enough, the plastic pail outside the wrap. 9 pails later, the oil still trickles through the filter, gravity fed.
Simple, but so am I, or so the wife says. So far, no problems. I find it smokes a bit less, and runs a tad smoother.

Free fuel. Ya gotta love it!
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1994 S10 Ext Cab w/Isuzu diesel (converted Mar 2008)
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2005, 09:30 PM
Veggie Power
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 48
I make my WVO decisions thusly...I am not a chemist or a diesel tech, but I understand that the tech is experimental. There are a lot of wacky ideas out there that 'work' in that some people have done it with 'no problems' for thousands of miles.
The way i see it, a blend of used motor oil and cat piss is likely to 'work' in my MB. I guess I shouldnt slam someone for experimenting. It was the folks who took the risk of using WVO in the first place that got us where we are.
What i mean to say is, what works now may mean a shorter life for the engine, and we're not likely to know if you can get more than 20,000 miles on your engine using blends until someone does it.
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2005, 09:57 PM
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I've poured 9 gallons of soybean cooking oil unfiltered from the Costco jug into the SDL with the reserve light on and the pointer on E. I've also tried it in various proportions with pump Diesel. No problems starting in San Jose, CA winter. I put some oil in a cup and left it outside as it dipped to freezing. The next morning at departure time it is was liquid (the oil, not the cup). Did it gel overnight? Will it gel in the tank?

I don't notice any difference in consumption or performance. I haven't checked the rubber lines at the tank but everything under the hood looks good.

Soybean cooking oil is ~$2.80/gal at Costco and Diesel is ~$2.65 at the truck stop so we're almost to the even point except for the toll of hoisting 35 lb jugs. OTOH Costco doesn't winterize cooking oil The SDL really doesn't like winterized fuel.

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95 S420
87 300SDL
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2005, 10:30 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: alabama
Posts: 16
I haven't read up too much on WVO, but I've seen a lot of things run through diesel engines. Be careful with the RUG in the mix. It causes injector scoring due to the dilution of lubrication. It will keep any oil or diesel from properly lubricating.

If you need to bump up the burn power try some old truck driver tricks. The most effective I've seen is using ATF. It has great cleaning power, burns well and mixes well. I've seen flames coming out of exhaust stacks with 12 quarts ATF in a 200 gallon tank.

I did this myself when I first picked up my 240D. I ran a quart in a full tank my first 2 fill ups. The difference afterwards was incredible. No more smoke at cold start or under load. No more cold start miss either. I also add it to my engine oil before an oil change. Usually put about 10 miles on it that way. After changing oil, run engine, then stop to recheck the level and you will pull out a dipstick with clean oil on it. Not the foul black stuff you are used to seeing.

Best of luck to you, and thanks for posting the info !
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2005, 09:04 AM
TonyFromWestOz's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenknots
Or am I?

I'm taking the plunge to WVO but with a twist - I'm not going to use a two-tank system (at least not yet).

Much has been written about the damage that will occur if you run straight WVO through our engines. But not all is bad. Seems lots of guys in Germany do it without ill effects. And I have not seen a credible account of an engine being ruined if some precautions are taken. Guess I'll be the local guinea pig.

SNIP

I'm certainly willing to listen to more experienced wvo-ers as to the effectiveness of my plan - or anyone else who can see holes it it. If you have any comments, fire away!

V-day is 6 days and counting...
Tenknots,
Welcome to the Vworld.
My wife does not want to need to remember switches. She has a blend of biodiesel and "cold filtered" WVO in her tank. I have fitted a coolant/fuel heat exchanger before the stock pre-filter. As a precaution, I added a cheap fuel filter ($2.00 each) immediately after the heater.
The engine starts on the cold blend and is idled for a minute only before being driven. I change the blend ratio for winter to 50% and 75% in summer.
Some tank residues have been captured by the sacrificial cheap filter and replacement fitted about 4 times in the first 3 months. I changed the filter after 10 000km as preventativre maintenance.

My wife has been using this fuel for 12 months and has covered 12000km so far with no engine problems. This does not prove that no damage will occur, but this is the start of an extended test.
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Fatmobile 3 84 300D 295kkm Silver grey/Blue int. 2 tank WVO - Recipient of TurboDesel engine.
Josephine '82 300D 390kkm White/Palamino int.
Elizabeth '81 280E, sporting a '79 300D engine.
Lucille '87 W124 300D non-turbo 6 cylinder OM603, Pearl Grey with light grey interior


Various parts cars including 280E, 230C & 300D in various states of disassembly.
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  #10  
Old 05-03-2005, 11:07 AM
TwitchKitty's Avatar
Just fix it
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Varies
Posts: 3,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyFromWestOz
Tenknots,
Welcome to the Vworld.
My wife does not want to need to remember switches. She has a blend of biodiesel and "cold filtered" WVO in her tank. I have fitted a coolant/fuel heat exchanger before the stock pre-filter. As a precaution, I added a cheap fuel filter ($2.00 each) immediately after the heater.
The engine starts on the cold blend and is idled for a minute only before being driven. I change the blend ratio for winter to 50% and 75% in summer.
Some tank residues have been captured by the sacrificial cheap filter and replacement fitted about 4 times in the first 3 months. I changed the filter after 10 000km as preventativre maintenance.

My wife has been using this fuel for 12 months and has covered 12000km so far with no engine problems. This does not prove that no damage will occur, but this is the start of an extended test.
I run blends and have no fuel heater but I suspect that I change more filters as a result. Veg oil can coagulate and clog filters for various reasons and heat seems to be the best antidote.
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And that's the way it is. Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear. I reserve the right to be wrong, others take the liberty. My posts are not intended to be complete, just enough to help you find your own answers. Don't let the Relevance Paradox get you.

Last edited by TwitchKitty; 05-03-2005 at 03:50 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-03-2005, 11:41 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Geographically challenged on the S.W shores of Lake Michigan in S,E Wisconsin
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tenknots,

I use a wayne pump(no idea the hp)(bought at ace$75) and heat my oil on my camp stove to a point where i won't stick my finger in again to test the temp (pretty smart, huh?) (gotta get a big thermometer).

then i suck up into a garden wand head that has fine holes in the end for out going water spray but also works great as a filter for the big chunks and push it thru an omni home water filter rated at either .5 or 5 microns(my eyes can't see the dots that well). any way after 50 gallons the filter still looks good with all the large pieces left in the pot to be wiped out.

i have a two tank system from greasecar which is good quality hardware. the manual for install however is for a rabbit. call them and they will fax you the correct schematic. my car is still at the tech college getting worked on, i hope for other issues, and hope to have it by memorial day.
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[1981 300 td tdidi 165500 dark brown/palamino-Brownie-mine-3k miles of ownership
1983 240d 162+++ Anthricite grey w/ henna red interior and hella lights-wifes car-Red

the above two cars are for sale
and can be seen on the cars for sale thread here. pix also available.


240d-144+ Manilla Yellow w/ palmino interior-greasecar kit-Blondie-the college kids car

23" gt 21 speed still on original tires-still got the nubs
21" khs tandem
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2005, 12:18 PM
Veggie Power
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 48
I am interested in hearing test results for blends. Does anyone know of any data out there anywhere on long-term use, or is it just a matter of waiting...Apparently one can drive an MB 100,000 in thirty days. If anyone wants to try that we can get some good test results fast...
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2005, 01:01 PM
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I've done at least 15K miles on my '92 cummins running 50-80% wvo with no heater. Average mpg has been around 20mpg. Best yet is 24.7mpg. Not bad for a 1ton truck. No problems...yet.

I'm trying to figure out what to do with all those empty cubies. I've been thinking about filling them with cement and building a shop.
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2005, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 650
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm not thick enough to think that this will be a perfect system. If I run into problems, I'm willing to do a complete 2-tank conversion - I'll already have the engine area heaters. But I think it's worth a good test and since I put 3000 miles a month on my car, any problems will show up rather quickly.

I think with the superior lubricating qualities of WVO, even 20% RUG won't bring it below a safe point, though I won't try that until cooler weather.

It's good to know others are doing this also, though maybe not in the same type of climate I am. Tony, I've been following your posts and you've given me inspiration.

If all goes well, I filter in 4 days (been settling for 2) and I'll add 20% wvo to the tank. At that time I will change both fuel filters and monitor them. I have well over 20K on both of them now, just running diesel. I'll also change the oil the same day ( I use a 5000 mile schedule - every 6 weeks or so).

If my source keeps up, I'll be veggin' soon!
__________________
1984 300Sd 210k

Former cars:
1984 300D 445k (!!) (Strider) Original (and not rebuilt) engine and transmission. Currently running on V80 ( 80% vegetable oil, 20% petroleum products). Actually not, taking a WVO break.
1993 300d 2.5 275k. Current 120/day commuter
1981 300SD 188k (Hans) Killed by a deer
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2005, 10:40 PM
TwitchKitty's Avatar
Just fix it
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Varies
Posts: 3,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenknots
(I put a through-hull fitting in the bottom of a bucket with a 9-inch piece of 3/4" clear vinyl hose that rests inside a bag filter suspended through a hole in a plastic 55-gallon drum. I intend to fill the bucket and slap a lid on it. As the oil flows from the bucket and fills up the filter bag to the bottom of the hose that is sticking in it from the bucket, it should stop draining until the oil has drained out of the bag below the hose, at which time a bubble will be allowed in the bucket via the tube, and the flow will start again.
If your lid leaks even a little you may end up with oil everywhere. If that happens you may want to go with a five gallon bottle like a water bottle from a water cooler. Someone posted a thread about this over at infopop.

In the meanwhile we will wait for R Leo to post pictures of his new unattended filter system.
For Sale...WVO Filter Set-up (cheap)

I have one also in prototype but haven't worked the bugs out.
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And that's the way it is. Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear. I reserve the right to be wrong, others take the liberty. My posts are not intended to be complete, just enough to help you find your own answers. Don't let the Relevance Paradox get you.
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