Saturday, August 27, 2005

There's Gold In Them Dumpsters

People always ask me where I plan on getting my oil or think that I will go into a grocery store and buy new oil. They look stunned and surprised when I tell them that I will get my oil from local resturants. What do think their dougnuts, fries, elephant ears are cooked in?! Oh, yea!

Now it's not a simple, or nice, thing to just pull up to a restaurants dumpster and just take the oil. Once the oil is placed in the dumpster it is the property of the recycling company. Getting access to this oil is a simple process of common courtesy, ask for permission! Most restaurants will be glad to give you their oil, especially small ones, since they have to pay, in most cases, to have the oil removed. In my case my parents own a restaurant and they would have to pay $65 a month to have the oil they use removed.

Now there are several ways you can approach collecting your oil, the first is to find a restaurant that puts their oil back into the 5 gallon cubes the oil comes in. The advantage to this is that the oil is easy to handle, especially if you don't have a truck, and no special equipment is needed. During the winter this is a very good thing since WVO will thicken up and require special pumps and heaters to get the oil into a container. With this method I found it neccessary to use a pump of some kind or pour the WVO into a larger container. Pouring straight from the jug disturbed the crud at the bottom of the jug and I could only filter half of the jug.

The second method is to siphon the WVO from a dumpster into a container. During the summer this has advantages in that the WVO, combined with heat, will have time to settle the crud and you can pump off of the top. If your planning on modifying a truck collecting oil from the dumpster would allow you to get larger quantities of oil. Say a couple of 55gal drums.

Regardless of your method of collecting WVO remember to filter the oil before using it your vechicle!

Next up, how to filter.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Which auto to choose

Pretty much any diesel equipped auto would work but from what I have read the most popular passengers cars to choose are either a VW or Mercedes. These two companies are famous for their offerings of diesel equipped cars. VW offers nearly all their models in a diesel.

The main reason to consider one of these makes is due to the readily available parts should you run into mechanical problems and there's a lot of people you can ask for help with the conversion process. The main reason I choose my VeggieVolvo was due to budget and experimentation. I couldn't afford spending more than a grand and I didn't want to destroy a car and throw my money out the window. Not that I don't have faith in the conversion but more in my mechanical skills. Keep in mind any conversion WILL void manufactures warranty.

Check on the bio-diesel discussion forums for advice on what vechicle to consider. Oh and whatever you do seriously consider having the car checked out by a diesel mechanic to make sure the engine is in good shape. My VeggieVolvo has blown her transmission and I'm in the process of swapping out the transmission.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

So why vegetable oil

Here's a little history as to how I arrived at my decision to modify my Volvo to run on vegetable oil.

I drive about 650 miles to work at Indiana University and with the cost of gas constantly rising it became crucial that I find a way of saving money. While I drive a Dodge Neon and get 30+mpg it still takes $45 dollars a week to fuel my Neon. I tried carpooling but my job requires me to be available after hours and this doesn't work sometimes. So I began searching the internet.

I remembered that diesels get really good mileage and a friend of mine had a Jetta. In my research on diesels I stumbled on the greasecar website that explained how to modify a diesel car to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO). They also sold kits to make your modification as easy as possible. They also had customer profiles on their site and the type of cars that were being modified. The thought of free fuel was my dream come true!

A little more searching on the internet and I stumbled on a discussion forum that was all about WVO and bio-diesel. Here people discussed the simple aspects of construction of components to best ways to collect and filter WVO. I started noticing one person in particular, Dana Linscott, and that he seemed to be the resident guru. Dana also sold plans for common components needed for the modification process. Now I need to say that once I saw the plans it was a no brainer but being new to the whole process the plans were priceless and worth the $50.

The key to using WVO in your diesel is to get the viscosity of the oil to match that of diesel fuel for proper combustion. In order to do this you have to heat the oil prior to it be injected into the cylinders. The most common method of doing this is to use the heat from your engine coolant. By using a heat exchange method you can pre-heat the oil sufficently to achieve ideal viscosity. If you go to they have an excellent explaination on this.

Well that's all for now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ooops! I owe Blogger an apology

I owe the folks at Blogger a big apology! I recently ranted that Blogger didn't support photo uploading except with MS, well I was wrong! The next time before I open my big fat mouth I'll read a little more.

Again, sorry Blogger!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Journey Begins

Well, after visiting another Volvo diesel owner's blog I was motiviated to finally create and begin my own blog to document my efforts to convert my Volvo to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO). You may think I'm absolutely insane but as you will read I'm not off my rocker after all, especially with the price of gas rising ever higher.

So, comeback read and share your comments with me and others.