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.

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