BIODIESEL & SVO DISCUSSION FORUMS





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Project: "Cheap as it gets"
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Well folks it's nearly complete.. just need to wire the switch in the cabin.

My project idea was the cheapest conversion I could come up with while doing things correctly as possible so here it is.

Started with a 1983 Mercedies Benz, its rusty and dented but runs great and the price was right.. $550!

Next the conversion, I wanted to make it as low cost as it could be along with being done correctly. The second requirement was it had to be done with essentially off the shelf parts anyone could find fairly easily. This was with all now parts and my goal was for about $350. One other requirement is simple hand tools to do the conversion so basically anyone could do the same.

Well its nearly done and on budget too.

So here is the outline:
Hose in hose from engine bay to the trunk, a 16 gallon cooler as a fuel tank, 10 micron filter in the trunk and lift pump there also.

I did one thing that was odd on this install, as a experiment, I looped all the return back through the fuel system.. thus one valve to buy.. I tested it today on diesel and the fuel temp didn't rise noticeably on diesel, for a half hour drive.. all looks good. since this conversion is meant to run veggie as much as passable, the diesel fuel usage is minimal.. so the concern of heating it is very very small. a emergency manual valve could be put in if you were worried...or a second return valve could be added... from my test I have no worries at all.

Other than that the conversion is a mirror of my fully tested setup on my van, same components and parts, the only difference being the fuel tank.. as my van had plenty of room for a 55 gallon drum as a tank, and the car doesn't.

The system is very simple but it works well. I have over 15k on my veggie conversion on the van now.

I'll be posting photos and information soon about this cheap conversion so others can learn from my experience.

Again the projects goals were to be very inexpensive, from available easy to get parts and easy to install for a person with standard mechanical skills.. the only skill I used that some may need to learn is sweating copper pipe. I use copper pipe for my in tank heat exchanger and for creating "tee's" in the cooling system. It's easy to work with and sweating copper joints is very easy.

Also I have no shop, not even a garage, just a driveway.. and tools used were just standard hand tools.. nothing special.. any once can do this.

So for under $350 you can do a conversion to veggie. Throw in a cheap donor car and for under $1000 you got a very cheap conversion project.

Also this car is for my wife, so it has to be simple, the level of simplicity here is one switch, warm up the engine, switch over and switch back a mile or two before shutting down.

I may integrate a buzzer for improper shut down or a no shutdown feature so the engine wont shut down if on veggie.. we will see how it plays out.

Stay tuned!
Jason


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well the convirsion is complete now, we put over 100 miles on the car to day after the conversion was finished, mainly veggie miles but about 25 miles of diesel driving .. the conversion worked flawlessly, warm up from cold 32 degrees, was about 3-4 miles. The wife drove it for about 35 miles and is happy with it , simple enough to under stand and use (one switch) and when she flipped the switch to veggie she kind of looked around as if somthing should happen.. and I had to reenforce it will drive absolutly the same as on diesel.. KInd of the same reaction most people have when you fipp the switch knowing its running on veggie oil at that point..

Anyways after 100 miles the system is leak free and running great even in the cold of MN that we had today.. temp on the oil were nice and hot, the cooler as a tank keeps heat int he veggie really well.

If you lived in a warmer climate you could get away with not wrapping the fuel filter in the trunk.. saving about $25 in copper tubing and fittings.

The system performed very very well.. time will tell the tail, well be traveling for thankgiving using this car so by that time ill rack up a bunck of miles on it.

Jason


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The wife wanter a buzzer to warn her if she shut down improperly , so I got a relay and a buzzer and fabed up the buzzer for the car, I'll pop it in under the dash tomorrow.

How it works is with the ignition on the relat opened breaking the circuit the power from the veggie switch.. if the ignition is off and the veggie switch its powered the busser is then powered and sounds the alarm.. works great! total cost was $14 for the relay and buzzer. Simple and effective.

Also if you wanted to make it so the engine would not shut off a air solenoid could be added, if you break the vacuum on the vacuum lines the motor won't shut down.. thus is the case on the 300's, some motors have electric actuators.. however the actuator isnt really necessary with a buzzer that's annoying enough.


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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well the improper shut down buzzer is in and works great.. very annoying sounding , you'll know you forgot and shut down on veggie Smile


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Can you give us a schematic for the warning buzzer?


1985 Mercedes 300D, sold, Heat exchanger and injector line heaters, all single tank. 1997 E300D Benz ... biodiesel.
 
Location: Cocoa Beach FL | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't really have a schematic, just go to radio shack and get a DPDT (double Pull DOuble Throw) relat that's housed in clear plastic so you can see how it works..

The excite the repay the contacts will switch inside , youll see where the circuits go through the relays clear cover and be able to figure it out.

The idea is the ignition lifts the relay breaking the circuit where your constant power from your VO switch goes so if the ignition is off and the VO switch is powered it then completes the circuit for the buzzer and sounds the alarm.

Really once you see the relay work its easly understandable, however you need to have constant power on your vo power for the solenoids.. other wise this method wont work. because if your on switched power on the VO control switch there will be nothing to power the buzzer on the VO switch

Basicaly your setting up a buzzer to be powered from your VO switch but the relay will make it so that if the ignition is on it will silence the buzzer by breaking the circuit to the buzzer.

Really, buy a DPDT clear cased relay and you figure it out really quickly once you see the relays actions when its powered and not powered.

However maybe I should sell these for those that don't have the skills or just don't want to mess with it, and make a few bucks on them to fund my SVO hobby Smile


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Actually i could probably build these in qty for less than what the parts would cost you piecemealm pre-assembled and tested.

IF say 10 people want them I give manufacturing it a go.

PM me if you have interest in these for about $10 each.


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Tell you what, that's a GREAT idea. I understand relays, I just like a schematic to work from. So you have the buzzer on the normally closed side of the relay, then when you lose power (turn off the ignition), the n.c. side closes and the buzzer sounds.

For $10, that would be a real deal. If you want to make them, let me know. Otherwise, I may just make a bunch to put with my injector line heater business (which I am getting rich off of, BTW Big Grin).

PM me and I will check my sources to see if I can get the parts cheaper for you if you want, I'm a radio tech in the USAF and some of our suppliers have fantastic prices for the military.

Open a new thread titled "inexpensive VO warning buzzer" or something like that and offer it for $(whatever you like), and see how much interest you get. Good luck!


1985 Mercedes 300D, sold, Heat exchanger and injector line heaters, all single tank. 1997 E300D Benz ... biodiesel.
 
Location: Cocoa Beach FL | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well the veggie Benz is running great !!! Even in the colder temps were having it warms up quickly and runs the veggie great..

Nothing has really gone wrong or unexpected, everything has been just great no leaks not odd problems..

Thursday, I'll be putting it through its paces traveling for turkey day!

The more I drive the benz the more impressed with it i am for a 1983 it's a really comfortable car .. minus cup holders.. Now im looking for a nice one to convert hopefully a 87 or newer style..


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do you have any problem with oil sloshing out of the cooler on turns or stops?


Ron
'85 300D
'83 300D
Since '80 former WVO conversions:
'83 240D
'80 Audi 4000D
'83 Isuzu Pup
'86 Golf
'76 Honda Civic with Kubota engine
Several generators
Kubota Tractor
 
Location: NY | Registered: November 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I do have some leakage around the rim.. not bad , i do however have the lid tightly bungee strapped down so it cant open up..

Its not bad, if you sealed the lid with some calking it would not leak , it barely leaks now...

I didnt seal it as i wanted to be able to inspect for testing reasons.. however i will be sealing in in the future.


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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well folks ran into my first problem.. but got some good testing in today .. we drove the benz for turkey day traveling.

So my fully always looped diesel got a long run today, ran 80 miles streight on diesel.. no issues..

Now at first it felt like a plugged filter after a few miles its starved for fuel ,, si i believe my filter is plugged.. probably the stock one as it was the exsisting filter however after switching to diesel it was fine..

I have to investigate but had no tools with me for the drive so could not do it on the road .. I'll investigate and replace all filters this weekend..

One that i feel is the issue is I left a small inline filter just before the block mounted fuel pump.. this is what I think was my issue.. as its looks like the original with the car and probably flows just enough with diesel but not quiet enough with veggie, as around town and under 60mph it is all good but when ramping up to 75 mph it was getting a bit starved of veggie I feel this single inline filter is blocking just enough flow on veggie to make it sputter the small bit it was doing at high speeds.

So none the less I looped all the returns and ran it a good 130 miles today on diesel and temps were not elevated on the fuel system on diesel, however YMMV as I'm in MN and it was fairly chilly today.

More soon!


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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yupp your inline filter should be the culprit.

had one installed in mine as well but it acted much worse then yours, it left me stranded once.

its out now and all fine.


1995 Isuzu FRR Box truck with direct injected 6 cyl 7.1 with 10000 veggie miles to date.
6 speed manual getting 12mpg average at 65mph

 
Location: florida | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah I'm pretty dang sure it the culprit, it makes total sense, for issues it was having.. just not not flowing enough on veggie .. .i thought about taking it out and figured the veggie was already filtered twice before it hit it.. It will have no plug ups bud didn't think about viscosity at all..

However I have given some credence to the fact you can loop all the return, all the time for long running times with out issue on diesel in the process.. so thats a good thing that came out of that half tank of diesel...

Oh well we live and learn..

That pesky filter will be fixed tomorrow. Im just going to relocate it to the diesel side of my 3 way grease car valve.. then diesel is still getting filtered..

Jason


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well the culprit was the diesel filter , the big screw on one.. I didnt need it as i have areally nice large one in the trunk for vo , so i totally bypassed it and put a inline filter on the diesel side.. just returned froma 70 mile trip in it and every thing performed great..

In the process of trouble shooting all this i found leaks in the injector return lines that loop from injector to injector.. and back to the return.. there isn't much flow here but when your looping everything back the suction sucks in air.. not good.. so i replaced all these lines.. in the process..

So over all the stock filter was just adding a bit to much restriction for heavy RPM driving and that combined with the looped return was sucking small amounts of air.. a combination that just started to snow ball..

Then after i got all this streightened out i found a leak in my trunk with about 1/4 gallon of VO in the trunk.. luckly i knew this could happen an pulled the carpet out till the system is fully tested.. The leaks cause.. 1 hose clamp i forgot to get nice and tight.. and this was on the pressure side of my lift pump right before the filter so max pressure there too.. Fro as loos as the hse was it could have been far worse.. At first i though i sloshed a bunch of VO out of the cooler but the lis was perfectly sealed and no vo on the cooler sides or anything.. i was kind of wondering so i start looking at my hose and walla ther it is a nearly ntightened hose clamp..

Double check all your clamps.. there easy to miss just one.. after this i went and checked them all again.

SO the benz is now running great the issue has been eliminate and the way I have it now is even better in my opinion as now I have standard filters I can get almost anywhere.. on both VO and diesel.


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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hmm, very interesting.

i had my main filter plug up too eventually from the debris coming out of the main tank. but the prefilter in my install was only good for 20 miles or so till i canned it.

but a small inline i think is only about 30 micron, is that enough filtration on the diesel side??

i have not looped mine yet but will soon, interesting that you sucked in air through these lines, sure have to remember that if i get that.

on my 95 300d i have clear lines on the ip, so its easy to see if i get any air.

cool that you got it all figured out and are driving happily again Smile


1995 Isuzu FRR Box truck with direct injected 6 cyl 7.1 with 10000 veggie miles to date.
6 speed manual getting 12mpg average at 65mph

 
Location: florida | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When you were using the OEM cannister fuel filter, what did you do with the fuel filter's banjo bolt? Did you block it like most do? If you didnt that is probably why the replacement filter you put in seems to work better.


_________________________
If you believe you can't YOUR RIGHT;

But equally so.... if you believe you can, YOUR RIGHT as well.
 
Location: North Tx | Registered: November 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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YEah the line that went from the first injector to the banjo bolt was leaking aso i replaced them all, figured if that one was leaking the others will soon do the same.. they were originals.. and in very poor shape..

I also have clear hoses to the IP but there so old you really cant see through them unles you put a flashlight behind them..

Yeah the whole banjo bolt thing may have been a issue but the oddity is it worked great for a week and 300+ miles, but I was running veggie through the stock fuel filter.. seperating them seems like a better option as now both systems are totally separated and makes for really easy trouble shooting of each system.

The system now is simpler than it ever has been.. simple is good.


1993 ford Van IDI 7.3 non turbo 15k + veggie miles
1983 300d Benz Turbo diesel, dirt cheap $350 conversion
1993 Chevy 1 ton dually Crew Cab turbo diesel awaiting conversion

Ron Paul for Prez 2008!
 
Location: West Central Minnesota | Registered: May 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by Ebacherville:
...The system now is simpler than it ever has been.. simple is good.
Im guessing after another 300 to 1000 miles your original problems will show back up again. You've got no way to bleed out air. Same as before since you were looped the air bleed out of the filter just got sent right back into the system in an endless loop.

IMHO add just a little complexity and put in an air bleed at the heighest point in your system. If it is attached to a clear hose or a vertically mounted inline glass filter then you can see when you need to bleed it.


_________________________
If you believe you can't YOUR RIGHT;

But equally so.... if you believe you can, YOUR RIGHT as well.
 
Location: North Tx | Registered: November 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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regards bleeding,

lets assume you had some air in the closed loop system, but no new air is coming in anymore.

would the air not work its way out via
injectors???


1995 Isuzu FRR Box truck with direct injected 6 cyl 7.1 with 10000 veggie miles to date.
6 speed manual getting 12mpg average at 65mph

 
Location: florida | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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