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Biodiesel & Your Vehicle - What has gone wrong? Time to bare your souls
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OK, since I get asked this ALL THE TIME, I figured it was time for us to "bear it all" & share all our stories of what's gone wrong with our vehicles while using Biodiesel that could be related to it's use (notice not CAUSED by it, but just related).

Here's mine...

1984 Isuzu Diesel Pickup
Been running Bio since late 2004
About 20K on Bio
- Seal around fuel cap has gone to mush
- No fuel leaks to date
- Runs like a champ!

2004 Chevy Duramax (friends)
Been running Bio since Oct. 2005
Almost exclusively except in winters
About B50 during cold snaps in winters
- Plugged several fuel filters
- Dropped & cleaned out tank
- Replaced in-tank fuel pump (didn't need it)
- Blew out the fuel line from tank up to filter
(It blew out a bunch of gunky stuff. Don't know if it was biodiesel related--ie. soap or diesel deposits)
- That's it!
- All done under extended warranty. No questions asked. No problems. Truck still runs great today! This is our oil collection truck.

2007 Chevy Duramax
- Plugged about 5 filters
- We had some soap in our bio that didn't get washed out
- We also suspect there was some water in our bio that didn't get dried
(this occurred when we were in a hurry once & made bio out of oil that was really outside the bounds of what we should've used. Really high in FFA & had a lot of water. We also didn't pre-treat it like we should've & it really could've been washed a lot more. It was also slightly under-reacted (3/27 test showed droplets))

2002 Chevy Duramax
- Few plugged filters
(Came from same batch of fuel above)

2002 Dodge Cummins
- Couple plugged fuel filters
(same batch as above--it was a BAAAADDD batch)

1998 Ford F-350 Powerstroke
- Couple filters
(same batch)

1993 Ford Semi style flat-bed truck (think F-550)
- No known issues to date.

So, beyond plugged fuel filters....
No fuel injection pumps, no fuel injectors, no fuel pumps, no other problems.

I also talked at length with Bob Armantrout about diesels & bio. He personally drove a Ford F-350 7.3 liter over several thousands of miles with no problems. All w/ B100. The truck now has over 100K on it and to-date there have been no known problems with it.

ok..now it's your turn...time to "bear your soul on your bio-related problems".

Give us the make, year, & model of the vehicle; how many miles of Bio on it; and the issue and what you believe caused it.

-Graydon

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Graydon Blair,




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Location: Utah | Registered: October 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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we've had around 200 vehicles running on our fuel so far. no severe problems.

a couple of older vehicles have had rubber fuel return lines weeping. we've also had some issues with some other parts not liking biodiesel including a fuel tank level sender and my fuel filter element (paper-type : fell apart last week and i had to drive back from the alps on gasket made with carboard box and nail scissors Wink

almost all vehicles running on b100 have had fuel filter blockages as expected. no major problems here.

a few vehicles have had blockages outside the fuel filter and needed air cleaning of fuel lines/tank. mostly but not all our own vehicles which sometimes run on 'experimental' fuel.

we've had the odd case of nasty-looking fuel returned to us: contaminated due to rust/water in oil barrels or other containers. we're very careful to clean them: suspect most of this is people leaving barrels open outside.

no injectors or injector pump problems. some modern cars don't like biodiesel as their ECU sensors get confused (oxygen in fuel?) two different vehicles temporarily refused to start. switch them off and back on again and they run completely fine.

our rules of thumb? if you have a common rail engine we advise b30 max (though many people ignore this advice!). learn to replace your fuel filter and carry a spare. use a bit of mineral if starting car sub-zero (celsius!). oh and either learn to make your own properly or buy from a decent supplier: there's some really terrible fuel being sold in the UK!
 
Location: Oxford, UK | Registered: May 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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F350 Powerstroke dual rear, crew cab, full bed...love that truck. Pulls trailers, drove it today on a new batch of B100.
Lost track, probably 14k in the last year on bio. Two fuel filters, that's all.

1985 Mercedes 300D bought one year ago. Nothing but B100. No problems related to bio, although had to put a whole new engine in the thing after I bought it due to severe cylinder scoring due to some SOB running it out of oil sometime before he sold it to me. Only had 88k on it, and I had to drop a new engine in the thing..so much for Ebay motors. Love the car though, my two teenage boys drive it everywhere and don't have to pay for gas...loves bio, smokes like a Mercedes should too...

Mike...
 
Location: up the holler down Copperhead Road | Registered: April 28, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Two Duramaxes, one F250 poerwstroke, one 1985 MB 300TD, one 1987 6.2, one 1999 MB, a couple kubotas, one toro with a kubota diesel.
One fuel filter on the 1985 300TD
Fuel return lines on the 1985 300TD
And that's about it.
 
Location: West Michigan | Registered: April 26, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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142,000 miles on a 2005 Sprinter.

Over 100,000 of that on Bio (B99). Plugged a couple of factory filters before I learned my lesson & went with a spin-on. Since then, get around 45,000 per filter. Otherwise runs like a champ.
 
Registered: August 01, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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2003 Jetta approx 18000 miles on B100, mixed down to about b45 for a tank last winter when it was 5F each morning. No issues so far, did the precautionary filter change at about 3 months and drained about a half cup of crap(diesel varnish) from the water drain in the first couple k miles. Avg still around 50-52 MPG.

89 F250 8000 miles on b100.
-no problems
-slow to start, but the glowplug controller is soon to be swapped for a push button on the dash.

Kubota ZD25 mower,
-Up to b20 is fine.
-B100 has major issues with what I believe is injector timing. I think the cetane is too high and since the thing at full throttle is tached at >3600 RPM the injection is too advanced on bio and the fire is happening too far before TDC. When it warms up it has missing and severe knocking, drop to 1/2 throttle and it mellows. It's still under warranty, and I havn't yet found the shop manual for the fuel system. Next spring will probly be the timing adjustment and see if it helps.

99 F450
-Various mixes of bio up to 100%
-No issues

Fleet of CAT dirt toys
-B5 to B50 mix
-no known issues

95 Ford L8000, Cummins 8.3
-Up to about B80
-No issues, still pulls like a mule.
-Maybe a bit quieter.
-Big bore torque and a clean (unsynchronized) gearbox sure is an addictive mix.
 
Registered: January 03, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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1. 1983 Land Cruiser w/Cummins 6AT diesel
B100 with intermittent blends of D2 in winter
- About 20,000 miles - replaced a couple fuel filters and the rubber fuel return lines on the injectors.

2. 1992 Ford F250 - 7.3L
B100 with intermittent blends of D2 in winter
- About 30,000 miles - replaced the fuel filter twice when initially running bio, once since

3. 1996 VW Passat TDI
B100 with some D2 in winter
- About 25,000 miles - replaced fuel filter once when initially running bio, and once since


Galen Bowen
Senior Mechanical Engineer
Springboard Biodiesel, LLC
Technical Blog:
biodieselisgood.com/tech
 
Location: Chico, CA | Registered: March 26, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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1998 Jetta with 60,000 miles on B100. Two fuel filters and nothing else.
 
Location: Elmwood, IL | Registered: December 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One fuel filter plugged with glycerine. My fault.
Thats it for five year of running mostly 50/50

regards
dva
1995 Citroen ZX 1.9 Ltr
 
Location: Yorks,England | Registered: June 30, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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1995 Dodge 2500

1 fuel filter full of diesel cr@p.

1 rough ride to work on a cool morning as the fuel gelled and partially plugged a filter; warmed up and cleared by the afternoon and a little more dino-diesel kept it from occurring again the next day.

I little bit of harder starting on this last batch that I rushed and probably left a little more soap in than usual.

Lots of spilled and dribbled vege oil in my truck bed!
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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2006 Duramax
60,000 miles on BioD- Last summer, I was making BioD in 100 degree heat (water was condensing in my tank), I didn't have a good dry/wash system, and I wasn't filtering. Needless to say, I plugged a filter on a 100 mile trip. I limped home.
Now, I have a good wash/dry system, and I'm filtering down to 2 microns-
As a precaution, I change the fuel filter every oil change-
Everything running great!
 
Registered: September 20, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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'04 VW tdi, pd, 52,000 miles on b100 summer and b50 or b60 in winter.

Fuel line went mushy and started leaking. Only the "s" shaped 4" piece over by the tandem pump went bad. None of the other fuel lines, including the cheapo standard stuff I used to install a fuel line heater were affected at all.

Oh yeah, and I can't seem to get the exhaust to produce that toxic foul poisinous carcinogenic smell like I used to get on "real" petro diesel. Is that a problem I should be concerned about?

Finest regards,

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Oh yeah, and I can't seem to get the exhaust to produce that toxic foul poisinous carcinogenic smell like I used to get on "real" petro diesel. Is that a problem I should be concerned about?


 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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SWEEEEET!

It looks like, as long as you're running good Bio, there's no problems. I'm excited to read this thread!


'90 Chevy Silverado 6.2 diesel
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: February 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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05 duramax wireing for two injectors (my wife said it only happened after I started useing b100), Two fuel filters, and some unresolved trans problems.
 
Registered: July 04, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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2002 Jetta - 30,000 B100 plus miles. No problems except when I use BIO made from hydrogenated oil in colder weather (40-45 degrees F). Once the filters plug up using this unforgiving cold weather fuel they are never quite the same. A heated fuel filter would help solve this problem. Not being such a tight wad and refusing to blend in dyno diesel would also help.

2001 Excursion - 35,000 on B100 and going strong. The internal screen filters clogged after about 15,000 miles of B100. I had the screens removed and added an external fleet guard filter and water separator. The setup was designed to be used before the delivery pump (about 35 micron). I believe the screens were clogged up by tiny pieces of material from a whole house filter setup. I no longer trust the whole house filter as the final finishing filter.
 
Location: Central Texas | Registered: May 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmm... Biodiesel has, in one blend or another, been in my tank for close to 2 years now, about 45,000 miles.

I had one fuel filter clog suddenly when I found that some under-reacted and unwashed fuel made by a friend ended up in my tank. Also, B4 Passats have a minor issue with the fuel gauge sender getting gunked up causing intermittent fuel gauge drops, but it went away and never came back.


1996 VW Passat TDI - no less than B20 since February 2006

www.MSBiofuels.com
 
Location: Hattiesburg, MS | Registered: April 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well today on the way to work, the PowerSmoke passed 200k on the clock.

So far I've run about 40k in biodiesel through the ol' beast and I've only had minor issues of hoses turning to sticky black goo, filters freezing up in the winter and some really smoky starts when running poorly converted batches of biodiesel (did wonders on controlling the mosquitoes around here). Aside from those issues and tracking down air leaks in the fuel system (which isn't easy I an assure you), the truck runs as slick as greased owl poop.

I did have to replace the IP and 8 injectors when the IP died last year, but I confirmed that was from old age and NOT the biodiesel.

I'd like to be able to run B100 during the winter, but I've just not had the time or money (I'm leaving for the UK in two weeks) for a fuel heater system just yet.

A Gear Vendors with computer control is being installed when I get back from London.

I change the fuel filters every 4 months whether they need it or not as a precaution but the PowerSmoke keeps running just fine.


Illegitimi Non Carborundum
 
Location: Utopia Planitia | Registered: February 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
I did have to replace the IP and 8 injectors when the IP died last year, but I confirmed that was from old age and NOT the biodiesel.


I don't mean to knock Ford (I have a Bronco, love it), but is 195,000 considered "old age" on a Ford diesel?

If an engine part goes bad before 300,000 on a Cummins, something is wrong. But what do I know...I don't know anybody with 300,000 on their truck, just what I read in the TDR.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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195k on a Ford diesel is nothing. The 6.9L can run up to 500k, I have one friend who traded to a Powerstroke and his 7.3IDI had 400k on the engine.

The stock IPs usually go out around 120-130k, there is this plastic/fiber gear in there that gets eaten up, once you put in a remanned pump, you're good to go as the new gear is a steel gear.

It's usually the stuff around the engine (body, electrical that kind of stuff) that falls apart.

Any properly maintained engine (even the Detroit 8.2!) can run for a very very long time.


Illegitimi Non Carborundum
 
Location: Utopia Planitia | Registered: February 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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