My first post here, but I've been reading with much enthusiasm off and on.
Last July, I got my second-ever diesel vehicle, in part because I'm hauling/towing heavier loads on a more regular basis, in part because I'm sick of getting MPG numbers as low as 5 with gasoline hauling/towing those loads, and in part because a good friend has decided to stop making his own biodiesel and is willing to sell me his processor for much cheaper than it cost to build it-- if I can find an oil source. He gave up because his source switched to hydrogenated stock, and he couldn't find another source.
Anyhow, I have been running the truck on B100 from the only place in town that sells it (when they have it available, that is... it's very hit-or-miss) and now that I'm on it, I really don't want to go back.
Here in North Texas, it doesn't get that cold, I think our coldest day last year was about 17F, and I didn't drive that day anyhow.
Well, my truck is equipped with a block heater, which I will begin connecting soon, if for no other reason than to have the heater work more quickly on the cooler days. (I can easily withstand 110F days, but once it starts dropping below 60, I'm a wimp in the cold!)
I'm also thinking that I'd like to put a heater in my tank, connected to the same plug as the block heater. Now here's the thing, I've not yet measured the amp draw of the block heater, so I don't know if it would be possible to even add another heater to the same plug/circuit...
But I notice that you guys who run heaters seem to do so in aux tanks, not so much the primary. It also seems a lot of folks run petro or kero mixes in the primary tank over winter. My primary tank is plastic, I only want to warm the fuel enough to keep it from waxing, and hope that between the heat in the tank and the heat in the block that it would also prevent the filter and lines from waxing overnight.
What are the general thoughts on this? My tank has two or three vented bungs in it, I figure if I was to put the heater in through there, it should do fine, but I also don't know if the plastic primary tank would be a good solution for that. I am eventually replacing it with a stainless 60 gallon tank, I just didn't want to do that until at least next year.
2007 CTD 610CR 5.9L
This lnks to a current sale on Ebay for a stick-on 12 volt RV plastic holding tank heater (cheaper by the 3-pack), should work the same on a plastic fuel tank as they are made of the same plastic, and the fuel tank is smaller than most holding tanks so should heat even faster. How effective it will be is something you can tell us? 60 watts is not much heat for an open-to-the-environment tank but you could stick more than one to the tank. Gluing an insulating layer of 1/2 inch polypro sleeping mat over the heaters and the bottom of the entire tank should help some? (I use contact cement to hold this type insulating material (Coleman closed cell polypropolyne camp sleep mat) to all my heated settling and filtering barrels, has worked great for several years now)
You could connect the heater to your vehicle battery and then connect a battery charger to the vehicle when parked, the charger would be powered whenever you power the block heater, this would allow you to apply heat to the tank while traveling (just don't forget to turn the heater off when parked or it will quickly drain the battery without the charger plugged in since each 60 watt heater draws about 5 amps). OR - you could power the heater(s) directly from the battery charger only when parked.
What is your typical winter weather?
How much do you drive in the winter?
Can you park inside?
Last year I drove my VW up until about mid-December when the temps dropped down to below 10F.
I parked it for a couple of weeks, then started driving again mid-January when the temps were again in the mid-30's.
I may have put in one tank of B20 before resuming with B100. Parked inside at nights.
As far as the heater above. It is 12V, so you would need a secondary power source at night, but it would be good while driving.
44-67F seems like a pretty high range.
An electric heater would certainly be easier to install than a water based heating system (which is usually only done for veggie oil burning vehicles).
If the biodiesel feedstock contains any animal fats or hydrogenated VO, then the BD made from them will begin settling out below 60°F to clog intake screens and filters.
As I had said, the coldest winter day in my recent memory was 17F, and that was last year.
Typically we do not see freezing weather at all, just near freezing or at freezing in the eves. There will be 2 or 3 weeks this year that I can expect to see temps under 32F.
The guy I will be buying my processor from says he's never had a problem with his in the winter, but on the days it was frozen outside he and the wife didn't go anywhere (life outside the home shuts down if snow/ice falls in Texas), but he did set a sample jar out and it was barely cloudy after he got it out of the snow the next day. But that was his old single-source oil, through his processor and meticulous methods.
Currently I'm running with B100 from a company that takes multiple sources, all veggie stock, some amount of virgin product when available, the rest from waste sources, but the actual stock is unknown from tank to tank.
Couple reasons I'm talking about using heat, and thats because I would like to avoid chem additives and/or mixing petro/kero, and because I'm only going to run the one tank, thus it would likely be difficult to use a heat exchanger if the engine won't run in the first place.
Those pads are nice, but 60w just doesn't seem enough. Anyone ever tried a submersible aquarium heater or something like that?
2007 CTD 610CR 5.9L
Found some pads that are 500w, AC powered. That's a little more like what I'm looking for, I think.
Also have been thinking about some sort of ac-powered circulation heater, similar to what's used to pre-heat gas engines, but the ones used to pre-circulate/warm the engine oil. If I could rig that up in a way where it has a check valve on it so as not to interfere with the regular lift pump, then it should be possible to keep the tank, the lines, the filter, the rail and everything warmed up.
Anyone done that and if so, what are your thoughts?
Ultimately, I know I'm probably being overly paranoid- I'm not likely to see weather (for very long duration) that will plug my filter or gel in the lines, even with less "cold friendly" base stocks (but not as unfriendly as say, tallow or hydrogenated stock)... but my job requires me to be mobile on a moment's notice. So, even while I could break out my shop heater to blow under the truck to help "melt" things, I'm much more interested to have a way to just jump in and go... without additives or blends.
2007 CTD 610CR 5.9L
For your B100 fuel storage, you may want to look at products from Thermal Stability Systems ... their website is www.thermalstabilitysystems.com. I've used their products to safely store B100 in temps down to 0 degrees w/o a problem!