used cooking oil in diesel engine?

While eating Thanksgiving dinner with my parents today, my dad told me he is getting his '97 Passat TDI converted to run on used cooking oil. This consists of a 15 gallon tank in the trunk and some hoses running from the coolant system into the tank to warm the cooking oil. He said he will have to run the first 5 miles on diesel and then when the cooking oil is warmed up he can switch over. He told me that there are limited cooking oils that can be used and canola oil is prefered. He has already set up a deal with a local restaurant and a grocery store so he can pick up their used cooking oil. All he has to do is filter it with a regular water filter that you find under a kitchen sink. One filter lasts for 50 gallons. He figures, with the current price of diesel, that this system will pay for itself in 3 months and after that it's money in his pocket. He has also been told that the cooking oil will clean his injectors and other fuel related parts of his engine. [ November 25, 2004, 11:28 PM: Message edited by: medic ]
 
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Tell me, what additive or detergent is present in cooking oil that will clean injectors or any related parts? I am 99.9 percent sure there are ZERO additives of any kind in cooking oil, after all it is meant for cooking and cooking only. I wouldn't believe what your father says.
 

Kestas

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I believe him. Among the diesel users that burn Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO), it is common to experience a cleaning effect with WVO. Unless it as edited out, Medic's father didn't say the cleaning was due to additives in the cooking oil.
 

medic

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quote:
Originally posted by 55: Tell me, what additive or detergent is present in cooking oil that will clean injectors or any related parts? I am 99.9 percent sure there are ZERO additives of any kind in cooking oil, after all it is meant for cooking and cooking only. I wouldn't believe what your father says.
Honestly, I don't know. Common sense tells me that there are no additives in cooking oil. But I also know that cooking oil can naturally dissolve many petroleum based adhesives without the help from any detergents. [I dont know] As far as what he says, he was told this and just passed on the info because I was very interested. Most people would just think he's nuts. I am one of the few people he can discuss this kind of thing with.
 
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Esters have natural cleaning ability because they are highly polar. Esters are usually made of natural things, which includes vegetable oils I believe. This effect of cleaning is also seen with biodiesel. The thing with veggie oil is that it has to be as thin as normal diesel, which explains why he has to heat it up first. Otherwise the injectors will not spray it well. Also, used oil has more acid buildup. Check out http://www.tdiclub.com for some info on it ifyou want!
 

medic

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Hmmm, I thought this was something new. I always knew that, in theory, diesels would run on any combustable fluid but I didn't realize it was this common. I forgot about the fact that group V oils are partially made from vegetable oils.
 
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Rudolf ran his original engine on peanut oil. It can be done with varying degrees of success depending on the oil, and how it's introduced to the engine.Some people simply blend the vegetable oil with dino, others have additional pumps and coolant pwoered heaters to introduce straight waste oil to the injector pump. The U.K. have an issue, as you can often buy vegetable oil at the supermarket cheaper than the diesel at the pumps. Vege oil isn't taxed as highly, so the Govt misses out on the exise.
 
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I am in the middle of making my homebre set-up my 1994 diesel IDI non-turbo on WVO . I can tell you that it is the critical points of filtering and fuel heating are not as simple as they first seem .
 

medic

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Well, its done. My dad had his car converted over the weekend. He drove 175 miles home in 20 degree weather on about 3 gallons of WVO. He said that he didn't notice any difference in power from diesel fuel. The car ran as good as it ever has.
 
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medic, good work. If I ever seel the 4Ruuner, I intend to get a second hand Japanese diesel ute, and do similar (although probably only run a blend with no mods for a while).
 

medic

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I just wanted to update everybody. So far, my dad has managed to rack up about 4,000 trouble free miles on his WVO system. As of yet, he hasn't had to put any diesel in the stock fuel tank. He says it's still about 3/4 full. His only complaint is that he is keeping the WVO in the garage at about 50F. At this temp, it is too thick to run through the electric pump that he bought. So filtering it and getting it into the vehicle is a major job. He's trying to find a cheap and safe way to heat the 55 gallon drum that he is storing it in. It is actually a pretty elaborate setup. I'll take a pick next time I visit my parents. I often wonder how my mom feels about all of this. I know she is usually pretty understanding, but I think that may have changed after his Quadractor endeavor [Roll Eyes]  -
 
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quote:
Originally posted by medic: Most people would just think he's nuts. I am one of the few people he can discuss this kind of thing with.
Such is the case with many of the leading thinkers throughout human history. He sounds like a very interesting man. Update us after a while and let us know how the WVO adventure is going... - Patrick
 

medic

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Okay, I got an email about a week ago from my dad. He helped my cousin move from Albany. NY to Jamestown, NY. I will quote his email. BTW, LV stands for Little Valley, NY, not LasVegas.
quote:
Went from LV to Albany NY, picked up a enclosed U-Haul trailer, loaded it with Lindsay's stuff and hauled it back to Jamestown. Trailer was full, trunk was full and back seat was full. High gear, cruse control set at 70 mph, all the way back with the loaded trailer. Dropped down to 60 on one hill. Switched off the veggie at Salamanca exit with a total of 700 miles on about 17 gallons wvo. About 41 mpg. If I was not pulling the trailer, bet I would have been up about 48 to 50 mpg. Have enough diesel left in the diesel tank to go back to Albany and return, not pulling a trailer. The VW pulled the hills like there was nothing behind it.
 
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I think most people are just scared to do this kind of thing. I haven't done any real research but have seen enough on tv shows and through a friend who had done his homework to consider doing it myself. My only problem is I live in an appt and don't have room to store the veggie oil. I drive enough miles that it would be worth it to me to put some money into getting this going. I think my vehicle of choice would be a mid 80's Olds Delta 88 diesel 350, since I have so many parts that fit those cars. Maybe I could even convert my gas 307 Delta 88 that I already have over to the diesel engine. The later diesels didn't have the head bolt problems that the earlier ones did, and besides that issue most problems were due to customer error.
 
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If you've got a bosch inline pump, you are laughing. The (Lucas Style) IP in my Nissan is $4,800 if I mess it up and ruin the thrust bearings.
 
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Even the switch to 20% bio diesel where I work and is clogging filters before service intervals are due. Can't imagine trying to deal with pure veggie oil, other than how hard it is to clean off a fry pan when it gells?
 
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