Friday, December 15, 2006


Good Bye Piston Rings

The theory is that when motor oil (hydrocarbons) mix with vegi oil (soy in particular) in high temperatures you get polymerization or in other words thickening of the motor oil. Thick motor oil is not good for your engine because you get lots of wear and tear. My car is now a real world example of wear and tear from the above conditions. Over the last couple of months, I’ve had to add a couple of quarts of oil to my engine. I know it’s not leaking so that means it’s burning. And if it’s burning that means my piston rings have worn out. Take a look at the oil analysis report and you’ll see how much Aluminum it takes to wear through piston rings. I can’t say I’m happy about this but when I started this journey I fully understood that bad things could happen to my engine. There are ways to prevent this. I could have changed my oil every 1000 miles. I could install one of those toilet roll oil filter devices. I could use only canola oil (apparently doesn’t polymerize) Since it’s a pretty penny to replace piston rings, I’m forced to keep driving and adding motor oil.

I drove a Ford Powerstroke 7.3 with a Craig/Neoteric conversion for a couple of years and am facinated by your saga. Sounds like the conversion they did for you was pretty close to what I got, although the stock fuel pump on my truck wasn't replaced. I never had any engine problems, although I feel like the conversion wasn't designed to fully minimize the potential for engine damage. I made some changes to try and lower the risk. My truck is now for sale and I'm telling all potential buyers that they should go see Shane and get another bunch of work done to bring the system fully up to speed.

After putting around 20,000 miles on WVO here are some of my thoughts...

* The system had no fuel temp gauge. This is crazy. The engine expects fuel within certain parameters and heating the WVO is the single biggest adjustment that can be done to get the oil to approximate diesel. But it takes a lot of heating, and without a gauge you're just flying blind.

* Word on the street is that the vegitherm doesn't heat the fuel enough. Fuel too cold = poor atomization = unburned fuel = deposits = broken engine. Shane has really changed his tune on this and now advocates a very different system, much like Frybird's.

* No purged WVO in the start/stop tank! It is possible to design a system that keeps the two fuels much more separate. Frybird's does this.

* Install a bypass engine oil filter and use absolutely the highest grade engine oil you can get. I put an Amsoil bypass filter harness on my truck and began running Amsoil's top synthetic. I could hear and feel the difference right away.

* Filter the WVO as finely as you can and invest in a kick-ass system to do so. I was a member of a co-op that had 1 micron filtered oil. My Vormax never clogged running on that stuff.

Well, that's enough for now...

Take care
Kevin, I have a similar system in So Cal and was wondering when do you switch over? I'm not an expert but I thought the "coking" of the piston rings you describe is caused by injecting oil into a engine not up to temp.
I have been lurking for a little bit now and don't really want to start an account, but I wanted to drop a note to say that I have a 1983 Mercedes 300CD that I am planning on converting sometime this year and am glad to know that there are others out there doing similar things with their cars!
remember that the tdi oil pump (factory one pushing a few 1000's of psi) uses the fuel itself as a coolant .. too hot is also not good. but diesels , espessialy in summer or hot temperatures are made to handle very hot fuel , if you have an almost empty tank on a hot day your fuel could get up to 100degrees celcius. and thats allot.
I can say with certainty that the 2004 thru 2006.5 NA model VW TDI's with the Pumpe Dusse (Unit Injector) injection system was designed back in the late 1990's to run on 10 ppm Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, which has extremely low viscosity for the fuel, about 1.1 to 2.0 centistokes. The WVO you are running and the injector nozzle pressures in the area of 30,000 psi are no match for fuel like hot WVO which is easily 10 to 15 x the viscosity of the nozzle, lubrication and cam designs.

Are you even running a VW 505.01 approved oil in the engine, like Castrol TXT or Elf, or Motul? You should be changing your oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles running WVO, nothing more.

Soon, you will be looking at a new motor, about $10,000, with no one in California that knows how to even install it or set the parameters on the engine correctly.

Sad test bed for an experiment, I've run over a million and a half miles in diesel sedans here in CA, and I've not had 1/10 the amount of problems you've had in 20 months.

BTW, it looks like a mechanic dropped a socket,nut or a bolt down your air intake and wrecked your turbo, either yours or a previous mechanic.
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