VEGOIL as fuel

Great news to have an expert in our midst. So what’s your take on running veg oil with the standard fuel pump @TAABVW ?
Didn’t the early Diesel engine run on peanut oil ..Infact I have a mate with an old Peugeot diesel he uses old cooking oil filtered out adding a drop of white spirit he’s even mixed in old engine oil to the fuel his spare downstairs room all geared up ..😱😂 .he adds more pump diesel in the winter when temperatures get low ..I thought the newer diesel injector pumps wouldn’t run long using this cocktail ??? Interesting to hear back on what you get fir a grand 🤔...pre heat for the fuel maybe ..
 

nod

Member
Hi Trevor, great news! I'm very keen to convert my a2 to run on veg. I looked into elsbett kits but was advised that there was no one in the UK that can fit the kit....so I've bought a biotuning twin tank kit. Do you think the twin tank will be ok ? I have atl (tdi90) and amf (tdi75) a2'a, so can fit to either.
The issue I've struggled to find out about, is whether any changes need to be made to timing , glow plug times etc or is it just a case of plumbing in the piping and wiring in the changeover valves with the twin tank. I've read up on oil changes etc.

In terms of fuel I'm thinking of bulk buying rapeseed oil by the 1000l tank. Hmrc allows 2500l a year tax free I understand, as fuel.

If you think twin tank is good for atl I will give it a go this weekend....Cheers nod.


Hi there,

I have run Elsbett 1 and 2 tank conversions in 6 cars for over 15 years. 2 A4s 2 A6s an A2 all 1 tank and a Merc V6 CDI 2007 2 tank. I must have done close to 500,000 miles on WVO. I have not had a single vegetable oil related mechanical problem in any of these cars. Converted properly and carefully they run completely reliably on 100% WVO all year round (though I do keep them in an underground garage in the winter). One of my current veggy cars is an A2 TDI90. It does 60-70mpg (normally over 600 miles on a tank) and runs much quieter. Power is unaffected when warm though a bit sluggish when cold.

Downs sides: Oil changes at 4500 miles. Fuel filter changes at 13500 miles (every 3rd oil change). Sourcing the oil can be tricky. Can't do more than about 30,000 miles per year legally. Importantly thats 30,000 miles per household, not per car.

Having done all the conversions myself I have a lot of experience and quite a personal relationship with Elsbetts ex chief engineer. Elsbett went bust some years ago but the Chief Engineer uses his knowledge to continue his own business.

Elbett kits are not cheap but they do what it says on the tin.

In summary. If you can fit the kit yourself, do your own servicing, have a reliable source of oil and don't mind the hassle, then svo/wvo is extremely viable.

I recently worked out that running my TDI90 at 65mpg on WVO at 40ppl is cheaper than electric!

Elsbett 1 tank A2 kits are currently 1050 Euros plus tax plus postage plus fitting so a little over £1000 plus fitting.

I have considered offering a fitting service but thought that it wouldn't be very popular or profitable. The final bill would likely be around £2k and not many people want to spent that on a 15+ year old car. Pay back is about 30,000 miles.

I'm happy to answer any questions about running WVO or Elsbett kits.

Trevor
 
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TAABVW

Member
Veg oil can be good for pumps, as it is slipperier than diesel it aids lubrication. However the pumps must have veg resistant seals.

There are three fuel pumps:

A lift pump in the fuel tank; depending on chassis number this one may be missing. The lift pump is quite small and will be the weakest link, especially in the winter. I have run with no tank lift pump and the tandem pump is strong enough to suck the oil to the engine but I would be concerned about long term reliability relying on this alone. the amount of vacuum generated is really going to test your pipe seals.

The Tandem pump is quite strong, veg oil resistant and needs no modification.

The pump injectors produce so much pressure so quickly with so little fuel that the heat they create themselves is enough to allow a good enough spray pattern even when stone cold (hence 1 tank). All the auxiliary heating is to get the fuel from the tank through the filter to the PD units.

My take is that I'm not surprised that people run 50% veg without too many short term issues. However without a proper conversion long term reliability is unknown.

The kit includes:

Longer glow plugs.
Electric filter heater.
Veggie fuel filter sited in engine bay with manifold attachment. This is duel fed, pump and passive.
Hydraulic fuel heater before fuel filter.
Connections and pipe to plumb in hydraulic heater to coolant circuit.
Temperature sensor (to switch off the electric fuel heat when the coolant is hot enough).
Fused relays for electric heater and gear pump
Outside tank gear lift pump and prepump filter.
Manifold to link the hot fuel return to the hot feed.
Veg resistant fuel lines.
All jubilee clips and pre-made wiring harness.
Non return valves.
ECU reprogram. Remaps the coolant, fuel temperatures and fuelling.

For anyone worried about emissions. Due to the extra fuelling on a cold start it is smokier than diesel for the first few seconds. After that nothing to see. On my recent MOT the veggie A2 passed the smoke test at 0.24m^-1 (1.5 is the limit). That is better than on diesel.

Trevor
 

nod

Member
Thanks for the advice Trevor.
From your explanation, the kit I have from biotuning will do most of what you describe to get preheated fuel to the injectors.
So, a couple of questions. Any idea how I check if I have an in tank pump or not, if not, easy to install and power? Any recommendations for the Atl? The ecu reprogramming, is this only necessary for single tank conversion, or for twin tank too? If required for both, are you able to reprogram my ecu for twin tanking? Cheers nod
 

TAABVW

Member
Hi Nod,

You could fit your twin tank kit to either 75 or 90. VVT wont be affected as starting on diesel, might even help it with better emissions.

To be honest, if you are fitting a twin tank system then you could have fitted an Elsbett 1 tank yourself.

Glow timing will be unaffected as you are starting on diesel.

Engine timing mechanically will not change.

Injection timing and duration will be ok as you are not switching to veg until it is hot. I don't know how (or even if) the Elsbett ECU adjusts this when hot but there are plenty of 2 tank systems out there that leave this alone.

I know you have already bought your kit, but for others I would warn that a 2 tank system can be quite inconvenient. You are going to drive about 5 miles before you switch and another 5 miles to purge so any journey less than about 10 miles will be on diesel. Its also very easy to forget to switch to purge. I twin tanked my V6 Merc E320CDI (common rail) and found that is was then only really good for long journeys, hence I bought an A2 as well and 1 tanked it.

Let me know how you get on with oil purchase as I'm always collecting leads.

Trevor
 

TAABVW

Member
To check for the pump: Take out rear seat and lift carpet on RHS. Open hatch to see the top of the fuel sender unit. If it has 2 wires you have no lift pump, if it has 4 wires you do. Elsbett remove the in tank pump and install a gear pump close to but outside the tank. Mine is in the position of the spare wheel spanner. It depends if you are using the existing tank for diesel or veg. If you have an in tank pump I would not recommend using the existing tank for veg as Elsbett don't regard this pump reliable enough.

ATL is great for veggie.

On my twin tank merc Elsbett did get me to remap the ECU. He sent me the program and an ECU flashing tool. Elsbett do sell an ECU conversion for a twin tank EDC15 which is likely what your ECU is. However I do not have the flashing tool. If you wanted this then he might loan the flashing tool to me with the purchase of the program. To be honest I'm not sure how necessary it is.

Go to greasenergy-shop.com

Trevor
 

nod

Member
Hi Nod,

You could fit your twin tank kit to either 75 or 90. VVT wont be affected as starting on diesel, might even help it with better emissions.

To be honest, if you are fitting a twin tank system then you could have fitted an Elsbett 1 tank yourself.

Glow timing will be unaffected as you are starting on diesel.

Engine timing mechanically will not change.

Injection timing and duration will be ok as you are not switching to veg until it is hot. I don't know how (or even if) the Elsbett ECU adjusts this when hot but there are plenty of 2 tank systems out there that leave this alone.

I know you have already bought your kit, but for others I would warn that a 2 tank system can be quite inconvenient. You are going to drive about 5 miles before you switch and another 5 miles to purge so any journey less than about 10 miles will be on diesel. Its also very easy to forget to switch to purge. I twin tanked my V6 Merc E320CDI (common rail) and found that is was then only really good for long journeys, hence I bought an A2 as well and 1 tanked it.

Let me know how you get on with oil purchase as I'm always collecting leads.

Trevor
Thanks Trevor, agreed with your comments 're twin vs single tank, I'll single tank the second a2 I convert. The quote I got was from Kerfoot group, they are based in Goole, but the price included delivery in a 1000l tank. they might do a deal on group purchases if a few of us go the vegoil route.....Cheers
 

nod

Member
Can I ask what price they are offering for 1000l of new oil delivered in an IBC (tank)?
From memory it was about £850 delivered to Cornwall, but that includes a deposit on the IBC, it was for rapeseed oil, as I read that was best for running and also because I want to avoid Palm and soya based oils..sunflower might be cheaper and still avoid chopping down rainforests... Cheers
 

Kaz

Member
From memory it was about £850 delivered to Cornwall, but that includes a deposit on the IBC, it was for rapeseed oil, as I read that was best for running and also because I want to avoid Palm and soya based oils..sunflower might be cheaper and still avoid chopping down rainforests... Cheers
Tescos are @70p a litre for rapeseed oil at the moment
 

TAABVW

Member
If you want to run new oil then I have always found Costo difficult to beat. They sell in 20L cubies and buying 4 or 5 of these from Costco isn't out of the ordinary for a wholesaler whereas buy 20no 5L tubs from Tesco starts to get inconvenient. Personally I have always run recycled oil that I filter through old sheets in a laundry basket in the top of a water butt. Primative but it works and is cost effective.

Just one other downside I missed running veg. If you love your trip computer then you might get a shock. For some reason, I assume viscosity variations, the trip computer might drastically under read (ie says your doing 45mpg when actually your doing 65mpg). Using VCDS one can adjust this but the 10% maximim adjustment is not enough to bring it back to correct. For example my average indicated is about 60mpg (after adjusting the reading to the max with VCDS) but I get over 600 miles on 42 litres. This might be due to the ECU reprogram so I would be interested to see if a 2 tank conversion running a stock ECU has the same characteristic.

Trevor
 

Robthebank

Member
@Kaz does that explain you drop in MPG? "Just one other downside I missed running veg. If you love your trip computer then you might get a shock. For some reason, I assume viscosity variations, the trip computer might drastically under read (ie says your doing 45mpg when actually your doing 65mpg) "
 

Kaz

Member
@Kaz does that explain you drop in MPG? "Just one other downside I missed running veg. If you love your trip computer then you might get a shock. For some reason, I assume viscosity variations, the trip computer might drastically under read (ie says your doing 45mpg when actually your doing 65mpg) "
Hi Rob

I don't have dis - I'm going by the mileage and have stopped using veg to test it out
 

nod

Member
If you want to run new oil then I have always found Costo difficult to beat. They sell in 20L cubies and buying 4 or 5 of these from Costco isn't out of the ordinary for a wholesaler whereas buy 20no 5L tubs from Tesco starts to get inconvenient. Personally I have always run recycled oil that I filter through old sheets in a laundry basket in the top of a water butt. Primative but it works and is cost effective.

Just one other downside I missed running veg. If you love your trip computer then you might get a shock. For some reason, I assume viscosity variations, the trip computer might drastically under read (ie says your doing 45mpg when actually your doing 65mpg). Using VCDS one can adjust this but the 10% maximim adjustment is not enough to bring it back to correct. For example my average indicated is about 60mpg (after adjusting the reading to the max with VCDS) but I get over 600 miles on 42 litres. This might be due to the ECU reprogram so I would be interested to see if a 2 tank conversion running a stock ECU has the same characteristic.

Trevor
Hi Trevor, rain stopped playing at the weekend, hopefully get the kit installed next weekend. My ecu is remapped, so I've no idea what will happen, but I'll let you know. Cheers nod
 

TAABVW

Member
Ah, remapped ECU's. I've tried veg on a remapped ECU and it smoked quite a lot so I took the remap off, then it was fine. I've often thought and questioned......... If it is possible to get extra power and economy from a manufacturers engine then why doesn't the manufacturer map them to achieve this. After all with better bhp, 0-60 and MPG figures they would sell more cars. The most common reason I've heard as well as emissions legislation and marketing slot are redundancy. Manufacturers have to account for environments in other countries your car is never likely to experience including -20C, +50C, poor servicing, substandard fuel. Remaps take advantage of this by narrowing the required operating window to extract better performance. For example I had a BMW 530D which I remapped and it was much better for it, until I took it on a skiing trip and drove it at high altitude where it was absolutely rubbish, barely got up the mountain. Back down the mountain and it was fine again. Obviously Veg oil, even when it is hot, is substandard fuel and as such the narrower window that a remap exploits might not be conducive to clean burning.

I'm not scare mongering here saying it will instantly break your engine or tosh like that. As from my experience, the most likely immediate outcome will probably be more smoke than you are comfortable with when you boot it. Over a longer period excess smoke will likely clog up the variable vanes on the TDI90's turbo.

When installing your kit use every method you can to get that veg as hot as possible:

keep the path from the heat exchanger to the tandem pump as short as possible.

Insulate the filter, heat exchanger and hot fuel lines.

If/when you are confident you will not run the car on neat diesel again you could even bypass the fuel cooler.



Adding about 20% diesel to your veg will likely improve matters, especially for the MOT.
Let me know how it runs on veg with the map, hopefully all will be well.

Trevor
 

Un4tural

Member
It could be something else like a leak or oil getting to intake - when my turbo hose came off it was smoking bad for few days (i suspect i still have a hole in intercooler) it went away once that contaminated air burned off and it runs smog free now.

It could be simply that it is low on air to maintain the mixture, it doesn't seem to adjust very quick on mine, if i put foot down it can take a bit longer to spool up however if i got about half and then put foot down where it should have boost built up it goes fine.

Still investigating what it could be but intercooler or intake hose that goes onto the turbo are my prime suspects at the moment.
 

TAABVW

Member
The map on my BMW 530d was Superchips. The veg car map was a black box plug in, I think it was Dragon. The black box was adjustable and switchable and I spent quite some time adjusting it to get the smoke to an acceptable limit. By the time I had finished the difference between switching it on and off was negligable. I'm sure there are performance or economy maps out there that will work with veg but thought a cautionary note from my experience might be useful.

Trevor
 

TAABVW

Member
It could be something else like a leak or oil getting to intake - when my turbo hose came off it was smoking bad for few days (i suspect i still have a hole in intercooler) it went away once that contaminated air burned off and it runs smog free now.

It could be simply that it is low on air to maintain the mixture, it doesn't seem to adjust very quick on mine, if i put foot down it can take a bit longer to spool up however if i got about half and then put foot down where it should have boost built up it goes fine.

Still investigating what it could be but intercooler or intake hose that goes onto the turbo are my prime suspects at the moment.
A bit off topic: The clip on the side of the oil sump that holds the pipe from the turbo to the intercooler is a poor design. Every A2 TDI I have seen this clip has failed. Resultant movement of the said pipe rubbing against the failed plastic clip can wear a hole in the aluminium pipe and leak boost. I didn't think plastic would wear away aluminium but I can promise you it can.

Trevor
 
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