Letter Re: Some Practical Experience with WVO Conversions for Diesels

Some waste vegetable oil (WVO) information for you: My 2001 Excursion 4WD runs on WVO, and I’m presently in the process of converting my recently acquired 1996 Ford F250. For my first conversion, the Excursion, I bought a conversion kit from a company and I recommend that all first timers on straight vegetable oil (SVO) start with a kit from a reputable company. I’m building my second conversion kit on my own and I expect it to cost around $800 for all the conversion parts except for the second tank for the WVO. (I picked up a L-shaped 105 gallon transfer tank cheap off Craigslist a year ago since I knew I’d be getting a diesel pickup and converting it sometime in the future). Conversion kits usually cost more but they use expensive filters only available by mail order from boat supply houses ($33-$40 each filter). Mine is cheaper since I run filter bases and filters from FleetFilter.com ($5-$7 each filter for an equal or finer micron rating). Fleetfilter is a NAPA auto parts store in Texas that only sells filters online (I’m not affiliated with them I’m only a satisfied repeat customer). The main advantage is this: If I ever need to replenish my spare filters while on a trip, I can go to the local NAPA store and if they don’t have it in stock they will have it in the morning. (A side note: I used to call them “NOPA”, as in; Question: “Do you have this part in stock? Reply: “Nope uh, I’ll have it in the morning.” Joking aside, they really can get the right parts the first time.)

The savings of running on WVO will completely pay for the conversion in about four and a half months and completely pay for the entire truck, and the other stuff I bought for it, in about 2.3 years (Payback was calculated on $4.00 per gallon diesel. Payback is faster when diesel is higher. I last filled up at $4.22 per gallon). I picked up the truck cheap since second gear was blown out, also I bought a topper and a rolled over truck (for cheaper than a junkyard transmission) and swapped the transmissions out so I can have complete a spare drive train as soon as I rebuild the bad trans. After I sell my old gasoline-powered truck I’ll have very little money in the “new” one, and I already have enough filtered and de-watered WVO to cover the cost of the conversion and then some. If I lose my sources of WVO (local restaurants give it to me for free) then I can use up my WVO or probably just run on diesel and keep what I have in long term storage to be used during in emergency to G.O.O.D. After that I could run Waste Motor Oil or Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) in the same second tank that the WVO ran in. Between the two tanks (the 44 gal. stock tank is for veggie and the new tank mounted on the inside of the frame is 24 gallon) in the Excursion I can go about 1100-to-1200 miles to empty, and in the F250 I estimate a range of about 2,500-2,700 miles to empty (two stock diesel tanks 15 and 19 gal. and the 105 gallon transfer tank).

Preparation for long term storage of WVO – People talk about a limited shelf life of vegetable oils while this is true for vegetable oil to be used for cooking, I don’t think this applies when working with WVO for fuel. I believe they go bad due to microbes, similar to the microbes present in diesel fuel. Microbes need three things to live, water, food and air. To kill the microbes, I de-water all the oil, then filter it again before I pump it into 55 gallon drums or 275 gallon totes, as I pump it in I add microbiocide (available from boating supply houses) to kill the microbes and I fill the containers to the brim to reduce the amount of air present. Due to the microbiocide, the vegetable oil in the container can never be fit for human consumption, but I’ve never reused any of the waste vegetable oil I get from the restaurants anyway, since I don’t know what chemicals they clean their fryers with and would never consider cooking with used oil (from a source outside my families direct supervision) as an option – not even in a pinch. So even after all this if the WVO “goes rancid”, it still doesn’t matter since we use it for fuel, not cooking. Note: The dead microbes will leave a very thin layer of sludge at the bottom of the LTS containers when allowed to settle for several weeks, no matter how finely the oil is filtered.

BTW, thank you for all your assistance and efforts. We bought the family pack pallet of 150 of #10 cans from SafecastleRoyal last year, we would not have bought it or heard about it, if you hadn’t pointed it out and told us why now is better than later. They were very courteous, helpful and allowed us to make a few substitutions. We are glad we joined the Safecastle Royal program and we did tell them we found them via SurvivalBlog. We have commented several times how grateful we are to have some food for ourselves and for charity. God is Good. We also bought a Listeroid [engine generator] several months ago as we saw the writing on the wall concerning Bernanke’s decimation of the dollar, and are grateful we slipped in under the wire on that too. You have taught us a lot and my wife is now very eagerly exploring the possibilities of getting some goats. I hope to be a 10 Cent Challenge supporter soon.

Thanks and God Bless, – Rollinns (A loyal reader who has a long way to go and has read only partially through the archives and lives somewhere in the middle of the country within a few hours of I-70.)