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Veggie Across America: All Systems Go Page 2


auxiliary fuel pump

auxiliary fuel pump

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8. Auxiliary Fuel Pump
How to pump thick, cold, slow moving vegetable oil from the fuel tank up to the heat exchangers underhood? Use a 12-volt auxiliary fuel pump. It is located before the heat exchangers and the engine, and it boosts fuel pressure especially on cold mornings so that the engine is not starved of fuel once the selector valve is switched to the main fuel tank containing waste vegetable oil.

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injection line heaters

injection line heaters

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9. Injector Line Heater
Some would call this system overkill, but heat is your friend when it comes to trying to inject vegetable oil into a diesel engine. Therefore, the veggie oil is heated for a third and final time by this electric injector line heater wrapped around the injection lines that go from the mechanical engine fuel pump up to the fuel injectors and on into the engine. This heater is powered by the car's battery and warms up to around 220 degrees Fahrenheit whenever the car's ignition is in the on position.

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oil storage containers

oil storage containers

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10. In-car Fuel Storage
How to get from Atlanta to Los Angeles without using gas stations? Take your vegetable oil with you. The '82 Benz started off the journey transporting six 15-gallon plastic containers plus a full 17-gallon fuel tank of vegetable oil for a total of about 107 gallons of pure waste vegetable oil. Well, almost no gas stations; we have done a daily evening stop for a refuel of the purge tank, usually about .80 gallons of diesel #2. Averaging around $2 per day, that's a fuel cost we're happy to live with.

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oil storage containers

oil storage containers

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11. More In-car Fuel Storage
Rather than locating all of the 15-gallon tanks in the rear of the Benz, where leverage weighs down the rear suspension more and causes ponderous handling, we put two of the tanks in the rear seats. They are belted in so that a panic stop won't send 110 pounds careening into the backs of our heads.

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And that's pretty much it. Not pictured is our refueling system, which consists of a five-gallon plastic bucket and a big funnel. Because the 15-gallon tanks are heavy and unwieldy, we first pour five gallons into a manageable plastic bucket. Then we dump the contents of the bucket through the large funnel and right into the Benz's gas tank. We do that twice more to empty the 15-gallon container and fill the tank, all the while idling the car and warming it up on the purge tank.

Clean up, hop in, make sure the temperature gauge is about mid-point, and flip the toggle switch. Boom--instant vegetable oil operation. The only thing you notice is that the idle of the normally shaky, clattery diesel smoothes out a bit. Period. Also, there is no more smoke out the tailpipe, as vegetable oil burns cleaner than does diesel #2. Put it in drive, and you're on your way.--Colin Mathews

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