Cheap Diesels?
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Thread: Cheap Diesels?

  1. #1
    Gus
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    Cheap Diesels?

    I've been looking into the process of running Diesel engines on pure waste vegetable oil (without the toxic process of converting it to biodiesel first.)

    <a href="http://www.greasel.com/" target="_blank">http://www.greasel.com/</a>
    <a href="http://biodiesel.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic" target="_blank">http://biodiesel.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic</a>

    It takes some converting, but it sounds like a good idea in the end.

    I was wondering what people thought about the various cheaper Diesel cars out there? I'm not afraid of maintenance costs as long as the parts aren't _too_ dear (I've got time, not money.)

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    The cars I'm thinking about at present are the Merc 300D (SD turbo diesel too expensive, 240D too slow) or a 505TD. I'm reluctant to choose another 505, though, cos I kind of want something new (2 505s in a row already.)

    Can anyone recommend other Diesels in the sub-$5000 department?

    I was thinking about Mazda 626 Diesels, but they seem prone to cracked heads...

    And I briefly considered a Gemini Diesel, then I slapped myself in the face. wink . Although fitting a later-model Isuzu Turbo Diesel motor to a pre-fully-sikked Gemini could be fun.

    <small>[ 02 June 2003, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: Gus ]</small>

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts cruiserman's Avatar
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    Gus, I chose the Biodiesel route as it has many million proven K's. SVO either fresh or Waste, works well also, you need two tanks, and some way of diverting the return when you switch. For long distances SVO is a good choice as you still have to start and stop on biodiesel or petrodiesel otherwise you will coke up the injectors. You will also need to have a method of heating the oil so that it will flow. Many use the radiator water to achieve this. As an aside, I have a Mazda 929 diesel 5speed that I am willing to let go pretty cheap. The Wife used it as her daily driver till she fell in love with the 505 SRBT

    Neil
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    1000+ Posts dino's Avatar
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    ....hmmmm...have u thought about a GOLF diesel...they weren t the quickest things on the planet and maybe a bit small compared to a 300D...but they were very very reliable and the light body made for decent economy 2...the mercs werent as economical...sounds like a smart project,..
    good luck with it...

    cheers
    dino

  4. #4
    Gus
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    Hmm, all sounds good.

    Neil - thanks for the tips. I've researched the conversion pretty thoroughly and, being of the engineering-tinkering bent, figure it'd be a good use of my spare garage space (and being a student, a good use of spare time.) wink

    929 Diesel sounds like something worth checking out. Might be a month or two before I can afford to pay even a little for it, though. I'm still in a "research and dream" phase. What shape is it in?

    PS Did you get your radiator fixed?

    dino - I couldn't find any evidence that Golfs were sold on diesel in Oz. That and I'm not as keen on a small car, I like to take the occasional big touring road-trip and as such space is a good thing.

    The 300D is meant to achieve mpg in the high twenties or low thirties. Not 40mpg, but not too bad for a tank of a car...

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    One of our delivery contractors runs SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil for the uninitiated) in his Mazda 5 tonne truck... He has a 120 litre tank, and runs about 90 litres of SVO and the remainder is just diesel to fill the tank.

    He's made no modifications, and just pours the vegetable oil into the tank, before driving to the servo to fill up the rest with diesel. The truck has more power (he does the same route for us 3 - 4 times a week with exactly the same load so he knows the speeds he can achieve up hills) and is more economical.

    To top it off, there is no exhaust smoke at all, and it smells like burning paper. Interesting
    Good luck with the project Gus!
    Derek.

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    Gus:

    dino - I couldn't find any evidence that Golfs were sold on diesel in Oz. ...
    The Golf diesel was sold in AUS from 1980-81, the mechanically identical Passat diesel was also sold for the same time, but few were sold and parts may now be difficult to source.
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    1000+ Posts cruiserman's Avatar
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    From all the research I have done, dont mix SVO with diesel fuel, you must have two tanks. Gus I got the radiator fixed but blew a head gasket a couple of weeks ago. Doing an engine swap and 3spd auto to 5spd at the same time. Will strip and rebuild the original motor. The Mazda in a little rough in appearance, not too bad really goes very well. Needs a vacuum hose to the brakes and a power steering belt, and a battery. It will start up straight away, little smoke 230ish kklm injectors serviced 210k. It has sat in the front garden for some time now so if you are interested a little longer wont hurt it.

    Neil
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    cruiserman:
    From all the research I have done, dont mix SVO with diesel fuel, you must have two tanks.
    OK.. this guy Rod's been doing it for over 9 months now I'd say. Sometime towards the end of last year anyway. It's definately all in the same tank. If anything ever goes wrong with it I'll be sure to post back here ok?

    Derek.

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts cruiserman's Avatar
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    Not doubting you in the least. I have spent considerable time on various lists regarding biodiesel etc and have heard that mixing some oils with petrodiesel has resulted in catastrophic engine failure. SVO is relatively unproven compared to Biodiesel, (France for instance legislated that 3 - 5% biodiesel be added to ULSD to return the lubricity levels).

    try looking here for lots of information
    <a href="http://www.journeytoforever.org/biofuel" target="_blank">www.journeytoforever.org/biofuel</a>

    Neil
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    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the info - I'll pass it on. I don't think it would phase Rod anyway - it seems to be more of a trial to him than anything. Both he and his old man are diesel mechanics by trade so if anything goes wrong it wouldn't be a major problem. I think they actually have two engines for that truck...

    For its engine, I'd say it can't be doing too much damage as it must have done at least 100 000km on SVO by now (he does 3500km a week for us).

    Derek.

  11. #11
    Gus
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    Doing an engine swap and 3spd auto to 5spd at the same time. Will strip and rebuild the original motor.
    Wouldn't want to sell me the old (blown) motor, would you?

    ... and is the 929 an auto or a manual?

  12. #12
    1000+ Posts cruiserman's Avatar
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    No plan to rebuild the blown motor, Unsure as to the longterm reliability of the donor motor. The Mazda is a 5 speed manual, quite a good performer, very economical and spent the last month of its use on biodiesel so it is used to alternative fuels.

    Neil
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  13. #13
    Tadpole
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    Today's Sydney Morning Herald has an article on running diesels on vegetable oil

  14. #14
    1000+ Posts cruiserman's Avatar
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    Running them on Veggie oil is nothing new in fact Diesel's original motor ran on Peanut oil.
    Neil
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    '77 CX 2400 Pallas 4spd manual Import

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