Gone Bio Diesel Crazy

We are heading out tomorrow morning to grab the Golf.  Spent much of the weekend first researching VW tuning (Friday) and the boning up on Bio Diesel Processing.  Here is some of my findings

VW Tuning

The MK IV cars (1999.5-2004) come into the world with 90hp/155lb ft torque.  They also make a routine of going 700+ miles on their 14.5 gallon tanks (45-48mpg).   They also come very well equipped 4 wheel disc brakes, side curtain air bags, and lots of luxury items in the GLS models.  The mileage is great, but I need a bit more power to tow my barrels.  Luckily the tuner community has lots of answers.

  • Fuel Nozzles.  Upgrading these to “Euro” spec injectors nets 10-15hp and 20#’s of torque.  No loss of mileage if you keep out of the turbo
  • “Chip” tuning will clean up the fuel map and bump the boost up a bit to 18.5psi max.  This get you another 10hp and real close to 200#/ft of torque.
  • 2.5″ Down Pipe and performance cat and remove the muffle (diesels are quiet) gets you a broader power band (turbo spools 300rpm’s sooner), a handful of ponies/torque, but more importantly let the turbo breather better and lowers your Exhaust Gas Temps (EGT’s) by several hundred degrees (reduces stress on engine components/oil).  This one is optional and will only get done if I see my EGTs going up on towing runs.
  • There are many drivers with these mods in the “800 Club”: 800 miles on one tank  That’s 55mpg in  vehicle that can tow 2000#’s while seating 4 adults in 5star safety.  Nice.

Bio Diesel

I’m not going to go into all the ins and outs of making it here.  A staggering amount of info can be found on Journey to Forever’s bio fuels pages which is where I have spent several hours this weekend as I huddled indoors to avoid the ragweed pollen until my allergy medicine could catch up.  I am convinced that we will be going Bio Diesel and not WVO at this point – our Subaru may very well get traded in for a ’09 Sport Wagon Jetta, and one BD processor can handle multiple vehicles if it is sized right.  Progress so far:

  • First contact at our local China Buffet -permission granted to salvage their grease!
  • Spoke to my farmer friend and he is willing to donate space for a Processor-I am not willing to have 99.5% pure Lye and Sulfuric Acid within reach of the kiddos.   Our discussion grew into making an “Energy Shed” to house a gasifier, Bio Diesel Processor, and an Ethanol Still.  Huh.
  • Emailed out to several Craigs listers with various Processor Bits for sale -mostly large drums, pumps, etc.  Looks like a 50 gallon sized still can be made for under $1000.  That is big enough for 2500 gallons a year or so.  That would be 112,000 TDI miles so there is room for 3-4 more in the project, or more likely I only run it once a month.

Time will tell where this goes.  I would be happy making 5-10 gallons weekly, but it seems that the effort is about the roughly same if you make 1 gallon or 40.  If I proceed, it will likely be with a 5 gallon mini processor to get the feel of it, and then maybe ramp up to a 50 gallon processor if it seems doable.  Price for BD home brew seems to be in the $1 range these days -driven mostly by the price of methanol which I still need to find a local supplier for.
Much of this was mulled over while harvesting (and selling!) my 900th pound of potatoes.  Still 3-500 pounds left!


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