wvo powered pre-heater system

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wvo powered pre-heater system

Postby djenkins6 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:15 pm

I came across some diesel powered pre heaters, and started searching. I found that there are some air and some coolant pre-heaters. I also found an article explaining government rebates available to truckers who install these as they save a lot of diesel as they cut down on idling, you use this small burner instead of the huge truck engine to warm up on startup and keep warm overnight.

Anyway I found there are some systems available for cars/small trucks but they cost $1500, seems to me some clever people here may have come across a cheap way of doing this. Could we use our cheap/free wvo or failing that diesel in a cheap mini furnace to pre-heat the coolant? (cheaper than webasto etc) This would mean faster switch to wvo, not needing electrical outlet (which I don't have when I get to work) and a nice warm car interior a lot quicker.
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Postby jordanmills » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:28 pm

Are you sure you're not thinking of running an electric cabin heater off an APU?
2001 F-250 (7.3 L PSD)
2-tank custom/self-built SVO system
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Postby djenkins6 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:37 pm

No not electric, I'm thinking of these type
'Espar D5 HYDRONIC coolant heater'
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie ... 0039903216

and this one 'Mikuni MX-200 Diesel Water Heater
80,000 btu/hr 24v Diesel Coolant Heater Only' although that seems a bit big for a car - and someone just got a relative bargain
http://cgi.ebay.ca/Mikuni-MX-200-Diesel ... dZViewItem
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Postby jordanmills » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:43 pm

well, I've never seen one, but it seems like it might get very close. The only question I'd have is if the injectors stay at coolant temp. I'd say that in theory, this would be able to keep an engine at operating temp all the time (at a slight cost of fuel) and it MIGHT be hot enough to try starting on pure VO.
2001 F-250 (7.3 L PSD)
2-tank custom/self-built SVO system
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Postby djenkins6 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:51 pm

this could be used in three ways
1) Like you said, keep the engine warm all the time, which seems wasteful unless you are on-call and need vehicle to be ready to go immediately
2) Turn it on 20 minutes before starting engine, instead of 1.5 hours of electric block heater (or at work where no power for block heater)
3) Just go out and start the car from cold, and this heater provides an extra boost to the engine heat so it gets hot in 5 to 10 minutes instead of an hour of driving around to get hot when it's -20 centigrade (or on occasion it never gets hot)
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Postby jordanmills » Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:00 pm

Well they all seem to be reasonable wins.
2001 F-250 (7.3 L PSD)
2-tank custom/self-built SVO system
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Postby David » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:49 pm

These heaters WON"T run on WVO, they are vaporising type burners and WVO will leave deposits in tham that would quickly foul them up. You may be able to get away with bio however.

They need a fuel that burns totally clean and is non aromatic like Kero, diesel, turps Jet etc. WVO when vaporised leaves residue.
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Postby Welder » Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:01 am

Hi guys.

It's an interesting coincidence, as I was just thinking about this very subject today.

It's kind of dream goal of mine to build a WVO fueled coolant engine pre-heater. The problem is that I think it would void auto insurance. I mean, what insurance agent would allow a guy to run on a non UL/CSA approved fuel fired coolant engine preheater? These things are essentially a small 12 Volt boiler. I don't think they'd feel comfortable insuring a homemade boiler for public roads. The liability would be pretty scary...

Just the road insurance issue alone kinda kills the fantasy for me, but if I were running an SVO fuelled agricultural tractor, I'd definately be designing a high quality homebuilt WVO fueled equivelant to the Espar D5.

In the final analysis, I think that even when fuelled by commercial ULSD, something like a Espar D5, or a Mikuni MX40 would likely heat my engine to SVO temps cheaper than the equivelant amount of fuel burned by actually starting the vehicle and driving off towards the destination. Of course, the fuel burned would be wasted from the standpoint that the vehicle wouldn't have moved an inch from the driveway, but switching to WVO about 2 blocks after starting would counter ballance the wasted preheat fuel cost.

For those enterprising greasers among us who brew their own biodiesel (Gasp!!! Did he say biodiesel???), then the proposition of running an engine preheater on homebrew B100 starts to look pretty spicy. Someone once told me it costs about $0.35 per litre ($1.40/gallon) to brew their own esters, so I figure that since these little boilers sip fuel fairly lightly, a guy could warm up his block for less than $0.50. Maybe half that. Not that I'm encouraging anyone here to go mixing lye into methanol or anything crazy like that...
Last edited by Welder on Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby coachgeo » Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:20 am

follow the happenings in the threads on using WVO for home heating. Seems to me the things learned in there with home heating will have some transfer to these diesel fired coolant heaters. (jet changes, air mix changes, methodes of heating the oil to lower viscosity etc etc)
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Postby Welder » Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:30 am

Does anyone have any input on the insurability of a vehicle that carries it's own non approved waste oil boiler? (donning flame suit)
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Postby Welder » Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:25 am

BTW, a WVO fired coolant engine preheater makes the single tank systems look damn cute!!! If only they were insurable!!!
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Postby Burbarian » Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:52 am

Welder wrote:Does anyone have any input on the insurability of a vehicle that carries it's own non approved waste oil boiler?


I tried that a few times with a propane powered high output camp stove and some salvage yard heater cores. It works, but uses up half a disposable bottle of propane and takes 30-45min to preheat just the engine. You can refill the disposable bottles with a $16 adapter. It's not a waste oil burner, but I think not even a cop will look at you cross-eyed if you have a camp stove. So long as it isn't hard-mounted, it shouldn't be a concern for the insurance folks either.

A WVO burner would be ideal. I believe some users have had success modifying diesel/kero fueled salamander/torpedo forced air heaters to run on heated WVO. But then you have to preheat the WVO to fire up the heater to preheat your truck to fire up the engine to preheat the IP to switch to WVO...

(is getting a headache)

You could preheat with DD (dino diesel) or BD. Run the salamander and have an air-to-liquid heat exchanger in the hot air path. Use a few scrap yard heater cores in reverse.
Last edited by Burbarian on Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Burbarian » Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:57 am

Welder wrote:BTW, a WVO fired coolant engine preheater makes the single tank systems look damn cute!!! If only they were insurable!!!


I've been experimenting with hydronic preheat on Big Bertha ('87 GMC Suburban). Basically plumb this thing to the coolant line:
http://surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2 ... name=water
Then run a small water pump and preheat the engine using solar and wvo gasifier stove charged domestic hot water. This has the potential of preheating not just the engine and fuel system (including HIH/HOH, FPHE, coolant wrapped filter) but also the tranny. HOWEVER it will not preheat the IP or the injector lines. Those components will pick up SOME heat from conduction, but on a winter morning I think it would be unsafe on vo unless you are running an electric heating blanket on the IP and lines.

For straight VO single-tank where there is a possibility of gelling, I would think the last thing you want is to crank an IP full of solidified fuel, trying to push through plugged lines. Definitely only something to consider with blends, light fraction oil like what John G uses, or non-PHO that you mentioned having easy access to. Unfortunately, not for the poor schmucks who are stuck with primarily leftover swine.

Hey, looks like you have found ONE potential good application for electric fuel line heaters! :)
Last edited by Burbarian on Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Welder » Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:19 am

Burbarian wrote:
Welder wrote:Does anyone have any input on the insurability of a vehicle that carries it's own non approved waste oil boiler?


I tried that a few times with a propane powered high output camp stove and some salvage yard heater cores. It works, but uses up half a disposable bottle of propane and takes 30-45min to preheat just the engine. You can refill the disposable bottles with a $16 adapter. It's not a waste oil burner, but I think not even a cop will look at you cross-eyed if you have a camp stove. So long as it isn't hard-mounted, it shouldn't be a concern for the insurance folks either.

A WVO burner would be ideal. I believe some users have had success modifying diesel/kero fueled salamander/torpedo forced air heaters to run on heated WVO. But then you have to preheat the WVO to fire up the heater to preheat your truck to fire up the engine to preheat the IP to switch to WVO...

(is getting a headache)

You could preheat with DD (dino diesel) or BD. Run the salamander and have an air-to-liquid heat exchanger in the hot air path. Use a few scrap yard heater cores in reverse.


Hard mounted versus soft mounted isn't the same as NHTSA approved, or not. then there's stuff like UL/CSA approval.

I'm thinking that a common RV furnace (UL/CSA approved) that's operating inside a moving motor home during a crash MUST be okay with the insurance adjusters, otherwise it wouldn't be allowed into a:

1. motorHOME

and

2. A highway vehicle.

If I'm drunk and you rear-end me, my insurance is void because I'm not legal to be on the road. Is a camp stove legal to be on the road?

I'm not trying to be an argumantative jerk here (just comes naturally), I'm only trying to play the Devils advocate. A camp stove that's UL/CSA approved, may still not be approved for indoor home use. A motor home is both a home AND a highway vehicle. I'm betting that motor home furnaces are UL/CSA approve for use while parked AND on public highways too.
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Postby Welder » Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:37 am

Burbarian wrote:
Welder wrote:BTW, a WVO fired coolant engine preheater makes the single tank systems look damn cute!!! If only they were insurable!!!


I've been experimenting with hydronic preheat on Big Bertha ('87 GMC Suburban). Basically plumb this thing to the coolant line:
http://surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2 ... name=water
Then run a small water pump and preheat the engine using solar and wvo gasifier stove charged domestic hot water. This has the potential of preheating not just the engine and fuel system (including HIH/HOH, FPHE, coolant wrapped filter) but also the tranny. HOWEVER it will not preheat the IP or the injector lines. Those components will pick up SOME heat from conduction, but on a winter morning I think it would be unsafe unless you are running veg and had electric heating blanket on the IP and lines.

For straight VO single-tank where there is a possibility of gelling, I would think the last thing you want is to crank an IP full of solidified fuel, trying to push through plugged lines. Definitely only something to consider with blends, light fraction oil like what John G uses, or non-PHO that you mentioned having easy access to. Unfortunately, not for the poor schmucks who are stuck with primarily leftover swine.

Hey, looks like you have found ONE potential good application for electric fuel line heaters! :)


I wonder how many BTUs that Harrison HE can actually pull down?

It looks like it's only a U shaped 5/16 tube soldered to a piece of steel heater line. If it works OK, I'd buy one.

I like the idea of pre-heating the engine via quick disconnect cam-locks plumbed into the coolant circuit and fed hot engine coolant from a WVO fired boiler in a garage/driveway. A guy would definately need to keep on top of his SCA in the driveway boiler tank, but nothings for nothing anymore ya know!
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