1992 - Bluebird Bus WVO Conversion (Sunwizard) - Update 8/28

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1992 - Bluebird Bus WVO Conversion (Sunwizard) - Update 8/28

Postby White99z » Sun May 11, 2014 10:38 pm

Hello Everyone,

Just last week, we received our conversion parts for our 1992 Bluebird School bus. It is a 5.9 Cummins and has a P7100 Bosch Injection Pump. I know they didn't put them in the trucks and other vehicles til later, but they were in the buses thankfully 8) The bus has 79,000 miles on it and runs great. We are converting it to live in full time and travel the country. I am a touring musician and play and tour full time for a living. I have been to 20 countries in the past 5 years with my music. My girlfriend is a yoga teacher and is passionate about photography. She also runs our travel blog http://www.livelovetraveldream.com and takes care of a lot of behind the scenes stuff to keep us flowing smoothly. Originally, I made some posts on the site as we were planning on buying a friend's bus that was already converted. On the final test drive, it stalled several times and signs were pointing to an possible Injection Pump failure. The price was already high and we decided to move on and start with a stock bus that hadn't been messed with and do it ourselves.

Here's a photo of our bus:
Image

After a lot of research, we decided to go with mostly WVO Designs parts and their centrifuge for an on-board filtering setup. After some chatting with Leon, the owner, they decided to sponsor our project, which is really exciting for us. This is a first conversion for me and I have been spending many, many late nights researching the system and figuring how to adapt SunWizard's setup for our bus. I am sure we will have lots of questions as we go. This week, I will be rounding up parts such as fittings, fuel line, coolant hose, etc.

Here's our conversion parts list so far:

Tank:
116 Gallon Aluminum Military Fuel Tank.
Image

Fuel Pickup:
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/wvo-conv ... tickb.html
WVO Designs RAW Power Hotstick
13" - Will be expanded via the threaded port to ~26" to pick up fuel from the bottom of the tank.

Veggie Filter:
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/wvo-conv ... ilter.html
WVO Designs Coolant Heated Filter Head
Donaldson P551000 Filter/Waterblock with Drain Bowl
WVO Designs Heated Filter Wrap

Flat Plate Heat Exchanger
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/wvo-conversion/fphe.html
30 Plate from WVO Designs

Valves
http://www.iboats.com/1_4_X_1_4_X_1_4_N ... w_id.67211
iboats.com manual 3 way valves, per SunWizard's conversion - X3

We also got the following to help us collect and filter oil:
Centifuge
WVO Designs Raw Power Basic Centrifuge
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/centrifu ... ifuge.html

Bolt-On Heater Assembly
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/centrifu ... r-rpc.html

"Power Booster" - This helps to eliminate splashing as the WVO enters the centrifuge.
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/centrifu ... oster.html

Transfer Pump - We are mating the WVO Designs pump head to a 5.0 HP Honda Gas Engine we recieved for free from a pressure washer that had a broken pump.

Goldstream Monster Pump Head
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/pumps/oi ... -only.html

Pump Adapter Mount - for Gas Engine
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/pumps/oi ... motor.html

3/4" Shaft Coupling - For Honda Engine
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/pumps/oi ... pling.html

14mm Gas Coupling- For Pump Head
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/pumps/oi ... pling.html

Rubber Connector Element
http://www.wvodesigns.com/shop/pumps/oi ... pling.html
Last edited by White99z on Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Sun May 11, 2014 10:56 pm

Our parts just arrived last week the day before I left for a little mini-tour. I haven't gotten a chance to do much other than put together the centrifuge and heater assembly tonight :D

Image
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Sun May 11, 2014 11:13 pm

I plan on using SunWizard's setup (Thanks for all of your awesome work in sharing your setup 8) ) It is very much appreciated! On our bus, we have an existing system going to the back where a heater is that we are removing. We are going to use this existing routing of these coolant lines to do our Hose in Hose setup.

1.) Currently, there are 1" coolant lines and a booster pump (that doesn't work anymore). I am considering changing them out to a smaller, 5/8" line as this seems to be what I am seeing in a lot of HIH setups and I have to get longer hoses anyways. What are your thoughts? Are 1" coolant lines overkill for a HIH setup?

Image
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby SunWizard » Mon May 12, 2014 9:47 am

The size needed depends on the distance and the flow rate. 1" is probably needed for yours since its a long distance, to keep the flow loss from being too much. Especiallly if you are not using a booster pump.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Tue May 13, 2014 6:35 am

Thanks SunWizard. Without the booster pump running, I still feel the heater getting warm... What are your thoughts on deleting the booster pump that is not working? A replacement is nearly $200. I am happy to use 1" hose if it is necessary. I'm also happy to replace the booster pump if necessary, but don't want the extra expense if its not. More electronics = more stuff to go wrong. I also don't want to stress the bus's water pump. My friends bus converted with a similar setup on an international DT360 didn't even come factory with a booster pump.

My other question is how will that do with 3/8" aluminum fuel line? Will it give it too much room inside the coolant hose and cause too much vibration, potentially leading to premature breaking?

A poster on the school bus forum i belong to seems to think an electric pump is necessary for getting the VO to the engine. He warned that all the info is out there for trucks and not our buses. But it's essentially the same system isn't it? Everything I have read and studied says the lift pump is one of the strongest and most reliable out there. It's got some extra distance to cover, but is out 5.9 lift pump capable of covering the extra distance reliably?
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby SunWizard » Tue May 13, 2014 9:55 am

White99z wrote:Thanks SunWizard. Without the booster pump running, I still feel the heater getting warm... What are your thoughts on deleting the booster pump that is not working? A replacement is nearly $200. I am happy to use 1" hose if it is necessary. I'm also happy to replace the booster pump if necessary, but don't want the extra expense if its not. More electronics = more stuff to go wrong. I also don't want to stress the bus's water pump. My friends bus converted with a similar setup on an international DT360 didn't even come factory with a booster pump.

The booster pump may not be needed, you can't stress the bus water pump since its simple and mechanical it won't fail like an electric one. The symptom would be not enough flow of hot coolant reaching the back of the bus.
My other question is how will that do with 3/8" aluminum fuel line? Will it give it too much room inside the coolant hose and cause too much vibration, potentially leading to premature breaking?

More space is no problem, it can't cause more vibration. It simply allows more flow with less resistance for the long distance.
A poster on the school bus forum i belong to seems to think an electric pump is necessary for getting the VO to the engine. He warned that all the info is out there for trucks and not our buses. But it's essentially the same system isn't it? Everything I have read and studied says the lift pump is one of the strongest and most reliable out there. It's got some extra distance to cover, but is out 5.9 lift pump capable of covering the extra distance reliably?

If yours is the piston lift pump as used on the 94-98.5 dodge cummins, no electric pump even comes close to it. If yours is a diaphragm type like used on the earlier dodge cummins, its not as strong since its lower pressure and won't last as long, but still OK and better than most of the electrics.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
SunWizard
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Tue May 13, 2014 11:47 am

SunWizard wrote:The booster pump may not be needed, you can't stress the bus water pump since its simple and mechanical it won't fail like an electric one. The symptom would be not enough flow of hot coolant reaching the back of the bus.


That's good to know. I know for sure coolant is getting back there, because the hoses are hot when I am not even running the heater!

More space is no problem, it can't cause more vibration. It simply allows more flow with less resistance for the long distance.

Good to know. So, 3/8" should be fine then?

If yours is the piston lift pump as used on the 94-98.5 dodge cummins, no electric pump even comes close to it. If yours is a diaphragm type like used on the earlier dodge cummins, its not as strong since its lower pressure and won't last as long, but still OK and better than most of the electrics.


I am pretty sure it's a piston lift pump. But... I have to verify. I went to look yesterday but couldn't seem to find what I was looking for. I know for sure it uses the P7100 Injection Pump. Not sure about which lift pump though...
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby SunWizard » Tue May 13, 2014 1:01 pm

White99z wrote:So, 3/8" should be fine then?

Yes, the valves and fittings are more restriction to flow than the tube. You might want the next size larger valves since the opening on the ones I used are small and you will be using higher flow.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
SunWizard
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Tue May 13, 2014 1:43 pm

SunWizard wrote:
White99z wrote:So, 3/8" should be fine then?

Yes, the valves and fittings are more restriction to flow than the tube. You might want the next size larger valves since the opening on the ones I used are small and you will be using higher flow.


Already bought the valves :oops: What would the reason I have higher flow be? Or are you talking the coolant valves?

I have been spending all day today trying to figure out what size fuel line I want to order. The consensus from everything I have read on the Cummins (for pickups) is that they use 3/8" fuel line, with your recommendations being 30R7 fuel line. Is there no reason to use high pressure 30R9 line anywhere?

Also, I will be having a friend help me with the conversion. He has done several WVO conversions on buses, but never a Cummins. While studying the schematic today, he questioned why not add a return line that takes the WVO all the way back to the tank. After reading all 20 pages of your thread again, the only reasons I could come up with were:

1.) It's unnecessary
2.) Air is removed from the return line going to the diesel tank. Removal of air was his main reason for suggesting this.

What would the reason be to not do this? Would it increase purge times?
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby SunWizard » Tue May 13, 2014 2:10 pm

White99z wrote:I have been spending all day today trying to figure out what size fuel line I want to order. The consensus from everything I have read on the Cummins (for pickups) is that they use 3/8" fuel line, with your recommendations being 30R7 fuel line. Is there no reason to use high pressure 30R9 line anywhere?

No, the pressure never exceeds 35 psi that the regulator (AKA overflow valve) maintains.
Also, I will be having a friend help me with the conversion. He has done several WVO conversions on buses, but never a Cummins. While studying the schematic today, he questioned why not add a return line that takes the WVO all the way back to the tank. After reading all 20 pages of your thread again, the only reasons I could come up with were:

1.) It's unnecessary

Yes its a lot of un-needed hose.
2.) Air is removed from the return line going to the diesel tank. Removal of air was his main reason for suggesting this.

If you have an air leak, you need to fix the leak since it will cause trouble in many ways even if you have a full return. A leak will especially cause trouble with starting since even a small leak will let a lot of air in the line while sitting and not running. If you have no leak, no benefit of full return. A full return also adds more places for air leaks to form.
What would the reason be to not do this? Would it increase purge times?

No increase of purge. A big drawback to a full return is you just heated that WVO up to 170F and are wasting the heat by returning it to the tank, and increasing poly in the tank. If you loop it like mine, the WVO at the IP gets hotter since new colder WVO is added to the already HOT WVO looping back. This strong lift pump pushes a lot more flow than you need so there is a lot of return. You would need probably double the size FPHE to maintain the same temp with a full return which causes double the flow.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Tue May 13, 2014 5:24 pm

Awesome! Thanks for the great explanations!
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Thu May 15, 2014 10:18 pm

Sunwizard... I noticed on your setup, you used some Black Iron fittings vs. Brass. On my conversion, there are a few spots where I need to run a T for my Hose In Hose system that will be 3/4" NPT x 3/4" NPT x 1/2" NPT. The 3/4" sections will have a 3/4" x 1" Hose Barb to carry the coolant to the back of the bus in the existing 1" Heater Hose. Is there any reason why I should use Brass over Black Iron here? Will it cause corrosion with the coolant running through Black Iron? What about with Brass Fittings in the Black Iron Pipe T's? Have you had any corrosion problems where your Brass meets the black iron? The difference in cost for this part is significant ($5 vs. $15) and I need to order several of them. I will order brass if it's necessary, but just checking in!
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby SunWizard » Fri May 16, 2014 9:21 am

Black is fine for coolant since it has corrosion inhibitors. No problem with brass mixed with black on mine.

The reason you have higher flow is that a bus burns more fuel than a truck except at idle.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
SunWizard
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Schoolbus Conversion (5.9 Cummins)

Postby White99z » Fri May 16, 2014 11:34 pm

Well... I took the plunge and ordered the fittings, hoses, etc. that we will need for our system based off your design. I had to make some changes, due to the current existing heating system and the larger size of the lines in the bus. The lines we are using for the "Coolant Loop" heating the Veggie components are already existing 1" lines that run to the back of the bus where a heater is that we are removing. The valve system that you have to divert the coolant to the veggie loop is already built into the bus. I purchased 1" hose to replace the current hose as part of the HIH setup. Some of the hose that is inside the bus right now will be cut down and reused because it is in awesome shape. The 1" hose underneath the bus is pretty beat up from the elements, so I will be replacing it with the existing Goodyear hose that is inside the bus. When it came to hose, I erred on the side of having too much vs. not enough. We can always use the spare down the road. For the components, I broke down your system and made diagrams of the Veggie Oil Loop and Coolant loop separately, utilizing the components we got from WVO Designs and mapped it out the best I could with fittings,, valves, etc.

I did not have the bus near me the last few days while I mapped out this system and the components, so I could have gotten some things wrong. Using photos, studying the fuel system before I left, etc. helped me to plan it out and visualize it in my mind. I am attaching a .jpg of our ordering list, the sites we ordered from, part numbers, prices, etc. If anyone notices anything that stands out as, missing, wrong, etc., feel free to speak up! I am going to make a more detailed version of where the parts go within SunWizard's schematic shortly, with each fitting and junction mapped out on it. This was the first time I have done anything like this... I had to go right down to the basics and learned so much. I am sure I am only scratching the surface... It took me 4 days and a lot of hours to figure out my system. I had to learn about fittings (NPT, JIC/AN, ORB), fuel lines and ratings, pipe tees, couplings, etc. For now... I am going to bed... my brain needs a rest!

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Last edited by White99z on Fri May 16, 2014 11:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 1992 - Bluebird Bus Conversion (5.9 Cummins - Sunwizard)

Postby White99z » Fri May 16, 2014 11:45 pm

Also... picked up a BRAND NEW 50 Gallon Tankcraft Aluminum Semi-truck Fuel Tank today for $75. The tank even has a fuel gauge on the side. Did it on a whim... we have to decide now if we want to use the 116 gallon aluminum military tank that takes up a lot of space or this 50 gallon tank and save a bit of real estate in the "garage" of the bus to add to the living space. If we use this smaller one, I figure I can also fit a 55 Gallon drum in the back for settling in the bus. Time will tell.

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