Electric (vegtherm or other) versus coolant heat FPHE

For discussing the modifications needed for diesel vehicles to run with 2 tank veggie oil conversions.

Moderators: SunWizard, coachgeo

Postby VegMeister » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:09 pm

hehe I'm so smart I knew all of this intuitively and bought a 10 plate FPHE right off the bat. NOT! Actually I just totally lucked out and the ONLY place on my conversion that I really was cheap was on the FPHE. I'm not usually lucky like that.

Anyways, here's my 2 cents: I only want a 10plate before the fuel filter because my poor weak IP (a mechanical DB2 on the GM 6.5) will break if it can't cool itself somehow. And it's designed to cool itself with cool diesel flowing through it.

However I'm going to compensate for this by installing injection line heaters. I know they might not add a LOT of temp, but they're something. And it seems to me like you want all the heat you can get, once you're past the IP.

Going back to the fuel filter though: in addition to a FPHE in front of it, I think it's necessary to have some kind of heat directly on the filter housing itself (if you're in a cold climate). I'm only saying this because of my experiences with fuel filters getting covered in "wax" from no.2 being left to freeze overnight in the filter. If you have a 2 filter system (a good idea, IMHO), you have to have some way of getting the contents of your filter warm. Of course you have the coolant line wrapping around the housing. That doesn't seem like it would give my filter a kick in the pants if it happened to be full of a lot of frozen grease on a cold morning, so I have added glow plugs to the unit, to give it a kick in the pants. I've got them wired to turn off at 140F, so in theory they will never be turned on when the engine is even close to normal temp, right?

In conclusion, I totally agree with SunWizard's math and his logic. Coolant is the way to go. Electric wraps are a waste of time. But what if you have a 2-filter system and you're worried about a particularly bad morning where you have some bad grease frozen in your filter?
centralvalleybiodiesel CF
1993 GMC Sierra K2500 6.5L + homebuilt veg kit, OEM glowplug failure (update: rebuilt with a 6.2 block, working fine)
1988 Ford 6.9L OEM dual tank, 90+% veg oil blend.
1989 Ford 7.3L, 80+% veg oil blend.
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Postby John Galt » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:27 pm

Electric wraps are a waste of time. But what if you have a 2-filter system and you're worried about a particularly bad morning where you have some bad grease frozen in your filter?

Depends on what voltage one uses. 98% of the time that you have "some bad grease frozen in your filter" you have 115v available. Wrap a silicone pad heater [60 to 100 W] around the filter. Heat the engine with a block heater, and place a 50W battery blanket across the injector lines at the injectors. Place a 100W silicone pad heater on the back of the FPHE. One can easily have the engine and fuel system to 100°F before start-up, almost every time. Most engine damage and fuel deposits occur on cold start with any fuel, VO only makes it worse if the cylinders are not hot before switching to more than 50% VO. Preheat the engine and it will run better and last longer.
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Postby Burbarian » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:01 am

David wrote:I also fail to understand this obsessive rush to change over to Veg at the soonest possible second. If people are running veg and saving so much on fuel already, cant they afford to burn a bit of dino or Bio to at least let the engine warm up properly? I think the rush to cheat normal processes here is going to cost them a lot more than what they save and what they spend on the devises they think is going to let them avoid spending on a few liters of start up fuel a week.


Hello David,
I believe I can answer that partly based on my local conditions and circumstances. My reasoning goes thus:
1. Cold starting an engine induces more stress and wear than starting a warm engine.
2. Idling an engine, even a warm engine on dino, accelerates buildups due to low loading. In addition to blow-by, idling at -30C on startup, the thickened engine oil has degraded pumping qualities, causes low oil pressure until it warms, and thus exacerbates engine wear.
3. Idling a cold engine for the sole purpose of getting it to warm up to operating temperature from an initial start of say -22F(-30C ) takes a significant time.
4. Revving the engine and starting off prematurely in an effort to shorten the warm-up time adds additional stress and wear on the engine and transmission.
5. Note none of the above has anything to do with VO. This is just regular dino. For VO, the engine and fuel system must of course be at full operating temperature before switchover.
6. Since I have the misfortune of having a VO supply that is primarily lard, then it will take quite a bit longer to melt the stuff so that it flows, let alone getting it to a safe operating temperature for use as fuel without having filter plugging issues, poor pumping, spray and combustion characteristics.
7. However, I have a gasifier furnace that can be fueled by free wood chips and lard, and it puts out considerable heat. I use it for domestic hot water and as supplemental to my solar thermal collectors.
8. Considering that this resource is there already (insulated tanks full of hot water), and is only a stone's throw from that cold engine, with a few pipe fittings and some hose I can preheat the engine directly to 160F(71C) even before starting it. Take advantage of an underutilized resource (heat) to achieve a necessary task (heating).
9. As the hot water will be flowing through a heat exchanger via the heater hose, it will not only preheat the entire engine and lubrication system, it will preheat anythig that is thermally coupled to it. That includes the transmission (via HOH from domestic hot water supply on the transmission oil cooler lines), fuel HIN/HOH, FPHE, coolant heated filters, tank pickup. The lard is liquefied painlessly and as a free side effect of engine preheating.
10. If the engine is heated and the fuel system is heated, and if safe operational temperature is already attained, then one can start on whichever fuel one wishes that is compatible with that temperature. Although admittedly I do expect to start on straight dino to push the temperature up to 210F(99C) before switching to lard. I haven't used lard in the engine yet, so I would rather be cautious than reckless.
11. However, the entire startup procedure has then been considerably shortened by the preheating, from a half hour or more to nearly instantaneous. This is based on the only temporal perspective that really matters: The driver.
12. And this is not to the detriment, but to the benefit of, the engine as well as the otherwise chilled driver. Hot start with a warm engine and tranny and no idling necessary can't be bad. Specially when accomplished automatically and for free.

Of course, these are my unique local conditions and circumstances, and would hardly apply to most people. But when it comes to one's vehicle in one's use, then what applies to 'most people' doesn't matter. It is what applies to your circumstances that matter.
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Postby Burbarian » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:28 am

John Galt wrote:Most engine damage and fuel deposits occur on cold start with any fuel, VO only makes it worse if the cylinders are not hot before switching to more than 50% VO. Preheat the engine and it will run better and last longer.


Indeed. My suggestion was that, if you are going to be preheating the engine anyway by plugging it in, then it is just a short step to add preheating of everything else that could take advantage of it. Including the cab! :D

It's even better when the heat is 'free'. Ie from hot water heated by a hot stove that consumes free fuel.
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Postby Welder » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:30 am

Despite the title of this thread, it almost looks like the content is so much heading toward preheat methods that I think I should mention Espar, Mikuni and Webasto.

I bough a new one off E-Bay, but it turned out to be used, so I refunded it. Too bad, I really liked the idea of fuel fired pre-heating.

And now, in keeping with the threads topic, I shall say something about coolant versus electric heating:

Something about coolant versus electric preheating. (there, my duty is done)
"Is there anybody out there?"

Roger Waters
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Postby David » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:43 am

Burbarian wrote:
Of course, these are my unique local conditions and circumstances, and would hardly apply to most people. But when it comes to one's vehicle in one's use, then what applies to 'most people' doesn't matter. It is what applies to your circumstances that matter.


I agree entirely.
And in your circumstances you have very good reason to preheat for reasons other than just rapid switching to Veg so my comments on this in no way apply to you.

What I was referring to is the great many posts and references I have seen made where people with no such NEED, speak of sometimes ridiculous lengths, methods and expense they will go to in order to be able to switch over to veg a mile or 2 sooner than what they would have been able to otherwise.
These methods invariably involve the use of electric heating to accomplish this.

What makes me roll my eyes and shake my head is that many people have no idea of the physics involved but will in fact argue the case of their completely flawed crackpot ideas. When it comes to heating in the applications we use it, electric, especially 12V heating is woefully weak and ineffective especially when compared to the amount of heat available from the engine cooling system. For people that don't live in exceptionally harsh, cold circumstances like yourself, electric heating to speed changeover time is basically Dumb.
Of course what really makes these people even more obtuse is their desire to add megawatts of electric heating but then fretting over the load imposed on their electrical system, even though the product they may be adding has the actual electrical draw of a tail light bulb and their cars are running batteries and alternators the same size as a 25 ton truck!

You also get the people that think their oil has to be hotter than the sun so they will try to add on every possible electric heating device after HE's to get it even hotter or make up for one or two lost degrees of heat when they just don't need it in their environment. Often there are much more practical and cheap methods to solving their cold problem of a few days a year like adding some dino or petrol to their veg.

Has anyone ever done a simple test where they put an IP with lines and injectors on one of those test rigs and fitted the lines with Heaters? I would be interested to see what the heat increase in the oil being squirted was with and without the line heaters running and more over what diff it made to the spray pattern of the injectors. My bet is the differences would be insignificant even before you sank the injectors into 50-100Kg of cold metal that makes up the head of the engine.

We are coming up to winter here is OZ and I just wait for the inevitable rush of posts from people wanting to install injection line heaters and filter warmers and every other dam electric thing because their beloved 20 yo oil burner takes 3 cranks to start rather than the "normal" 1 and they will go into a panic something is wrong.
The fact is there are few places here in oz that ever get below 0oC (Water freeze temp ( -32oF??) and in reality, you are probably talking about a dozen or so oilers living in those areas and the rest of the people will live in places quite warmer.

As sun demonstrated right off the bat, 12V heating is pathetic but people will still think things like injector line heaters and veg therms have to be installed or their cars will be kaput by the end of the week. No doubt a combination of paranoia, miss use of products designed for completely different circumstances and marketing Hype, give these limited application products amazingly high sales figures!

It seems to me that a significant trait of veg oilers in general as well as being pedantic and scared of their own shadow, is that they are also in a lot of cases, extremely impatient! :D
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Postby Radrick » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:04 pm

VegMeister wrote:Anyways, here's my 2 cents: I only want a 10plate before the fuel filter because my poor weak IP (a mechanical DB2 on the GM 6.5) will break if it can't cool itself somehow. And it's designed to cool itself with cool diesel flowing through it.

However I'm going to compensate for this by installing injection line heaters. I know they might not add a LOT of temp, but they're something. And it seems to me like you want all the heat you can get, once you're past the IP.


Vegmeister,
I have been doing alot of resurch on the affects of vo on our ip's and I have concluded that there are really only to things that can cause trouble. Primaraly cold vo, as it will damage or distroy the pump drive and water contamination. I had the plessure of talking with Bill Heath from Heath diesel on the topic of vo. He didn't have an opinion on using it but did state that he has had alot of ip sales because of the use of vo. So much so that he decided to have a few pumps anolized to find out what was causing the failures. He found that most of them had the main shaft twisted off or damaged do to high viscosity fuel. He also stated that diese fuel leaving the ip is at 140f to 180f do to the heat gain related to the pressure and he didn't think there were any issues with putting 180f vo into the ip. He also noted that vo is a much better lubricant that modern diesel so he wouldn't try it with diesel. After all the resurch i have do i don't believe there is any issue with the GM ip related to incoming fuel temps but there are big issues with low incoming vo temps.
1995 Chevy K1500 6.5 TD not on WVO yet but soon.
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oil temp or coolant temp

Postby sacveggieguy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:23 pm

What is more critical eng temp or fuel temp I remember when I first got into wvo burning everone was talking about wvo temp now it seems to be eng temp. Has anyone seen how much better wvo oil burns when hot I heated some oil and pumped it through an injector tester and lit the fuel with a propane torch and tried the same with cold fuel it was a huge difference. Twice the flame. I know combustion is one thing but is the other concern poly in the oil is that the deal with eng temp?

Thanks Paul aka Sacveggieguy
To Dare Is To Do
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oil temp or coolant temp

Postby sacveggieguy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:23 pm

What is more critical eng temp or fuel temp I remember when I first got into wvo burning everone was talking about wvo temp now it seems to be eng temp. Has anyone seen how much better wvo oil burns when hot I heated some oil and pumped it through an injector tester and lit the fuel with a propane torch and tried the same with cold fuel it was a huge difference. Twice the flame. I know combustion is one thing but is the other concern poly in the oil is that the deal with eng temp?

Thanks Paul aka Sacveggieguy
To Dare Is To Do
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oil temp or coolant temp

Postby sacveggieguy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:24 pm

What is more critical eng temp or fuel temp I remember when I first got into wvo burning everone was talking about wvo temp now it seems to be eng temp. Has anyone seen how much better wvo oil burns when hot I heated some oil and pumped it through an injector tester and lit the fuel with a propane torch and tried the same with cold fuel it was a huge difference. Twice the flame. I know combustion is one thing but is the other concern poly in the oil is that the deal with eng temp?

Thanks Paul aka Sacveggieguy
To Dare Is To Do
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Postby John Galt » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:31 pm

Both equally critical
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sorry

Postby sacveggieguy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:34 pm

dont know why a triple post.

Paul aka Sacveggieguy
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Blending

Postby sacveggieguy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:36 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for the reply. What about a 50/50 blend using wvo and petro diesel is temp a factor?
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Postby John Galt » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:45 pm

Combustion chamber temperature is always a factor. Diesel engines can only attain their clean burning high efficiency advantage when they're hot. The fuel has to be at the correct viscosity for the injector design. VO must be thinned with chemicals, solvents or heat to get the same viscosity as D2 to match common injector design and get optimum burn.

If the exhaust smokes or the engine runs rough on start up the combustion chamber isn't hot enough, pollution is created, and harmful engine deposits are forming.
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Here's a pic of my teflon glow plug heater

Postby canolafunola » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:35 pm

Actually this is my decommissioned teflon glow plug heater, after a little cleaning.

Image
93 Gulfstream RV w Cummins 5.9 diesel pusher
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