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 Burbarian » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:59 am

Commercial 12v heated fuel filters are primarily meant to get you out of trouble if you have a clogged filter full of Southern-State diesel and you are in the North. Or if you have insufficiently winterized fuel and encounter a severe cold snap. Say -40 or lower.
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Postby BMW Fan » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:21 am

All BMW Diesel come standard with a Bosch PTC electrical Diesel heater.
But not efficient enough for veggie.

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Postby Burbarian » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:42 am

Here's an odd question I haven't seen addressed. How about a heated veg fuel pump? Running a pump plugged up with solidified fuel can't possibly be healthy for it.
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Postby Welder » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:19 pm

Burbarian wrote:Here's an odd question I haven't seen addressed. How about a heated veg fuel pump? Running a pump plugged up with solidified fuel can't possibly be healthy for it.


That's an option I have considered for my Frankenpump project. I'm not sure if it would be wort the cost/effort because my pump will be extremely strong (waaaaay overkill). The motor is 4" in diameter (TORQUE) and the head can make orver 3000 PSI.

This pump could just about move wet concrete. Cold veggie likely won't be an issue. With a FPHE plumbed just before the pump, the head will warm up quickly.
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Postby David » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:02 pm

Burbarian wrote:Here's an odd question I haven't seen addressed. How about a heated veg fuel pump? Running a pump plugged up with solidified fuel can't possibly be healthy for it.


Good question in more ways than one and I think highlights what a lot of people seem to miss.

Lets just say we have this heated pump that will melt solid wax in 10 seconds flat. Flick a switch, in no time the the veg in the pump is flowing free as water.
Now What? Where you going to pump it too?
If the fuel in the pump is solid, the fuel in the lines sure as heck is going to be solid too. How you going to move that? If your pump is at the back of the vehicle, you going to be trying to push like a very conservative 4Ft of it. Your also going to be trying to pull solid veg from the tank and lines as well.
You better have Welders mega pump (which no body has as yet) because anything less is not going to move this solid slug of oil and if it hits a clamped on rubber hose, well I think you may just clear that frozen stuff a whole lot quicker than you anticipated but the fun sure won't be over yet!


Apart from it's complete inadequacy that people just don't seem to want to understand or accept, with electrical heating, if you do manage to get the oil in the location you are heating up to a suitable temp, as soon as the warm oil moves along, it hits something cold and you are right back to square 1. The only way to really do it is heat everything.

To have a hope of doing that with any effectiveness, you better be driving a Ute with a 5Kva Generator in the back to power it all.
Oh, and it better be running Winter Dino or be petrol or You'll have to start fitting electric heaters on that too in order to get it started.
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Postby coachgeo » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:41 pm

Well here is my take to solve your point on gelled fuel lines on both sides of sludge/gell loving wvo pump.

Two tank system. Large (normal size) WVO tank in normal spot and small under hood start stop diesel tank. Small cause switch over is so soon, but large enough to fill IP AND "ALL" FUEL LINES especially the WVO ones between sludge/gell loving fuel pump and IP. All this filled/purged w/ Diesel before shutdown (or timer controlled done right after shut down while your walking to your office.) Therfore Sludge pump should be up in the engine bay so less things to fill with diesel.

So.... Sludge/Gell loving pump. moves oil from WVO tank to-

-To FPHE immediately prior to-

-to small heated 1/2 gal? sized tank under hood (AKA -Pre tank). Followed by-

-Larger FPHE to

-to Fuel filter to-

-to IP etc.

A standard two tank system IP return line valve that directs WVO back to Pre Tank or under hood diesel tank. Purge system plumbed in too.

Pre tank has either a fill switch that cycles sludge pump on and off or slows / increases pump RPM according to demand. Object is to keep Pre Tank allways full. cheaper would be to have a bleed off the top of the Pre Tank that is allways sending oil back to the WVO tank keeping the pretank allways full and slowly heating WVO tank.

yep would need miracael sludge loving pump... which does not yet exist. Also would probably need larger than normal fuel/sludge lines from WVO tank to heated Pre tank

So far this is not practical. If this sludge loving pump existed it would be an easier system to install. NO running coolant lines to WVO tank etc. Just have to install fatter fuel line . Rest of all install work would be in the engine bay area or close to it. Simple would mean less install time that reduces cost and makes the whole thing more viable to the average person.0

But Im a dreamer... may never come true.... and Im probably missing something that blows the whole idea.

Butttt this is off topic from this threads material so if you want to reply to this notion of mine start a new thread. You can copy this post and put it in quotes to start of the new thread!!!
Last edited by coachgeo on Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby coachgeo » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:07 pm

Please delete SunW I snafued
Last edited by coachgeo on Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby SunWizard » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:08 pm

Many kinds of VO get so thick when cold that they would be impossible to pump with any pump sucking through any size line.
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Postby Burbarian » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:18 pm

I was actually coming at it from the completely opposite direction.

Was wondering why people have HIH/HOH, heated fuel pickup, FPHE, coolant heated fuel filters, etc. But not a coolant heated/cooled VO pump.

Is it common practice to rely completely on the fuel in the lines (heated by HIH/HOH) to somehow conduct its heat through small diameter fuel lines into the VO pump and assume that this would melt the sludge in there? This does not seem possible with solidified fuel, considering it is a metal pump, typically hard mounted to a metal frame, and all that metal is acting as a heat sink and is sunk to ambient. Which could be at early winter dawn temperature.

It does not seem likely to me that an unheated exposed metal VO pump could be thawed out or unclogged purely by thermal conduction from unmoving fuel in the hoses alone.

Hence the conclusion seems to be that it really IS general practice for twin-tanker winter folk to run the pump regardless of plugging. And it appears that a plugged up pump will generally be able to move its internal clogs so long as the input and output lines are fluid. If it is a mechanical engine driven piston pump like what Sun has, then you have the entire ENGINE as your prime mover. Most people are not so lucky.

If you are using an electrically driven pump, then most likely the motor/solenoid (depending on pump type), being stalled, will draw high amps and act just like an electrical heater. This will cause it to thaw itself out fairly quickly, as it is drawing dead-stall current. This is also a good way to quickly burn out the windings. However, once the fuel starts flowing, liquid fuel will enter the pump and it will start to pump normally. The pump becoming its own heater when plugged up is a neat trick, but would be rather hard on the coil windings and probably other internal bits. Stalling a motor is NOT GOOD if it wasn't designed specifically from the outset to be able to cope with such high currents like a servo motor.

Perhaps this has at least a part in the early demise of most low cost electrical fuel pumps, and hence people going for very expensive high pressure heavy duty pumps. Not because it is actually solving the problem, but because it is a brute force solution to the symptoms, instead of addressing the cause.

If instead you ALSO warmed the pump with a flow of engine coolant, just like you do with the HIH and coolant wrapped filter, then perhaps cheap electric fuel pumps would be adequate and last much longer than they are normally reported to.

Unless I am missing something.
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Postby Welder » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:50 am

Hi David.

I see your point, and I agree, but I think most people are heating their fuel lines with HIH,HOH or TIH. Assuming they are using a spin-on filter with either a hot hose wrap or an electric heat wrap, they are likey getting things flowing decently. Anyone using the fancier veggie filters are likely also getting good results. If they are using hydro veggie, or some other solid triglyceride fuel, then they MUST to be heating their fuel path or they won't be driving at all (they'll be walking).

I'm thinking that most people are heating their fuel paths and that's why the weaker pumps are getting success. That and the fact that not everyone runs on solid or semi solid fuel also helps the weaker pumps do the job. For example, I can get non hydro canola anytime. No plugged filters, and no gummed up lift pump.

I don't NEED the Frankenpump, I WANT it. I can get by with a Walbro FRB-13, or a Master E8012s, or the new Bosch solenoid pump, or a Facet like Zoochys'.

Your comment about hot veggie getting cooled back into an unnaceptably high viscosity fluid by contact with a heat sink AFTER the heater is true. Aside from fuel quality issues, it seems to be the main related killer of rotary IPs. A stream of hot thin veggie meets a warm 10 pound chunk of steel and then quickly becomes warm thick veggie, over torqueing the IPs drive shaft, thereby causing it to shear off. Running both the veggie and the start/stop fuel through a FPHE is the generally accepted remedy. This gives the added bonus of preheating the injector lines (likely far hotter than electric 12 V line heaters ever could).





Hi Burb.

Since I would like to eventually build Frankenpumps for sale to SVOers, I feel a little blonde saying this but, F.A.S.S. actually has coolant head heaters available. (Me and my stupid goody 2 shoes, boyscout, do-gooder attitude!!! Why do I always plug the other guys??? Oh well...)
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Postby FlyboyDVIII » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:59 am

Burbarian wrote:Here's an odd question I haven't seen addressed. How about a heated veg fuel pump? Running a pump plugged up with solidified fuel can't possibly be healthy for it.


One of the Veg vendors sells a coolant heated aluminum block that bolts to the Base of the FASS. Me, I have one of my coolant to tank heater hoses sandwiched between the head of my Fass and the Tank, "Woodchuck Engineering" at it's finest! :D :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

All of my veg fuel pumps that failed or failed to move veg, were also wraped or in direct contact with coolant heated Hoses. They still failed or failed to perform.

My Veg filter head (HotHead) is a 2" thick aluminum Block that is coolant heated, it is in the same orientation as the Veg Max. Filter is above the heated head. Heat rises, keeps filter HOT! The tractors we finish converting this summer will have our version of the same style head w/ 1-12 thread to use the Sym-Tec line of filters on.
I do have for winter time use a 80Watt arctic fox 12v pad that I stuck to a piece or roof flashing that is wrapper around my filter and held in place by a large Hose clamp. easy to remove or change to next filter, also just unplugs and gets set on the shelf in the summer. I have a 10a fuse for it, never a problem.
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Postby canolafunola » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:11 pm

Jake Palmer wrote:I agree that an FPHE offers fantastic heat, and I think they make homemade heat exchangers (like the one in my samurai) or even HiH obsolete.

However, I personnally won't convert a car without a vegtherm. For me, it means switching to VO 3kms earlier on my daily commute, which is a means I'm doing 1/3 more of my commute on vegetable oil.

Plus, it guarantees good heat. I'm using a VegSensor on my e300d, so the Vegtherm will probably kick in & out to just maintain perfect heat.


Have you taken apart your vegtherm after a bit of usage? What does it look like inside? If it is not spotlessly clean, then it's a good reason to ditch it. One should not switch to VO before the engine is up to operating temp. and once the engine is up to temp, electric heat is not needed.
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Postby hheynow » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:23 pm

Burbarian wrote:
Was wondering why people have HIH/HOH, heated fuel pickup, FPHE, coolant heated fuel filters, etc. But not a coolant heated/cooled VO pump.

Unless I am missing something.


My '97 Powerstroke uses a mechanical two stage fuel pump. The first stage sucks the fuel from the tank and the second stage pumps it to each head under pressure. My fuel pump is always hot because both tanks run through my FPHE. But since the Powerstroke is a common rail design and has no classic "IP" it's not an issue at all. The reason why I have all those heating components is so my fuel pump will not be over taxed pumping cold thick vegoil up from the tank. The common rail system just about insures hot vegoil will reach the injectors.
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Postby Burbarian » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:27 am

FlyboyDVIII wrote:One of the Veg vendors sells a coolant heated aluminum block that bolts to the Base of the FASS. Me, I have one of my coolant to tank heater hoses sandwiched between the head of my Fass and the Tank, "Woodchuck Engineering" at it's finest! :D :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


Would you care to do a review and share your experiences using the Fass? It would be of great value to collate a listing of hardware and best principles in undertaking a veg conversion.

All of my veg fuel pumps that failed or failed to move veg, were also wraped or in direct contact with coolant heated Hoses. They still failed or failed to perform.


What make/model were these and what were the conditions and failure modes? Of equal value is a list of hardware that DOES NOT perform adequately, so that forum members just starting out can avoid them.

My Veg filter head (HotHead) is a 2" thick aluminum Block that is coolant heated, it is in the same orientation as the Veg Max. Filter is above the heated head. Heat rises, keeps filter HOT! The tractors we finish converting this summer will have our version of the same style head w/ 1-12 thread to use the Sym-Tec line of filters on.


What model number of Sym-tec filters? Filters that can withstand continuous high heat under pressure without deformation and delamination would be absolutely vital in a well engineered conversion. Thanks in advance, the collaborative sharing of information is the backbone of progress.
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Postby Burbarian » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:35 am

Welder: I can see value in your Frankenpump. The use of high pressure means you can get away with smaller orifice diameters, hence you could run small diameter high pressure lines that would be easier to route. And if the filters can withstand the pressure, then you can get better through-flow or use multiple staggered filters. Frankly though, considering the specs you listed for the Frankenpump, I would be greatly disappointed if you didn't use it in conjunction with a centrifuge. Perhaps with the use of a few manual 3-way valves on a manifold you can use the same pump for WVO collection, for running the centrifuge to process the collected WVO into fuel, and as an unstoppable lift pump. Please keep us posted. With pictures!
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