Valid Reliable test of engine performance on diff. WVO types

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

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Valid Reliable test of engine performance on diff. WVO types

Postby coachgeo » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:24 pm

In another thread became aware that we are back to the NUMBER ONE tool that is missing and HUGELY needs to be addressed in the WVO/BLENDING/BIO-D world of experementation.

A way for the grass root fella to measure the efficency of his diesel engines combustion.

With this the grass root folks can with reliablity and validity measure how their combustion efficency is using a marked timing adjustment with thier fuel of blend / WVO / Bio-d .... AND be able to w/ reliablity and validity compare their results with others.

IMHO we need to pull together our resources and get a compact something or another, (engine analyzer? Dynometer?) that can be shipped in a trunk from user to user (that pays a huge deposit or something) with the equipment in it.

Orrr.... push to make a deal with USA reps of each diesel manufacture to have a day once every 8 weeks where they allow for low cost/no cost all us nut jobs to bring our rigs to MOST ANY dealer Nationwide and put them on engine analyzers to test our combustion efficency for each person's known fuel and timing adjustments.

orrrrr.. make a simular deal with any company that has frachises... be it a national auto repair chain orrr..... engine analyzer manufacture orrrrr.....

orrrrrr......???
Last edited by coachgeo on Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Burbarian » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:05 pm

It seems to me most of this could be addressed quite simply. Just temporarily install a small (1 pint to 1 gallon) graduated fuel container in the engine compartment with a pair of bottom hose barbs. One for the lift pump inlet, one for the IP overflow. A miniature graduated fuel tank. Call it a microtank.

Then you can put in a MEASURED amount of diesel into it, drive a specific distance along a specific course a specific number of times, then measure off how much fuel was consumed in absolute fractional ounces or cubic centimetres.

If you measure the total fuel volume available in your fuel system you can use that to compute the volume of any fuel additive/solvent you want to add into the microtank. Say your fuel system has a standing wet volume inside the FPHE, IP, various hoses and pipes, etc, of 1 gallon, and you have a half gallon microtank. Then if you want 5% additive, you add 1.5gal * 0.05 = about 9.5oz of said additive into the microtank.

For a completely different fuel, drain, fill with say Fuel_Mix_A, flush, purge then run till nothing BUT Fuel_Mix_A is in the fuel system. Top off to the graduated starting mark, then repeat the test.

You can do time/acceleration/fuel efficiency style tests this way. Same course, same number of runs, ideally in the same weather and wind conditions, (but you can log those), same engine temp, same payload, and with absolute fine grain fuel consumption numbers.

It's just tedious and time consuming. However, no highly expensive hardware needed. Anybody with the time and inclination can do these with essentially a measuring cup, a stopwatch, and a thermometer.
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Postby coachgeo » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:34 pm

both of these ideas do not come under the catagory of Reliable and Valid. Reliable is will it reliably get the same results a high percentage of the time. Valid is a measure of it truely measuring the item in question or does alot of other factors come into play discrediting the measurments validty.

For example... if you test by MPG or driving performance way with new tires..... and later... test with old tires.... things will come up with different results. Same with air pressure in your tires. Smaller diameter tire will produce different results than large diameter. Tire wear can be what 3/4" inch different in overall height between new and old?

Also they are not comparable with other folks vehicles.

The link that Sun offered about why milage can vary so much I bet offers many examples of why this wont work.

The graduated tank though is a good idea in the right direction though.... hmmmm....

well maybe not. Now you've removed the heated tank and thats a part of the equation, well at least in WVO world.
Last edited by coachgeo on Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby SunWizard » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:35 pm

John Galt wrote:Those of us who do simply watch the exhaust when going up the same hill day after day. The change in exhaust smoke amount and color is the qualitative evaluation you're looking for.

I have 3 diesels, and I get no visible smoke from any of them no matter how steep the hill, even with big loads, on D2 or VO. I live in the hills with >12% grades so plenty of steepness.

The only time I get 1-2 seconds of smoke is with the Cummins after idling for >2 minutes, and then I give it hard (>75%) throttle from a stop. (which also burns rubber on the tires unless loaded.) Not with either Mercedes.
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Postby Burbarian » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:06 pm

coachgeo wrote:both of these ideas do not come under the catagory of Reliable and Valid. Reliable is will it reliable get the same results a high percentage of the time. Valid is a measure of is it truely measuring the item in question or does alot of other factors come into play discretiting the measurments validty.


The graduated microtank allows accurate fuel consumption measurement in small increments over a given number of laps in a given course at a given speed in a given vehicle. A stopwatch gives you precise repeatable measurement of acceleration time, again given identical hardware and conditions. The objective of this being to quantify the DIFFERENCE (if any) a given change in fuel brings, while holding all other factors as static as humanly possible outside of a laboratory.

For example... if you test this way with new tires..... and later... test with old tires.... things will come up with different results. Same with air pressure in your tires. Smaller diameter tire will produce different results than large diamter. Tire wear can be what 3/4" inch different in overall height between new and old?


Almost irrelevant. You do a baseline with diesel, then the alternate fuel under the same conditions one after another.
Once the vehicle is warmed up, take 10 laps at 50mph in a closed circuit.
Average the results.
This is your baseline in diesel.
Change fuels.
Repeat.
Average results under fuel B.
Compare with baseline.
That is your delta.

The amount of tire wear and other factors changing should be minimal. Same course, same speed, same distance, same car, same tires, same payload, same day, ideally the same hour, and of course, same weather conditions. Needless to say if it rains or you take on a new passenger it becomes invalid.

Even better if you have someone do the fuel change for you and you don't know which fuel you are running on at any given time.

Also they are not comparable with other folks vehicles.


Each person can do this on their own vehicle. It gives an objective delta using that specific set of hardware and test conditions. Obviously the amount of fuel consumed in millilitres by a TDI vs 300D in the same course will be different, but the 'delta ratio' between the base and test fuel should be comparable for each vehicle under identical conditions.

well maybe not. Now you've removed the heated tank and thats a part of the equation, well at least in WVO world.


Of course, it's not pristine sterile laboratory test conditions, but it is an easy (if a bit tedious) and inexpensive experiment using simple inexpensive hardware. Heating that graduated tin cup full of VO would likewise be very easy. If the fuel is going through an FPHE prior to IP anyway, then heated vs unheated tank becomes irrelevant.
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Postby coachgeo » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:43 pm

A better diesel test from what I've read is one done under load. roundy roundy a track or neighborhood or.... is not a load even if you stomp on it at measured times.

Best to carry a load. Maybe buckets of water?

To be consistent for comparision purposes make the load a constant % of the vehicles wieght. Say if everyone for comparitive purposes loaded an amount of weight into the vehicle that is equal to 30% of the weight of the GVW of the vehicle?

Still not sure this is reliable or valid enough though.
Last edited by coachgeo on Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby coachgeo » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:55 pm

Lets look into getting something like these guys involved.

http://www.5startuning.com/

I bet that dyno is a canned product. As in some company sells it somewhere soooo find the company and get them to considier having their franchisee's do Veg fuel dyno days in different parts of the country.
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Postby coachgeo » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:39 am

Here is an idea if you can pull your engine for a time period or have some other way to connect a gen set. (pull drive shaft and mount a genset behind the engine via a short shaft.... or pully off of a wheel and run a belt to a gen set head orrr?? )

Testing fuels and blends by connecting to gen set and load
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Postby Burbarian » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:34 pm

Even easier would be to connect a high static load, like a bank of 12v halogen lights driven through a 12v voltage regulator. At constant voltage, the amp draw will be a constant once the bulbs have reached operating temperature. The alternator acts as a generator. With an ammeter in series in conjunction with a voltmeter and a tachometer, you can determine how much current is being provided by the alternator, how much is being drained from the battery. At constant throttle using a turnbuckle, a more energetic fuel will tend to increase RPM at the same throttle setting, and this will be indicated by the tachometer. The constant load imposed on the alternator will act as a corresponding load on the engine, and this will tend reflect a slight shift in the voltage and current balance. No need to disassemble the engine.
1987 GMC Suburban 6.2L V8 IDI
1985 Merc 300TD
1968 CAT D4D 3304 dozer
1971 Waldon 4100 loader
1981 IHI 30F excavator
1995 Changfa 195 w/ ST 10kw genset
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Postby coachgeo » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:19 am

Burbarian wrote:Even easier would be to connect a high static load, like a bank of 12v halogen lights driven through a 12v voltage regulator.
I like this. No.... better said this is AWSOME.

Best suggestion ever heard when discussing this topic. :!:

How much load are you thinking this will put on the engine?

Simular to driving at hwy speeds or.. pulling up a hill... or nothing near that much load? I would think for good testing we would want to simulate idle, mid power band, and the power band one should do highway cruising at. This would require each person to investigate the power band of their vehicle and report their findings matched to the power band.

waittttttt a second.... I think Im getting too excited here. Dont think an alternator can load the engine that much.

Though if we built a kit for say 2&3 cyl Dieselesl, 4cyl Diesels, 5&6 cyl. diesels and 8cyl diesels..... each could could have its own bahamma momma alternator. Mount it on a stand above the engine and run a belt up to it that replaces the OEM alternator. hmmmmm... ok... am I getting too crazy?

....(for a load use ) bank of 12v halogen lights driven through a 12v voltage regulator....
Not sure what you mean by voltage regulater powering the Halgens. Can you explain further?
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Postby SunWizard » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:16 am

Even a 100 amp alternator is only ~1300 watts which is a small load for most engines. There are belt driven AC generators, I have a 4kw one but they are large and tricky to mount. Here is a cheap one:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=45416
It is too heavy to be shipping around.
I have run mine off a belt to an engine, and have thought about hooking it to my mercedes to act as a homebrew dyno and for house power which could also recharge my huge solar battery bank. The other trick to hooking it to a vehicle for home power is adding a governor to hold the RPM constant. For dyno use, I agree a turnbuckle on the throttle would be enough. Running an AC gen like this has another advantage that you could simply hook up a couple large 1500w resistive baseboard heaters, or even the 2 - 1125w heating elements on my CF rig plus some more loads.

It needs either a grooved flat belt or double v-belts to transfer enough power to the gen without slipping.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
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Postby Burbarian » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:22 am

coachgeo wrote:
....(for a load use ) bank of 12v halogen lights driven through a 12v voltage regulator....
Not sure what you mean by voltage regulater powering the Halgens. Can you explain further?


A bank of 12v halogens connected directly will be supplied with a fluctuating voltage source. Resistive loads like light bulbs will draw higher amps when supplied higher voltage, like 14V say. Using a voltage regulator to keep the halogens at 12v will cause their draw amp load to be static, and the set will act as a static ballast. A constant load regardless of supply side voltage. This will allow you to measure supply (alternator) side changes more accurately.
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Postby Burbarian » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:57 am

SunWizard wrote:Even a 100 amp alternator is only ~1300 watts which is a small load for most engines.


Agreed. My suggestion is only good for light load testing of various fuel mixes. It should still be indicative, and with minimum-cost and no shipping-around of massive pieces of expensive hardware.

There are belt driven AC generators, I have a 4kw one but they are large and tricky to mount. Here is a cheap one:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=45416
It is too heavy to be shipping around.


Indeed. I've had my eye on that for quite a while and was considering getting it before I got my used Changfa with a 10kw ST gen head mated to it. Those things are much to heavy to easily ship around.

I have run mine off a belt to an engine, and have thought about hooking it to my mercedes to act as a homebrew dyno and for house power which could also recharge my huge solar battery bank. The other trick to hooking it to a vehicle for home power is adding a governor to hold the RPM constant. For dyno use, I agree a turnbuckle on the throttle would be enough.


I was considering mating that HF gen-head to the suburban to act as a portable AC power supply for site and field use. Turned out it was just easier to mount the changfa onto a trailer and tow it to work sites. With the added advantage of a large fuel tank and storage for tools, hoses, etc. Plus I could decouple the trailer and leave it at the site while the burb goes on supply runs.

A big flywheel is useful for short intermittent high loads, like welding. It also helps for starting large inductive loads like cement mixers or pump/compressor motors. For home use, a governor would be necessary. If you are modifying a vehicle engine to act as a generator, it may be possible to modify a cruise control that is already in place.

Running an AC gen like this has another advantage that you could simply hook up a couple large 1500w resistive baseboard heaters, or even the 2 - 1125w heating elements on my CF rig plus some more loads.

It needs either a grooved flat belt or double v-belts to transfer enough power to the gen without slipping.


Direct connection through a lovejoy coupling is also possible with the ST gen heads. This minimizes belt slippage and losses, increasing efficiency but at the cost of flexibility in the RPM differential between engine and generator.
1987 GMC Suburban 6.2L V8 IDI
1985 Merc 300TD
1968 CAT D4D 3304 dozer
1971 Waldon 4100 loader
1981 IHI 30F excavator
1995 Changfa 195 w/ ST 10kw genset
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Postby coachgeo » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:56 pm

What is rentable in many places that could be used as the load creator? Can you rent invertors and a big industrial fan?

An invertor and set of stadium lights?

A cement mixer that you run by jacking up car, pulling off a tire from the rim and using a big belt in its place off the rim of the tire? (belt part of kit that gets mailed around?)

Something that would be available most anywhere a big rent place exist and would be consistent in loads created rather it be rented from a place in NJ or rented in CA.
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Postby SunWizard » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:55 pm

Anyone who has an iPhone may want to check out this $13 handheld portable dyno program, it gives a lot of interesting info for cheap. It uses the built in accelerometers in the phone.
http://thevog.net/blog/view/id_28/title ... able-dyno/

Another method thats available for free to any of us is to get an accurate stopwatch and a helper and do timed 0-60mph acceleration runs with it floored. This is often done for comparison of different engine mods when you don't have a dyno.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
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