125K miles on WVO in a 2005 TDI-PD

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125K miles on WVO in a 2005 TDI-PD

Postby chasee » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:18 am

Alternative title: WVO some more-My Happy Greaser Story

Executive summary: It works perfectly if you adhere to strict procedure and NEVER vary from it. Even so, the engine could blow up at any time, or I could just be the luckiest guy on earth.


In late summer 2005, I purchased a brand new VW Golf GLS 5 speed, loaded. A couple weeks later I had a Greasecar kit installed by Daryl Beck. At the time he worked out of the Greasecar location in Easthampton MA. He now has his own shop in Greenfield MA; Evergreen Motors.

Everyone said I was a mad man, taking a $20K car and putting this goofy french-fry juice kit in it, voiding most of the warranty, and ensuring that it would blow up in my face in a few thousand miles. Everyone said the Pumpe Duse engine could not handle WVO due to the high pressure unit injectors. Or the WVO would cause buildup on the injectors which would cause them to stream and blow up my cylinders real good. Or the catalytic converter would get somehow destroyed. Or the space time continuum would be torn asunder, much worse than when the new HADRON super collider goes online and sucks the planet into a black hole. Unless the transition to the afterlife is totally seamless, looks like none of that has occurred.

Now, to be fair, there were those who warned against the possible problems I might encounter in an honest, pragmatic, and non-judgmental fashion. To those people, I tip my hat, for if it was not for them, I might not have been as anal retentive as I was. Its ok to warn people about the risks. Its not ok to be a hostile baboon who flings feces at anyone who violates their territory. Its not ok to rip a WVO system out of an unsuspecting customer’s car, sending her away in tears. Its not ok to rip a WVO system out of another car and then shoot holes in the tank with a rifle. Its not ok to belittle people for having even considered WVO. Behavior like that is quite simply…infantile. Maybe grow up?

First off, my filtering setup.


That is a panorama picture stitched together. Black drums on casters are the "dirty" oil. Conical bottom tank is the baking soda treatment. White plastic drums are the Stage 2 filtered oil. White plastic drum with hand crank gas pump is the Stage 3 "finished" oil. So to review:

1) Pour collected oil through 100 micron pail strainer, then into "dirty" drum. You don’t have to strain it, but it just means slower gunk buildup on bottom of drum.

2) After dirty drum has settled for weeks, heat to 150 for a day with band heater and insulation, run through filter into conical tank, drawing from top down to bottom third of drum. Do not take from bottom third of drum. You can gradually feed the hose in from the top as you filter, or install a bulkhead just above the lowest ring on the drum.

3) Mix in 5 cups of baking soda with a paint mixer for a minute or two while oil is still hot. (Why 5? Voodoo, that’s why. Use however much you want)

4) Allow conical tank to cool slowly while insulated for at least a week.

5) Heat conical tank to 100 with bucket immersion heater and run through filter into next empty second stage white plastic drum. Keep heater suspended above the baking soda/spooge line which is visible through tank wall, you don’t want to stir that crap up.

6) Drain baking soda/fat spooge from bottom of conical tank sometime before next fill. Use a spatula on a stick to get it all to drain out rather than stick to the walls.

7) After settling for weeks, heat second stage to 130 with band heater and insulation for a day, run through filter taking from top down to bottom third, into the "finished" drum.

The more drums you have per stage, the more settling time for each drum.

The reason I have a whole house water filter in series with my industrial bag filter housing is because I like redundancy. Logically, it is unnecessary. But my OCD demands it.

I’m yet to be convinced on home centrifuges.

My car.

Totally stock. No performance enhancing drugs. Same goes for the kit. No FPHE, no supplemental electric heat, no block heater, no computer control unit. Just a vanilla Greasecar kit circa 2005 with a copper coil in the WVO tank. Well, OK, a little while ago I installed a very high end Alpine stereo system with Sirius, nav, amps, capacitors, sub. Visually low key and sound quality over volume. Howard Stern never sounded so good, and being able to pause it while I go into the store or a meeting is awesome. Oh yea, music sounds pretty good too. F-Jackie.

Here’s my regimen:

Never switch to WVO until stock engine temp gauge hits 190.

Always purge for a full 30 seconds if there is any chance of stopping the car long enough for it to start cooling down to any extent. At 15 second mark I quickly switch back to WVO for a moment, then back to purge for the remaining 13-14 seconds. This makes sure that there is not that little plug of WVO between the looped return T and the solenoids. (Its all in the details.) Do this purge so that when done I still have about a mile of driving on straight diesel.

Never vary from those two points…EVER.

Change my engine oil every 5K instead of the factory recommended 10K.

Change my WVO fuel filter every 10K. It never seems to clog, but I do it anyway.

When I change my WVO fuel filter, I fill it with Lubromolly Diesel Purge. Since my WVO return fuel loop T’s in after the WVO filter, this means I get to mainline the Diesel Purge for a good bit of time.

Never leave WVO tank empty such that copper coil is exposed to air. Yes, on a long trip I might run it dry, but as soon as I get home I fill the tank.

Some investigation.

At 106K I had a Blackstone oil test. In the beginning I had several, then I stopped when things seemed nice and stable. This newest sample resulted in the Blackstone tech picking my brain since it was the cleanest WVO user sample he has ever seen with this kind of mileage. He said that he is usually the one to test the WVO user samples.

At 107K I was experiencing a general feeling of less power. I pulled my EGR, and then learned all about intake manifold clogging on TDI’s. Chris Hill from Kraftwerk came over and we swapped out my intake. Mine was about 40% clogged, and Chris said this was expected from any TDI after 100K. The buildup was not at all different from what would be found in a non-WVO TDI. This was a big nail in the coffin for the naysayers. We did an EGR delete at that time too. No need to clean the intake again.

112K, I replaced the 02 sensor that is between the catalytic converter and the engine. Daryl Beck at Evergreen helped me do this at his shop. While the sensor was out, we used his digital scope to take a look at the CAT and the turbo from the inside. Here are the pics:



That CAT is even cleaner than you would expect from a non-WVO TDI. The turbo blades were spotless. Its simply amazing how absolutely wrong the naysayers were. Maybe if there was a little buildup in the exhaust, or the buildup in the intake was rock hard polymerized WVO, or I had to service my injectors due to clogging, or something…anything. But no, nothing, nada, zero point zero, zippo, and oogatz. Makes me wonder how many other subjects these supposed “experts” and “gurus” are wrong about… (change 20 timing belts in one day, perhaps?)

118K, replaced Intake Flap Motor, Cam Position Sensor, and Waste Gate Solenoid. Nothing WVO-related, just typical crap with VW.

120K, seemed to be running a tiny bit rough. Nobody else could notice it and they thought I was crazy, but I could. Horrible images of my injectors finally clogging up haunted my sleep. Oh, wait, it was consistently below 0 out during that time. Things warmed up a bit, car runs perfectly now, and everyone still thinks I’m crazy.

Some observations and thoughts.

I did change my WVO return loop T to after the WVO filter. In 2005, Greasecar changed to instructing you to T in before. They did this because they felt that having the return WVO go through the filter again would let it pickup more heat and filter out any theoretical particles picked up inside the engine. The problem with this is that the filter did not get backflushed with diesel when purging. So the filter would cool with WVO in it. It seems that the cooling WVO would somehow react with the filter medium and cause the pores to clog up with something that did not re-melt. Filters would last maybe 2K at best. I spoke with Fleetguard about this and they confirmed that the cooling WVO created some kind of wax buildup in the pores that did not re-melt. After changing the T to “after”, my filters certainly last at least 10K. I suspect much longer, but I like to do my Diesel Purge treatment every 10K.

In my perfect system, I would have 3 solenoids. This way, while driving, the return WVO would go through the filter again, but when purging the filter would get backflushed with diesel. Kit makers should offer this option since its just one more solenoid. I think Frybrid already does. I may finally do this just because I’m like that.

That copper coil and polymerization.

I concede that, in the best case scenario, a stainless steel coil and stainless steel fittings at the solenoids would be desirable. My coil developed a thin coating of poly that has stayed stable since the very beginning. Once in a while it throws a scab of poly, which the filter catches nicely. A little while back, when rerouting and cleaning up my fuel line placement, I discovered that the inside of the stock stainless fuel lines on the valve cover had a thin coating of poly inside them. This freaked me out, since this was after the filter. I ran two tanks of B100 and it seemed to get rid of most of it. Would I like not to have to even worry about this? Sure. But those lines are stainless and the poly was there none the less. Is this an argument for making sure the return WVO goes through the filter again? Kinda yea. So this is why I still plan on a third solenoid.

Heating the whole WVO tank.

This is where I think there is a market for a big change in the typical WVO kit. Heating the whole WVO tank to 190F, then having it cool, then heating it again, is what very much accelerates polymerization, regardless of the metal used for the coil. Yes, some kits have “heated pickups” or Hotfoxes. Those simply heat the tank more slowly. Physics dictates that unless the tank is losing heat faster than heat is being introduced, the tank will ultimately reach the same temp as the coolant. Most people have their tanks in the spare tire well or in the cabin, so this means they are pretty well insulated. Have a heated pickup? Go for a 1-2 hour drive and take the temp of your tank. I bet it’s the same temp as your engine coolant.

My solution to this is a solenoid controlled coolant bypass at the tank. A computer control unit like the ones offered by Greasecar and Frybrid could easily handle another temp input to control this valve. Once tank hits 100F, coolant is bypassed right before the tank so that the hose-in-hose heated fuel line still receives heat, but the tank does not. Simple and elegant solution. Come on kit makers, step up with this already, its unprofessional not to at least offer the option.

That cam-shaft premature wear problem with BEW engines. Well, since my oil reports have not shown high wear metals, I can only assume I’m not yet experiencing that. Maybe, just maybe, my 5K OCI has had the added effect of preventing this problem from occurring. That would be ironic… WVO saving me from a pricey engine repair. :D

Now, am I a typical tinkerer who decided to go WVO and has realized great success? Hell no. I’m an anal retentive kook extraordinaire. My car looks better than the day it came off the showroom floor. The engine bay is spotless. The undercarriage and wheel wells are spotless. There is not a drop of WVO outside the tank. There is no WVO smell anywhere in or around the car. Put my car on a lift and I will spend hours finding little things to clean or fix or tweak. I never cut corners with my grease. I AM NOT NORMAL. Basically its like this: WVO is like SCUBA. In SCUBA, you either follow the rules 100%, or you die. There is no 99%. I swear, if I hear of another WVO tale of woe, only to discover the person was using a turkey fryer and old jeans legs to filter, or a crappy kit that does not purge properly, I’m gonna lose my mind. WTF, people, if this is your mindset, go find another hobby. And to anyone who even entertains the thought of going to Lovecraft for a WVO system…oh never mind. ;)

2005 Golf GLS PD-TDI, 5-speed. Grease Car kit installed right off the lot when brand new. Running on WVO about 85% of the time.
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 8:07 pm

Postby BMW Fan » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:55 am

Many thanks for your excellent report

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Postby knoxbiobenz » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:54 pm

Thanks for the informative update.
That is truly inspiring for me, a beginner in this endeavor.

1995 Dodge Cummins 2500, 194,xxx miles
2- Tank System Designed from Sun's
25,000 VO miles

1984 MB 300D- Sold
1983 MB 300TD- Sold
1980 MB 300SD- Sold
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Postby chasee » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:43 am

If you decide to design in the coolant bypass at the tank idea, consider this added benefit: safety in an accident if your tank is in the cabin. Most vehicles have the tank in the cabin/spare tire well. In a bad accident, imagine 190F oil spewing all over you. This scenario does indeed haunt me.
2005 Golf GLS PD-TDI, 5-speed. Grease Car kit installed right off the lot when brand new. Running on WVO about 85% of the time.
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: 125K miles on WVO in a 2005 TDI-PD

Postby David » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:19 pm

chasee wrote:Alternative title: WVO some more-My Happy Greaser Story

I swear, if I hear of another WVO tale of woe, only to discover the person was using a turkey fryer and old jeans legs to filter, or a crappy kit that does not purge properly, I’m gonna lose my mind. WTF, people, if this is your mindset, go find another hobby.


I read the "Alternative Title" and knew this was written by a person with a mindset I fully agree with.

I am sick to death of reading links to the story your alternative title is based on which has become the definitive Naysayers excuse for not running veg. Even though to anyone with a bit of mechanical knowledge, the flaws in what the incompetent twits did with that car and the assumptions they made are completely laughable and the end of the long winded posts do clarify this somewhat, Most tend to ignore these things and hold it out as the gloom and doom of veg use mantra.

I am a little different to yourself in that I haven't followed the Veg gospel and somewhat gone against the grain with what I have done, but my car continues to perform brilliantly and I have yet to have an iota of the trouble that seems to plague so many with their complex systems when mine is so straightforward and simple. There are certain things I don't compromise on however that many dispute are unimportant, yet I do these things and I continue to have no trouble so Like yourself, I think I have found a workable and reliable formula I'm going to stick to.

I couldn't agree more with you that some people should find another hobby and just plain should never even contemplate playing with Veg. There are people that are hard pressed to drive a nail into a pice of wood without bending it and they then want to start making all sorts of modifications to their cars and playing around with things that pose a danger to themselves and others. As soon as these people have a problem like getting a flat tyre, It's always the fault of the Veg, never their own incompetence, corner cutting or stupidity.

Anyway, enough ranting, Thank you for one of the most enjoyable and well written reads I have had the pleasure of viewing for some time.
It is just rewards your efforts have paid off so well and I am sure will always continue to do so.
I wish you all the best for your future endeavors which I know will be as successful as this one and deservedly so.

I don't give a damn about what might or could happen until a significant group of people can tell me it HAS happened to them.
Until then, it's just more endless gloom and doom Veg folk law.
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