Polymerization in WVO

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

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Re: Polymerization in WVO

Postby MikeGoodman59 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:22 am

SunWizard wrote:
MikeGoodman59 wrote:What do you say about no more than 20 gal in 60 gal tank unless on long trips to avoid oxidation due to oxidation and prolonged exposure to heat? OR ... is it better to keep full to avoid O2 at risk of prolonged heating? Heated pick up is where most the heat resides. Tank is TREKKER from GFS.

Too hard to choose, since there are too many variables, like temp.of WVO in the tank, age and amount of use of WVO (measure FFA), how long it sits versus how much you drive, how much it splashes around in the part full tank. In most cases keeping it full is better since less air and less splashing inside, and lower temp in the tank since its more mass that get less heat transfer into it with short trips.

The easy thing I do is to smell every tank each time I open it, and each stored barrel. If you get a paint smell you know you have a problem and need to change something. Or if you start to get filter plugging problems.


1) Just learning to quote you. Hope it's not too long. Will keep 2/3 to full.
2) Will smell each time, but I usually smell nothing out of order. My snout's not really that well-calibrated. Oil-based paint, huh?
3) I've not changed any WVO filters in a LONG time. Even longer for D2. Last time I changed WVO was just because I was going from NC to IA. Pressure was fine, just did it for the trip.
Mike Goodman
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Re: Polymerization in WVO

Postby vegnomad » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:57 am

SunWizard wrote: Here is an easy, cheap test for FFA that takes a few seconds:
WVO science project, FFA, standards and water testing


I read through this linked forum looking for the cheap FFA test, but did not see it. Did I miss it? The entire forum was about damaged engines...
'98 Dodge 2500 12v cummins - in process of WVO conversion
2003 Jetta TDI - future conversion planned
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3M test strips

Postby vegnomad » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:31 am

Sunwizard, I think you mentioned you have experience with 3M test strips?

Do you use the normal range (2%-7%), or low range (1%-2.5%). Also, the datasheet recommends testing between 325-400 degF. Do you know if you can get results from testing cooler, even cold oil?

What is your method for determining/measuring the <3% FFA? I would like to test oil before I take if from the source.

thx
'98 Dodge 2500 12v cummins - in process of WVO conversion
2003 Jetta TDI - future conversion planned
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Re: Polymerization in WVO

Postby John Galt » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:58 pm

MikeGoodman59 wrote:T...
What do you say about no more than 20 gal in 60 gal tank unless on long trips to avoid oxidation due to oxidation and prolonged exposure to heat? OR ... is it better to keep full to avoid O2 at risk of prolonged heating? Heated pick up is where most the heat resides. Tank is TREKKER from GFS. ...


The cases of extreme polymerization I've seen were in heated steel tanks, containing wet 'acidic' 100% "WVO", and lots of air.

This can be minimized if the UVO is neutral, [i.e. it won't make a dull penny bright], dry [<500ppm water], 10% kerosene added as an inhibitor, and the tank kept full to minimize airspace.
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Re: Polymerization in WVO

Postby SunWizard » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:34 am

vegnomad wrote:
SunWizard wrote: Here is an easy, cheap test for FFA that takes a few seconds:
WVO science project, FFA, standards and water testing


I read through this linked forum looking for the cheap FFA test, but did not see it. Did I miss it? The entire forum was about damaged engines...

That thread got split in 2 and renamed, here it is now:ffa tests
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
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Re: 3M test strips

Postby SunWizard » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:43 am

vegnomad wrote:Sunwizard, I think you mentioned you have experience with 3M test strips?

Do you use the normal range (2%-7%), or low range (1%-2.5%). Also, the datasheet recommends testing between 325-400 degF. Do you know if you can get results from testing cooler, even cold oil?

What is your method for determining/measuring the <3% FFA? I would like to test oil before I take if from the source.

I use both ranges. Yes it works when cooler but is slow. See that thread for how I use and lots more info.
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: Polymerization in WVO

Postby VegiCamper » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:06 am

The steel WVO tank in the van I bought is full of poly. Walls covered with hard black 'chicken skin' that can be peeled off like thick oil paint, bottom blank steel under about 2 inches of fluffy cake pieces of soft poly swimming in murky oil.
I don't know how well the PO selected / filtered his oil.
I think it was installed 5 years ago, he said he drove only about 10'000 miles in 5 years. Before I bought it he didn't drive on VO for about 6 months, and the tank was empty getting heated up every time he drove. He doesn't answer calls/email.

Do you think it is worth the considerable effort to scrape it off and clean the tank just to see it polymerize again, or should I assume this is waste of time and just buy a (aluminum?) tank, with considerable cost for fabrication to the size and shape I need etc?

Bonus question: before knowing of the poly I had filled the tank with pristine 1micron filtered VO for about a month. I pumped it out. Can I refilter and use it or is it somehow doomed to some chemical chain reaction once contaminated with the poly in the tank and could possibly spread that chain reaction to my other oil in my home filtration system?
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Re: Polymerization in WVO

Postby SunWizard » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:30 pm

VegiCamper wrote:Do you think it is worth the considerable effort to scrape it off and clean the tank just to see it polymerize again, or should I assume this is waste of time and just buy a (aluminum?) tank, with considerable cost for fabrication to the size and shape I need etc?

Thats very hard to say, since it depends on what your time is worth to clean versus cost of a better tank. If you can get the old poly very cleaned off and only use very dewatered VO, its possible to get steel to work OK.

Bonus question: before knowing of the poly I had filled the tank with pristine 1micron filtered VO for about a month. I pumped it out. Can I refilter and use it or is it somehow doomed to some chemical chain reaction once contaminated with the poly in the tank and could possibly spread that chain reaction to my other oil in my home filtration system?

It could be refiltered and used if the FFA is still low. The test strips mentioned in this thread may be worth using to try to save that VO, but I wouldn't use it without a test. If you don't combine it with the rest of your VO, it shouldn't spread to it simply by having some poly flakes in your filter system, and you could change the filter after the bad batch is through to avoid that. It may clog more filters than the VO is worth.

A bigger problem is you may have poly in other steel places in your vehicle like IP, pumps, tubes or other filters, which is worth checking for.
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: Polymerization in WVO

Postby VegiCamper » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:17 pm

SunWizard wrote:
VegiCamper wrote:Do you think it is worth the considerable effort to scrape it off and clean the tank just to see it polymerize again, or should I assume this is waste of time and just buy a (aluminum?) tank, with considerable cost for fabrication to the size and shape I need etc?

Thats very hard to say, since it depends on what your time is worth to clean versus cost of a better tank. If you can get the old poly very cleaned off and only use very dewatered VO, its possible to get steel to work OK.


OK, I take that as an encouragement to try and clean the steel tank and see how it performs with my own oil. Mine is filtered to 1 Micron and thoroughly dewatered.

SunWizard wrote:
VegiCamper wrote:Before knowing of the poly I had filled the tank with pristine 1micron filtered VO for about a month. I pumped it out. Can I refilter and use it or is it somehow doomed to some chemical chain reaction once contaminated with the poly in the tank and could possibly spread that chain reaction to my other oil in my home filtration system?

It could be refiltered and used if the FFA is still low. The test strips mentioned in this thread may be worth using to try to save that VO, but I wouldn't use it without a test. If you don't combine it with the rest of your VO, it shouldn't spread to it simply by having some poly flakes in your filter system, and you could change the filter after the bad batch is through to avoid that. It may clog more filters than the VO is worth.

A bigger problem is you may have poly in other steel places in your vehicle like IP, pumps, tubes or other filters, which is worth checking for.


Sounds like I rather not risk putting that poly contaminated oil into my garage filtration system as it is unavoidable to mix it with the rest of my VO in there. It works so well (over 2 years the same final 1 Micron filter sock at the end) that I probably better give these 5 cubies to a recycler/renderer ...

Poly in the rest of the van's system does not seem to be a problem, as the system (and the engine) worked well even at high speeds right after changing the filters. I had fuel starvation symptoms when the poly from the tank started to clog up the filters again.

So, right now I'll clean the tank and all systems/filters as best I can. To reduce other poly factors, following our conversation in the other thread I'll also try to install a coolant bypass in the next few weeks so that I can turn off the heat to the tank when not needed.
Should I use the chemical you mentioned earlier in this thread or wait to see if it works without? Unfortunately opening the tank to look inside how it's doing in a few weeks would be rather time consuming and cumbersome.

What I didn't fully understand is whether the unavoidable remnants of poly in the tank even after cleaning will trigger the poly chain reaction with the steel walls faster than the two weeks in which I would possibly use up the next tank of oil?
As mentioned above it looks like the poly does not stick to the tank bottom which probably is always wet with oil; I wonder if it doesn't form at the bottom because under permanent oil cover, or if it forms poly but gets coagulated in cakes swimming, not sticking to the bottom.
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Re: Polymerization in WVO

Postby SunWizard » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:27 pm

VegiCamper wrote:Should I use the chemical you mentioned earlier in this thread or wait to see if it works without? Unfortunately opening the tank to look inside how it's doing in a few weeks would be rather time consuming and cumbersome.
It should be fine if you dont leave the VO in there for too long, time is the very easy to control variable.
What I didn't fully understand is whether the unavoidable remnants of poly in the tank even after cleaning will trigger the poly chain reaction with the steel walls faster than the two weeks in which I would possibly use up the next tank of oil?

No, and its not likely to happen in 2 weeks unless you have old, bad VO. Testing by stick your nose in and smell when first opening any tank or stored VO is the easy way to tell.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
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