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A funny thing happened to me in 2004 when I came to realize that I was an addict.  Oil, that is.  Black gold; Texas tea.  So the next thing you know, I decided to quit, cold turkey.  I sold my Acura Legend and bought this Jetta Turbo Diesel in April 2004, and I've been running it on 100% BIODIESEL, a fuel made from vegetable oil, ever since!  While running this fuel requires no modifications to the car, the car has now been modified to run on straight vegetable oil (SVO) available for about 50 cents a gallon, and waste oil (WVO) which can be collected for free from restaurants after they are done frying food with it.  This is a 2 tank system: I start the car up on biodiesel, and drive until it's hot (about 5 minutes). I then flip a switch and, like magic, I'm running on a neighborhood restaurant's garbage as fuel. It's an incredible feeling, knowing that you're running on a renewable, homegrown, low emissions fuel - and IT"S FREE!!

All this sound crazy? Too good to be true? Read on...




According to the G-tech performance meter, she goes a little something like this:

135 HP / 185 Torque

15.41 @ 91.7 mph

0 to 60 = 8.1 seconds

Not going to win too many races, but respectable enough for a 4 cylinder diesel, running on free, used vegetable oil, and capable of around 50 MPG. That's cruising at a steady 55 MPH, though. My observed mileage has been 35 to 40 MPG, affected by stop & go driving and the weight of my right foot. It's quite a feeling to know you're running on someone else's garbage...



The Conversion: This car uses a modified version of the Fattywagons system. 3 unique things really set this system apart:

1. The custom made A-1 filter was designed from the beginning to be a vegetable oil filter, with hot engine coolant circulating in a jacket around the oil. Most kits use a diesel fuel filter with copper tubing wrapped around it for heat.

2. The electric injector line heaters that reheat the oil to over 200 degrees right before it's injected into the engine.

3. A vacuum gauge that shows how dirty the filter is, so I know when it's going to be time to change it. Here is a shot of the engine with the A-1 Vegetable Oil Filter, new air filter, and auxiliary fuel hoses.


Close up of the A-1 Vegetable Oil Filter and the new air filter with custom made intake pipe.


Controls: They couldn't just be functional - they had to look good, too. While Rich installed the filters and tank, I wired up these VDO gauges and fuel tank switch. Fuel level is on the left, and on the right is a vacuum gauge so I'll know when the A-1 filter is getting dirty and needs to be changed.


Night shot - Of course it's all lit with matching red LED's and wired into the dimmer switch with the rest of the dash lights...


Here are the injector line heaters, insulated with orange high temperature silicone & tape. This reheats the oil to over 200 degrees F right before injection, to insure lower viscosity and proper fuel atomization.


Former home of my spare tire - now my 15 gallon vegetable oil tank. Still room for the jack and toolkit, plus spare filter element for the A-1. I'm working on finding a small "donut" style spare to put in the trunk.


BACK TO THE FUTURE: Remember the fusion car in that movie that ran on banana peels and other garbage? Here it is in reality! My "WASTE" tank brings us back to Rudolph Diesel's original idea, summed up in his prophetic words of 1912:

"The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today, but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal-tar products of the present time."

That was almost 100 years ago, and we're now just starting to rediscover that we can drive on vegetables instead of petroleum - and for FREE...


Mom now owns a 2002 Jetta TDI wagon!!  She logged 10,000 miles in 1 month (June 2005) driving around the country, and never had to go below 50% biodiesel in the tank.  Looks like clean, renewable, American made fuel is catching on everywhere... Once the warranty is up she'll be going SVO.


My 1981 VW Rabbit Pickup Truck. Born as a diesel and already running B100 pure biodiesel, this will be an easy conversion to Veg oil since it's an older, mechanical, indirect injection engine. No computers, maybe 10 wires - they sure don't make them like this anymore...



My 1970 Datsun 1600 Roadster. Purists are gonna hate this, but my plan to ressurrect my baby as a vegetable oil burning diesel. With a Volkswagen Turbo Diesel engine mated to a 5 speed Toyota trans, it will be faster than the original gas engine, and I'll be smiling as I speed off into the sunset, top down, getting 45 - 50 mpg on free veggie oil, and you are all paying $4 a gallon for dead dinosaur juice. Oh, you didn't think gasoline was going to get any CHEAPER, did you?...

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