Archive for July 2009

Running on empty?

July 27, 2009

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, but I am officially running the rabbit on used motor oil (as well as vegetable oil). I wasn’t able to find enough vegetable oil (driving 1400 miles a month for work will do that) so I did research regarding other alternative fuels for diesels. Turns out, the rules that govern the use of vegetable oil apply to motor oil. It is simply the viscosity at lower temperatures that you have to work around.

That being said, I think I have been extremely successful in this venture. I’ve been running on motor oil since the middle of May and have seen no major issues. The one minor issue I am fighting with has to do with my starting troubles. I believe I am not purging long enough to get the motor oil out of my engine (as motor oil is designed to lubricate, thus making it difficult to flush completely out of the fuel system).

I’ve been purging much longer recently and having a little better luck starting, but I’m still having trouble. If I drive on diesel for a bit (after purging) then I have no difficulty starting. Since I have a plentiful supply of used motor oil, my decision is to continue running on it. However, I go through diesel faster as I have to purge longer. I might try diluting the motor oil a bit to see if that helps.


Cleaning Injectors…

July 24, 2009

So I’ve been having quite a bit of trouble starting lately. My hunch is that the injectors a dirty but I’m not sure. I used some fuel injector cleaner in my diesel and that helped for a few days but I’m back to issues starting. Today, I used Lubro-Moly which is supposed to be a high-powered cleaner. We’ll see if it starts in the morning…

The General Statistics…

July 15, 2009

So here are some general stats that you all can drool over…

The rabbit I purchased happened to be the “deluxe” version (it’s not like me to brag, but it is the LS edition). The deluxe version also happened to come with the “easy access” front seat belts (it has a shoulder belt, but no lap belt).

When running strictly on diesel, I get about 48 MPG.

I can travel roughly 1300 miles between diesel fill-ups.

When not taking grease into account, I get the average equivalent of 146 MPG on diesel.

I have a separate fuel system for running grease. My coolant system runs through the tank and warms the grease as the engine gets hotter. Once the grease hits a specific temperature (roughly 140 degrees) I flip a switch and start burnin’ the midnight oil.

I have to purge my engine of the grease before I can shut the engine off. Vegetable oil thickens as it cools and clogs the fuel injection pump as well as the injectors.

The Rundown

July 15, 2009

So I’ve decided to start chronicling my dive into the world of alternative fuels. I’m starting this blog a bit late as I’m almost neck deep in this project. However, I’ll bring you all up to speed…

Last July, I purchased a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit (Tan, 4-door, 1.6L Diesel engine) in order to convert it to run on vegetable oil. Paying $4.35/gallon of fuel when you drive 1400 miles a month to and from work helped justify the project. Over Thanksgiving break, a friend and I installed the kit and that next Monday, I was rolling on grease (the slang term for vegetable oil).

I purchased the kit from and it is designed to run straight vegetable oil (known as SVO). I’ve been running on grease for over 7 months now. I’ve had my share of issues (I will chronicle them in separate posts) but it’s been fun every step of the way (and man do I have some stories).

More to come in the following days.