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  • Thinking of using Veg-oil ?

    Use of Vegetable oils in a Diesel Engined Surf

    Can I use veg oil in my Surf?

    The official Toyota answer would be no, unofficially many would say yes.

    Firstly a disclaimer. The following information is the result of much research via the internet into the experience of others experimenting with the use of bio fuels, personal experimentation using veg-oil/Diesel blends, and the anecdotal evidence of other Surf owners on the forum.

    Remember, Toyota has not designed your engine to use such alternative fuels. There is very little large scale data available to scientifically prove any of the information or details provided here. This is in essence a world wide experiment by thousands of enthusiasts in a completely unorganised, uncoordinated manner. All detail etc is offered in good faith, without guarantee of accuracy.

    Any action you take as a result of reading information here or elsewhere is entirely at your own risk. Neither the author of this article, or any forum, bulletin board, or other media hosting, processing, distributing, or in any other manner associating with this article, accept any responsibility for any actions taken as a result of anything contained herein.

    Please note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive paper on the subject, but merely an introduction to what is a huge topic, with many branches and theories.

    A little history….

    The invention of the diesel engine is credited to Dr Rudolf Diesel. Having filed for a patent in 1892 his first working engine was completed the following year. By 1897 he had developed a suitable practical version with the incredible efficiency of 75% (Steam engine for example were around 10%). In 1898 he demonstrated his compression ignition engine to the exhibition fair in Paris. This demonstration engine ran on peanut oil. Some of his earlier prototypes had run on coal dust using compressed air to inject it.

    Dr Diesel envisaged an engine using plant oils, as demonstrated by one of his more famous quotes… “The use of plant oil as fuel may seem insignificant today. But such products can in time become just as important as kerosene and these coal-tar-products of today.

    Up to the 1920’s these engines were primarily used in static applications and for marine purposes and continued to use plant oils as their primary fuel. Then with the help of the oil industry, the design of the engines fuel injection system was altered to enable them to use a less viscous fuel in a more compact injection process, a residue from the manufacture of petrol, this residue we now know of course as “Diesel”.

    So how about using veg oil in a Diesel engine today?

    Theoretically this is still OK, but some of the changes designed to enable use of “Diesel” fuel may hamper this ideal.

    There are two primary obstacles to the use of veg oil today (or more if you count the car manufacturers, oil industry and governments). Firstly it is a far more viscous (thicker) liquid than the fuel you normally use, and secondly it will gel far more readily than petroleum fuels.

    Well the first obstacle, that of higher viscosity leads us to consider the type of injection pump on the engine. Broadly speaking there are two types in use on the vast majority of diesel engines today. Bosch and Lucas/Cav designs. Of these the Bosch* has proved itself far more robust and capable when using higher viscosity oils, thankfully the pump on the Surf although not manufactured by Bosch, is based on one of their designs and also appears to be proving capable of using veg-oil The Lucas/Cav pumps have been shown to be prone to failure for a variety of reasons under various conditions when used with high ratios of veg-oil. Possible reasons and potential cures for the Lucas/Cav issue are beyond the scope of this article, as they are not relevant to the Surf.

    OK, so the pump appears to handle the oil, what next? Well just because it can handle it is not the end of the story. The thicker fuel will not spray from the fuel nozzles in exactly the same pattern as the diesel fuel did. The colder the oil, the greater the difference there will be in this pattern. This spray pattern has been carefully designed to ensure a number of things, efficient burning of the fuel and minimising coking of the various components being among the primary considerations. Any alteration in this spray pattern can have a negative impact on these requirements.

    To overcome the problems posed by the increased viscosity of the veg-oil, many solutions have been tried. These involve either modifying the oil to reduce its viscosity, or modifying the fuel system to accept the greater viscosity.

    Modifying the oil splits further into two main groups, reducing the viscosity by adding other ingredients or chemically converting it into Biodiesel. Converting it to Biodiesel produces a fuel which can be used in virtually any modern diesel engine without further modification. Whilst it is a process which can be done at home, it does involve the use of potentially dangerous chemicals and is beyond the scope of this article. Adding other ingredients to lower the viscosity is the method favoured by many Surf owners, the other ingredients range from white spirit to unleaded petrol to diesel fuel, and other liquids. I firmly believe the best ingredient to use is diesel fuel. The others have not been as well proved to be viable long term alternatives, and bring with them many other issues including increased volatility and the potential to damage fuel system components.

    The other route is to modify the fuel system. This will involve heating the veg-oil to reduce its viscosity. Various methods have been proposed including utilising exhaust heat, engine coolant heat & electrical methods. The exhaust is generally ruled out as it cannot be easily controlled, and could under certain circumstances lead to overheating of the fuel or even fire. Virtually all will employ engine coolant to heat the fuel via a heat exchanger and many will supplement this with a degree of electrical heating. This electrical portion is often used only until the engine reaches operating temperature, at which point it may be turned off, with the heated engine coolant performing the task of heating the fuel. These types of conversions usually involve fitting a second tank to enable the engine to start and shut down on diesel fuel, this ensures it does not consume any veg-oil until it has been heated sufficiently, and that there is diesel in the fuel lines prior to every start. Many manufactures offer kits to convert diesel to such twin tank systems with varying degrees of complexity. One company, Elsbett in Germany even offer a conversion which enable you to run on 100% veg-oil, including at start-up etc, without the need for a second tank.

    * Note: Some newer design Bosch pumps are very similar to the Lucas design and have been shown to be unsuitable for use with veg-oil, These later types are not currently known to be used by Toyota.

    .............................. ......................... Cont.......................... .........................
    Last edited by Morr; 2 March 2006, 08:59.
    Hilux Surf FAQ at www.hiluxsurf.eu

  • #2
    .............................. ......................... Cont.......................... .........................

    The method favoured by most Surf owners appears to be simply mixing veg-oil with diesel.

    Before staring to experiment with this you should first ensure that your Surf is in otherwise good running order, particularly with regard to the fuel system. If you have any leaks or indeed any suspicions regarding the condition of your fuel system, have them properly checked by a competent person before commencing. You should also change your fuel filter and have another on standby, as the veg-oil can have a tendency to lift any dirt or sludge accumulated on the bottom of your tank, this could quickly block even a new filter.

    At this point you are kind of on your own, different engines will tend to accept differing levels, this will be due to many factors including ambient temperature and overall wear and condition of the engine and its fuel system. In warmer weather, say above 14°C, many users have found up to 50% or greater quantities of veg-oil may be used. At temps of 20°C I have used 80% veg-oil without difficulty. In colder weather, around 6°C during the daytime, 0°C at night I have started and run first thing in the morning with 20% veg-oil without difficulty.

    It’s all about experimentation. Try adding about 12 Litres to your tank (assuming a 60L tank, this is 20%) and top up to full with diesel, see how it runs, check it starts well from cold and does not exhibit any lumpiness or uneven running, if all is well then on your next tank try increasing to say 15 Litres and so on.

    Ideally you should add the oil to a near empty tank and then fill up with diesel, this way the higher flow rate of the diesel being added from the pump will help ensure they mix more thoroughly, this also ensure you know exactly how much veg-oil you have, as you do not have to add the percentage remaining in the tank to that you have just added to calculate your overall ratio.

    Don’t forget that if you settle on say 50% during the summer months, you should reduce it during the winter to avoid the risk of gelling. Remember gelling was mentioned above? This is where both diesel and veg-oil will at lower temperatures have altered viscosity. Initially they will reach what is called their cloud point, where they become opaque (you can’t see thru them) at this point the viscosity will rise greatly, reduce the temperature even further and they reach a gel point, as the name suggests, they turn into a jelly like substance which you can forget about using. To prevent this during the winter months, the oil companies add winterising, or anti-gelling agents to their fuel, and for the same reasons you may have to use a higher ratio of diesel fuel in the colder months. Once again the level required is down to experimentation.

    A reasonable level of veg-oil use would appear to range from 50% in the summer to 20% in the winter.

    Another point to note, use of any fuel in a moving vehicle requires the payment of various duties in most countries. Using veg-oil without paying such duties would be a similar (if not the same) offence as using rebated diesel such as Red or Green diesel.

    In the UK you can register with C&E, which if done correctly (with no help from them of course) will result in your paying a reduced rate of duty on your more environmentally friendly fuel. * See Edit below

    I must emphasise again that you use any alternative fuel entirely at your own risk. You should research the topic and satisfy yourself that you understand what you are doing and the possible results before proceeding.

    Remember too the many, many advantages of using these more alternatively friendly fuels, be it…

    SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil) – Regular Veg oil from your supermarket

    PPO (Pure Plant Oil) – Basically the same as SVO, often prepared specifically for vehicle use.

    WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) – Old oil from restaurants etc, filtered, de-acidified, washed etc.

    Biodiesel – Fuel manufactured by a chemical process called transesterification

    Your choice of fuel can help reduce your countries dependence on imports and the oil producing nations and improve its balance of payments.

    Provide more employment in your home country, thru increased use of set aside land and local oil production facilities.

    Have a neutral impact on CO2 emissions as the quantity of CO2 emitted when burned is consumed by the replacement plant during its growth cycle.

    Substantially reduce the emission of carcinogenic and other noxious particles.

    So using veg-oil in place of diesel is not just good for your wallet, its good for your countries economics, and better for the environment. You, your country, and everyone on the planet stands to benefit if sufficient numbers of people make the switch.

    Edit 20/1/06

    It would appear that the UK C&E are now refusing to accept the use of SVO as qualifing for the reduced rates of duty. See further down this thread and also this thread

    If using SVO, any type of veg-oil will do, Sunflower, Rapeseed, Maize, Corn etc etc. Just use the cheapest as there is little real difference.

    Addition 27/1/06

    In response to a question on another thread......

    What to do if your fuel mix has gelled due to low temperatures....

    This would depend on just how cold it is and how throughly the fuel has gelled.

    Initially the fuel in the lines and pump would gel. More extreme cold could cause the fuel in the tank to gel, in which case there is no quick way to heat it enough to reverse the gelling.

    If you suspect the fuel in the lines has gelled, get a kettle of hot water and pour it slowly over your injector lines, fuel pump and any other fuel lines accessible within the engine bay (or use a hair dryer - do not use a heat gun). Then cycle the glow plugs 2 or 3 times, this should enable it to start. Let it idle for at least 5 to 10 minutes after this to ensure all is well, as if the fuel in the tank had gelled this method will probably still allow it to start, but it could later die when it cannot draw the gelled fuel from the tank. Leaving it idle for a while to begin to use the fuel in the tank (and recirculate hot fuel back to the tank) will help ensure it does not die whilst on your journey.
    Last edited by Morr; 27 January 2006, 10:12.
    Hilux Surf FAQ at www.hiluxsurf.eu


    • #3
      Nice one mate.


      • #4
        looks like a good summary - copying into MS Word, then i can pretend I am writing my report this afternoon!, whilst reading it!
        Landcruiser Colorado
        Sub. Forester


        • #5
          wouldn't it be great if it was put in the FAQ section!!... but then i guess no-one would read it!
          nee nar nee nar, i'm a fire engine!


          • #6
            You've just answered all the questions that I was about to ask!
            Thanks for taking the time to point toward a greener direction.
            It's nice to be nice.
            You aint seen me, right


            • #7
              Originally posted by Matt the Cat
              You've just answered all the questions that I was about to ask!
              Thanks for taking the time to point toward a greener direction.
              It's nice to be nice.
              Glad to be of help, I decided to try and put as much information as possible together in one place, as the questions have been asked so often the information is scattered all over the forum and getting harder to locate. The mods have kindly agreed to make this a sticky so hopefully we can keep all the info readily available to all by continuing to add it to this thread.
              Hilux Surf FAQ at www.hiluxsurf.eu


              • #8
                can i just add... http://www.vegetableoildiesel.co.uk/forum/index.php
                a veggie oil forum
                it's in me shed, mate.


                • #9
                  veg oil as fuel

                  Before i owned my surf i owned a 1996 pajero exceed which i ran on 40% veg oil 60% diesel mix, I covered around 5000 miles in 4 monthes. The paj seemed to run smoother and had better compression. The only drawback i had was the smell it was a mix between chips cooking and dougnuts frying . (really did abuse that paj and it never missed a beat)
                  Last edited by markyw; 21 August 2005, 23:53. Reason: good memories


                  • #10
                    thoughti'd have my two penneth if it helps,

                    I run a land rover fitted with a montego turbo diesel on straight veg oil.I have two tanks fitted and use an electric changeover valve. the veg oil lines run through a peugeot 205d heated oil filter with its regulating thermostat drilled out and piped into the engines cooling system in series with the heater pipes. also in series is another heat exchanger made fron some 8mm copper pipe soldered inside some 22mm pipe with a little help from some t pieces and reducers. this allows the engines coolent to flow around the oil in the 8mm pipe.
                    the idea being you start on normal diesel for a coulpe of minutes while the coolent warms the veg oil, thus thinning it , then switch the fuel over to run on oil. if you turn off your engine, but are going to restart it within half an hour or so, then leave it on oil. otherwise switch back to diesel for a few minutes before stopping to purge the injector pump of veg oil to leave it full of diesel.
                    I have been running on oil for a few years now without problems. in May this year i took my landy to the south of france and back on oil.

                    One more thing to point out, you need to pay 27.1p per litre duty on the oil you use. to do this you have to register yourself an a fuel producer with customs and excise, something i did in my days of making proper biodiesel. You get a form around the middle of the month with which you declare all the oil you "used" from the previous month.

                    Hope this is of interest to anyone


                    p.s. please excuse spelling and grammer, i cant find the spell checkker.


                    • #11
                      SVO and Biodiesel fuel technology proving



                      The above two links, from Journey to Forever, all about running diesels on SVO and Biodiesel, identify some possible problems with poor-grade bio-fuels. The major ones seeming to be some degradation of rubber seals (apocryphal), and coking or carbon deposits on injector heads and piston rings, which could be quite bad news.

                      I'm just putting them here for reference.

                      Journey to Forever seems to favour Specification Grade Biodiesel to Straight Vegetable Oil because it has been 'proved' for longer.

                      I'm definitely going to convert to something, so anyone with stuff to add appreciated.

                      I'm going to put a sticker on like - Runs on Peanuts - or something. Other suggestions welcome.


                      • #12
                        you are right about the rubber seals and pipes, most cars now have neoprine pipes, but it did happen to me once when i used rubber.

                        however, this is only a problem when you use biodiesel(methal esters) and not svo. the glyerol from svo is replaced by the methonol in the transestrification process of making biodiesel, and its this methanol that attacks the rubber.

                        as for coking, both myself and my mate have both ran landrovers for a few years on svo clocking up over 30,000 miles between us without problems(so far). you tend to hear comments like "it kanckers you engine" from people who have never tried it. in my opinion, as long as you get the oil hot enough to get it to a viscosity similar to diesel,it will be fine.

                        I have read threads on adding a solvent to thin the oil down,i've this takes away the lubricational properties of the oil and could lead to increased wear on the engine.

                        have fun



                        • #13
                          Enuff's Enuff I have been toying with the Idea of pure veg oil for a while I really like the coolant water idea. I have used up to 50% oil in mine a few times before now with absolutly no probs so far...... except the smell which i happen to really like but as Im not a registered user its not much fun!

                          So to add all the info here where do I get hold of C&E please and what sort of stuff shold I be telling em?

                          And where can I get some filters to filter used oil from please?

                          Thanks all for fueling (lol) this post top job !


                          • #14
                            Ok no replies so if anyones is like me after 2 hours of surfing the governments web site ( which is very poor) I can only find their phone number 0845 010 9000 where you need to request a EX 103 form and register yourself as a Home fuel producer. The on going arguement with home fueling is about the sulpha level in your home made fuel mix where if you say you would be using a percentage of oil with a percentage of pre duty paid diesil you'd be charged the full rate of 46.7p. But if you mix it up in your cars tank your safe and only get charged 27.1p ??? miffed so are they lol.

                            The best bet is to read through some of the forums on here http://www.vegetableoildiesel.co.uk

                            I can get 80ltr of used oil for free at my work each week can't refuse that can i?


                            • #15
                              what an excellent post morr... and the others!! very informative you all have answered a good many questions i had on the matter but didnt want to appear a bone head... thank you all wish me luck!!
                              DONT RUN WIV BIG DOGS IF U CANT PI** UP TALL TREES