Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category.

Sold at nearly 400k miles! Still ran great, but showing signs of rust…

My WVO truck started to show rust above the rear wheel wells about a year ago.  I use this truck to visit customer sites, so I needed to do something about the rust.  The truck runs great mechanically, so I considered having the wheel wheels repaired or the bed replaced.  In the end, I decided to upgrade this 2002 F-250 7.3L with almost 400k to a 2003 F-250 7.3L from Texas with almost 90k and no rust.  I have cut my driving from 30-40k/year to 10-15k/year.  Most of those miles are going to be local short-trip miles, which aren’t good candidates for WVO fuel.  If I begin driving many long trips again, I wouldn’t hesitate installing a WVO conversion system on the new truck.

I had several out-of-state buyers interested in the truck. I offered to drive the truck to both of them.  I recently took the truck on an 1800 mile trip with no problems, so these 400 mile or 800 mile trips didn’t concern me.  Amazing how well it still ran considering it was approaching 400k miles!

A farmer who has access to WVO bought the truck.  I asked the new owner to consider giving me a call around 500k so that I could hear how things are going.  Not sure if I’ll ever hear from him, but I’d like to think the truck will last another 100-200k or more…

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First “long distance” WVO trip …

Ran the truck on a 90/10 mix of heated WVO and Diesel #2 for a majority of a 600 mile round-trip family visit this weekend.  Things seem to be working very well.  I only have three concerns:

Fuel Efficiency – I’m suspecting a slightly lower MPG on WVO than on Diesel #2.  I won’t be able to confirm until I buy a flow-meter for use when filling the truck with WVO or until I establish enough long-term ballpark figures to look at averages.

Fuel Leak – I’m suspecting a WVO fuel leak.  I’ve noticed large light-colored puddles when I pull out of several driveways now, but haven’t been able to determine the source.  On a side note, the dealership replaced my ICP sensor and CAC hoses to resolve my motor oil leak when I had the truck in for a 5K oil change on 03/18.  I’ve considered that this could be an even worse motor oil leak than before, and that the motor oil is very light in color because it was recently changed, but doubt the motor oil would be that light unless they used different oil this time.

Performance Concerns – Could just be me, but it seems like the truck is running rough when accelerating through specific speeds somewhere between 35 and 55 MPH.  I haven’t nailed down more specifics yet, just feel like something doesn’t seem right.

UPDATE:  03/25/2009

I’m still worried about performance concerns, but am starting to think this is either in my head or only occurs while running on WVO.  I’ve run on Diesel #2 several times and don’t seem to experience the problem.  I’m wondering if this has to do with a cylinder compression issue or maybe injector timing (ie: cetane related).  I’d like to begin running compression tests on each cylinder every 5K so that I can monitor degredation (if any) over time.  Harbor Freight has a compression testing kit for $25, but not sure if it would be able to test a 7.3L PSD.  I’d also like to invest in some PC-based diag and tuning software so that I can spot problems and possibly even fine tune injection timing for WVO.  I’m also considering mixing WVO (low cetane value) with B100 (high cetane value) so that it burns similar to ULSD.

Approximate Cetane levels for Diesel, WVO, and B100 (from Journey to Forever):

  • Diesel 45
  • Canola Oil 40-50
  • BioDiesel 45-65

I suspect that the stuttering that I feel at different points during acceleration is related to a low Cetane level in my WVO.  It sounds like performance can suffer with extremely low Cetane levels (below 40), and performance plateaus once you hit about 50.

Paying Road-Tax and Use-Tax for WVO in Kansas …

I am trying to figure out how to pay necessary road-tax and use-tax for WVO as a Kansas resident.  I’ve been tracking consumption so that I can begin reporting this.  It sounds like Federal taxes will be 24.4c/gal and State taxes will be 26.0c/gal. My consumption for approx 19 gallons in 02/2009 would cost $9.58, but I can’t send in a payment until I complete several applications.

Federal – It seems I need to complete IRS Form 637 (Application for Registration for Certain Excise Tax Activities) with activities “AL” and “AM” first.  Once approved, I would complete IRS Form 720 (Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return) and submit the form with payment shortly after the end of each quarter.

State of Kansas – I assume I need to register with the state before I can pay use tax, but I haven’t determined how to do this yet.  Once registered, I would complete Kansas Form MF-54 (Producer/Manufacturer, Blender, End Consumer Motor Fuel Tax Report) and submit the form with payment shortly after the end of each month.

Several online discussions lead me to believe I can qualify for the IRS 50c/gal to $1/gal credit for the sale of SVO as a bio-fuel.  My understanding is that this must be performed by a company, not an individual.  I’m working to establish a company that can handle collection, record keeping and filtering of all the WVO for several of us who are needing WVO.  We would probably need to buy WVO from the company at some minimal per gallon rate.  The train of thought is that the credits should cancel out the road tax and keep everything on the up and up.  I’m expecting a lot of local public exposure and need to have this issue under control.  Will post updates as I make progress on this.  Will continue to record consumption in the meantime so that I can settle up when I am allowed to begin making payments.

Ordering my WVO kit from American Green Fuels …

After about a month of trying to reach someone at GFS with questions and with my order, I finally gave up on ordering from GFS directly.  Maybe they are swamped, maybe they are on vacation, maybe their voice mail and email systems are a POS?  I’ll always wonder what the deal was.  I sent a single email request on 11/06 and left two phone messages (around 11/06 and 11/24).  I tried calling maybe 5-6 other times, but didn’t leave messages those times for fear of being tagged as high maintenance.  I just never could get in touch with anyone.  The situation is probably for the best.  By now, I’ve warmed up to WVO enough that I’ve decided to tackle the installation myself.

I ended up ordering from Bud at American Green Fuels in Houston TX (  Bud is listed on the GFS website as an installation site and while they are not nearby either, they are probably the next closest location.  I originally called him around 4PM on 12/02 and left a VM explaining my woes trying to reach GFS and my interest in ordering a kit through Bud.  I received a callback from Bud shortly after 5PM.  He was glad to answer all of my questions.  I was able to put together an email with a draft of what I thought I’d need to order on 12/05 and he was able to respond with detailed clarifications to all of my written questions the same day.  I placed the order on 12/10 and the order was ready for pickup at GFS in Springfield MO on 12/22.

I’m back home on 12/29.  I have access to a heated shop that is closed for 3-4 more days, but I’m swamped with end of the year projects, etc. so the Golden Fuel Systems boxes are going to have to sit in my garage for a few weeks.  Here’s a summary of what I ended up ordering.

  • Golden Fuel System Kit, Ford 7.3L 99-03 Base System
  • Two (2) 60 gallon Trekker tanks (my “clean” and “dirty” tanks for collection and filtration on the road)
  • Integrated One Shot (IOS), Includes Racor 1000 w/ 1 filter element (10 micron)
  • Racor 1000 Heated Filter (for second tank) w/ 1 filter element (10 micron)
  • 7gpm Eccentric Gather Pump w/ Bracket
  • Two (2) spare Racor filter elements (2 micron)
  • Five (5) filter bags (7″ ring, 32″ length, 1 micron)

Bud was able to discount retail prices some, but this part of my WVO truck still ended up WAY over budget.  Based on amount of my driving and based on $2/gal diesel, expecting to break even on this system within 18-24 months.  That doesn’t factor in several variables against me (collection and filtering time/costs, per gallon use to sam, blending diesel with WVO, percent of time running on diesel, etc) or several variables in my favor (rising diesel prices, potential use credits from sam).  Planning to track all expenses so that I can share actual break even period, if any.  I am certain that the system isn’t doing anyone any favors while sitting in boxes in my garage.  Hoping to begin install soon.

System won’t go very far on the 5 gallon sample I have.  Need to start working on collections too.

My new (to me) 2002 Ford F-250 w/ 7.3L PSD

I’d been searching for a truck for just over a week before I had found this gem.  I’d been watching dealership and private listings online and my father-in-law-to-be was helping me by watching the weekly auctions.

On the night of Sunday 11/02, I search several nearby metro areas on Craig’s List and happened across an unbelievable deal in KC metro.

By Monday 11/03, I was test driving the truck in Lenexa KS and leaving a deposit. I’d read countless pages about choosing and looking over a diesel and had watched several somewhat informative videos before the test drive.  I took along a friend who had driven a number of good and bad diesels over the years.  While we were no experts, we didn’t seem to find any obvious problems.

By Friday 11/07, I was driving home my new (to me) 2002 Ford F-250 w/ 7.3L PSD, Crew Cab, Long Bed, 4×4, etc.  I’m usually one to take things slow, so I really felt like I was jumping the gun on this.  It was just such a great deal that I hated to stall one bit.  I ended up buying the truck for less than trade-in value.  Wade was very friendly, helpful, informative along the way.  We covered his maintenance schedule so that I could continue where he left off, then I gave him the bennies and we completed all the private party paperwork.  The truck was officially mine.  Hoping I didn’t just end up with a giant lemon!

The truck just rolled over to 250K when they were driving it back from the 5K oil change at the dealership this morning.  I called the dealership that they always use for service and asked if I could get a copy of service records for the truck so that I know what still needs to be done.  They were glad to help, so I drove the truck to the dealership and picked up their records (from 200K to 250K) before heading home.  Apparently they changed computer systems a year or two ago and weren’t able to preserve any records before 200K, otherwise they would have given me even more.  Glad the folks at Danny Zeck ( were willing to help.

It seems like the truck only needs a few things.  Remove the company lettering on doors and tailgate, replace cracked windshield, remove a ton of labels/stickers from rear window.  All in good time.

My body shop friend was awesome.  He removed the lettering from the front doors and back tailgate the same day.  He said that removal turned out to be more of a PITA than he had expected because he had to heat and peel individual letters, but we were both impressed that there were no noticeable fading effects or other issues after he removed the lettering.  We scheduled replacement of the windshield for the following week.

Off to clean out the truck and remove some stickers.

Still looking for my future WVO truck …

Surprisingly, the auctions haven’t turned up anything.  Online dealer websites haven’t turned up anything reasonable either.  Not willing to pay $18-24K for a truck I might possibly ruin.  Hopefully that won’t be the case, but being realistic that someone with a Nerd Herd type of background has the potential for a major screw up under the hood.  LOL

I’m finding several potentials on Craig’s List (  The first one was a Ford within 30 miles and was priced at the high end of my budget, but has already come and gone.  Too bad.   I happened across the second one while searching nearby metro areas on CL tonight.  This one is quite UNDER my budget.  Wow!  I emailed the guy at 5:45PM asking about availability, VIN, etc.  He responded within an hour.  Sounds like I’ll be making a drive to KC metro to take a look (and hopefully leave a deposit) tomorrow!

Choosing a WVO kit, choosing a WVO truck …

I’ve been looking at a variety of WVO solutions and think that I have decided to go with a kit from Golden Fuel Systems ( after reviewing lots of information from various online discussions, the GFS website, and their YouTube videos.  The fact that they are within driving distance (Springfield MO) is an added bonus.

I’ve narrowed my search for my future WVO truck to the following, based on personal preference, various online discussions related to problems and successes with WVO, and comments on each fuel system kit page on the GFS website.  Sounds like I should try to avoid newer generation trucks equipped specifically for ULSD or with the newer emissions features (EGR, etc).  Not to worry though, anything this new should be well outside of my target budget ($10K-14K).

  • Chevy/GM 2500 or 3500 w/ 6.6L DuraMax (2001-)
  • Ford F-250 or F-350 w/ 7.3L PSD (1999-2003)
  • Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500 w/ 5.9L Cummins (2003-)

I’ll be looking for a 4 door cab and 4 wheel drive.  I’m hoping for an older (cheaper) truck with little wear, good interior and good exterior.  A heavy duty front grill might be nice so that future deer only cost me a quick rinse at the car wash.  LOL

Car Totaled, Considering WVO …

My car was totaled by a deer around 10/21.  I began trying to decide on a replacement.  I started by looking at full sized cars with the best possible gas mileage.

Months ago, I’d heard about the concept of running waste vegetable oil in diesel trucks.  I suddenly found myself reading endless online material related to WVO.  Once I started to become more comfortable with the concept, I paid a visit to the local restaurant owner who had originally mentioned the concept.  He seemed willing to share WVO from some of his restaurants and referred me to someone else who was already consuming WVO from several of his restaurants.  This gave me an opportunity to visit with a local who was already using WVO as a fuel.  He confirmed that he was collecting oil from two of the restaurants and consuming without problems.  He discussed some basics that I had already familiarized myself with and offerred to visit at length in person for a price.  I never took him up on the offer.  Knowing that I had access to useable WVO was enough for me.