As promised, Report on Biodiesel.

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:00
ThreadID: 32620 Views:2658 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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Well I'm running through the last tank of the second 205L drum of biodiesel, so nearly 400L of backyard B100 Biodiesel has flowed through the surf's engine so far, havn't been to the servo in over 2 months! ;-)

So far:


My fuel consumption went pretty much to the crappa, was using quite a bit more
after the inital change over.
Near the end of the first drum my "fuel drain" light came on a couple of times, had to drain the fuel filter to get the water out of the trap. I spoke to the guy and he said that sometimes you can get a little bit of water that settles in the bottom of the drum every now and then, he said the best thing to do at the bottom of the drum is to poor the last bit into a bucket and or jerry or somthing, let it sit overnight then poor it in and ditch the last litre. Oddly enough I havn't had the problem on the second drum, so maybe just a bad batch. It is also possible I contaminated one of my jerrys when I was cleaning them (I'm think it could be my fault). Not that it really matterd, there was no difference in the way the surf ran, just a slight inconveince having to drain the tap a couple of times.
I also was starting to get a rattle for half a second or so on a cold startup. I wasn't sure if it was the fact that I had just changed back from penrite semi-synthetic to shell diesel super oil when I started using the biodiesel or not. I flushed the oil and refilled thinking that maybe the semi-synthetic and shell oil had mixed badly. The noise has now gone, so I guess it was not the biodiesel afterall.
The surf can now take upto twice as many turns of the engine on startup on a cold morning than previous, so from maybe 3-4 turns to 7-8 at it's worst, but sometimes it starts straight away. There seems to be a little variation in the cold startup. Once the morning start, she starts instantly for the rest of the day, even after sitting in the uni carpark all day. In fact I'd almost go as far to say that it starts easier after the first start.


After about the 3rd week on biodiesel I started to feel as though the surf had more power. Thinking that maybe it was a "plasebo" effect I just ignored it. That was until I was cruising down the freeway one night shortly after and pulled out to pass a slower car, I was doing 120km/hr with barley any throttle. That was deffinatally different, the old automatic non-intercooled turbo diesel doesn't normally act in such a responsive way, so there was deffinatally somthing going on.
Over the next couple of weeks I felt the old girl launching off the line at the lights with much more enthusiasm and this was deffinatally not a plasebo effect, it was real, and very noticable. The car has almost completly stopped blowing smoke now, apart from a little tiny puff of greyish smoke on startup. My fuel economy has gone from terrible to absolutally fantastic, the best I have ever had out of it since I owned it. It's very difficult to give a realy accurate figure as I fill up from jerry's now, but I can tell you that it was about 90-110km's out of 1/4 of a tank on diesel, and that was a given, no matter what we were doing. On the changeover I went down as bad as 65-70km's for the same mark (1/4 of a tank) with EXACTLY the same driving. The last tank I have 135km's for the same mark and I've been driving it a little harder (enjoying the power). These are around town trips, almost idential. Home, school, uni, school, mother in laws, home almost every day.
So the only thing that I can put that down to is a cleaner engine, thanks to the biodiesel, and the supposedly higher cetane level in biodiesel vs petro diesel.
My shell diesel super oil is STILL CLEAN! OMFG! Normally after I change the oil, you can start the engine, run it for 30 seconds, stop it and the new oil is completly BLACK. I've down nearly 1000k's since I change the oil the second time and it's still CLEAN!

Anyway, all good so far, in fact I'll be ordering my 3rd drum very shortly.

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Reply By: F4Phantom - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:28

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:28
That is all friggen awesome, I wish I could get some!!
AnswerID: 165427

Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:37

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:37
Hi Jeff

Thanks for the report.

A mate from a Flinders Ranges property stopped over this evening to drop some stuff off and told me that he uses 80% vegie oil mix in his bio-diesel. He does a bit of filtering though. Filters from one 200lt drum to another, then into clear plastic containers and then into jerries. But he is happy with the old Navara's perfromance. Cold starts can be a problem though. He also has a pre filtyer system beforte the normal Nissan filter.

The benefits of 60c/l per drum outweigh the hassles by far. He is happy. I will be doing the same thing soon.
AnswerID: 165429

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:42

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:42
And the old Nissan donk will be more than happy with it. Yeah a cold start in WA is different to a cold start in the flinders I'm sure!! ;-)

I am hyposthizing that I will need to mix a little petro diesel in from the servo for a few of the colder weeks of the year, but it' s very rarley cold enough to worry about here, as I say, probally only a select few weeks. I would probally mix in 10-20L of diesel when going down south camping in the winter as well. Probally just stop at the local servo and top up before I head out to the camp site. Mainly around Dwellingup/Pemberton sort of ways as it can easily get below zero in those areas on a cold morning.

The guy I'm buying it off reckons he's going to be getting in some fuel line heaters from germany that will be around the $100 mark. Will be probally worth fitting one of those for the winter, just flick it on when you put the billy on at camp and by the time you want to get cracking she'll be right as rain.
FollowupID: 420292

Reply By: Member - Stephen (WA) - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:52

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:52
Hi Jeff,

I'd have to concur with your observations. I got my first 44 of biodiesel off the same fellow you did at about the same time you did.

Unfortunately, I haven't had much chance to much running around (I've only just finished that first drum).

I haven't had the starting problems you have but it has been generally warmish when I start up. During winter I have "extended" starting times anyway, so when Perth cools down over the next couple of months It'll be interesting to see how much harder it is to start using bio-d.

I have noticed that the donk seems a bit "pokier" than before. I ran through 1 tank of bio-d and switched over to empty my other tank of petro diesel. The donk "seemed" an bit slower but only just perceptible (could've been my imagination or mood over that time).

I haven't done enough driving on bio-d alone to get any meaningful fuel economy readings.

I'll definitely be ordering another 44 or two off that fellow next week when I fly back to Perth from work. Something else I'll be doing is finding an easier way to get the product from the 44 to tank !!

Once I get all the petro-diesel out of my tanks, I'll do an oil change to see how long the oil stays honey coloured.

Stephen J.
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AnswerID: 165434

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:59

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 22:59
Yes I'm using the largest 'jiggler' syphon I could find but because of the small height difference in the drum vs the jerry (especially as you get through a bit) I find I'm pretty much 'jiggling' the eniter jerry out, which is a good work out for the upper body. I've noticed supercheap do a hand pump for about $100 that fits into a 44. Might be the way to go later on, I tried one of those electric drill pumps but it was as usless as tits on a bull. Yeah probally the hand pump I reckon, that way I can pump straight into the tank instead of from drum-jerry-tank. Less chance of me getting dirt and crap in there too that way. But at the moment, I've got more time than money, so I'll just keep jiggling away!! All I do while I'm working out filling up the car is think "I'm not paying the oil companies, I'm not paying the oil companies" and it seems to make it go faster! ;-)
FollowupID: 420299

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 00:53

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 00:53
Thought of pumping air into the 44's and using a large diameter hose straight into your fuel tank. For safety use one of those Kmart 18 litre tanks pumped up to 100psi (ie ~ 6 atmpsheres pressure) which should displace about 90-100 litres of fuel before needing to be pumped up again.
FollowupID: 420320

Reply By: hazo - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 23:17

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 23:17
Hi Jeff,
Sounds good to me, only question to ask is where do I get it from?
I live in the northern suburbs of Perth.
AnswerID: 165440

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 23:26

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 23:26
Yeah no worries, just checkout PostID: 30589
FollowupID: 420308

Reply By: Joe King - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 07:23

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 07:23
anyone know where to get this stuff in Townsville???
AnswerID: 165460

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 09:02

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 09:02
Track down some oil palms and grow your own?
FollowupID: 420356

Reply By: traveller2 - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 08:37

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 08:37
I've been running B100 (100% biodiesel) since the end of jan, been through about 750 litres of it so far, as the weather cools down it is getting harder to start first thing so will have to put some dinodiesel in soon. Oil is much cleaner, no smoke except on startup and then it smokes abit till it has warmed up.
Had the same results as the others initially down on power and economy but has improved out of sight since as the fuel system is flushed out.
Can be bought at Marrickville and Milperra in sydney and a few places outside the metro area.
AnswerID: 165494

Reply By: Stewy1 - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:20

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:20
Great report Jeff
Sounds like the initial grief is worth the effort.
Anybody out there running it in a 3L TDI GU111?
Yes, I'm ready for the COMMENTS!!!!
AnswerID: 165654

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