Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2007 Journal Archieve

2002 Jetta TDI Sedan

Purchased on ebay w/126k for the conversion

Flipped the switch on June 14th 2006 @ 126,800 miles


December 31th 2007 (135,800)
I guess I should be more specific. My glowplug light is flashing, not "on". This is an indicator of an issue with the brake lights or brake light switch. And guess what, there is a recall on the brakelight switch. I have an appointment scheduled for Friday AM at the dealer. Live & learn

read more

December 30th 2007 (135,800)
I found this glowplug FAQ at TDIclub.com and decided to figure out what is wrong with the glowplugs. As best I can tell they are working. Everything checks so it must be the harness. The harness has previously been replaced because the wires have been cut and taped up. I'm going to add some electrical cleaner and try and find someone with a Vag-Com and clear the codes. Otherwise it will be a new harness.

December 28th 2007 (135,800)
Please see , notes on the 3rd video

November 18th 2007 (135,350)
I've noticed a substantial reduction in the time it takes the oil to get hot once I switch over. This is due I feel to the new Frybrid HE/Filter I recently installed along with the FPHE that was installed earlier.

It's debatable how much of a difference the line heaters make in the initial heating of the oil during and the first part of switch over. They certainly don't hurt.

Remember that I am taking my oil temp reading on the return (looped) line, so I am taking a fairly conservative temperature.

My feeling is that I should install (or again if I was to do it again I would run some) sort of heated fuel line on the journey from the VO tank to the engine bay. Currently there are only portions of the VO line that come in contact with the heated coolant lines. If the lines were heated on the way to the engine bay it would at least act as a preheater to the heaters in the engine bay.

The issue is that the oil currently doesn't spend much time in contact with the heated surfaces. It passes through the heaters but if the fuel lines were heated it would at least preheat the oil before it reaches the heaters in the engine bay there by allowing more heat to be absorbed by the oil on it's journey. I have noticed that the oil will get hotter sooner on surface street driving as opposed to freeway driving. This is because since I am using less oil it stays in contact with the heaters longer before injection

Sept. 29th 2007 (134,439)
Sorry about the lack of updating but I've basically just been driving. I added the Frybrid Heated filter. I had a strange situation where the coolant loop did not heat up after I added the Frybrid filter. After I had some time to think about it (I took the car out for a couple test drives after trying different things - to no avail) and a helpful response to my post on the forum I was able to fix the problem. It was a trapped air pocket. Anyhow the one day project turned into 3 days. I still have to do my final test dives on the veggie part of the system since I was unable to switch over since there was no heated loop.

I also discovered that my injection line heaters weren't coming on. The jumper I made to go from one side to the other is loose and the wire needs to be kept in a particular position for it to work. The Vegtherm is still working so I'm not too worried about it.

I need to run the car for a week or so to make sure nothing is leaking. After that I will insulate the lines and fix the injection line heater. For now I just need to check the line heater once a week or so

Sept 25th 2007 (134,381)
Oil changed, Mobil 1 5-40

August 4th 2007 (133,532)
Just some notes about this overhaul, most of which I have probably mentioned before. The car initially had a stock Plantdrive TDI kit installed . Getting a better understanding of things, or at least my opinions about them led me to change and add some things.

What I don't like:
  • My car has no hose over hose(HOH) or hose in hose(HIH) on the fuel lines. Nor do I have a heated fuel tank. If I were to do it again would added the heated fuel lines. But I am in a realatively mild climate and it was a son of a gun to run those aluminum lines under the car . Most of my oil run under the car is uninsulated aluminum tubing - this I would not do again
  • The Vormax (FPHE) is in the trunk. This to me does not seem like a good idea as there is heat loss on the way up to the engine bay & a section of oil is unheated before the Vegtherm for the initial switchover.
  • The 2 micron Racor filter attached to the back of the Vormax is unheated. Again if I was to do things again I would use something else, perhaps a Frybrid TDI filter or the new Vegmax thast Plandrive sells. I would not go through the hassle of wrapping the Racor. I only did it because I had some leftover tubing around.
It's been about a month now and car is running good. As for the air leak, I found a line with a slit in it near one of the hose clamps.

I have noticed a quick change in temperature when I do the initial switch over but after that the change is not as great as I had hoped. In other word when I switch over the oil will go to 100º rather quickly but after that it take time more time then I would like for it to reach 160º.
I'm thinking that the heater coil around the Racor is more of a passive heater. The quanity of oil it is heating is more then is needed and it can not heat that amount of oil quickly.

To fix this I bought the Frybrid Heated filter. I have yet to receive it but I will replace the racor filter and homemade heater coil with this. My thinking is that the new heater will be using the same amount of heat to heat a smaller quanity of oil because it passes through the heater exchange on it's way to the IP. Imagaine heating a cup of oil vs. heating oil as it passes through a staw. Less oil = more to it

I still have to insulate the lines and do a little replumbing. I will install the Frybrid heater at that time. Perhaps by the end of the month

July 11th 2007 (133,148)
Car has been running fine until today. I had an air leak somewhere in the veggie portion of the system after the intial overhaul. At that time I went back and found one missing hose clamp on a diesel line and double checked all clamps. That seemed to fix it.

The problem that has remerged, is when I am on Veggie and will be making a quick pit stop. I do not purge since the engine is hot and will be off for 15-20 minutes. Depending on how bad the air leak is the car will either start after a couple extra turns or won't start. Right know it starts with an extended starting crank. I think the problem is on the veggie portion as I don't have this issue on the diesel side. I did notice a ton of air in the sight glass while purging and they evetually disappear if a purge while on diesel.

When the car was running fine on veggie before there was no air in the sight glass while purging the one time I looked at itAs amatter of fact I didn't even think it was moving.

The only change in the system since the air leak started again was that I added a hose clamp as a support for the coolant jacket around the 2micron racor, attaching it to a veggie hose to help support the jacket around the racor. The only thing I can think is that perhaps it pulls the veggie hose a certain way introducing air at the nearest connector - stupid perhaps but I don't know what happen

Right now the car drives fine I just have to be aware of leaving it on oil when not running. The easiest fix is to simply switch back to diesel when I turn off the car and switch back to oil when I restart it after these short.

At least that is the plan. Once I get a better idea of what is going on I can better trouble shoot it

July 6th 2007 (133,081)
Major overhaul of the system is complete. Basically the following was done:
  • Replaced the 6 port Pollak with 2 - 3 port Hydraforce valves
  • Moved the 2 micron Racor filter that was in the trunk to the engine compartment and wrapped it in coolant jacket
  • Added a FPHE to the engine compartment, keeping the Vormax in the trunk
  • Added an additional 3 port valve to allow the purged oil to retun to the oil tank during purging, thereby not contaminating the small diesel tank
I'm hoping to get an updated video up and more pictures.

June 1st 2007 (132,831)
Picked up the car yesterday from the local European car mechanic. Evidently the engine cooalnt temp sensor had failed. However according to the mecahnic the on board computer was filled with gibbersih. He asked me if I had hooked up the car to a computer or nythimg, I hadn't. He was wondering about all the "BS" codes the computer was giving him. He did say the sensor had failed some time ago and that it wsn't unusual for the computer to generate gibberish when this sensor fails. He also asked how the car was running because evidentley the ETS regulates the fuel moxture based on the temp is senses.

He said the particular version of the ETS I have was prone to failure and they automatically replace them when they get them in. So he cleared the code and gibbersish and test drove the car. He retested it and another code showed up soemwhere else (I don't remember where it was) but he said because there is so much stuff for them to go through in the menus and such that he caould have mised resetting that one. he drove it again and no problems.

I picked up the car and dove the 3 miles home with no problem. I don't drive this much this time of year so the car will not see much use - or switching over. He did say that if the EML comes on again to bring it in right away so he could check it out.

$175 later, so far so good. . . .I need to recheck the oil level . . ..BTW I never mentioned that the car ran on veggie oil, the only thing asked me about was how long did it take me to do the mod.

May 27th 2007 (132,xxx)
Still waiting to find the time to do the uprades to the VO system. I've been distracted with my other vehicle
and I have a ton of things to do around the house.

The Engine Malfunction Light came on last week. I looked in the owners manual and it mostly relates to emissions. On my old '99 Passat a hose was loose and that caused the EML to come on.

I haven't been driving the car too much and I plan on taking it in next week. I found a European mechanic shop that will charge $75 to hook it up to the VagCom vs the $115 the dealer wants. I have to look in the service manual to get more details but as long as it is not flashing it is OK to drive the car until one can get it to the shop. It takes a minute or 2 for it to come on.

The other thing I'm more concerned about was that I was about a 1/2 quart low on my oil. I checked the oil when the light came on thinking that it was causing the light but it has since sayed on. I need to keep an eye on this

April 6th 2007
Car is running fine. Again not much driving going on here. Just getting ready for the Local Earth Day events. My car and I will be at 2 events - Emerson Elementary's Whole Earth Art Fair on Friday April 20th and Saturday April 21st at the City of Burbank Recycling Center event at the Stough Nature Center.

I've decided to keep the Vormax in the trunk, however I do feel the system needs to be supplemented with additional heat. My solution was to heat the Racor 2 micron filter that is attached to the Vormax bracket with a coolant jacket. I have some extra aluminum tubing from the initial install and I had planned on moving it to the engine compartment and wrapping it with aluminum tubing.

Plantdrive recently introduced VegMax heated 3 micron filter. I think you can also get it with a 5 micron filter. I believe this will eventually replace the Vormax (personally I think you need a variation of both). Rather the me make the coolant jacket I will buy the VegMax.

So the next work on the car will be:
  • Install Vegmax in engine compartment
  • Install return fuel line for oil to returned to veggie tank when purging. This includes an additional switch to be installed in the dash
  • upgrade switch for injection line heaters & Vegtherm to higher capacity - the current one is 30 amps and it gets fairly hot.
The first 2 require a fair amount of plumbing to be done and the last requires the dash to be disassembled again (actually I've done it so many times now I can do that pretty quick) at my pace will require at least 2 days. I should have time to do all this early next month.

In the mean time I have been distracted with my other project

March 12th
I added the injection line heaters this weekend.

The other day, by accident, I started the car on Vegetable oil after parking for 10hrs or so at work. Started fine - I didn't even know it was on Veggie until I went to switch over and it already was running on oil. Unfortunately the Vegtherm didn't get turned on until then. Seems I forgot to purge, turning off the Vegtherm power as opposed to switching back to diesel. I've done this once before but wasn't 100% sure I had done it because the car started right up as if on diesel. Temp was probably in the 50's.

While driving I generally keep an eye on the temp of the oil. Once it hits about 180º I tend to switch off the Vegthem, letting the Vormax do the heating at that point. What I did this time was absentmindedly turn off the Vegtherm and not purge. This just reiterates the drawback of veggie driving - tasks (or in my case, multiple) need to be run. I don't mind doing the procedures as I would think most car nuts wouldn't mind but I can see how a non car person would not want to do this. Some kits will limit the operation to a simple purge process. I keep modifying my setup and this ads to the complications.

Checked the oil level and no drop so hopefully that implies I'm not burning any oil - polymerization. Since I don't drive too much I'm planning on changing oil every 6 months or 4000 miles, this should reduce the chances of polymerization.

Also decided to buy a deep cycle/marine battery to pump the filtered oil. When I bought the Northern Tool 12v fuel pump I thought I would simply use the 12v accessory plug in the trunk. First I had to remove the alligator clips from the pump that are used to power it from battery terminals and replace them with a cigarette power plug. Problem is it draws so much power that it melted the plug I installed.

To make a long story short, I tried it a couple times powering it via the power plug in the trunk and it was a pain - I had to jiggle it to make it work, it would get hot, etc. I also realized that after my last batch of filtered oil that it is best to put the oil in jugs if it is heated and let it settle in case there is any hydrogenated stuff in it so that it would settle out, rather then pumping into the car as I had done before.

I bought the cheapest marine battery Pep Boys had and the least expensive (capacity wise) microprocessor controlled charger I could. The battery was $60 plus $10 core charge & the charger was $50. Total was about $130 w/tax. I've been told this should last about 10 years.
Since I don't have or want to run 11ov out there it is worth it

March 2nd(131,625)
It's cold here again so I'm not switching on my short drives to work. I was hoping that I was over the cold stuff . I did a 25 mile drive in 44-50º weather the other morning and in the 30 minutes I drove it the oil only made it to 150º.

This was primarily all highway driving so I 'm thinking that the Vegtherm can not handle the volume of oil at high rpms and lower temps. Remember the Vormax is in the trunk so it takes a while to heat that quanity of oil in the system and for the Vormax's effect to "kick in". Perhaps a Vegtherm Mega would increase the temperature of the oil more and faster.

I've since discovered that the late model TDI's have a 90 or 120 amp altenator. Mine has a 90 so I think it could handle the vegtherm Mega. However I'm leaning more towards the injection line heaters. The good thing is they heat the oil at the very last entry point to the cylinder head, so there would be very little heat loss and it's past the IP so no heat is lost to it and very little returns to the IP if it is very hot oil . The only thing that bothers me is I don't know how it will be reflected in my temperature readings since most of the oil is burned (I assume) after going through the heaters.

February 22nd(131,425)
I'm still not sure whether the sludge at the bottom of the Vormax is animal fat or hydragenated sludge. When I processed the oil I filled the tank of the car and 4 cubees. I recently gave 2 cubees to a friend and noticed that approx. 20% of one cubee had the creamy stuff on the bottom other had a small amount on the bottom.

The oil was warm/hot when I processed it into the container and car 2 months earlier -I 've only gone thru 1/2 a tank of veggie in 2 months! We then had a fairly severe (by SoCal standards) cold spell where the oil in the Vormax - and I assume the oil in the cubee - settled out (see below). If it is hydragenated stuff at the the bottom it would explain why it didn't settle out during the heating/dewatering process. I may have poured the oil into the prefilter setup and imediately started to heat it for dewatering and filtering. This would have kept it liquid and explain why it settled out at colder tempatures as I have feeling some hydrogenated oils have snuck into my fule system

Initially the stuff in the Vormax looks more granular or pastey then the stuff that was at the bottom of the one cubee. I separated a little sample from the bottom of the final filtering tank and it looks very similar to the settled stuff in the Vormax. I didn't look too much at the stuff in the cubee but it was certainly whiter & whispier then the stuff in the Vormax. I have one more cubee from this batch that I have not looked at to see if there is any creamy stuff on the bottom of it (because it is in the cardboard box it came in).

Perhaps when I change the filter on the Vormax I can scrape the congealed stuff off the bottom of the clear bottom. Until then There's not much to do about. The real test will be to see how the car acts when the veggie gets low in the stock fuel tank - if it clogs it.

I'm getting close to processing another batch and rather then put any in the car imediately I'm going to place it into multiple cubee containers. I think I have about 8 empties available. This way I can let them settle out if there are any problems.

I was hoping to let the tank get low on veggie so I could calculate my MPG but that will have to wait till summer. According to Consumer Reports Veggie has less BTU per gallon than diesel, hence lower MPG.

Winter driving
With my current system and the short drives that I primarily do I have decided not to switch over on the colder days. Since I only drive about 20-25 minutes a day for my commute (8 miles) and it can take 10 minutes or more for the engine to reach operating temp (depending on outside temp) it isn't worth switch to veggie as I would have to purge after a short time. Plus it contaminates the diesel tank with oil with little return.

The bottom line is that perhaps for a month or 2 out of the year I may not drive on Veggie.

January 21st(130,928)
I started a thread about some sediment at the bottom of my Vormax. I'm incline to think it's animal fat. I'm hoping to heat the Lexan bowl in the near future as a test. Hopefully it will dissolve and on a long drive it will get hot enough and reliquify. My concern is what my tank looks like

I also did a quick engine temp test recently because I'm concerned about actual temp of the engine at switch over. It was in the 50's and I took the engine to temp (190º F). I waited an additional minute and the took some temp readings. I'm hoping to post this info soon but in the meantime I feel good about the inital readings being over 200º at the engine head.

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