Sunday, June 28, 2009

Prep, Prep, Prep . . . & more Prep

I'm very close to starting the install of my SVO system on my '02 Jetta TDI wagon version 2.0. I've had a few things going on so it's been hard to set aside the time (and lack of car) to get started. Looks as though this upcoming week will provide the opportunity. Hopefully 3-4 days max.

Currently I only need a few minor parts that I will get locally at a NAPA store - tried both Pep Boys and Kragen because they were closer today but basically they are a joke for anything serious.

I've read the manual for the VOControl computer I purchased from Plantdrive that I'll be using and it is a very sophisticated system with alot of options to tweak the system. I'll dive more into the setting once I get it up and running.

Other than finding the correct wires for the ignition "on" & "off" it looks pretty straight forward. Then again I've been down this road once before.

The wiring harness (pictured above) is very cool because everything is labeled for it's purpose, this makes it alot easier to hook up.

The install will brake down into 3 distinct areas.

  • plumbing
  • fuel
  • electric.
I've been spending alot of time thinking about the plumbing (READ: procrastination) since this is the part I will start with and is arguably the most complicated. I want to make sure I have everything - once I cut the hoses the car is off the road but if I have to I can drive the car once the plumbing is complete - before starting fuel or electric.

Before getting too far along there are a couple of things to re-remind anyone doing a conversion.
  1. We're assuming here that you have done all your research and are not entering this lightly. Only do the SVO thing if you drive long distances or will only switch to oil on the longer drives (this might be a challenge with a doughnut tank system, plus the thrill of driving for free). Short drives will not generate the heat required to get the oil to temperature. Depending on the ambient temperature and how you drive it could be 15 minutes before you can safely switch. ( ie: I drive 8 miles to work each way, mostly surface streets. This journey takes me about 20-25 minutes. I generally won't switch because by the time I have to purge I haven't used that much oil and I will only be removing diesel from a very small tank through the purging process. If you switch too early you will trash your engine.
  2. Do an oil analysis before you throw the switch. This gives you a baseline for the condition of your engine that you can compare other oil changes to down the road. This is important to have any idea if you are damaging your engine.
  3. Read Eg Beggs additional points to think about
Just wanted to get that out there one more time before we get started.

One last thing I've been thinking about is the capacity of the doughnut tank and not switching over on my daily commute to work. I'll still switch over on the longer drives I sometimes do for work but these currently are few. I started to think that the small tank wouldn't be practical, but I really want to keep my spare. I used to get about a week out of it before refilling - but that was with some veggie driving, but I also purged more diesel than I had to.

There is one mod I can do to the doughnut tank that will increase it's useful capacity. When I originally received the tank I noticed that the fuel pick up tube was too short and not at the best angle for maximum capacity. I spoke to Craig at Plantdrive about it and I just never followed up on it. I ended up jury rigging an extension to the tube to get it closer to the bottom of the tank. I assume it helped but it seems I can still get it closer to the bottom of the tank. If this doesn't provide enough fuel for my new driving habits I will have to switch to a tank that replaces the spare. $$$ bummer

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