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The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

When “Engine Conversion” Isn’t Necessary

John Melendez
Cibola International ™
The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion (First Edition)

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide.

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John Melendez
Cibola International ™
http://www.emailmeform.com/fid.php?formid=19595

Cover photo: Author’s home brewed biodiesel contains a common additive which
renders so-called biodiesel “engine conversion” unnecessary.
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The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion


Table of Contents

No, You Don’t Need To Convert .....................................................................................3


Quickie Biodiesel 101......................................................................................................4
Diesel Engine “Conversion” To Run Biodiesel – Bogus! .................................................5
Then Why The Conversion Push? ....................................................................................5
Buyer Ignorance? Buyer Beware! ....................................................................................5
Solution Inundation .........................................................................................................6
Your Perceive a Need = You Will Buy ............................................................................6
Okay. So, What Is The Real Problem? .............................................................................6
The Argument Commences .............................................................................................7
Try Some Biodiesel! ........................................................................................................7

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. 2


The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

No, You Don’t Need To Convert


I make my own biodiesel1. So I get folks coming up to me to talk about it.

Usually about once a week, I get into a “healthy discussion” that has something to do
with biodiesel. This week, once again the fave topic was about biodiesel engine
conversion - whether it’s really necessary to buy loads of fancy gizmos and hoses to
“convert” a regular diesel engine to run on biodiesel.

My answer is… NO!

Figure 1 – A home biodiesel mini-factory.

1
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/257618/homebrewed_biodiesel_yep_it_can_be.html

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. 3


The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

Quickie Biodiesel 101


Before I get into explaining my answer, for the benefit of those folks who’ve heard about
biodiesel (but don’t really know what it is), I will provide a quickie explanation.

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel commonly made from natural biological sources (thus the
“bio” prefix). Crop seed like corn, canola, rapeseed, olives, etc., all carry an oil content
commonly used as the raw chemical base for making biodiesel. There is a lot of
controversy about how using crop seed screws up our food chain, which I explain in the
footnote2. Thankfully there are some folks making biodiesel from non-food stock like
palm oil, animal fat, and algae.

All ethics aside…

The diesel engine, patented by Rudolf Diesel in the 1890s, originally ran with peanut oil,
a vegetable-based fuel source. Many of us know Henry Ford as an automotive pioneer.
However, few of us know that he held one or two patents

As we know, soon afterwards petroleum came online as the main fuel source, and most
diesel and gasoline engines were purposed to work with this. Surprisingly, little to no
modification was needed to get a diesel engine to run on petroleum diesel fuel. The
changes was made, and over these last several generations people have forgotten the
diesel engine’s more organic origins.

Beginning with the energy crisis of the 1970s, environmentally sensitive and cost-
conscious individuals have pushed for the “rediscovery” of the diesel engine’s ability to
burn organic fuel. The rise in fossil fuel prices these last few years have led to yet
another push in awareness for biodiesel.

Fortunately biodiesel fuel shares such similar combustion properties with regular
petroleum diesel that little to no modification need be done on your engine to it to have it
run your car’s diesel engine. Regular vegetable oil bought off the shelf will run a diesel
engine just fine (I go buy some once in a while just for fun). For long term use, however,
most folks make an effort to remove the glycerol content from raw vegetable oil, thus
leaving a more pure vegetable oil content - chemically called methyl esters – which is
considered “pure biodiesel”.

Now a point of ongoing controversy…

2
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/320448/unethical_biodiesel_and_the_human_food.html

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. 4


The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

Diesel Engine “Conversion” To Run Biodiesel – Bogus!


Certain people claim that you need to “convert” your diesel car to run with biodiesel.
Because diesel engines were originally made to run on veggie oil, I think the need for
conversion is a load of hogwash. (See footnote link3).

There will always be certain exceptions to any statement. In the biodiesel case, if any,
someone would usually only need to change some o-rings, seals and hoses in older
diesel engines as these have been shown to degrade due to biodiesel’s non-petroleum
chemistry. By replacing such antiquated rubber-work, most diesel engines will generally
run just fine on biodiesel afterwards.

I have driven my unmodified 2003 Volkswagen Jetta TDI4 on biodiesel for almost three
years – including during the winter. At 175,000 miles, nearly all on biodiesel (or blend),
it’s doing just fine.

Then Why The Conversion Push?


Then why the push to sell you soemthing you don’t need?

Your ignorance + solution inundation = you perceive a need = you will buy

It has to do with the buyer’s ignorance, and the fabricated perception about what a
diesel engine car “needs”.

Buyer Ignorance? Buyer Beware!


Many buyers of diesel conversion kits fall into the small car or truck category. A lot of
these folks bought their car because it gets good miles-per-gallon (mpg), or provides
exceptional power. Aside from these attributes, there are just as many (most certainly
more) folks who don’t know a thing about how a diesel engine works, let alone that it
was originally designed to run on vegetable oil.

Sellers of so-called “biodiesel conversion kits” find opportunity in buyer ignorance.

Next there’s…

3
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/363213/is_it_really_necessary_to_convert_your.html
4
http://www.associatedcontent.com/image/107480/index.html

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. 5


The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

Solution Inundation
The whole scam behind the argument that one needs to convert a car to run on
biodiesel is that its sales pitch is so exclusive. The seller will inundate you with
information, and so convincingly that it leaves no room for the thought that there might
be cheaper alternatives.

Your Perceive a Need = You Will Buy


By banking on your ignorance with respect to a problem, and by fabricating the
exclusivity of their solution to your problem, they’ll get you to put out hard cash on a
load of trash.

In the end, the guy who wants to sell you $4000 worth of non-factory-approved
“conversion equipment” for your car isn’t really converting your car. He’s certainly selling
you equipment that gets toted around in your car. It looks good (maybe), but it doesn’t
convert the car. All that this horrendously expensive equipment does is heat your
biodiesel fuel.

This is not converting the car. This is called heating the fuel.

Okay. So, What Is The Real Problem?


Here’s the problem: in cooler temperatures, biodiesel will gelatinize into a useless
syrupy or semi-solid goo. A fuel pump cannot push this stuff, and your engine will die.

The conversion guys are selling you a heating system that makes sure your biodiesel
doesn’t goo. It uses tubes, wires, may require cutting your fuel tank, adding another fuel
tank, fancy valves and gizmos. This is all a load of bunk that could break down later on
– just to keep the fuel thin enough to pass through the fuel line.

What if there was an alternative that would cost only pennies, and was just as reliable?
Would you be interested in looking at that?

If your answer is “yes, then try a well-founded suggestion here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/363213/is_it_really_necessary_to_convert_your.html

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. 6


The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

The Argument Commences


Some would argue that heating the fuel makes the fuel atomize better when it’s injected
into the combustion chamber. In some cases, I am sure is true. But atomization again
can be achieved with what I propose in my article.

Instead of getting ripped off by some guy who sells you some fancy trash, why not
spend a few pennies and convert the fuel without heat. In my article5 I propose this by
simply adding no more than 5% paint thinner during the winter The paint thinner (or
similar chemical) serves as an adjuvant6 that enables better fuel atomization without
heating. That’s it. Easy!

When I do this with my biodiesel stock, it does not begin to freeze until about -15°
Fahrenheit. Just to be on the safe side, one can always blend the vegg mix with a little
bit of regular diesel fuel or kerosene – further enhancing the fuel’s atomization
properties and avoiding the dreaded gelling.

During the summer I run my car on 100% biodiesel without any chemicals. Again, doing
this has not harmed my car in 175,000 miles.

Try Some Biodiesel!


I’ve written this article for the benefit of those who are skirting the edge of wimpdom -
being brave enough to try biodiesel, but who are making excuses not to try it – one such
excuse being that they can’ afford to buy those expensive conversion-kit jokes.

Tell you what: If it’s winter, make or get some biodiesel. Then go to the hardware store
and mix in a 5% solution (by volume) of paint thinner. Then leave a sample outside in
the cold (or freezer). If it gels, then add some diesel or kerosene, shake it up and see if
it still freezes up.

Chances are it won’t. If it doesn’t – go with that mix. Shove a few gallons in the tank and
let ‘er rip. (Make sure your car was made for diesel fuel before you do this!)

5
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/363213/is_it_really_necessary_to_convert_your.html
6
http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B1319/B1319.html#Howdoadjuvantswork

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. 7


The Scam on Biodiesel Engine Conversion

P.S…Word of Caution: Biodiesel is greasy. Grease clings to dirt. If your fuel tank has
any suspended dirt floating around in there, biodiesel will grab onto it and send it on
through to your fuel filter, where it should stop. If you have loads of dirt floating around
in your fuel tank, after trying out biodiesel your fuel filter may clog. If this happens, don’t
panic. Just replace your fuel filter and try again. You may need to go through one or two
filters until your tank clears out. After it’s cleared, rest assured the biodiesel will keep
your tank and lines dirt-free afterwards.

Have fun!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Melendez is a freelance writer reporting


on technology, alternative energies and “green” issues. John
Melendez is a writer for hire. To email him, go to:
http://www.emailmeform.com/fid.php?formid=19595

Copyright © 2009 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. 8