straight vegetable oil conversion: Eleven: communicate with the on-line community

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Eleven: communicate with the on-line community

I got a great email from Cynthia who has converted her merc to oil. She has a great blog called the Improbability Drive.(great name that hitch-hiker's guide fans will appreciate!)

You can check it out at:
I asked her:
I have been thinking about buying the same kind of kit that you ended up getting, but
I won't need as much heating gear I don't think, living in Australia, it does not get very cold here, certainally no snow in my neck of the woods!
Any tips with that system?

here is her reply:

Jo - I've had the car running on VegOil for over a year now and 15000+ miles and love it. If I were to do it again I would not buy the "kit" as much as the components. So far the "kits" don't have very good instructions. Makes it hard for the average shade tree mechanic to get the job done. I'm working on a visual easy to understand how to thing

As far as products, the vegtherm is great. that's the in line fuel heating that goes in just before the injectors. I also highly recommend the Vormax double filter system. I don't know how available the big diesel fuel filters are where you are, but they are about $15 USD here and last about 7000 miles. Plus the spinning filter does a great job getting out any water and bits of crud. This means that you can be a little less obsessive about filtering if need be and not be concerned for the health of your system. has those two things. I don't know who else sells them. Plantdrive is so-so about customer service. They are not prompt calling back. has had the best customer service so far and do international sales. Charlie, the owner is an excellent resource. All of the kit makers like it if you do your homework thoroughly first so they don't have to explain the basics. There are a number of forums on the basics. It took me a month or two of intensive research on line to really get it.

I have since moved to California (no snow and pretty warm all the time), and find I feel secure with my system here. You'll need the tank heater and some kind of in-line heater, but you can probably skip the plug in block heater. Depending on where your spare tank is you might be able to skip the insulated heat exchange with the coolant.

What kind of vehicle do you have? Even though it's warm I suggest a two-tank system for safety. I would be happy to help you think through this... another great resource is Dana Linscott who helps people build their own systems. It all depends on how adventurous you feel!

cheers back at ya,

Nice one Jo, Cynthia.. I'm considering getting a diesel over here in Dunedin, but it gets pretty cold actually. minus 5-15 in the winter (including other parts of the South New Zealand, and never warmer than 28. I'm considering a VWGolf, Toyota Hiace, Audi... ? ... Given that japanese cars are VERY cheap, it'll probably be a Toy. I don't want to spend too much time on a conversion.. do you hae any contacts experienced in converting a Hiace?
Well I think Toyota is a good choice, but maybe I'm biast!
Lots of people in Europe seem to do golfs...there are kits available specificly for golfs. If you were going to go kit-wise maybe you should choose a car which is specifically suited, but you are much more hands on than me Leigh..

great passion

good luck
Here is some latest news from Cynthia:
Jo -
Your timing is great. I have just launched the National VegOil Board
site at
It's just one page and rather ambitious, undeveloped and vague at the
moment, but I am certain it will turn into something in time. I will be
moving all of my blog trip info over there soon. But hey, if you'd like
to be the Australian Division, it could become the International VegOil
Board (!!!). As before, please let me know what encouragement / info I
can offer to you for your project.
I have hit capacity storage for collected used fryer oil. About 75
gallons I guess. I'm about to drive 45 minutes north in search of a big
band swing dance I heard about. Anticipating traffic, I am so glad when
I think I'm not burning diesel or gas - which is selling for $3.60 /
gallon the last I checked.

All the best and keep me posted. Wish I could come down under and help
you modify your rig!
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