Cost Effective Maintenance examines some of the problems that occur when vegetable oil is used directly in diesel engines, and offers a few tips for successful outcomes.
Vegetable oil (SVO) can be used as diesel engine fuel without being converted to biodiesel. Since it is about 11 times thicker than diesel fuel, it doesn't burn as easily in the engine.
While vegetable oil has very different chemical properties as well as combustion characteristics and can potentially damage engines, it can be used successfully as fuel.
Although some diesel engines can run pure vegetable oils, turbocharged direct injection engines are prone to more problems. The older IDI diesel engines are generally more suitable for SVO use, especially the likes of 1980’s Mercedes, Toyotas and VWs among others.
Some of the problems caused by vegetable oil in diesel engines, and the solutions:
Coking on the injector tips
Coking can cause inefficient fuel atomisation as a result of plugged orifices. This is due to poor atomisation and combustion of the thicker SVO, resulting in difficult cold starts, unsatisfactory performance, smoke and short engine life.
Use of FTC decarbonisers in the fuel has been shown to provide major benefits in achieving successful results with SVO.
In addition to providing faster and easier fuel ignition, FTC actively burns off existing injector tip deposits, burning the SVO much cleaner with far fewer deposits.
Additionally, FTC Decarbonizer also deals with carbon deposits throughout the combustion and exhaust spaces including the combustion chamber, exhaust valves and ports as well as turbochargers to deplete carbon build-up and prevent additional formation.
Sticking piston rings
Poor combustion combined with some blowby of the SVO fuel into the crankcase oil progressively causes sludging, thickening and even gelling of the lube oil.
Flushing Oil Concentrate (FOC) is recommended for use at every oil change. FOC’s purpose-designed detergents remove all sludge while dissolving carbon to free up sticking piston rings.
Thickening and gelling of the lubricating oil can be caused by contaminated vegetable oils. Flushing Oil Concentrate must be used at every oil change to avoid oil starvation due to blocked or constricted oil passages.
Fungal growths in SVO
SVO presents a pretty good nutrient source for fungal and bacterial infestations that cause filter blockages and damage fuel injection equipment.
FTC Decarbonizer is formulated as a powerful and effective biocide that can eliminate the problem effectively.