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I Need a Diesel to Vegetable Oil Conversion

We’re currently working on a documentary entitled Wayward Nation. It’s more of a movement then a documentary. By finding and telling the positive stories of our generation we can inspire the rest of Gen Y to take action in their lives and follow their dreams. We want to remind people they’re capable. We’re buying an RV, hitting the road, spending a few days with each subject and shooting short documentaries, 5 to 10 minutes each, of people who are living a positive example. So…

We want to convert our diesel RV into one that can also run off Vegetable oil and we’re looking for a crew of young mechanics who specialize in this to hire and potentially become an episode.

Please, any leads or volunteers would be greatly appreciated. You can respond to this blog or simply email me at

Thanks so much.

Ethan Amarant
4 AM Films Inc.

There are conversion specific forums that focus on just this subject. You’re likely to get far more information from one of those. There may even be magazines and books on the subject from the local bookstore.

Here’s a company that does it, it is neither simple nor cheap. You have to set up a dual-fuel system, startup on regular diesel, then once it’s all heated up, switchover to filtered vegetable oil.
Where do you plan to get the veggie oil as you drive around? It won’t be easy to find in places.

And why a diesel? One that is suitable for this type of conversion (old) spews out LOTS of pollutants.

I recent watch a special on PBS on steam locomotives. One company has comverted a steam locomotive to run on used cooking grease. Apparently it runs a lot cleaner, the machines requires less maintenance, and the cost of operation is substantially lower. I should mention that they’ve set up a supply chain for themselves. I like the idea.

Somewhat OT, but a local guy here is very proficient in the diesel bio-fuel field and I do not want to list his contact info because I’m almost dead certain he will not do a conversion for the general public.
The conversion for this will be expensive so pad the bank account first.

The local guy has a Ford diesel pickup that will do 160 MPH on regular diesel and 180 or so on bio-diesel. This truck also has 2 tanks in the bed and is streetable, go figure. :slight_smile:

Biodiesel and vegetable burners are two different things - older diesels can use a fair amount of biodiesel without modification, or 100% biodiesel with compatible polymers. Making biodiesel out of vegetable oil is messy and dangerous, though. ‘Greasers’ need major modifications, extra fuel tank, etc…

I think it would make more sense to convert to LP like some of the major utilities have done. It can be accomplished for a few thousand and LP is readily available nation-wide. There is a guy around Sioux Falls that has been doing it. Of course this isn’t about what makes sense. A couple kids at a Minneapolis college came up with a way to make fuel out of pond slime. That makes more sense but there is a shortage of pond slime. Then there is the cocoanut cookers that they used in Brazil and other places during the way. Lots of stuff if you don’t care about practicality.

What made me a bit curious about this post was the criteria for hiring someone. The only thing mentioned was “young” and that could be taken in several different ways.

I’m wondering what kind of budget has been allocated for this conversion.

@Ok4450 they would pref Gen Y mechanics to do the work since he mentions it could be a potential episode and their work is about Gen Y.

I don’t know their line of thinking but I would think that “competent” and “knowledgeable” would be the main criteria.

The point that I did not make out of courtesy was that asking for “young” mechanics could also mean they’re looking for someone on the cheap or even free; maybe someone young, naive, and willing to labor for free for some face time on the screen.

Sorry, let me respond. We want “young” mechanics because our documentary focuses on subjects of Generation Y, meaning born between 1980 and 2000. Sorry if we came across as cheap and exploitative.

Scrap my comment. I was already over the age of being trusted (30) by 1980.

An exercise in futility might be a great learning experience for everyone involved… The steam engine sounds more reasonable as a platform to use various “politically correct” fuels.

Next show you should cover the propulsion system for the Mars rover Curiosity. This baby is NUCLEAR! 14 year life cycle, runs all day every day. Runs in wide range of temp extremes and over all types of terrain. Get me one for my DeLorean. Rocketman

I’ve seen a few documentary style environmental films on the veggie diesel movement. The people doing the innovative work were definitely in the age range you mention. While some projects portrayed were on the home-made scale, one company represented appeared very serious and had a very professional looking shop. The “Greasecar” link provided by @texases is the name of one of the companies featured one of the films, and is probably the professional operation I mentioned, though I’m not absolutely sure. In another film, a couple guys acquired an old Toyota fire truck, built a self contained grease processing unit into the body of the truck, and headed off to Central America on free fuel to spread an environmental message and have a great adventure. That film was more about the adventure than the technical side. Ironically, months after I saw that film, I spotted the unmistakable truck in a grocery store parking lot in the town where I live, and got to talk a bit with the guy who built it. That was probably three or four years ago. I may be able to dig up more specific information on the films and the converted fire truck if you need it. Let me know.