Diesel Vehicle to Vegeteble Oil Conversion

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Sunshine Fuel - Diesel to Veg oil explained

I have heard  about Diesel to Vegetable conversions so how do I do the conversion and is it legal ?

NEWS: UK Government have now dropped the duty on vegetable oil as a road fuel, this means that you are free to drive your car on vegetable oil as a fuel with no duty to pay !!!! Quote from HMRC 'Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs confirmed to Working Lunch that vegetable oil bought from retailers as fuel will be exempt from duty, as long as drivers don't exceed the 2,500 litre annual threshold.'

So why would you want to convert your Diesel car to run on vegetable oil ?

Well there are many reasons, but to name but a few, high on the list is the cost of diesel and the environmental impact.

  • It will save you huge amounts of money and will pay for it's self in 2-3 tanks of fuel (cost comparison - 60 liter tank of standard diesel £58.80 - 1 Tank Veg oil £27.60 That's a massive saving of £31.20 Per 60 liter tank.
  • The CO2 footprint from burning Vegetable oil (sunflower oil, rape seed oil etc.) is sustainable i.e. burning vegetable oil releases no more CO2 than the plant used when growing. IT IS CARBON NEUTRAL, therefore you are doing your bit for the environment
  • It is easy to convert : 1 -2 Hours with basic tools
  • Exhaust smells nice - unlike the carcinogenic acrid smell from burning diesel !!

Diesel cars were originally designed to run on peanut oil so they are well suited to run on Veg oil. The difference between diesel and veg oil in terms as a fuel is the viscosity. ( How thick it is )Although many diesel cars would run on this thick oil it is unkind to your fuel pump and injection pump. Therefore to run your car on straight veg oil you need to heat the oil prior to it entering the injection pump. This is where the Sunshine Fuel heat exchanger comes in. Luckily all vehicles need water cooling, and our heat exchanger uses the waste heat via the heat exchanger to heat the oil to the required level to lower the viscosity of the veg oil to a similar level of diesel. When running on 100 % vegetable oil (straight vegetable oil (SVO)- new or waste vegetable oil (WVO) not only will your car sound better (veg oil is more lubricating than diesel) but it will also smell great !! Simply install the heat exchanger and when the oil / engine are up to temperature switch to veg oil. (for two tank solution)

So what are the different methods of conversion?

There are basically two methods of conversion.
1. Single tank - OK (But only for some vehicles)
2.. Duel Tank - ****** Recommended *****

Single Tank (With Coolant Heat Exchanger)

With a single tank system you will need to mix the Vegetable Oil with with normal diesel.  Simply pour the veg oil in your tank and top up with diesel. The reason that we do not recommend 100% veg oil for this system is that the oil will be initially cold and thick when the car / van is started until it is heated by the heat exchanger. You must make sure that you always add some veg oil to the diesel as it looses its lubricating properties at higher temperatures and your injection pump requires the lubrication from the fuel, vegetable oil is a superb lubricant - much, much better than diesel and it continues to be a lubricant in the high temperatures. All cars are capable of this system but dependant on the make of your injection pump it may be able to take a higher % of oil. Bosch pumps have proved the most reliable so higher percentages of oil can usually be used. best idea is to start with a low blend and work you way up slowly. A single tank solution is not recommended for Lucas, CAV, Delphi or Transdyne injector pumps unless you use a low percentage mix for example 5% as cold oil will be left in the pump and may cause either the engine not to start or with the fragile Lucas, CAV, Delphi or Transdyne may cause them to fail.

Twin Tank - (duel tank - With Coolant Heat Exchanger)

Duel tank is the recommended solution for most cars and allows you to run on 100% veg oil. Normal diesel is used to start the car and as soon as the engine and heat exchanger are up to temperature then the fuel is switched to 100% veg oil or veg oil blend for the rest of the journey then prior to stopping the fuel is switched back to diesel ready for starting again. This has several advantages

  •  Engine is up to temperature before Veg oil is used resulting in better combustion of the veg oil.
  • Less strain on you injection / lift pumps
  • 100% Veg oil can be used with most vehicles - although the Bosch Injector pumps prove to be more robust.
  • Can still fill up with diesel if you can't get Vegetable oil.
  • More environmentally friendly. The list goes on .......... .. .......
  • Lucas, CAV, Delphi or Transdyne injector pumps can be used but the oil must be properly heated and you MUST allow the injector pump to temperature stabilize other wise you will risk your pump as these are more fragile than the Bosch pumps.


Do you supply or recommend using electrically heated exchangers ?

NO, NO, NO - There are many reasons that this method of heating is a very bad idea.

  • It uses electrical energy from your battery in your vehicle to heat the oil ( most draw 300 - 600 Watts this could drain your battery or make it very difficult to start )
  • Engine also has to work harder to supply the current needed so the fuel efficiency will go down.
  • Oil rarely gets to the correct temperature before entering the injectors - This could lead to injector pump failier
  • Most electrical units either heat the oil directly or heat a block of aluminum with a 'GLOW' plug, Glow plugs are not designed for this, and due to the small surface area of the glow plug, localized boiling WILL occur before the temperature sensor switches it off this will causes polymerization of the oil. ( turn it to crystallized form - which WILL block filters and damage your injector pump) Also boiling of the oil can and does occur which could pose a fire hazard. You have been warned -I hear you say ' But there cheap' If the deal looks to good to be true it is !!!!! To cut a long story short they DO NOT WORK.

Where do I buy my vegetable oil ?

Well simply anywhere you like. Fresh oil from can be bought from Tesco, Aldi, Sansburys, Morrisons. etc. Some places are cheaper than others but at the time of writing this, oil is approximately 55 Pence per litre. Still very cheap when you consider the cost of diesel at nearly £1.00 per liter in the UK. You can of course use waist Vegetable Oil from chip shops etc many will give it away, some may charge about 20 Pence per liter. Of course if you decide to use waist Vegetable oil then you will need to filter it, nothing special just use fine filter material 5 - 10 Microns is recommended.

Additional Information :

For additional Information visit our Ebay Shop an take a look at our Veg Oil Conversion  Heat Exchanger  or Tel 01269 841230

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