My MCI 102A3 bus can run on vegetable oil, also known as "SVO"
(straight vegetable oil) or "WVO" (waste vegetable oil) or veggie oil
or even vegoil. It has a Detroit Diesel 6V-92 Turbo engine, and I
did the conversion myself.
It works like this:
- I stop by a restaurant that has a deep fryer (chinese restaurants
for example). They need to pay to get rid of their waste oil, instead
I take it off their hands for free.
- I pump the oil into a large (210 gal) "dirty" tank.
- Oil in the dirty tank is filtered and pumped into a "clean" (50 gal) tank
- SVO in the clean tank is sent to the engine.
How to convert a bus
- Conversion album
showing directions for how to convert a bus/large rig to vegetable oil.
- Parts list
- FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about running
a bus on waste vegetable oil
The WVO conversion works and I've driven a couple thousand miles on WVO
already, but there are a few things I'd do differently or investigate
if I were to do this again.
- Use different hose for coolant (fuel hose is expensive!)
- More electric heat, maybe no coolant heating (and all the
plumbing/hose/time/cost that goes with it?)
Consider that the majority of installation time and money goes
towards all the plumbing.
Also that the bus has a massive 6.5 KW alternator that
(at least in my case with the on-board A/C removed) is barely being used.
Furthermore, electric heat could optionally use the house electric system
and could heat up oil before the bus even started, possibly running
on WVO 100% of the time.
- Even further, I could insulate the WVO bay and add it to the house
heater's zone of influence so that I wouldn't have to keep heating up
- Centrifugal filter? <- seems very promising
- Onboard flash dewatering? This is a bit of a holy grail for WVO,
but I think it's easier on a bus with elec. power - see biodiesel.infopop.cc forums
- Maybe just buy filtered/dewatered WVO and only have a clean tank with heater?
- Non-pushlock? The bigger pushlocks are *very* hard to get hose on.
- More quick release connects?
- More swivel fittings for ease of assembly/disassembly!!
- It would be interest to make a floating pickup for the dirty tank,
so that I'm always skimming from near the top. And it would be nice
to figure out how to clean out stuff that has settled on the tank bottom,
maybe a squegee with a flexible shaft that I can get through the tank
- NOTE (Thanks Royce Owen - roycegriffon yahoo):
Some engines are equipped with a DDEC system which has
sensors for low pressure, low coolant, too hot coolant, etc..
and will shut down the engine. The DDEC computer is cooled
by incoming fuel, which can be a problem if you heat it to 180° F.
DDEC is the box with a mess of wires on it sitting on top of the engine
right behind the long fan belt. If you have one, you probably also
have a large square red button on the left side of the dash that says
"engine over ride" (which allows buses to drive another 30 seconds
after DDEC is triggered).
WVO is a sticky process, figuratively and literally, and every once in a while
it has it's problems. Here's my list of issues and resolutions.
||Change filter. First bleed some oil off the bottom, then remove
top, swap filter, make sure tabs don't get stuck and hand tighten.
|Air in system
Oil should overflow if top of filter comes off. If not:
- Make sure filter bleed is closed
- Make sure top is air-tight. Make sure filter tabs aren't
getting stuck in the filter lip.
|No Dirty->Clean Transfer
|Filter body clogged
||Unlikely on Racor, as inlets/outlets are wide, but
consider taking off bowl and cleaning
|Intake screen clogged
||Pull up dirty tank intake (use a rope) and possibly clean off screen
|Not Enough Heat
||Coolant flow restricted
||Check hoses for kinks, check valves for 'on'.
Feel hoses for heat to find obstruction
||Coolant may take path of least resistance. Notes:
- Water pump is mechanical, so idle/fast idle isn't good enough
to get coolant flow to oil tanks, so be sure to drive.
- Turning off cabin heat doesn't seem to make much difference
with getting heat to WVO
- Use electric bucket heater as supplement?
- Make sure restriction valves are properly set
All material © 2006, David Ljung Madison