Plantoil/diesel conversion basics
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danalinscott

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[QUOTE]
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Posted 21 April 2007 07:14 PM
OK, finally got around to experimenting w/ veggie as crankcase oil
(other "official" people have tried this , so I'm not completely nuts)

I put 4 quarts of Cargill Agri-Pure 82 (high-oleic Canola) along with 1 qt Lucas eng oil additive into my 93 VW EuroVan DSL

so far so good
nothing exploded, nothing seems to be gumming up
engine sounds softer, more muffled, happier (probably mostly the Lucas responsible for this)
oil on dipstick looks clear, healthy; smells coming up from sump are not especially unpleasant


but I do have concerns:

- will the Canola polymerize in the crankcase and seize up my bearings and burn up my engine?

- will the Lucas mix compatibly with the veggie? it is "100% petroleum-based"

- will the veggie react with any residual 15-40 left in there? in fact, filled the new filter with 15-40, so there's a mix in there right now

- how long will the veggie last before it starts degrading?

- I hear veggie will wash all the crud out of the engine
wonder how soon I should do my first oil change...
and how soon after that the second one?

who knows about this stuff ??


("Agri-Pure™ Canola Oils are high oleic canola oils. Their unique fatty acid compositions provide natural lubrication and extended product stability. All Agri-Pure™ Canola Oils offer superior oxidation performance compared to other vegetable oils like soybean oil.)


rOLf
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Posted 21 April 2007 09:31 PM Hide Post
I have to admit, If I had those genuine concerns, I would have addressed them first before using the stuff.

I would say that you are probably out in no mans land and pioneering what you are doing here.
I would think most of your concerns would have been addressed in testing on the agri oil but putting the Lucas in it puts a spin on everything.

Oil manufacturers tend to take the position of their oil is perfect straight out of the bottle and additives are not needed so I think you may have a hard time getting much out of them if you mention the Lucas.

I would contact the oil manufacturer to get their feedback and contact Lucas and see what they say. Don't be surprised if the info you get ends up being conflicting.

I don't think anything will sieze or harm your engine as long as you keep an eye out for anything unusual such as the oil thickening up unexpectedly. It may be an idea just to do a filter change half way through the interval you are going tochange the oil to make sure it is still filtering and not blocke by anything that gets disloged from the engine. If you engine is clean and has had regular oil changes in the past, there shouldn't be much crud to come loose in the first place.
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Posted 21 April 2007 10:13 PM Hide Post
High performance race cars from the early days used to use pure castor oil for the engine oil. I believe that's where "Castrol" brand motor oil got it's name. Good luck!
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Posted 22 April 2007 08:28 AM Hide Post
the 'Agri' oil is just hi-oleic Canola
basically the new 'high-stability' cooking oil that's come out lately

I'm not really that concerned
it's an experiment I have been wanting to do for a long time

I believe johno has been running canola in a Land Rover for years

the Canola and he Lucas seem to have mixed happily

I will be closely monitoring dipstick and fill spout, looking for any signs of burning or smoking or thickening or polymerization

but, so far so good
and, like running VO for fuel, VO in the sump SOUNDS and FEELS like the engine likes it way better

smoother, softer, quieter running

I may end up refining the mixture, but I'm pretty sure this is going to work

now the only petro in my whole vehicle is in the tranny
veggie gear oil - that's next


rOLf
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[QUOTE]
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Posted 22 April 2007 09:48 AM Hide Post
I like the idea of having the engine draw vegetable oil from the oil pan, and then having a float switch in the oil pan that activates a pump that keeps the oil pan full.

You'd be constantly using the engine oil, so there would be less chance of it breaking down.


jake
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[QUOTE] 
Member
Posted 22 April 2007 12:13 PM Hide Post
rolf,

have you thought about cooking the canola for a while to remove the gums? i think that virgin oils that have been used in engines goes through some processing to make it safe.

piper

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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 22 April 2007 01:13 PM Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Piper:
rolf,

have you thought about cooking the canola for a while to remove the gums? i think that virgin oils that have been used in engines goes through some processing to make it safe.

piper


Food grade oil is already degummed.

Craig
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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 23 April 2007 09:55 AM Hide Post
The Rover hasn't been driven much for a few years, but still has pure Canola in the Crankcase. Every so often I start it up and move it around the yard. I believe it has about 12,000 miles on a damaged engine (the machine shop badly scored the cylinder walls), using just Canola in the crankcase. Since it burns a quart of oil every few hundred miles, the oil doesn't stay long enough to "go bad" (oxidize, polymerize, etc). Your VW is probably in much better condition, so I recommend watching the oil quality closely. It may not give much warning of polymerization. It should begin to smell like paint some time prior to polymerization-caused thickening. I would also recommend a bench-test for interactions between the Lucas additive and the Canola. Mix a sample (or take it from the engine) and heat to 300F until it thickens or you get bored. There's a possiblity the Lucas may actually shorten the life of the Canola.
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Posted 23 April 2007 06:15 PM Hide Post
Interesting to see this experiment go forth with no data regarding film strength. Any data on canola film strength, compared to regular motor oil? Better hope it compares....


'83 Benz 240D with 617.952
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Member
Posted 23 April 2007 08:49 PM Hide Post
See Harvesting Lubricants paper
My other old links to lubricant papers are dead. Canola is one of the better lubricants, and is the principal ingredient in most if not all veg-oil-based automotive lubricants.
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Posted 23 April 2007 10:50 PM Hide Post
I believe ther is a ertain amout of shear resistablity built into the formular of motor oils. I know there is for tranny fluid. WHats teh word on SVO? can it handle the shearing it will be exposed to while traveling around inside he engine?

This should be interesting to watch.. I personally would've started off by using a small lawnmower sized engine. I just saw a two cylinder diesel generator engine sell for $200 on CL.

Good luck and please keep posting!
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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 24 April 2007 10:56 AM Hide Post
so far still so good
oil looks good, smells good
about 400 miles on it so far
I will probably do a change at @ 1000 mi and inspect everything thoroughly


rOLf
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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 24 April 2007 01:20 PM Hide Post
Palm oil and mineral oil based lubricants—their tribological and emission performance

H. H. Masjukia, M. A. Maleque, , a, A. Kubob and T. Nonakab
a Department of Mechanical and Materials, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
b Department of Precision Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
Received 30 March 1999; revised 23 July 1999; accepted 12 August 1999. Available online 27 December 1999.
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Posted 25 April 2007 05:25 PM Hide Post
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Member
Posted 26 April 2007 01:24 AM Hide Post
I thought I read somewhere how one of the negative effects of improperly heating the VO into the engine, was unburned VO leaking down into the crankcase and causing sludge?

Not only does the oil have to be hot, but the engine as well when the oil is injected, right? How would this be different in the crankcase? Doesn't the petro-oils resist thermal breakdown far better than VO (i.e. synthetic vs. conventional, etc.)?

Interested in the results...

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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 26 April 2007 02:23 AM Hide Post
rOLF: Good on you!
What is the gel point of the canola you are using?
Do you think it will be a problem if the outdoor temp falls below the gel point, and the oil filter clogs? Assuming your experiment lasts until winter, which I hope it does!


1984 GMC Suburban 6.2L, HOH, HIH, heated fuel pickup, coolant heat exchanger, coolant and electric heated filter., looped IP return. 23,000+ WVO miles (4/07) since August '05, one blown IP
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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 26 April 2007 07:42 AM Hide Post
I remember a while back when Chris G. (Frybrid) mentioned a chemist (Mr Beatty) who did some research on polymerization of veggie. In the final analysis, I think the big factors were exposure to heat, air, water and metallic catalysts (seemed to support the big copper/brass scare).

Anyway, I also seem to remember that after the big wave blew over, other contributors put in their 2 cents worth and there were a few other points to consider.

When storing oil it was recomended to store it bone dry since water was reported to carry O2 and could potentially lead to further oxidation.

The other thing with storing oil was to try to store it in plastic drums. This was intended to reduce exposure to metallic catalysts.

Another point was to fill the drums completely full, leaving no air at the top, thereby reducing oxygen exposure.

People were saying that even with copper tubes coiled up in the veggie tanks and circulating coolant as a primitive heat exchanger, they had NO polymerization problems. Others posted pics of horrible goop covered copper tubes and veggie tanks that were severly polymerized. Could be different oil quality. Could be wet versus dry oil. Could be residence time.

The reason I am babbling away about an old polymerization debate and its relationship to oil storage is that many of the things that were blamed for polymerizing peoples oil are found in engine oil systems with the possible exception of water.

Heat, air exposure and time are all chewing away at your veggie motor oil.

One of the lesser mentioned factors that could be significant in the polymerization threat was residence time. The longer the wvo sits around in somebodys fuel tank and gets sloshed around being exposed to air and going through heat cycles, the more oxidization was encouraged.

Oxidization often leads to polymerization.

Since you are using new oil and a very stable type of oil, you may not see significant polymerization for quite some time.

It may be worthwhile to find that thread and look for the antioxidant additives that we listed there. After investigating their suitability, they may provide an extra margin of insurance against polymerization.

I think that Johnos' experience is very encouraging. It may be that the exposure to water that wvo has suffered is the greatest factor leading to its oxidative damage and ultimate polymerization. Since most oil pans likely don't see much water, Johnos positive experience with fresh, new veggie lube oil may serve as tentative proof of this. I think I remember Dana L. mentioning that water was sometimes fairly significant in the lipid peroxidation process.

In the end, people who consumed their wvo relatively quickly seemed to have the least veg-poly problems, so it may be that time is the biggest single factor. If so, frequently pumping the contents of your oil pan into your wvo refinement tank and replacing it with fresh new veggie might be the cheapest and most reliable way to go.

Imagine being able to tell people that you run your vehicle on your used motor oil (veggie)!

Ciao!
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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 26 April 2007 09:58 AM Hide Post
I think Welder put it quite well. My Rover was worth risking for this experiment because 1) the engine was in very well known condition (new rings, bearings, valves, etc), but 2) damaged enough to require a major teardown anyway (one badly scored cylinder by the stupid machine shop), and 3) I have another engine ready to install. What was the worst thing that could happen - ruining the engine? That's no disadvantage in this case. The terrible oil consumption rate reduced the chance of polymerization because the oil wouldn't be in the engine long enough to cause damaging levels of polymerization.
That being said, I cannot recommend the experiment to anyone else, unless they're willing to risk ruining their engine. All the dangerous elements are present - heat and metallic compounds are obvious, but there's relatively little free oxidation in the crankcase - during normal operation the oil is exposed to combustion blowby, which is mostly oxygen deficient and CO2 rich. That aspect may offer some protection, or at least a reduced polymerization and oxidation rate compared to air exposure. Also during normal operations, the engine is warm enough to drive out water as vapor, however a large component of the exhaust product that blows into the cylinder is water vapor, so you could consider it, um, "humid". That should increase the polymerzation potential. It's a race to see which effect dominates. So far, so good.
Something to think about: in a restaurant fryer, the oil is heated about as hot as in my engine (roughly 300F), exposed to air, and with water getting added directly from the cooking food. It gets changed after roughly 2 days, for a total exposure time of about 16 hours, yet has not polymerized yet. That's equivelant to nearly 1000 miles of hard driving. It would therefore seem reasonable to expect fresh Canola oil to last as long in the engine. OTOH, I've seen signs of regular oil thickening in my Mazda after 4000 miles, presumably due to veg oil contaminating the petroleum crankcase oil. Somewhere in between is the limit of veg oil use in my engine(s). The Rover burns a quart of oil each 200 miles, and holds 7 quarts, so it's effectively getting an oil change at 1400 miles without obvious ill effects. I would be afraid to extend the oil change interval much further unless I was watching the oil viscosity and odor very closely.
Expense: 1-qt of Canola salad oil costs about $3, so each oil "change" costs $21, every 1400 miles. That's $0.015/mile. Delo oil costs about $1.20/quart, and gets changed at 3300 miles, for a cost of $0.0025/mile. Neither is particularly expensive.
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[QUOTE]
Member
Posted 26 April 2007 04:37 PM Hide Post
first - obviously, one of the perks of this is being able to burn your used motor oil as fuel (although I'd be cautious about heavy metals in the oil, might only run it through home boiler, at least until oil quality clears after first couple oil changes)

second - I'd be very interested in the 'anti-oxidant additives' mentioned in the Beatty discussion - anyone want to chime in here? so far I have found this assertions by Sun Wizard:

"The best anti-oxidant is TBHQ (t-butyl hydroquinone), followed by PG (pyrogallol)."

so far oil seems clear and liquid, dripping lazily from dipstick
any sign of thickening, even slight, and I will drop bolt and drain

question:
if I DO see thickening, what would be good partially-polymerized-veggie solvent that ALSO lubes and engine well??
(s'pose I should have thought of this before jumping in)

but the oil I'm using IS designed for high stability - i.e. NOT to polymerize under high heat and oxygen
high oleic acid content, low linoleic
cooking in a fryelator is not THAT different from running in an engine
the engine adds pressure and a lot of swooshing and smooshing through metals, which is worse, I guess, but much less water and air, so...

anyway, a lot of people have done this without seizing up their engines
will keep updating
peace out


rOLf
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Posted 10 May 2007 09:41 AM Hide Post
yeah, I called GreatPlains a couple times too - seems to be a dead company
maybe just a guy and his webpage?


anyway, had the following exchange with Dana - thought the group might benefit, or have additional thoughts:


ME (from above):

cooking in a fryelator is not THAT different from running in an engine


DANA (private response):

There is one very big difference.
Engine oil is exposed to huge amounts of air. And O2 is what drives polymerization. Add more air and polymerization proceeds very quickly.

The exposure of oil in a fryer to air is several hundred times less than engine oil.


ME:

is that right? I would have thought it was the opposite
I guess in a fryelator it is only the top surface that is exposed to air (although it does 'turn over' in a slow 'roil'), whereas in an engine the oil is spread in thin films and almost all of it is exposed to air

however

I would not be surprised if the 'air' in an engine block - i.e. what is below the sealing piston rings and above the oil in the sump - were pretty oxygen-deprived
after all, it is a sealed environment

and most of the oxygen in the head is getting eaten up by the combustion reaction

so, although I can see your point that the oil in an engine is more exposed, I would argue that the air in the engine may have less oxygen in it
I would guess it's a pretty CO- and CO2-rich environment, maybe with some nitrogen compounds, but not much unreacted O2

maybe this accounts for the ability to use veggie as motor oil without immediate polymerization

so far so good w/ me, anyway
I have over a thousand miles and no sign of thickening
the engine sounds and feels happier, the emissions seem, subjectively, less toxic, and I am one step closer to being completely petro-free


rOLf
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Member
Posted 10 May 2007 10:11 AM Hide Post
and, with Dana's permission, his latest reply:

quote:
quote:
I would not be surprised if the 'air' in and engine short block - i.e. what is below the sealing piston rings and above the oil in the sump - were pretty oxygen-deprived
after all, it is a sealed environment

It is actually not a sealed enviornment...but blowby gasses may tend to push atmospheric O2 from the crankcase. These gasses are lower in O2 but not devoid of it.

I believe that most VO will polymerize in this environment fairly quickly...however the are two possibilities that I can see may ameliorate this tendency.
1. Fresh VO may have high levels of anti oxidation compounds in it which can help prevent polymerization. VO intended for use as crankcase oil may have even higher levels of these compounds added. It may be possible to add additional anti oxidation compounds between oil changes as the original ones are used up.

2.If the engine is using lots of crankcase oil the additions of fresh VO to make up for this loss may add enough fresh anti oxidants to prevent rapid polymerization.

One thing to consider is that polymerization is only one of the problems associated with use of VO as crankcase oil.

It also presents the likelyhood of acellerated ring/land coking.

Dana


rOLf
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Posted 10 May 2007 10:21 AM Hide Post
The ring/land coking issue is a concern, but mighht not be bad in my case (remember my engine uses a LOT of oil). I suspect the direction of oil consumption is from my crankcase up the cylinder walls towards the combustion chamber, so the rings are being exposed to fresh oil from below, rather than half-burn fuel from above. Wouldn't it be nice if this keeps my rings from getting gummed up? We'll eventually find out.
It's only a failure if we dont' learn from it.
Cheers,
JohnO
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Dana danalinscott@yahoo.com
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Quote:
The ring/land coking issue is a concern, but mighht not be bad in my case (remember my engine uses a LOT of oil). I suspect the direction of oil consumption is from my crankcase up the cylinder walls towards the combustion chamber, so the rings are being exposed to fresh oil from below, rather than half-burn fuel from above. Wouldn't it be nice if this keeps my rings from getting gummed up? We'll eventually find out.
 
John,
more common and likely is the valve stems for leaking engine oil into the combustion chamber where it gets burned. 
 
A wet compression test can pretty much tell you what you need to know.
 

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Reply with quote  #3 
The valve guides and seals are new. The engine is completely rebuilt, using all new parts with the exception of the pistons, which were previously damaged. The machine shop responsible for relining the cylinders screwed up, leaving some big gouges down the cylinder walls. They also resleeved one badly damaged cylinder with an odd sized sleeve and bored it oversize to match the damaged pistons. The did NOT use the set of standard sleeves or standard pistons I provided. Because of the oversize odd sleeve the engine cannot be resleeved to stock bore, so I'm stuck using the odd, damaged pistons, which have known leaks from the cylinder wall gouges and damaged ring grooves.

The crank and bearings are also in good rebuilt condition, so by running Veg oil I'll know how well it lubricates them.
When I finally get around to taking it apart, I'll be closely examining the following:
Rings and grooves
Cylinder walls
Valve stems and guides
Main and rod bearings
Piston tops and skirts
Cylinder head deposits
Crankcase deposits
Oil pump wear
Cam bearings, lobes, roller followers
Timing chain
Injector pump (it's a Lucas/CAV roller cam unit)
Injectors

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Reply with quote  #4 
Why???  What's the point, other than ruining an engine?
JohnO

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Reply with quote  #5 
It's a chance to learn something. I've been warned (from many sources) that Straight Veg oil in the crankcase will ruin an engine, but have found no supporting reports. The exhaust smells much nicer burning Canola than burning Delo, and the Canola burns clean, without visible smoke, wheras the Delo made a terribly acrid smoke cloud. I have a rebuilt replacement engine, so ruining this one won't end the useful life of the vehicle.

The lubricating characteristics of Canola are good, but the long term effects are unknown. Anecdotal stories abound, of people using different kinds of veg oils for long periods without obvious problems, but none that I've tracked down subsequently tore apart the engines for assessment of the effects. Besides, the starting conditions were unknown, other than the engines were usually worn out and consuming lots of oil. Mine on the other hand is in well known and documented condition, so I will be able to determine things like ring land deposits, bearing wear, and cylinder wear. I also know the normal wear rates for comparison.

Does this answer the question adequately? Like many people, you too assume I'm ruining the engine (which is ruined anyway, and you may be right), yet there is no supporting data. There is LOTs of data on the lubricating properties of Canola (which was cultivated for lubricating oil during the war). There have been a few companies marketing veg-oil based crankcase lubricants, but they're proprietary, and hard to find.

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