Vegetable Oil Conversion - Introduction


The original diesel engine designed by Rudolph Diesel ran on peanut oil. It was only the larger oil companies that produced the diesel we know today. Had they left Rudolph alone (he was pushed overboard whilst trying to sell his diesel engines to the British Royal Navy Submarine fleet - some believe by the french) it is possible we could of been running on bio fuels for the last 100 years or so.


Switch back to modern day and many Land Rovers have been successfully run on either new or waste cooking oil, and there are many different ways to achieve this out there on the internet.

Seeing the benefits of carrying out the conversion I have kept an eye on any installations I could find on the internet. I decided to come up with a system that was simple, reliable and ensured the best possible conditions for clean burning of vegetable oil based alternative fuels.

I have spent the last few years collecting information, parts and vehicles waiting to pluck up the courage to take physical steps to carrying out a working conversion. After securing the 200TDi engine in the 110, and realising God willing I would own the 110 for a long time I have bitten the bullet.

I divided the system into 3 sections:

1). Engine Bay
2). Cockpit
3). Twin Tank

Now I have seen many people run a single tank set up, even as simple as pouring cooking oil in their tank in various blends with diesel or white spirit. I did not create this site to condemn other people's efforts or work but I decided to go the twin tank route.


Taking it in turn I looked at each section and analysed what needed to happen. I got an old note book and I sketched it out several times, later upgrading to Power Point so I could move sections around like a jigsaw. I ended up with a system in my mind that I thought would work.

The Land Rover would start on standard DERV from its original tank (rear mounted 110 item). Once the engine coolant was hot enough, indicated by one of two additional gauges, a switch panel would alter the return and supply fuel lines separately (to allow purging) to feed/return to the second tank. The second tank would be fitted by cutting out the under seat tool box (driver's side) and fitting a standard 2 hole 90 fuel tank. The Vegetable Oil in the 90 tank would pass through a heated fuel filter using an 'oil cooler' from a VW. This is a heat exchanger in its own right. Once the Vegetable Oil had passed through the filter heat exchanger it would enter a second much larger heat exchanger from a domestic combination boiler. Finally, after passing through the control solenoid, it would pass through a sensor block which would relay the fuel temperature back to the second auxiliary gauge. Once the fuel temperature is measured the fuel passes through a cheap in-line disposable filter and into the standard injection pump.


The return lines are standard and the only addition to that side of the circuit is a solenoid to allow selecting of one of the two tanks. A downside of this system is it would be possible to not purge the system for long enough or to send cooking oil back to the 110 rear tank contaminating the good DERV used for starting, and making the twin tank system redundant. The switch panel was therefore wired with indicator lights showing where fuel is coming from and returning too, and an alarm was built into the circuit to prevent the return feeding the DERV tank when running on vegetable oil.


A common figure on the internet for how hot vegetable oil should be before entering the injection pump is 70 degrees Celsius. I had originally planned to pass DERV through the heat exchangers and fuel temperature sensor to indicate that vegetable oil would reach the desired temperature, but after discovering the lubrication properties of DERV are severely reduced at temperature I moved both heat exchangers to the vegetable oil lines only and before the solenoid. To retain the two tank system for extended range during any abroad expeditions where running on vegetable oil may not be allowed the heat exchanger elements can be by passed in a few minutes and the tank and lines flushed prior to use with standard DERV.


I have detailed each section of the conversion in more detail in its own section of the write up. Good luck to anyone considering this themselves, and I'd love any feed back using the contact us page.



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Cooking Oil Conversion
--- Introduction
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--- Cockpit
--- Twin Tank Installation
--- Testing
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Graeme Shorten - L4NDROVER.CO.UK -
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