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Old 23rd August 2012, 20:46   #1
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Smile HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Dear All,

We are planning to modify our HM Ambassador 1500DSL (HM Plus Engine), 2007 year model, to run on SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil). This is vegetable oil that has been filtered to 1-2 microns. As many of you might know, there are thousands of people in Europe/USA who have done this very successfully.

We particularly chose the Ambassador for this project as it is a truly "Indian" car and it is symbolic for a transformation towards cleaner and greener ways which are much needed.

We are working with a German company who are expert in SVO kits which basically require some minor modifications and installation of a 2nd fuel tank for the SVO.

Our questions are:

1. Is there anyone out there with experience with SVO motoring in India, if so please PM us so we can be in touch to share experience.

2. More specifically we need the exact details of the diesel injection system on 1500DSL 2007 HM Plus model. We called the local dealer and they say it's made by Lucas-TVS but we wished to get a exact model and description of the system and it's workings as this is important before deciding method of the conversion. In such a case if the injection system is not suitable, is it something that can be easily exchanged/modified. From the German manufacturer, the following diesel injection system are tried and tested:

Herewith their mail:

"unfortunately Lucas/Delphi pumps are not suitable for veg oil operation because the pump shaft can brake. Pumps from Bosch, Zexel or Nippon-Denso are suitable."

In such a case that the above is a dead-end, we will then run the car on Biodiesel which for those that know this is a very easy conversion as it it is the same as diesel with the advantage of degunking everything nicely

We wanted to try avoid the Biodiesel hop as methanol is neither fun to handle and quiete a process to get permission to work with it in India.

With Kindest Wishes to All,

Martin
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Old 24th August 2012, 17:02   #2
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

While the experts get here, this is a thread you MUST read : Biofuels Explored (Biofuels : Explained & explored. Must read for Biodiesel admirers)
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Old 24th August 2012, 20:28   #3
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by biobassador View Post
1. Is there anyone out there with experience with SVO motoring in India...
Quote:
Originally Posted by biobassador View Post
"unfortunately Lucas/Delphi pumps are not suitable for veg oil operation because the pump shaft can brake. Pumps from Bosch, Zexel or Nippon-Denso are suitable."
Hi Martin,
Thanks for bringing in a very interesting issue. Though I personally have never researched into this till now, and am no expert, your post got me to do some reading up (and even though this might appear repetitive to you after the research you have done at your end, I hope this'll help some of our other forum members to get a clearer picture!). There seem to be contrarian views regarding the compatibility of SVO with the Lucas rotary pump (as fitted on the Ambassador) - this web forum seems to say, yes, such damage is a common occurrence, but this research paper seems to conclude that biofuels do not affect diesel injection pumps to any great extent if the choice of fuel and compatible elastomeric components are correct and compatible. Again, this document (My Car Runs on Straight Vegetable Oil - Gary Liess) says that
Quote:
Lucas/CAV pumps are very sensitive to any kind of particles of dirt in the fuel. Use a fine filter and only heated veggie oil.
A lot of information and links are also available from this site: Straight vegetable oil as diesel fuel: Journey to Forever.
Quote:
Originally Posted by biobassador View Post
This is vegetable oil that has been filtered to 1-2 microns.
Curious about the process. Also, 1-2 micrometer particles are not expected to foul up either the filter or wear out the pump (although the fate of the seals would always remain questionable due to their variable & uncertifiable quality in the Indian market, and I suspect these might fail first).
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
While the experts get here...
No expert here, GTO, but the Amby's diesel pump is cheap and easy to fix, and injectors are not expensive either. IMO, it's hugely worth a shot to experiment and see if something actually wears out or breaks with SVO. With the right kind of blend, it should last quite a while. If not, there are thousands of scrapped Lucas pumps out there, with shafts in good condition, which can be procured for peanuts and replacement carried out.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 24th August 2012 at 20:34.
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Old 24th August 2012, 21:28   #4
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
If not, there are thousands of scrapped Lucas pumps out there, with shafts in good condition, which can be procured for peanuts and replacement carried out.
Or you can go for a safer alternative- go for a scrapped pump first. This way, a perfectly functional pump will always be available for a backup.
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Old 24th August 2012, 21:58   #5
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by biobassador View Post
"unfortunately Lucas/Delphi pumps are not suitable for veg oil operation because the pump shaft can brake. Pumps from Bosch, Zexel or Nippon-Denso are suitable."
This is interesting. Would like to know why.
A distributor type FIP would be more susceptible to damage if the working fluid does not have lubricating properties. Drive shaft breaking, I suppose, is because of the distributor plate seizing. Understandable. But why should it affect the Lucas-CAV FIP, and not similar designs by other companies? A scored distributor plate (let alone seized) means the FIP is gone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Curious about the process. Also, 1-2 micrometer particles are not expected to foul up either the filter or wear out the pump (although the fate of the seals would always remain questionable due to their variable & uncertifiable quality in the Indian market, and I suspect these might fail first).
Seal failure was reported by a large number of Bosch VE FIPs when the switch was made to newer less polluting fuels. Required seals of different materials.

A diesel will successfully burn a wide variety of fuels, but with varying degrees of 'efficiency'. In fact, IRIC, the engine in the Shaktiman was specifically designed to do that. However, weighing the advantages against the compromises, the India Army decided it wasn't worth it.

More than anything else, today emission determines how an engine is designed and run. AFAIK, there is too much variability in biofuels to guarantee it. (OT- Can someone educate us on Brazil and its ethanol program.)

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 24th August 2012, 22:19   #6
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Saw this on Fifth gear few years back:

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Old 24th August 2012, 23:16   #7
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by biobassador View Post
We are working with a German company who are expert in SVO kits...

"unfortunately Lucas/Delphi pumps are not suitable for veg oil operation because the pump shaft can brake. Pumps from Bosch, Zexel or Nippon-Denso are suitable."
Would you be averse to revealing to us if the company is question is Elsbett AG? (Cars and Vans - Elsbett AG). From their webpage...
Quote:
...some engines are unsuitable due to the limitations of their distribution-injection pump, particularly on traditional direct-injection engines. So distribution-injection systems including injection pumps made by CAV, Lucas, Stanadyne, RotoDiesel or Delphi are not suitable for vegetable oil.
I wonder why the company specified the DI engine with rotary FIPs of certain makes to be unsuitable for conversion. The Ambassador 1500DSL engine is IDI - would that make any difference?
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Old 24th August 2012, 23:23   #8
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Failure points in the pump would could be the Seals/ Orings : Usually synthetic rubber or polyurethane based.

One will need to open up the pump and get all these parts re made in a material suitable for the job.

Last edited by AbhiJ : 24th August 2012 at 23:24.
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Old 25th August 2012, 00:14   #9
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Thanks for the video Anshuman, really lovely and done with a good dose of humor to prove it's point. I ran for a year on a Mercedes 123 200D in South Africa but that was on Biodiesel not SVO. I think the video was about Biodiesel not SVO as pouring unfiltered SVO into a car might be more problematic but perhaps if it's a Merc then it's fine.

I am very curious to know if anyone has run on SVO in India ? Anyone out there with stories to share ? I met a Czech campaigner who arrived in Auroville doing this and I know of a handful of people who have driven with Biodiesel here (one illustrious gentleman on 300,000km), but SVO motoring seems new.

The conversion kits were famously made by Elsbett who I hear are no more in business so now the good ones are by ATG in Gloett, Germany.

It would be great if a SVO community would startup in India and people would make conversion kits here.

WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) can be gotten free or around Rs.15/litre in India so if you do the maths after conversion it is even cheaper then the highly subsidised diesel in India. Not just that but the emmisions are a non-issue:

http://www.buffalobiodiesel.org/svo_emissions.pdf

Regarding the HM Ambassador which I very much would love to convert, the team in Germany seem reluctant with Lucas-TVS injectors.

Technically here is what they say:

Quote:
The ATG Vegetable Oil-Kit is suitable for diesel engines with in-line or distributor pumps from Bosch (except for type VP44), Diesel-Kiki, Nippon-Denso or Zexel. The conversion of diesel engines with Bosch VP44-injection pump, high-pressure fuel injection like unit-injectors pumps or common-rail-technology is only possible through skilled ATG Conversion Partners.
So in this case I think I will need to convert the SVO/WVO to Biodiesel and then it should be fine. The two issues with Biodiesel in an old car that has run on diesel are:

1. Rubber fuel tubing must be converted to Neoprene if existing also any rubber seals as it is a strong solvent and will over time disolve rubber.

2. The fuel tank needs to be flushed as Biodiesel will degunk it over time and the solvent effect might cause gunking of the filters.

3. Fuel filters should be changed and a spare should be kept just in case degunking was not completed perfectly.

My first prize would be SVO and it would be great to see the birth of more SVO motoring in India.

There is no need to use food oils as there is so much oil thrown into the waste daily in India that this could be recycled.

In terms of producing Biodiesel there are many novel methods like from algae etc. but that is another story for another thread.

On a personal note if anyone out there is very technically adept with diesel engines and particularly those in ambassadors I would appreciate any suggestions how it might be possible to run the configuration I have on SVO.

Best Wishes,

Martin
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Old 25th August 2012, 09:52   #10
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

I hear that even biodiesel is not straight extraction of oil from Jathropa. Some additional processing / cracking is involved. I feel the viscosity of SVO will be significantly more than that of diesel, so the injection system may need to be doctored. I do know that Mahindra's have been involved with Biodiesel, maybe they worked on SVO as well.
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Old 25th August 2012, 16:07   #11
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

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Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
I hear that even biodiesel is not straight extraction of oil from Jathropa. Some additional processing / cracking is involved. I feel the viscosity of SVO will be significantly more than that of diesel, so the injection system may need to be doctored. I do know that Mahindra's have been involved with Biodiesel, maybe they worked on SVO as well.
Biodiesel is esterified and isomerised vegetable & animal fat. In India it is mostly Jatropha Oil. Mostly Methanol is used for esterification and then Isomersiation is done with Vanadium/ Platinum Catalyzed reactors. Straight Vegetable Oil may be costlier than Petro-Diesel due to skewed pricing. I had heard that Old Shaktiman TRucks (actually MAN trucks) of Indian Army could also run on SVO in emergencies, without much damage to Fuel Pump or injectors.

Mechanical injection anyway being a relatively low pressure system, it should be able to cope with increased viscosity at low engine speeds. At higher speeds the thicker oil will behave like goo in an injector.

Excellent Experiment though. Hope we will keep hearing interesting things on this thread.
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Old 30th August 2012, 11:26   #12
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

@biobassador Martin: All the best for your project.

FYI, most german companies would recommend bosch pumps as it is an inline pump.

The lucas TVS / Delphi pump is a Rotary pump. There is a difference in the way they operate.

I would first experiment with SVO and diesel mix to see the performance difference before venturing into vegetable oil alone!

EDIT: I'm not surprised that your german friends rejected the Lucas / Delphi pump? Do you have any contact with CAV? They are the originators of that design!

Last edited by headers : 30th August 2012 at 11:27.
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Old 30th August 2012, 11:48   #13
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Converting from Diesel to Vegetable Oil My Veg Oil Car.

This link also might help. This guy converted his Landcruiser to run on vegetable oil.

I guess it is not adviseable to run a car purely on vegetable oil. You would need to diesel to start it (due to its low viscocity). Also, it is important to switch to diesel towards the end of the journey, so that no traces of vegetable oil remain in the fuel injection system.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 19:18   #14
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Default Re: HM Ambassador 1500DSL - Making it run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Lucas/CAV pumps rely on a very thin film of fuel for lubricating a rotating shaft within the pump, which vegetable oil cannot do properly when the engine is cold. The Bosch rotary pump of the VP37 type is much more tolerant of cold veg oil and I have never heard of one failing in such a way.

However, there are many people here in Britain who are running Lucas pumps on high percentages of veg oil without any problems (often 90% and more, with a drop of petrol in sub-zero conditions to thin the fuel and diesel to improve performance), but they are starting (and stopping) the engines on diesel with the use of a changeover valve and small secondary fuel tank. They also usually add a heat exchanger plumbed into the heater circuit to thin the fuel, since our winters are usually below 6C and we have had day after day of -10C and colder for the last few winters.

Note that later Bosch rotary pumps such as the VP44 are a much cheaper design and are almost like the Lucas variety and additionally have electronics in the top of the pump which do not seem to like hot veg oil.

The finest injector pump for a wide range of fuel viscosity is the inline Bosch pump (and its Japanese copies, theoretically) which Mercedes used on its OM602, 603, 605 and 606 engines. These pumps use sump oil for lubricant and the only problems ever associated with the pumps are old rubber delivery valve seals, which can be easily and quickly replaced but require a special tool.

The OM605 and 606 engines used a poor design of O ring in the fuel lines around the IP, these require replacing every 100km or so to prevent air ingress.
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