Lister Engine Forum

Alternative fuels => Waste Vegetable Oil => Topic started by: bschwartz on January 07, 2014, 02:35:38 PM

Title: love my mercedes
Post by: bschwartz on January 07, 2014, 02:35:38 PM
I think my 1982 Mercedes 300SD will run on butter or chicken fat.....

It started this morning without issues on 90% WVO/10% RUG (petrol)........ it was 20 degrees F ( that is -6.6 C)

Granted, the back window doesn't work, the AC doesn't work, the cruise control crapped out a long time ago, the interior is cracking from age and heat......
..... but it ALWAYS starts and gets me where I need to go.
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: LowGear on January 07, 2014, 05:36:17 PM
Wow Bret,

Is this a brag?  I sure hope so.  I'm looking for Cherokee stick so I stick a Merc engine into it.  And look at the prices of these proud stallions here in Hawaii. (   :o (  OK, both riggs are pretty nice looking units but these cars are 30 years old.  I see dogs being advertised for $3K.

Pretty neat huh.

Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: bschwartz on January 07, 2014, 10:06:52 PM
Would you like to come to New Mexico to purchase one here?
Hawaii isn't the only place where people think these old cars are worth a small fortune......
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: glort on January 08, 2014, 01:47:33 AM
My WVO adventures started 8 years ago with a W123.

I looked at it, thanked the owner for his time and then left. In a hurry.  Then at the insistence of the wife, went back and drove then consequently against my far better judgement, bought it to keep her happy.  It broke down on the way home and after 2 trips to try and get it going, it came home finally on a car trailer.
The tank was full of something other than fuel. Water and all sorts of rubbish were major components but Diesel or any other liquid combustible was not.

Pulled the tank, replaced it with some 25L drums and the thing never let me down ever again.

The thing had about 8 months rego and I was convinced it wasn't going to make it near that far So I experimented with different fuels and setups like I think few others have done. Most people are paranoid about keeping their car going and not breaking it. My mindset was more to see what would make the thing stop. In hindsight, probably the best thing I could have done to really learn about alternative fuels.  Nothing I threw at it made it fail or pretty much even hiccup.

I became an expert on veg and alternatives very quick with that car because unlike about everyone else, I didn't automatically believe and follow the parroted mantra, I went against it and tested everything. I soon found out that about 90% of the theories and prescribed practices of the veg world are moronic crap that is totally wrong, irrelevant or both.

That old car had so much wrong with it but it never let me down once other than failings of my tests. Even my kids could change fuel filters by the side of the road before they left primary school in under 2 min and when the old girl did stop, it was a filter or a hose that came loose and rubbed through.  
That car never DIDN'T get me home. The glow plug timer had crapped itself as was common and someone replaced it with a manual push button. I always prefered that to the auto system because I knew exactly how long it had glowed up for.

It was a beast on batteries though. Despite having something from a mack truck, If it didn't start pretty smartly, the battery ran down. So I moved some stuff under the bonnet, got another battery support plate and leads and put another battery on the other side of the engine bay. That made it sit up and beg! I left the headlights on all night one time. Came out the next morning and fired it up like normal.  I love big batteries and plenty of them!

At my kids school, the car became bit of a celebrity.
Word got around about the car that ran on chip oil and my kids were asked about it every day.  I used to volounteer to take small groups of kids to different sporting things mainly when there weren't enough to warrant a bus.  I burned more than one of the other parents with their expensive new cars when there would be heated arguments between the kids over who was going to come in "Helga" as she was known, but never any such debate who was going to ride in the new Porsche cayenne or Range Rover sports some of the well to do parents had.  I never stopped enjoying that the many times it happened!

I got asked to do more than one talk at the school to different classes and just as often had to explain things to interested teachers.  I think the only way people believed me was when they got a wiff of the exhaust and realised this wasn't a joke at all. I remember at one school Function at a local Club, the school principal in her intro speech said she knew my daughter who was the MC for the event was  there as soon as she came into the place because she smelt Donuts in the underground carpark.
900+ people instantly laughed at that one because each and every one of them knew exactly what she was talking about.  OF course I never did hear the end of it even after the kids had moved onto high school.

Helga didn't like cold starts on veg under about 20% Blend in winter at all and was still cantankerous. A Shot of Methanol down the inlet was a foregone conclusion in winter but after that, she ran perfect all day no matter how long it was turned off for.  It ran really well on bio and started easy on that too.
In summer it was fine starting on as low as 5% petrol/ wvo. In winter, 20% was a bit high once it warmed up so having fitted a 2 tank system, I used the 20% for start up and shutdown and the SVO for running.  Later I worked out 5% is a great running fuel and has a lot of benifits for SVO performance.

One time when picking up oil, this asian restaurateur gave a friend and I about 300L of pure Duck fat.  He turned his into Bio.  I filtered and cleaned mine and one real hot day, I warmed it up to melt it, stuck it in Helga and went for a 75 Mile drive with my daughter, her friend and her friends dad.  She ran perfect.
When were were getting lunch, the place was changing their fryer fat and after a quick word, They filtered it through some paper filters for me and I put it straight in with the duck fat.  It was still plenty hot and stayed that way no problem on the way home. I learned that solid fats if you can keep them lliquid are excellent fuel.
It was a really fun day out that.

The old girl got pretty decrepit after about 3 years so I decided to take her off the road and fix the rust and the steering that was getting pretty suspect and all the other things wrong with her.  I barely got the wheels off and the thing up on stands to replace the rubber drive plate when I discovered the rust was right through the floor of the car and structural.  I started going round the old girl with a small hammer and soon had the poor thing looking like a swiss cheese punching holes through the rust.
Took a couple of days and a couple of friends to check my findings but I finally admitted she was beyond worthwhile repair.

I pulled the engine and gearbox as they were still perfect.
I had bought my wife the exact same car only in a shade different colour that was in outstanding condition..... except for a worn out engine.
That's another veg based crock of shite, Merc engines DON'T go for a million KM unless they are taxi's. Most used normally don't see much over 400K km before requiring a full rebuild.  Mine had been rebuilt as the owner said and was confirmed with the removal of the sump inspection, the near non existant blow by and a compression check which was at the real high end of the scale.

I was going to transplant this engine into my wifes car but the day after I borrowed an engine crane from a mate, The moron POS Neighbour on the other side of the road came boring out of his driveway  doing a U turn which my wife couldn't see and smacked her car ( Heidi) right in the middle as she was turning out our driveway. Luckily my wife was just shook up and my son was OK.  The moron neighbour went on like such a tool I actually lost my temper and smacked him in the mouth and sat him on his backside. The cops came and after he was carrying on at them and wouldn't shut up with his drivel, One of them admitted they would have smacked the smart arse as well. They said if I apologised they would let the rest go as they didn't see anything and wouldn't allow the guy to press charges.  I was very lucky.

Unfortunately Heidi was bent like a banana and was written off.   I sold Helga and Heidi to a middle eastern man who said he was going to put them in a container and ship them  to saudi arabia where the things would be stripped for parts. Apparently they are still hugely popular there as Cabs.
I got more for the cars as scrap than what I paid for them plus the insurance payout on Heidi.

During the time I owned those old cars. I must have had no less than 25 people over the years approach me about buying them. Not to mention quite a few in carparks and at traffic lights.  Probably the lowest value cars I ever owned but by far the most desired by other people.

There was a W123 CE coupe round the corner sitting in a side street and I have been going to go see about that. I have a good diesel to replace the foul petrol thing under the bonnet now but time, money and reasons for buying and converting the thing have not been plentiful. I'm getting close however to using helgas motor on an induction generator ( that's a dirty term round here so don't tell anyone!).

There is definately something about the old mercs.
Helga was 32 years old and despite shot steering, would still outhandle and perform many modern cars through the corners.  I rebuilt the entire braking system to good as new and it would also out brake many modern cars unless they were special sports edition performance packs with uprated brakes the regular models didn't have.
They were so comfortable to drive and the features they had in their day still made them better equipped than a lot of locally made and jap cars 30 years later.  

I remember the first time I took the thing to my mechanic for a rego check. He opened the bonett to look at the tags and glanced at the engine, he sort of did a double take and then looking funny said " Is this a 4 or 6 Cyl?" Of course when I said 5, he really looked again. Apparently in over 30 years in working on cars, I was the first of his customers to bring him one of these.
Of course the thing running on WVO was also a new thing he had heard of but never known anyone to actually do.

I still keep an eye out on flea bay for a decent cheapie 300D. If I do see something reasonable and cheap I won't be able to not buy it.
I think word and rust has got around though and they are a lot more scarce and pricy than they were 8 years ago.
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: LowGear on January 08, 2014, 06:38:56 PM
Getting a true Arizona or New Mexico car is just a fantasy for most of us here in Paradise.  It doesn't get or stay green without lots of moisture.  $11,000 is just a click above the dream for me.  And these units are just too big for me for just running around. 

We all know of these "perfect" solutions.  I always wonder why they need to be improved?  We're just too smart for our own good.

Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: Hugh Conway on January 08, 2014, 09:57:48 PM
Maybe I should try some duck fat too.
My old Toyota is a 4WD 2.0L normally aspirated Diesel one ton. Old, but still does the job.
Still sitting level with about 1800 pounds of iron on the back.
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: glort on January 09, 2014, 01:31:08 AM
Maybe I should try some duck fat too.

I wouldn't recommend it with all that white stuff around everywhere!  Don't think you'd get too far before your fuel lines went solid. 

My old Toyota is a 4WD 2.0L normally aspirated Diesel one ton. Old, but still does the job.
Still sitting level with about 1800 pounds of iron on the back.

Are you in Canada?
From what I have read, they don't have many diesel  trucks under 6L in the US. Of course so many seem to insist that anything smaller they cannot get into and won't move anything heavier than a match box. Funny how the rest of the world seems to love these things.
They are popular here in oz ( not a lot of 4wd ones like yours) and come in a bunch of different brands and flavours.

Most of the older ones have been flogged for years but still keep running as long as there is fuel and oil in them. Pretty sure the oil is only changed by topping up rather than dropped and replaced along with a filter.

One thing that always amazes me is the number of the small, old Toyota utes I see towing boats, heavy trailers and the like which dwarf them in size and apparent weight.
No, they may not go up mountains at 100kmh but they always seem to get there and put on an impressive display of pulling power relative to their size in the process.
Given the age most of them you see, they don't fall over too quick either.
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: mike90045 on January 09, 2014, 01:32:39 AM
Maybe I should try some duck fat too.
My old Toyota is a 4WD 2.0L normally aspirated Diesel one ton. Old, but still does the job.
Still sitting level with about 1800 pounds of iron on the back.

dang that's a big doghouse on the alternator.  Any vibrations with it  8)
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: BruceM on January 09, 2014, 01:49:52 AM
Sweet SOM, Hugh. 

I'm a fan of the 300D's myself, have one on the road, one for parts (bad IP).  The '85 is the last of the mechanically injected diesels by MB.  Sweet 5 cyl engine.

Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: Hugh Conway on January 09, 2014, 02:00:36 AM
@Glort.....indeed, I am in Canada, though where I am on the west coast,  the snow is rather rare. That truck sure "will not go up any mountains at 100KPH", in fact, an alarm bell sounds when 100KPH is exceeded on the flat. But it does pull........with a bit of traction weight in the back, I use it for logging. And it can carry... once hauled nearly 2 yards of gravel in it! Try that with your F150.......
Also, as seen in the photo, the sides fold down to give a flat deck of 9ft long X 5ft wide. No electronics, basic good strong truck.This one is 25 years old and had seen a lot of hard use before I got it 6 years ago.
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: listerboy on January 09, 2014, 03:37:56 AM

Are you sure '85 was the last year for MB mechanical injection? I have a '93 300D 2.5L 5cyl and the pump sure looks mechanical to me. I could be's happened at least once before.... ;D  ;D 
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: glort on January 09, 2014, 06:23:36 AM

I was given an engine that was coked up on veg.
Guy had done the parroted conversion but still managed to kill it. People think if they heat the oil hot as the sun and do their purges and so on they will be fine. They don't understand why the parroted mantras are so flawed.

I was going to rebuild the thing but having sold my cars I lost interest. I only dumped the engine a few months ago but I took the IP , water pump, and a few bits off it before hand so I have spares for my good engine.

Those IP's are bloody heavy! Wonder they ever fail!

I'd really love to get another 300 and do the engine up like the Europeans do. Turbo it, put on huge elements and injectors and go play with some of the kids with their ricers on Saturday night and really cause some upset.  Diesels are rare here and something like that would stand out rather well I think!   ;D

Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: BruceM on January 09, 2014, 03:28:30 PM
Yes, Listerboy, 1985 is the last year of the mechanically injected 300D/SD/TD MB diesel cars.  Electronic fuel injection started in 1986.

 I'm not sure how long they continued with the vacuum controlled transmission, a copy of an older Borg-Warner model.  They added a vacuum pump and all kinds elaborate plumbing and mechancal valves off of the throttle linkage to simulate intake manifold vacuum in order to keep that transmission happy. They also used vacuum for turbo boost control of the  IP, IP shut down, door locks, etc.  Finding vacuum leaks via Mityvac is an essential skill if you own one of these.

 The turbo is a big help here at 5600 feet elevation.  The 240Ds with NA, 4 cylinder engines can barely get out of their own way. But the turbo's limit engine life to about 400K miles.  NA's with 600k aren't that uncommon.

Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: honda lee on January 10, 2014, 12:44:23 AM
I have an 81 300sd and love it as well. Always seems to be needing something though like window regulator or window switches but the only thing that has stopped it from running is a plugged filter. Presto changeo and off you go!
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: bschwartz on January 10, 2014, 01:51:46 AM
I thought the 1986-1993 3.5L 6 cylinder was still mechanically injected.  Aluminum head and other issues meant it wasn't NEARLY the engine that the earlier 4 and 5 cylinders were.
My NA 240D is so slow here at 4,700ft elevation, it almost feels like it's going backwards.
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: glort on January 10, 2014, 07:19:54 AM
I thought the 1986-1993 3.5L 6 cylinder was still mechanically injected.  Aluminum head and other issues meant it wasn't NEARLY the engine that the earlier 4 and 5 cylinders were.
How come so often, newer engines are not as reliable and robust as the engines they replace?

[/quote]My NA 240D is so slow here at 4,700ft elevation, it almost feels like it's going backwards.

You could have those 4700ft below sea level and they would still feel like they were going backwards!

What made a HUGE improvement on my 300D was to wind the throttle stop screw right out.  I reset the throttle cable so I got full travel and the thing went Miles better.
Also check you are getting full throttle at the IP. A mate had a Low mileage wagon he was complaining about the sad performance. I reset the throttle linkage for him so the thing opened all the way up  unbeknownst to him and we didn't even get out out of his street before he said " What the hell have you done to it?"
Nothing other than set the throttle cable so it opened the IP all the way.  Later I took out the throttle limit screw and he couldn't believe the transformation.
Simple, cost free tuning that can make all the difference in the world.

You can also wind up the IP but I found that to be an impossible task to get the last screw out of the cover between the oil Filter and the block.  If you take off the oil filter housing it should be OK.  Every diesel seems to come very conservatively fueled ( and timed) from the factory so if you give them some more Juice, it makes a huge difference performance wise.

I turned the fuel up on my current truck and it made the thing want to jump out of it's skin.  I loved the power but so did my son and even more unfortunately, my learning to drive daughter.  I wound it back to above stock but still very reserved performance.  Still pulls up the steepest of hills on the highway in top gear at above legal speed, that's good enough for me.
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: BruceM on January 10, 2014, 05:07:14 PM
Similar problems plague the pre-'86 turbo'd 300Ds.  There is an elevation compensator that goes out of adjustment over time, and opening the seal and re-adjusting that for just a bit of black smoke on full throttle acceleration yields amazingly improved performance.  Correcting for timing chain stretch and retiming the IP (offset keys are available) helps performance some, but cold starts more.  Turbo boost pressure can be adjusted slightly, also.  Re-adjusting the transmission downshift linkage also is often needed. They can often be brought back to quite lively performance. Valve lash is critical for cold starts.   

Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: glort on January 10, 2014, 07:43:12 PM
Valve lash is critical for cold starts.   

Same Friend I did the throttle cable adjustment for bought his Mrs a really nice red sedan.  Again lacking performance, the other tricks didn't help.  I did the valves on it for him with some bent spanners I made up and I thought something was wrong. I had about 7 goes at some of them and still couldn't get any gap on the things.  I thought it impossible they could be that tight as they would have to be near hanging permanently open. I remember 1 took 14 turns to get some clearance on. I didn't think that much adjustment was possible because it was far and away more than I had done on any of the numerous 617 engines I had done to that time.

Sure enough eventually they came good but it wasn't until we took the thing for a run I was confident there wasn't something plenty wrong .
He never complained about the starting of it but it sure made that thing come to life. I couldn't work out how the valves could be so tight and the thing still run at all.

 I remember despite being low mileage and excellent condition, that thing vibrated like no tomorrow. Eventually mate fixed it by changing all the rubber engine and gearbox mounts and the rubber cush drives.  Also had new self leveling suspension fitted in the rear which cost a bomb but he wanted it as original.
It did work nice.  Start the car and it leveled itself out then get 4 other blokes to jump in and it pumped itself back to sitting perfect again.

His Mrs was a vain so and so and didn't like being seen coming to church in an " Old car" so eventually nagged my mate into selling the W123 and getting her a W124.
She drove that a bit and whined about not being able to see out the back well enough so he got her an A series POS which barely fit the kids and groceries in but she finally seemed content with.

Think I would have kept the cars and got rid of the Mrs myself.

I remember at one stage, he couldn't start his car for a couple of months.
I went over to look at it and immediately noticed it was cranking slow. He hadn't picked up on it so I took the oversize battery even for a merc out of mine. Spun it up but still wouldn't start.  It was blowing white smoke when cranked but wouldn't light. I put methanol and LP gas down the intake but it still didn't want to know. I wondered if it were possible to flood a Diesel so pulled the 3 easy to get to glow plugs and cranked the thing over. It shot a stream of liquid out the first few cranks so when it stabilised, I put the GP's back in and the thing caught first couple of cranks.  Plenty of smoke out the exhaust then the other Cylinders fired shortly and the thing ran fine.
Apparently it was possible to flood a Diesel!

With new semi trailer size battery fitted, the thing would start in winter on SVO which mine would never come near doing.

Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: deeiche on January 11, 2014, 03:38:06 PM
My NA 240D is so slow here at 4,700ft elevation, it almost feels like it's going backwards.
but going backwards is a New Mexico trait.   :D
Title: Re: love my mercedes
Post by: BruceM on January 11, 2014, 08:53:15 PM
240Ds are a bit slow at elevation, but I know a guy here at 5600ft who has one with over 600K miles on the original engine, and it still gets him to work and home every day, 45 mile round trip. I wouldn't mind a 240D as long as it had a manual transmission (rare and hard to find).

 Fortunately it's a rural road with 50mph posted speed limit, so he has little risk of being rear ended by a speeding semi. ;)