Which Truck Should I Get for a SVO (WVO, VegOil) Conversion?

March 31, 2008

Dodge Ram 2nd GenThe most popular post by far on the Vegwerks Blog is Which Diesel Should I Get for a SVO (WVO, VegOil) Conversion?

Not surprisingly, it’s also the most common email (and phone call) question that I get.

So, loyal readers, here are my top three choices for SVO trucks:

  1. 1994-1998.5 Dodge Cummins 5.9l 2nd gen 12 valve
  2. 1989-1993 Dodge Cummins 5.9l 1st gen 12 valve
  3. 1983-1994 Ford International 6.9/7.3l pre-Powerstroke

Now, here’s the details:

Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO), even when heated, is still thicker than diesel. You need a truck with an injection pump than can withstand the added stress of SVO.

The strongest injection pump out there out there is the Bosch inline P7100, found on 2nd generation 12 valve Dodge Cummins trucks.

The best SVO truck:
1994-1998.5 Dodge Cummins 5.9l 2nd gen 12 valve

Other good candidates for a vegoil conversion are pre-Powerstroke 6.9/7.3 Fords with the regular Stanadyne injection pumps and 1st generation 12 valve Dodges with the Bosch VE rotary pump. Personally, I convert a lot of VWs with the Bosch VE pump, and have good luck with them, so I would prefer a Dodge, but they are harder to find than the Fords. In early 1994 Ford made a turbodiesel version of the 7.3 IDI, it’s the newest, most powerful of the old-style pre-Powerstroke engines.

Common, easier to convert diesel trucks:
1989-1993 Dodge Cummins 5.9l 1st gen 12 valve
1983-1994 Ford 6.9/7.3l IDI

Halfway through 1994 Ford switched from an Indirect Injection (IDI) engine to a Direct Injection (DI) system with a Hydraulic Electronic Unit Injection (HEUI), a type of Common-Rail system, instead of a regular mechanical injection pump. These are very common, but the fuel routing issues cause purge times to be almost 15 minutes with a standard conversion. With the extra modifications to reduce purge times, these can run vegoil very well, but may cost $1000-$2000 more.

Common diesels that may require more complex, expensive conversions:
1994.5-1997 Ford Powerstroke 7.3l 1st gen
1999-2003 Ford Powerstroke 7.3l 2nd gen

GMC/Chevy trucks have a very sensitive injection pump that is known to break when running straight vegetable oil. I don’t recommend converting these trucks, although there are a few local GMC fanatics who are running SVO.

The Dodge VP44 is a radial-piston rotary pump, instead of the axial-piston VE rotary pump, and that makes a lot of difference. Basically, the VP44 is a sensitive pump that breaks easily on straight vegetable oil.

Not Recommended:
1982-2000 GMC/Chevy 6.2/6.5l
1998.5-2002 Dodge Cummins 5.9l 24 valve

Yeah, but what about the newer trucks? Ummmmm, they’re newer. All have Direct Injection (DI) engines with some sort of common-rail injection system, and would require at least as much additional modifications as the 7.3l Powerstrokes. We can convert them, but consider converting them experimental and expensive.

And what about Isuzu, Toyota, International, and other early 80′s trucks? Well, most of them are pretty good candidates, but info on the rare trucks is beyond the scope of this piece, although I’ve happily driven an old VW pickup for years on SVO.

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32 Responses to “Which Truck Should I Get for a SVO (WVO, VegOil) Conversion?”


  1. [...] Vegwerks has answers this question thoroughly here. And the winner [...]

  2. Seth Says:

    I was just wondering if you had to pick a new truck what would it be? I have looked for 1994-1998 dodge 12 valves but they all seem to have alot of miles and be used hard. I would love to know what you think about anything 2003 or newer. Thanks alot.

  3. jim Says:

    I have an 04 Dodge that I have converted to run on svo. I ran about 15k on it then have had two injector problems. I have switched back to diesel and bio D. and have been afraid to run svo again. The Mechanic I went to is adament that my truck will not run w/o problems. I have to make a decision soon as to whether I need to alter my truck or buy an older model that has a more forgiving fuel delivery system. Any suggestions?

    • mrbenz7 Says:

      Running Straight Veggie Oil really isn’t good for any engine. I know I’m going to get a lot of flack from that, but it is the truth. I would stick with Biodiesel because it still requires a bit of conversion, but not 2 tanks or much more than changing the Rubber fuel lines out for ones that are not made of organic rubber that will tolerate Biodiesel. I have a 1994 Dodge Ram with the P7100 Cummins 4X4 and it didn’t like Veggie oil straight into it even down here and we hit 117F in the shade during summer!

    • perry Says:

      Is a cummin turbo a good option for these or were all the cummin 93-97 turbo? It’s going in a 71 scout 800b. Whould this be the most ideal engine? Thanks

  4. Howie Says:

    I’ve looked at the results of veggie (soy) oil tests of engines that where run on dynos at ISU ( Iowa State University) in the 80s,( remember that OPEC issue ?), I saw LOTS of Coking from “Veggie oil” on the inards of agricultural/ industrial diesel engines; including cracked rings due to this build-up. There was heavy coking on the injectors and coking and burning near the valves. No hype here, I saw it! Looked at the torn down engines. One with cracked rings only had 400 hours on it!
    The glycerine or glycerol contained in the triglyceride, (veggie oil), is the culprit, it causes coking when it burns.

    Moral of the story: Use Bio-D instead.
    The process of making Bio-D from any veggie oil or animal fat removes the glycerol. With Veg oil (SVO or WVO), the engine damage is eminent, it WILL happen it’s just a matter of when.
    Methyl-ester or Ethyl-ester ( bio-d types), are great. They contain no glycerol to produce carcinogens or coking……yes burning the glycerol portion of vegetable oils or animal fat triglycerides, produces a carcinogen. Every time you fire up that SVO or WVO burner, you put us all at higher risk of cancer. As if we didn’t already have enough to worry about right? I’m sure there are some folks who are so convinced that SVO or WVO is “the way to go” that they will vigorously disagree with this but facts and reality must prevail over opinion in order to make the world a better and safer place.
    Don’t just take my word for this, verify it. There are a lot of good sources of info on-line and published in a variety of books written by very credible people.

    Bio-diesel is much better and typically requires little if any modification to the engine or it’s fuel system. I have a Cummins diesel powered Dodge Ram truck that has been running Bio-D for over two years with no problem at all. My wife has driven her TDI VW over 50,000 mi on blends of B-50 to B-100 without a glitch.
    I firmly believe that Bio-D is the best current alternative fuel available at this time.

    Howie


    • Hey Howie,

      RE: burning glycerol portion of veg oil produces carcinogens, putting us at greater risk of cancer.

      Does this mean that when veg oil is heated up at restaurants to make french fries, tempura, etc. that it’s also producing carcinogens?

      Is “burning” glycerol in a diesel engine different from heating up oil in a frier at a restaurant?

      In other words, are we ingesting carcinogens from WVO diesels that we are not ingesting when we eat fried foods?

      (…I’ve got the truck (’96 Ram 2500 TD, and I’m stock piling the oil from my favorite sushi joint – still contemplating between brewing biodiesel or 2 tank WVO system) Thanks for your help, Howie!!! ~Steven

  5. melvin Says:

    As far as I know, the injection pumps on ford 6.9 and chevy 6.2 are almost the same pump,except for rotation direction.

    • Will Taygan Says:

      Yep, I don’t know what’s different inside since they seem to be practically the same. I haven’t had a Ford pump blow from SVO, but have lots of GMC pumps failing when running veg. Are there any pump-builders out there who can help explain this?

  6. Michael Says:

    Vegistroke system in or 2003 Excursion works great (7.3L)! It runs off its own pump and filter. Completely separate from the stock system. If it stops working for whatever reason it automatiaclly switches over to diesel without interuption. The fully “auto” feature is nice too. http://www.dinofuelalternatives.com

  7. Andrew Says:

    I am looking into converting a 1982 6.2l detroit diesel but I see here it is not recommended. What specifically are the issue? The truck will be used as a promotional truck for my company and I like the body/price of the old chevy 1982-1986. Please tell me anything you can that will help me with my decision. If anyone is interested in helping with the project let me know.

    • Will Taygan Says:

      “GMC/Chevy trucks have a very sensitive injection pump that is known to break when running straight vegetable oil. I don’t recommend converting these trucks, although there are a few local GMC fanatics who are running SVO.”

      Veg On!

      • joel Says:

        If I remember right, the Ford IDI 6.9/7.3 uses the exact same injection pump as the GMC/Chevy 6.2, the Stanadyne DB2 injection pump.

      • Will Taygan Says:

        Very similar, but not the same. “GM pumps are counterclockwise driven, IH (Ford) is clockwise.”


  8. [...] to haul to the WVO preparation system i need to install. After much online research of vehicles (here, here, and some postings by the user gannamede on the forum at biodiesel.infopop.cc are very [...]


  9. [...] vegwerks.wordpress.com [...]

  10. Carl Says:

    To Howie

    I think that Iowa study was done using cold oil. Not the heated veg delivery systems that have been perfected over the years, and a water/methanol injection system helps engine longevity.

  11. John Says:

    Can nitrous be used when running on SVO?

  12. Bruce Says:

    On my 95 6.5l I just had a proble with my injection pump. Come to find out, it’s a part called an “optical sencer” in the pump that makes them fail some times. I took mine apart and cleaned it, and seems to work fine so far.

  13. Bruce Says:

    I also primed the injection pump with “Sea Foam” injection cleaner. I do run a blend of unheated WVO about 50/50.


  14. If you do veg oil in a classic ford diesel you will halve the life of your injection pump because it is cooled only by fuel. It seems foolish to recommend it.

    • ice man Says:

      I have been reading people’s ideas about svo and wvo since 05, and I finally had to speak up.
      I live in Fairbanks Alaska and have been running wvo in my Ford 7.3 1994 non turbo F350 from about may 5th through the end of Aug. since 2005.
      My truck came stock with two fuel tanks so one tank is diesel and I place wvo in the second one.
      I filter and clean my wvo very well.
      After I filter my oil I store it in 55 gal. drums. I mix 16 oz.of Isopropyl alcohol in my 55 gal. drum and I then place 5 gal. of #1 diesel in the drum thus topping it off.
      It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that I put 50 gal. of wvo in a 55 gal. drum leaving space for the diesel and isopropyl.
      So I filter then put in my Isopropyl alcohol and 5 gal of diesel.
      I start truck on #1 diesel after it is at operating temp I switch it to the wvo tank.
      About 10 miles from home at the end of the day I switch it back to diesel to make sure the wvo is cleaned out of the system. I of course can only use wvo in the summer because I have done no modifications, nothing no heated fuel lines no tank heater nothing.
      I have had no problems with this truck at all. It is running right now on #1 diesel, after all it is -30 F…
      This May I will be right back at my old tricks of using wvo for the summer.
      I guess what I am trying to say here is I am getting great results and have never had an engine issue at all!!!!!
      It seems as if there is a lot of miss information that is being purposely put out there to discourage the regular folks that might try this, but after reading all the conflicting information they just say forget it.
      Just one man’s opinion who was not intimidated by the thing we call the World Wide Web.

  15. doug Says:

    What about a Dodge Laramie 2005 w/ 5.9l 24V ?
    If OK – Why/how is the ’05 different from the ’02 and older?
    Thank you
    Doug


  16. I am researching buying a processor for bio-diesel,and have found one I like with everything included,my issue is a truck,I like the 2004 to 2006 dodge 5.9s,they are in my price range,any imformation about 5.9s running bio-diesel ! Thanks

  17. Genevieve Says:

    There is a 1983 Ford International that I am considering purchasing for conversion to veg oil. It has a lot of things going for it. It’s one of the recomended models, it had dual tanks, it’s afordable on a waitress’ salery, and it’s pink. It is the truck Barbie would have bought if she was a bad-a** DIY chick. My concern is that at some point someone added an ATS turbo system to the engine. Anyone know if this will interfere with the converstion or how she’ll run once converted?

  18. joe Says:

    I was wondering for the 6.5l does the injection pump actually breaks because of the SVO or is it just due to to common 6.5l injection pump issues that the SVO expedites? For example the PMD always overheats, and since the SVO would be even warmer, the PMD is more likely to fail. Same kind of issue could be with the optical sensor, which is just a safety part that can be worked around. See, I have a 6.5l with a relocated PMD and could bypass the optical sensor, but don’t want to do this if there is a history of the injection pump actually “breaking”.

    Thanks,

  19. Andrew in FL Says:

    Getting extremely close to starting into the conversion of my CAT 3208! Own an aluminum tank which will have a heated pick up, heated filter/ water separator the FPHE for the most part. Any experience or knowledge on these engines is appreciated!

  20. Tim Says:

    Looking into buying a 1991 Dodge Cummins (1st gen). The guy Says the injectors are honed, it’s non-intercolled, a newer Gillett Turbo, and a modified fuel pump…comments, concerns, What should I keep in mind? Should I not bother if my intention is to convert to a dual tank SVO system? Does it sound like he already tried to convert to an SVO system?


  21. [...] I have talked at length about tools that are so very useful on small scale Sub Acre to 5 Acre operations– key amongst those in my experience are the Earthway Drop Seeder, a wheel hoe such as a Glaser or Hoss (my preference), heirloom quality hand tools from companies like SHW and DeWitt, innovative designs like Broadforks, and for larger dirt work: walk behind tractors like my beloved Grillo which can maintain a few acres of established garden on a mere few gallons of diesel or veggie oil.  Quick article on various engines for WVO/SVO conversion [...]


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