First of all, ANY diesel will run biodiesel. You DON’T need to convert a vehicle for biodiesel. Well, maybe replace a few rubber hoses and seals, but not immediately on putting biodiesel in your tank. Biodiesel is NOT Straight Vegetable Oil.
You can convert any diesel to run on heated, filtered Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO, WVO, VegOil). But, some vehicles are cheap and easy to convert and some are tricky and expensive to convert.
It’s all in how robust the injection pump is.
Common, easier to convert Diesel Cars
1968-1985 Mercedes 200D, 220D, 240D, 300D(SD,TD,SDL)
1977-1992 VW Rabbit(Golf, Pickup), Jetta, Dasher(Quantum), Vanagon 1.5l/1.6l/1.6l Turbodiesel*
1996-1999.5 VW Golf, Jetta, Passat, New Beetle 1.9 TDI (3rd gen)
2002-2003 VW Golf, Jetta, Passat, New Beetle 1.9 TDI (4th gen)
Common, easier to convert Diesel Trucks
1983-1994 Ford 6.9/7.3 IDI (especially the 1994 turbodiesel)
1989-1993 Dodge Cummins 5.9 1st gen 12 valve – rotary VE injection pump
1994-1998.5 Dodge Cummins 5.9 2nd gen 12valve – inline p7100 injection pump**
Other Common Diesels to Convert
1994.5-1997 Ford Powerstroke 1st generation – stock filter issues
1999-2003 Ford Powerstroke 2nd generation – fuel routing issues
1999.5-2001 VW TDI diesels – early 4th gen known for haphazard quality
Common, but more involved and less robust systems***
1982-2000 Chevy/GMC 6.2/6.5 – injection pumps prone to failure
1998.5-2002 Dodge Cummins 5.9 24 valve – VP44 injection pump prone to failure
Many of the newer high-pressure and common-rail diesels are also possible to convert, but are beyond the scope of this quick overview.
Of course, there are the less common diesels by Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu, International, Peugeot, etc. which can also be converted.
* We really like the 1985-1992 VW 1.6l turbodiesels with the Bosch rotary VE pump, although the older Mercedes are built like tanks. (note: not every model is available every year listed)
**The 1994-early 1998 Dodge has the highly recommended Bosch inline P7100 injection pump.
***Alaska VegOil Systems does not convert the senstive GMC 6.2/6.5 or the VP44, although we will help with consultations and can point folks to GMC/Dodge specialists.
Please, folks, make sure your vehicle is running well before you sink some money into converting it. There are too many expensive stories about people who buy a beater for SVO.
In the last two blogs we’ve tried to answer some of the repeat questions people ask of us. Next up we’ll continue our journey through the Alaska biofuels scene.
P.S. More info on the Which TRUCK Should I Get for a SVO (WVO,Vegoil) Conversion? page.