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Converting Mercedes 300SD to veggie oil


This weekend we put our beloved 1983 300sd turbo diesel Mercedes Benz under the knife at LoveCraft Bio-Fuels in Silverlake.

I had been restoring this badly abused Benz with the goal of making it an alt fuel vehicle but had become confused by the different bio formats and conflicting oil company propaganda messages. The road test team from WIRED recruited me and this car to fully test the SVO (straight Veggie Oil) conversion process as performed at LoveCraft in Portland, and Los Angeles. The conversion took less than ninety minutes and came with an informational session so thorough that we are now experts on all things bio fuel. It is not so much a “conversion”: as it is an addition of two small components to the fuel line that should be there anyway: a heat exchanger that uses the coolant fluids heat to lower the viscosity of the oil, and a tiny electric pump that moves the heavier oil along. The engine itself, nor the turbo are altered at all.
The expert crew at Lovecraft’s have performed over a thousand a similar conversions and now average four or more a day. Most of their time and energy is spent answering the same questions i.e.: Yes, you can still buy diesel at the gas station pump. Yes, you can buy bio-diesel. Yes you can mix them or alternate as you please without throwing any switches or even opening the hood. Yes, it pollutes a whole lot less and mileage is about the same, maybe better. And no, you are not condemned to forage behind burger joint dumpsters for sloppy buckets of smelly grease to get around.

In fact a visit to the LoveCraft website LoveCraft Biofuels will put you in touch with several firms that will deliver clean, recycled vegetable oil to your home in 309, or 50 gallon drums for between 2 and 3 dollars a gallon.

For most new veggie oil drivers going to CostCo to buy soy oil in 4.8 gallon containers for about 3.30 per gallon, is the easiest and quickest solution. Getting rid of the oil containers takes more time than filling your tank. Setting up a home fuel storage system is absolutely the way to go if you have the space. And if you install the electric pump (350.00+) you will probably never have to put on the rubber gloves that are de rigeur for most bio burners.

The real pleasure I discovered, comes when that clean veggie oil starts to work it’s way through the injector nozzels when you hit the open road.

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