Newbie wants to know about using an existing second tank

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Gregasaki's picture
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Joined: 11/30/2012

Hello,
I'm a newbie. Just bought a 1990 E350 with the 7.3 L diesel. It was formerly an ambulance with only 39000 miles on it. It's fully wired with 120 v outlets and overhead lights.

It's got 2 fuel tanks and a dash switch to change between them.

So my big question is how much of the existing 2 tank system can I use?
Do I need a better fuel pump for SVO? Do I need different fuel lines? Is the tank even suitable at all?
And what about my fuel injectors?

In other words, what would be the problem(s) with just heating my second tank and going for it?

I'm a newbie so tear into me. Thanks!

BrianMiller's picture
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Joined: 05/11/2006

dont use the stock steel tank (Poly)
stock pump is ok
new pex fuel lines
 injectors good.
you can add grease and go. but you will have problems down the road.
  are you a mechanic? have you worked on diesels before?
 

Gregasaki's picture
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Joined: 11/30/2012

Thanks Brian,

I'm a driveway mechanic at best. Clutches on trucks and my motorcycle. A couple fuel pumps, lots of brake jobs, belts and sensors changed.

I was a maintenance man for apts for several years and that's where what knack I have comes from, and practicing on my vehicles. So a rookie for sure

My diesel experience is only once helping change a head gasket on an old diesel generator.

I have a lot to learn. But I try to gather intel and go slow.

So my tank needs a heat exchanger that my coolant loops through, from what I understand. So that will be a purchase. I am hoping to find one that fits to replace one of the existing tanks underneath. Then I have to tap off my coolant loop at some point.

Am I on the right track? Or is there an electric way to heat the SVO tank?

And the second thing I need is to run pex lines. Which I have done in buildings before. But not in vans with tight spaces and where things get hot!

I will eat up any advice you have for me sir. Including what type of tank you recommend.

BrianMiller's picture
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Joined: 05/11/2006

yep the best tank is plastic. then fill it with pex line for heat and run it to the heater hose under hood. it helps to add water pump to help with flow. then you need fuel ines to and from the mech. fuel pump.( i like pex the best) then a switch and valve to switch from 1 tank to the other.   thats just a start. 
the number one FIRST thing you should do is get a grease supply!!!!!!!!!!!! grease is getting very hard to get. then set up your home filter system and filter 50 gallons. then convert your truck..

Gregasaki's picture
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Joined: 11/30/2012

Thats what I've been finding out, that grease has gone up enough in value that no restaurant in my city is paying to have it hauled off. And that contrary to popular hippy folklore, veggie oils at Walmart are like 6 bucks a gallon!

This van is gonna do a lot of back highways travel though, and I think that restaurants in the small towns of Nebraska
Might love to have their traps pumped out.

My other goal is to make the pump and filtration on board and direct to tank. I've got the room in the van. I've seen YouTube videos of guys running a fuel pump with some hose and a couple fuel filters. So it looks possible.

Are you recommending I build my own tank heat exchanger from pex?

KirkH's picture
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Joined: 06/07/2008

"My other goal is to make the pump and filtration on board and direct to tank. I've got the room in the van. I've seen YouTube videos of guys running a fuel pump with some hose and a couple fuel filters. So it looks possible."
-Good luck with that.  I have seen NO on-board filtration system that deals with water in the oil.  Without de-watering your oil, you are going to damage your engine.  To de-water the oil, you must heat the oil.  Water blocking filters will not address water that is locked up in your oil in tiny food particles that are smaller than your filter media.
"I think that restaurants in the small towns of Nebraska Might love to have their traps pumped out."
- If you are speaking of their grease traps (as opposed to their grease barrels), yeah, they'd love them pumped out, but the oil you would get from the grease trap would be so difficult to de-water, and would clog so many filters, that it would not be worth using.  It would be mostly animal fat, so you would need a VERY hot system to get your oil hot enough to properly inject, and it does not sound like your homemade system could handle that.
Sorry to be a wet blanket but you need to do a LOT more reading.  Then you need to collect 200 gallons of oil, and store, settle, de-water, settle, filter and store the clean oil.  This will let you know if you (and your family) can handle the mess, smell, time, etc. necessary to grease.  If not, you can always sell the clean oil.

__________________

2002 Powerstroke Greasecar kit, 20 plate heat exchanger, water injection, Aeroforce Scan Gauge II, ISSPro fuel pressure, trans temp, boost and EGT gauges, Cyberdyne grease and coolant temperature gauges, auxilliary coolant pump, 295,000 miles, 95,000 on grease.&nbsp

KirkH's picture
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Joined: 06/07/2008

Also, even though that 7.3 has only 39,000 miles, it has had a hard life as an ambulance.  Lots of low RPM idling, lots of heavy acceleration on a cold engine, both of which are TERRIBLE for powerstrokes.  Often times, the ambulance is kept running at idle 24 hours per day <YIKES!>  That's why it is sold after only 39,000 miles.
I would recommend buying an AutoEnginuity scanner for Powerstrokes and checking out the injectors, compression, etc with the AE.  It is a great tool.  Costs about $200, but that is what the dealership charges just to pull engine codes from a powerstroke.
 
You will need to be able to service this vehicle yourself, unless you are a lottery winner.  My stealership charges $100/hr.  Good news is:  there are lots of great powerstroke DIY references on the web.  Here's one:
http://www.springerpop.net/F350/Mods.aspx.htm

__________________

2002 Powerstroke Greasecar kit, 20 plate heat exchanger, water injection, Aeroforce Scan Gauge II, ISSPro fuel pressure, trans temp, boost and EGT gauges, Cyberdyne grease and coolant temperature gauges, auxilliary coolant pump, 295,000 miles, 95,000 on grease.&nbsp

Gregasaki's picture
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Joined: 11/30/2012

Thank you for your insight Kirk.

The smell of the grease is something I did not consider till yesterday when I got into some. It's a bit gnarly.

I don't have a family to object. But this stuff can ruin clones and shoes permanently for sure.

As for traps, that was a misuse of the word. I was trying to mean barrels or bins or whatever the steel garbage can like storage units are called. Dumpsters?

Dewatering for an onboard system seems to be the real challenge. From what understand so far, the best and maybe only way to dewater the grease is to let it settle. And then pump off the top. How long does it need to settle. I've read everything from 4 days to a month. And moreover how unsettled is it in the dumpsters? If you pump off the top for instance.

As far as the power stroke issue goes, my engine is not a power stroke, it's a 1990, before the powerstroke.

As far as the hard use goes, that is a good point. It was made to me before I bought the vehicle, by a friend. But this was an ambulance in a very unpopulated county. I couldn't say how often she idled. Surely more than normal. Good point I had not thought about.

And for sure I need to read more. And for sure mechanics are expensive. Especially on diesels. But I just made a 300 mile round trip in her and she feels solid.

On that trip I ate at a sports bar in Albion, NE, and sure enough they had a full grease dumpster that had not been touched in over a year, as well as a 200 gallon plastic water tank full of grease that hadn't been touched in six months or more because it was full too, and they were onto a third receptacle. No pick up in the small towns. But likely a lotta burger grease.

I appreciate the input. I realize that doing this right is no small task. And it is at he edge of my capabilities. But that's how we grow.
No doubt I will make some mistakes and waste some dough, and get stinky on this journey. I appreciate the cautioning.

KirkH's picture
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Joined: 06/07/2008

Cool.  I always try to let people know that greasin' is not for everyone.  Sounds like you have the right attitude.

__________________

2002 Powerstroke Greasecar kit, 20 plate heat exchanger, water injection, Aeroforce Scan Gauge II, ISSPro fuel pressure, trans temp, boost and EGT gauges, Cyberdyne grease and coolant temperature gauges, auxilliary coolant pump, 295,000 miles, 95,000 on grease.&nbsp