About to convert a 2004 VW Jetty TDI. Anyone have any thoughts?

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Art Vandaleigh's picture
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Joined: 10/26/2006

In 2006, I bought a very cheap '83 Mercedes 300 TD wagon and had it converted. I had four good years of grease miles. It didn't run well in the winter. I saved a lot of money on gas, but basically put so much into keeping a 28 year old car running, I just about broke even. No major problems with the Greasecar kit. It was always the car.
Of course, I loved the enviro aspects, but mostly the idea of not supporting the oil industry was worth every minute of collecting, filtering, tinkering, and eventually pushing it down the road. I pulled the kit out of the car when it was junked in April. Very surprising my wife never stabbed me while waiting for a tow truck.
Spent a few months saving up and recently bought a 2004 Jetta Wagon TDI in Atlanta. It's in very good shape with only 75k miles. Got about 45 mpg on the 800 mile drive home. Nice to have working windows, stereo, ac, and not get rained on (the Benz leaked like a sieve.)
I am weighing options in the next few months. I am an experience grease cleaner with a good supply and a filtering system in place.
Right now, I am considering everything from biodiesel to driving to Greasecar in Mass and having them install a new kit. I know the VW has a different kit. Is anyone interested in a 15 gallon rectangular Greasecar tank? 
And more importantly, does anyone have any input or ideas? Starting a family and "dependable" is the key right now. 
 

Phil's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2004

I had on '02 Jetta and now have an '06.  They both take to grease just fine.
If the conversion is done properly, I see no reliability issues.  Long term longevity remains a question.  Some people have seen problems develop in 50,000 or so miles; other have gone 200K without a problem.  There is considerable discussion of this on the TDIClub forum.  And ou wantto join that club anyway, just for general TDI information.  The knowledge is cast, but with a pretty strong anti-WVO bias.
My personal feeling is that WVO is a better choice than biodiesel, but of course tehy both have advantages.
And I might be interested in that rectangular tank.  I just got an '84 Mercedes and am considering converting it. 

ewmartin51's picture
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Joined: 08/21/2011

I've got an '02 Jetta TDI GC, over 10,000 miles on grease no problems at all. Very dependable. My girlfriend's got an '03, same thing, no problems. If you're worried about the installation procedure, I recommend buying the GC installation DVD, as it shows you exactly how to install the kit on this exact car ('03 Jetta). I've only installed kits on Jettas, but I image it's very similar to your Mercedes, maybe a few minor caveats. You could probably even use the same kit, you'd just have to sacrafice some trunk space for the rectangular tank.
 I HIGHLY recommend getting a Frost Heater (http://www.frostheater.com/). They're made specifically for TDIs. It's different than a dipstick or block heater in that it connects into the coolant line and heats the actual coolant directly. Plug it in an hour or two before startup(depending on ambient temperature), and you get hot air blowing out the vents right away! Not only that but your switchover-to-wvo time is greatly reduced since the engine is pre-heated.

1984George's picture
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Joined: 09/28/2009

I have an '03 that has about 32k since it was converted. Yours is different because it's the PD TDI motor. It has the high pressure unit injectors instead of a pump...but nonetheless it's still a diesel engine and it will run fine on grease. You never know what's going to happen to your motor for sure, but pretty much just do what you can on a regular basis to think about longevity the same way you would any other car. Get regular oil changes (maybe even cut them in half to 5k), change your air filters, fuel filters, do a diesel purge or sea foam injector treatment every once in a while, pay attention to how the car starts after it's been sitting overnight, etc. And the other thing that's really important is to use the 2 tank kit the right way. Always purge and drive on diesel for a few minutes after. Don't switch until the engine is at full operating temperature. Use clean oil, etc.
Phil, did you delete your EGR? I thought I read something about that on another forum.
 
 
 

__________________

-Daren
'03 Jetta TDI
140k

Phil's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2004

I have not deleted the EGR, though it is a good idea to.  Just not that easy on my year car.

ewmartin51's picture
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Joined: 08/21/2011
1984George's picture
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Joined: 09/28/2009

I've kind of slacked off since that post to be honest. I removed my FPHE and just run the basic greasecar kit now. I've been changing my engine oil religiously at 5k miles....once slipped to 5500. I sometimes collect and heat, settle and filter, but usually I buy high quality centrifuged oil for 2 bucks a gallon that has been tested less than 500ppm water content (diesel fuel standards) and very clean. I have over 10k miles on the same filter this time.
As far as heat goes, the '04s and up don't need any extra heat. If you ask Greasecar they will tell you that the PDs run really hot and since the fuel travels down through the cylinder head, it gets heated significantly to get viscosity where it needs to be before combustion. I still share the view of the engine being the final heat exchanger on any TDI. I tested the temperature of my injectors when running on grease and they are at about 185 degrees. This is with no FPHE or anything. Granted, I live in a mild climate.
It's always going to be experimental. My thinking now is to just have fun with it and do what you can to maintain the car. But don't worry about bad things happening to your engine. There's plenty of things that can go wrong with a vehicle that doesn't burn vegetable oil. I like greasecar's way of thinking. they believe in their product, and they have success with it. And they don't even stress all the extra add on stuff. They are still in business so they must be doing something right.
My car is running great and I'm keeping up with the maintenance. Whatever happens, happens.
Now getting away from my rant, go for it and have fun with your PD TDI greasecar.
 

__________________

-Daren
'03 Jetta TDI
140k

Art Vandaleigh's picture
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Joined: 10/26/2006

Huge thanks to everyone. I just learned an awful lot in a short period of time. This will really help as I weigh my options. Phil, I still have the 15-gallon Greasecar tank and I am in NJ if you are still interested.

 

Phil's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2004

Is that rectangular tank only 15 gallons?

VeggieFuel1's picture
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Joined: 03/24/2007

Art -
I have a veggiebug(98) - ~50,000 miles and still running strong.  I also have a suburban(99) and have ~40k miles - with the burb(this summer) I went to chicago then down to auburn al - 3200 miles and cost me $40 for both trips!  
Good Luck and have fun!

Art Vandaleigh's picture
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Joined: 10/26/2006

Yes, the 15 gallon tank. Let me know if you are interested.

Phil's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2004

I thought the rectanguklar tank was more than 15 gallons, but I see from the Greasecar products page that is correct.  It's probably not worth shipping (I'm in northern Connecticut) but if you are driving up to Greasecar to install a kit, let me know and maybe I'll meet you somewhere.

Dacopyman's picture
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Joined: 09/10/2005

I have a 98 Jetta TDi  that I bought in Jan. 05 with 129K mi. In Oct. 05 I began running veggie oil & do to this day now at 391K mi. on the car. I did finally have to have the injector pump replaced at 345,000 miles for $2,000.00 BUT it was still running fine. A seal had gone out & it was spraying  fuel / veggie oil & made quite a mess. Undercoated my car with a carmel like glaze, so hey rust proofed! I think it had did it's job so on I go. These diesels just keep going.