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Fuel Tank Heater Ideas.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by colbystephens, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    ok, so i'm going to turn my 6.2 diesel k5 into a veggie oil truck and i've been considering ways to heat up my fuel tank so that i can decoagulate the veggie oil. so far i've come up with two concepts.

    the first would be to run coolant down the heater core lines which would run to copper tubes which would run through the tank. i would use maybe 5 copper tubes and drill a total of 10 holes in the tank - 5 on either side of the width of the tank. Then i would connect the tubes w/ rubber lines and run the final rubber line from the copper tube back to the heater core.

    the second concept would be to take smaller diameter copper lines and silver solder them to the outside of the tank. i would use many feet of copper line to increase surface space. Then i would insulate the outside of the tank and lines to direct the heat from these lines into the tank. Again i would use the coolant lines in parrallel with the heater core.

    Which idea is better? I was thinking the first would be best for quick heat up times, but i don't know if i like the the idea of running coolant actually through my fuel tank. Given the nature of offroading it needs to be very tough. I do however, think this is a sturdy way to do it which would not have much potential to crack and allow coolant into my fuel.

    Also, I would need another small tank to start my truck on diesel while the fuel heats up, and end it on diesel to purge the lines of veggie oil which might coagulate. Where would i connect the fuel lines so that I prevent coagulation prior to this connection which might prevent easy flow of the veggie oil?

    Thanks!
     
  2. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    have you seen the heat pads you can get for oil pans and other flat areas. thay run on 12v dc.
     
  3. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    i'm semi familiar with those pads. i was unaware that you could get them to run on 12v. I'm not too good w/ electrical stuff, yet, so i'm not sure i would go that rout. What electrical line would that hook up to? Would it go straight to the alternator? see - i'm clueless as to electricity. :)

    colby
     
  4. MrArmyAnt

    MrArmyAnt 1/2 ton status

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    It goes to a switched outlet in the fuse box. you need a little tester deally and test to see what outlests are hot with key off, find one that isnt hot with key off and is hot with key on. plug it in to that one. not in the fuse connector. well i know enough about it to do it (get me in trouble) but not enough to tell you. someone help me out here?
     
  5. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    actually that makes sense to me, believe it or not. i guess that would be a pretty good way to go about it. opens up another option to consider. i think it might be most cost effective if i build the coolant type heater tho. can someone point me in the direction to find an electric heater like this so i can compare cost?
     
  6. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    how much do you need in heat temp? this might help others with your question.
     
  7. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    i don't recall off the top of my head (i'll have to check), but i think that i've learned that veggie oil begins to coagulate at about 50* - again, i'm not certain. So i guess if i'm running an electric heater I'd like something to heat a max of 31 gallons of fuel to well above 50* in about 10 min. I think after my motor heats up, it would about 5-10 min w/ the cooling lines. is this realistic?

    colby
     
  8. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    by the way, i live in portland, so for the most part my temps only get down to the 30's. i go to the mountains sometimes, but when i do that i might as well just put a mix of diesel and veggie oil in it.
     
  9. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Mad scientist ideas...

    Could you use exhaust heat,like from the mufflers or tailpipes?..too much risk of fire??..I'm thinking like wrapping the 3/8 copper tubing around the tailpipe after the muffer,and using a small electric fuel pump to recirculate the "grease" back into the tank,where it will help "melt" the rest of the coagulated veggie oil.. :confused:

    Or how about using a hot water heater,only instead of putting water in it,put the heater hoses to it,heat the tank up..and circle the tank with copper fuel line with the veggie oil in the line..a 20 foot coil of 1/2" copper tubing would hold quite a bit of oil,a gallon or two anyway.. :thinking:--

    Your going to need some kind of "tank within a tank" that are separated from each other,so you can heat the outer one,yet get no coolant in with the
    fuel....too bad they dont have one of those engine heaters that go in the heater hose that run on 12V instead of 110V..that would probably work..

    How about a propane fired RV hot water heater,filled with veggie oil,instead of water?? :thinking: .. BOOOM???? :dunno: :eek:

    I'm tempted to do this with my diesel,but the part I dont care for is having to "purge" the lines before shutting down with diesel...I suspect I'd probably gum the thing up with "greasel",and cause a lot of greif..I fear it would congeal in the injector pump,injectors,etc--a costly dilema if that occurs..diesel isn't THAT outrageous in price that all this experimentaion is really needed,or worth doing,IMO..

    I'd look into mixing diesel in with it to "thin" it instead,and use more filtration..not sure if "thinning" it is possible,or if it will stay "thinned" once its mixed..you get wax crystals even in diesel if its cold enough!..I'd use the veggie oil only during hot weather myself,if at all...sounds too risky in winter..I have enough of a challenge getting mine started with diesel fuel!.. :crazy:
     
  10. Kiwi John

    Kiwi John 1/2 ton status

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    Hi Colby. What about one of the heater units that go in the engine sump? there is a mains voltage lead coming out of my sump which I assume is for heating engine oil in Actic conditions. Just put one of these in your tanks.

    If you want it to run off batteries look into the heaters the big truck boys use who run across Alaska or Siberia/Scandinavia.

    By the way they are probably 24 volts but as Diesel 6.2 has 2 batteries maybe you could run a switch to hook heater to batts in series for heating purposes?

    So, I forgot to add... I assume the whole point is the need to heat the fuel before starting the engine as well as once engine is running

    You would be best with 110/220 volts. You may need extra batteries and split charge system?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2005
  11. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    A heater setup would be infinitely wiser than a coolant setup. That is a long run of heater lines, and doing all of that plumbing is a lot tougher (and a major problem causing failure more likely) than running a few wires.

    Just my opinion, a 12V heat pad if it would do the job, would be my choice.
     
  12. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    John - i was just wondering if you're still around. :) i e-mailed you a while back, but got no response, so i just figured you disappeared. :) did you end up getting a chance to check out my video? if not, the link is http://web.pdx.edu/~colbys/the tear down.wmv .

    ok. back to the question at hand. right now i'm debating between the idea of getting a heater pad and running it through my fuse box - as previously suggested by MrArmyAnt, or doing the coolant. Some of the other ideas sound a little extravagant. I suppose it comes down to a cost factor. I think dyeager535 has a valid point, but at the same time I think the set up i've suggested is very stout - there would be no connections with in the actual tank which would allow for leakage into the tank. Thus the only way to actually leak coolant into the tank is if one of my copper lines were to break, which would be rather unlikely i think, even in our rough off road conditions.

    So i'll ask again - can anyone point me in the right direction to pick up a 12V heating pad which could be run to my fuse box? I'm not sure where to look, and i want to compare cost. Also, if i were to go that rout, would it be wise to build some armor for my fuel tank to prevent destroying this pad off road?

    Thanks for all the ideas.

    Colby
     
  13. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Have you seen this?

    http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_winter.html (have to find the heater portion of the page)

    If a $100 setup would do the job, fabricating what you are talking about just doesn't seem time and energy efficient.

    Interesting stuff though, looks like you might be able to get away with no heater at all??
     
  14. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    this stuff looks like it might have some serious potential. i didn't realize that veggie oil can have such a low coagulation point. (around 23*F if pure). i may not need to do the whole heater concept. guess it just means more research. thanks for all the help.

    colby
     
  15. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    summit racing has no2 bottle heaters that go to 80' for around 100-130 bucks. 12v also.
     

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