VW Camper Family

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Is it possible to convert a type 2 engine to use any kind of biofuel?
We're driving across America from west coast to east and would like to be able to be more eco-friendly.
Thanks for any ideas.

See our reasons for the drive at http://yeswecanjourney.wordpress.com.


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With the time, effort, and money you'd spend trying to do this, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaay better off finding a diesel Vanagon and converting it to run on grease. There is no bolt-on conversion to biofuels for either Type I or Type IV engines, of which I'm aware.
If your really in love with your van put a Subaru or VW diesel motor in it. Mount the radiator underneath the van so it looks stock.

whc03grady said:
With the time, effort, and money you'd spend trying to do this, you're waaaaaaaaaaaaay better off finding a diesel Vanagon and converting it to run on grease. There is no bolt-on conversion to biofuels for either Type I or Type IV engines, of which I'm aware.
Hi to you both,
Thank you for both your suggestions.
Here's the situation:
I am in love with my 1971 van and it is time for a new engine.
I'm new to VW vans and I'm not a mechanic.
Therefore, would it be a reasonable plan to drive back east and replace the engine at a place on the way where one of the members of this group can recommend a skilled mechanic to fit a diesel engine? That can then be converted to run of cooking oil - right?
YesWeCan CamperVan said:
Hi to you both,
Thank you for both your suggestions. Here's the situation: I am in love with my 1971 van and it is time for a new engine. I'm new to VW vans and I'm not a mechanic. Therefore, would it be a reasonable plan to drive back east and replace the engine at a place on the way where one of the members of this group can recommend a skilled mechanic to fit a diesel engine? That can then be converted to run of cooking oil - right?
To answer your last question first, yes, pretty much any diesel engine can be modified to run on cooking oil.
Not to be a downer, but it's just not easy at all to perform the diesel->bus conversion. Here are some threads on the topic. You'll see that these are by and large homebuilds, mostly because the overwhelming majority of mechanics will promptly show you the door if you stop by with a bus and another kind of engine and say, "I want you to put this in this." There are transaxle issues and even body modifications to consider, at the very least. It really a square-peg-round-hole situation: it can be done, but only with a lot of pounding (read: time and money). I mean, people put all kinds of powerplants in VW buses--Vanagon engines, Rabbit engines, Subaru engines, electric engines, Porsche engines, Buick engines. But at some point after you've cut up the '71 to the point of no return, you'll ask yourself, "If what I want is a screwdriver, why don't I just buy a screwdriver instead of killing myself trying to turn this hammer into a screwdriver?"
Again, I'm not trying to hate on your ideas or anything. I just love these cars and want people to approach all aspects of their ownership with both eyes open; it means more of them will be around in the future. If you come by Missoula Montana, be sure to give me a ring (or e-equivalent).
Thanks, Thanks and Thanks. You have opened my eyes and my ears, and I think I'd be better to replace with the same type. How easy is it to find a rebuilt engine? From the records, looks like mine was rebuilt around 82,000 miles ago.
I'm sorry, I could've answered this sooner.
The Type I engine in your bus happens to be probably the most-produced automobile engine of all time. You should have no trouble finding a rebuilt engine pretty much anywhere. Of course, quality runs the gamut. Generally, the more you are willing to spend, the better rebuild you'll get but this isn't necessarily the case. Conventional wisdom is that you should find the local guy, hopefully a former actual VW-trained mechanic from back in the day, who is still able and willing to build an engine for you. That way if things go wrong you're not stuck removing the engine and sending it across the country to have the builder look at it. Of course, you could always do it yourself (some consider this the very best option, regardless of your skill level). You'd need the Bentley and Tom Wilson's book How to Rebuild Your Volkswagen Air-Cooled Engine and the Idiot Book. Follow the Wilson book to the l.e.t.t.e.r. and you should be okay.
By the way, probably the best way to be eco-conscious with these things is to keep them stock and perfectly maintained.

YesWeCan CamperVan said:
Thanks, Thanks and Thanks. You have opened my eyes and my ears, and I think I'd be better to replace with the same type. How easy is it to find a rebuilt engine? From the records, looks like mine was rebuilt around 82,000 miles ago.
I think that it would take more effort/energy/time than it would save in fossil fuels. You could always get a diesel engine from a vanagon and covert it to take biodiesel. The only problem with that is that it is hard to find biodiesel. Make sure that your bus is well tuned and you should get 20+ miles to the gallon. That will help.

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