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New here...and running E300TD on biodiesel

Discussion in 'Engine, Drivetrain, Fuel and Exhaust' started by EekoGeek, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. EekoGeek

    EekoGeek Guest

    First post here... so pls excuse any gaffs!

    I've been reading back through old posts on the pros and cons of biodiesel and thought I would add my experience so far.

    I bought my '98 w210 E300TD estate last September specifically to run it on biodiesel converted from waste cooking oil. Previously I have owned a Prius and an bi-fuel (LPG) Volvo and the Merc is my latest adventure in low carbon (low guilt?) personal mobility - now with extra space and oomph!

    I buy my biodiesel from Rye BioFuels in East Sussex http://www.ryebiofuels.co.uk/ who run a 'closed loop' system where they supply local restaurants and chippies with cooking oil and then collect the waste oil and chemically process it to produce biodiesel.

    Reputable biodiesel manufacturers claim their products can be used in any diesel engine without problems or the need for modification. However, web experiences vary, as does the quality of biodiesel! The wisdom-of-the-web does suggest that older Merc diesels with indirect injection (pre 1999 and the switch to CDI engines) will run on almost anything. So, I am hoping that by using 'proper' biodiesel (as opposed to SVO or WVO or homemade hooch) on a tolerant engine will be a reliable combination.

    Shortly after buying the car I got it serviced at Lookers MB in Pevensey(cheaper than Volvo!... and got a clean bill of health) and then started switching over to using biodiesel by topping up the tank with biodiesel until it was running on pure biodiesel (aka b100). After about 800 miles I got the fuel filters changed - a recommended precaution as biodiesel is a stronger solvent than diesel and so can clean the crud from the fuel lines and potentially block the filter.

    5,000 miles on and I have had no problems so far running purely on biodiesel. The engine runs more quietly and smoothly and I have noticed no discernable loss of power. (Some biodiesel enthusiasts claim more power/efficiency.) A quick check on mpg worked out at just over 30 - I'll check this again over a longer period. The book figure for the car when new is 33mpg I believe... so this seems at least as good as I would expect. Starting in the cold (often cited as a biodiesel issue) has been no problem. Hastings managed -6 C a couple of nights ago and the car started no problem. (Rye Biofuels claim they have tested for cold starting down to -12... probably more than adequate for us southern softies)

    The pump price is 90p/litre so I am saving about £15 per tank at the moment compared with fossil-diesel.

    Best of all in my opinion - and I suspect that a mercedes owners forum isn't natural habitat for eco warriers ;) - I reckon that the big beast is one of the greenest cars on the road: Buying second hand, the carbon footprint of my purchase is tiny compared with a new car (an oft overlooked fact when people change their car for a new 'greener' model). On the road it's running on a waste product derived from rapeseed oil (nb these plants were grown to make cooking oil, not biofuel) and therefore part of the carbon cycle. The 'climate-changing' carbon comes only from making the original cooking oil (agricultural inputs, processing, transport) and then making the biodiesel (processing and transport). These are generally reckoned to give waste biodiesel a carbon footprint 20% the size of fossil diesel.

    So, if my 3 litre guzzler is pumping out c. 200gCO2/km but only 20% of this is adding to carbon in the atmosphere then I calculate that it's comparitive emissions are 40gCO2/km ... or about half those of a Prius.

    .... or is there something wrong with my maths?!

    Anyway, I'm enjoying feeling smug as I 'waft' along on cruise control, ensconced in leather seats, enjoying the growl of the V6 ... and saving the planet!

    .....I'll let you know if I break down

    Simon
     
  2. roadhog

    roadhog Senior Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sunny Norfolk
    Your Mercedes:
    W124 300D x2, C124 300
    Hello and welcome from me with a big thumbs up for your efforts.
    There'll probably be a few people along shortly to tell you of the error of your ways and that anything other than pump diesel is the work of the evil one himself but I say well done. Enjoy that smug feeling! :)
    I've been running my W124 on SVO for close to 50k miles without any problems so I think you'll be just fine with Bio diesel. Do you check the quality yourself (titrate) or just fill up and go? I've fired off an enquiry to your supplier, see if they deliver.
     
  3. OP
    EekoGeek

    EekoGeek Guest

    Thanks Roadhog. Great to hear you've had 50k without trouble
    Nope, I haven't titrated. My chemistry is worse than my maths. My supplier seems to be a pretty big concern, supplying fleets etc so trusting that they know what they are doing!
     
  4. littlemoon

    littlemoon Senior Member

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    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    east yorks
    Your Mercedes:
    e320cdi, focus cc3 diesel
    i ran a toyota hi lux for two years on 100% svo, never missed a beat i used to dilute the oil in winter 60/40 i'sh with diesel. was a bit lumpy on fist start up but once warm you could not tell it was on oil. i used a fuel heater which worked off a glow plug and also the coolent line with a thermostat cut out switch for overheating protection. this was then rigged up to a switch in the cab so you could overide the system if you was on 100% deisel. the pump and the filter housing had their own factory fitted heaters on them, the pump had a coolent line and the primer/filter housing had a glow plug type rig up. i think the key point for it to run so well as it did was getting the veg oil frying at a nice hot temp. new veg oil when i first started to use it was 32ppl:eek:. the goverment relaxed the laws on the usage of oil and upped the amount to 2500l before declaring, this in turn over a few weeks rocketed the price of oil to over £1pl. so it was then cheaper to fry your chips in diesel:mad:. oil is now about 70ppl, average forcourt diesel price near me is around £1.10/£1.15. so you can save around 40ppl and this is using brand new oil. at one point a mate who was also on veg oil was phoning me with daily update on the price of veg oil in supermarkets as it was going up that fast and then clearing the shelves if the price was right, then asking the store managers to order more:cool: wont be trying svo in my 320cdi:p. all this oil and frying has made me feel hungy, i am off to cook some chips:D ps i hope all goes well with the bio-diesel
     
  5. roadhog

    roadhog Senior Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sunny Norfolk
    Your Mercedes:
    W124 300D x2, C124 300
    SVO was 56ppl when I started so I know what you mean. That was 1L bottles from my local Lidl, filling up a tank from bottles was a real pain but saved around 50ppl. I intend to keep running the Merc on SVO but the Bio route has some attractions for my other car. I think. :)
     
  6. dieselman

    dieselman Senior Member

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    Joined:
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    Your Mercedes:
    A diesel
    I make 30mpg equate to 252g/km on diesel. If indeed the ratio is 20% then it's 50g/km, however does that factor in transportation?

    Expect an mpg reduction when running on Bio compared to diesel and possible hot starting issues on very warm days.
     
  7. OP
    EekoGeek

    EekoGeek Guest

    Hope the chips were good littlemoon! There's certainly something appealing about running on an irregular brew and saving some money into the bargain! I guess the biggest cash and carbon savings are to be had running WVO ... if you can get yourself a free local supply. However the thought of developing a greasy sheen to the hall carpet and ever-present anxiety of getting a blob of lard stuck in the fuel line puts me off. The appeal with biodiesel for me is 1. No need to modify the car 2. no need to set up an oil processing unit at home 3. useful cost savings 4. very useful carbon savings.
     
  8. OP
    EekoGeek

    EekoGeek Guest

    Hi dieselman
    I'm sure you are right on 252. I thought I had seen 200 (ish) quoted in literature for the 300td but can't vouch for this. Either way 50g/km ain't bad.

    Transportation-wise, Rye biofuels collect the waste oil in their biodiesel-powered vans and trucks and then process at the industrial unit where I fill up at the pump. So if I understand you correctly, I think the transportation footprint is smallish and is counted. One transportation element NOT counted is the fact that I am about 8 miles from the pump! I try to synchronise journeys in this direction with an empty tank (!) and I have bought a 70l drum that I fill up and carry back to syphon off at home and limit the number of journeys back for a re-fill.

    In truth, the 20% I quoted is not based on detailed analysis, rather my rough median estimate based on various bits of info quoting waste oil biodiesel footprints of about 10-30% that of dino-diesel.

    On mpg - we'll see. Now that you have cast doubt on my 2oog/km figure, I'm going to double check what the book figure for the 300TD is!!
     
  9. dieselman

    dieselman Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    A diesel
    36.2mpg...

    That gives the rated figure of 209g/km.
     
  10. ben12345

    ben12345 Senior Member

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    Taunton
    Don't you mean straight six? ;)
     
  11. roadhog

    roadhog Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    W124 300D x2, C124 300
    His V stands for Veggie power. :D
     
  12. OP
    EekoGeek

    EekoGeek Guest

    Hey this is fun! I think I will check my facts and figures more carefully before my next post!

    Yes - I can confirm that the cylinders in the Veg6 are all in a straight line (I knew that .... I think the V crept in due to poetic licence!)

    And thanks dieselman, if they are the factory figures I will monitor my mpg more carefully and see whether biodiesel, driving style or old age (mine or mercs) are causing sub-optimal consumption. Reading around, most people seem to get 32 or 33 from their E300TDs in practice.
     
  13. ben12345

    ben12345 Senior Member

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    Ahh, I see..... Maybe i'll have a go at converting to a 'V6' if I can find an inexpensive source of fuel.
     
  14. Silver_Star

    Silver_Star Senior Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Rural Leicestershire near where Pork Pies and Stil
    Your Mercedes:
    W203.006, S211.208 Land Rover 90
    Welcome to the forums EekoGeek!

    Fair play to you, this is something I have always wanted to give a try, for obvious reasons I will not be trying it in my CDI. However when my girlfriends car dies a death I would be tempted to buy a W124, W202, W210(300 TD) and experiment with SVO/WVO - Especially with fuel prices the way they are at the moment. It must put a smile on the face the power you have coupled with the fact of how much it is costing you per mile to run it!! Top marks for not getting a Prius!!
     
  15. OP
    EekoGeek

    EekoGeek Guest

  16. OP
    EekoGeek

    EekoGeek Guest

    ps ... I actually rather liked my Mk 1 Prius at the time, tho admittedly more a head-turner for the way it snuck up on pedestrains rather than it's good looks!
     
  17. roadhog

    roadhog Senior Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sunny Norfolk
    Your Mercedes:
    W124 300D x2, C124 300
    Nothing to experiment, make sure the engine is well then pour in and go. Be prepared to change the fuel filter(s) early a couple of times and after that enjoy the look on peoples faces as they're trying to work out where the smell is coming from and why they suddenly fancy some chips. :D
    The ability to run on veg oil was the primary factor for me getting a W124, only later discovered how addictive a motor car it is. Still makes me smile, just at a slower pace. :)

    CDI and SVO/WVO is a no go but I'm getting around to experimenting with my other car and bio diesel. Manufacturers generally don't recommend it but IMHO that's more to do with insufficient testing on their part and varying qualities of the bio diesel available (every supplier has their own recipe).
     
  18. DenisM

    DenisM Active Member

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    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Your Mercedes:
    T reg E300 (excellant) L reg 220TE (My first merc and loving it)
    AS a related aside, does anyone know why quite a number of new diesel cars (not just MB) are marked 'no biodiesel' ?
     
  19. roadhog

    roadhog Senior Member

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    Sunny Norfolk
    Your Mercedes:
    W124 300D x2, C124 300
    Like I said above, IMHO it's due to limited or no testing the manufacturers are able to carry out. Testing would be difficult as bio diesel quality can vary hence doing your own titration checks are advisable. A blanket refusal to allow the use of bio is the safer option for them.

    That said, pump diesel does include a percentage of bio, something like 5% I believe.
     
  20. HERBIEMERCMAN

    HERBIEMERCMAN Senior Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Location:
    PRESTON, LANCS.
    Your Mercedes:
    97. E300.TD. 7 SEAT.ELEGANCE. EST.TOYOTA SUPRA MK4. RS. VAUX. CORSA.GLS AUTO. SPORT.
    short term gain, but long term pain ? my friend is the manager of "merlin" diesels in preston. when i visited his set up to cost solenoids, heaters etc for my vegi conversion, he told me to stay clear, unless i was moving the car on in 20,000 miles or so. they specialise in diesel pump renovation and injector renovation, he explained that the viscosity and specific gravity of bio fuels, even the good ones put massive stresses on the pumps and injectors, especially in winter months, bit like your heart pumping porridge instead of blood.

    on top of this poor trade off you have a very smelly exhaust, don't think this will not bother you, on no wind days you will not like it in stationary traffic.

    if your o rings in your fuel system are merc std. nitrile phenoilic, then you will eventually have to replace them with viton, or suffer sucking air in cold weather, poor or no starting.

    in my opinion unless you can obtain the vegi for free, and are not concerned about the mechanical longevity of your merc, DON'T DO IT ! herbiemercman.
     

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