Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Start at the Beginning

In January I was offered a solo art show in Japan at a gallery called Birdo Flugas in Shiogama, on the Pacific coast, north of Tokyo. Knowing that I would want to travel for at least a couple of months in Asia following the show I knew that I would need to save some money. At the time I was paying $750 for my 800 square foot art studio in Portland.

Having lived in my van for eight months in 2005-2006, I decided that the best way to save money would be to move back into the van and take the opportunity to travel across the country, which I have always wanted to do.

It only made sense to look for a better van since I would be spending almost a year living in it, so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to invest in a diesel vehicle and a vegetable oil conversion system. My first search on eBay turned up the van that would become mine, a 1982 Diesel Volkswagen Westfalia. It was located near Medford, Oregon and had already been converted by it’s owner, Thaddeus Gala.


On January 21st I drove the six hours to Trail and checked it out and gave him a deposit. I gave notice on my studio on February first and made plans to put everything in storage in Portland.

When I met with Thaddeus he went over the vegetable oil system with me. Basically, the van has a secondary fuel system with an electric heater to heat the vegetable oil so that the engine can use it as diesel fuel. To collect oil from restaurants there is also an external battery powered pump with a fuel filter that can be used to pump for the collection of dirty oil and then filter it after the solid matter and water have been allowed to settle out of it.


The filtered vegetable oil is then stored in a five gallon container that is connected by a pump to my auxiliary fuel tank. I can switch between fuel tanks via a console mounted on the dash, which also allows me to turn on the heater and the pump to fill the tank.


As for collecting the fuel Thaddeus went over using the pump and showed me some samples of clean and dirty oil and sent me on my way with two empty five gallon containers.

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2 Comments:

Blogger danielle said...

i am looking into living in a Van, have never heard of this kind of converter system ... how is it working? Does it work with only older models? Diesel?

Could you email me? danidickson@gmai.com

peace, love and solace - dani

November 13, 2007 11:16 PM  
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February 8, 2010 4:12 PM  

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