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Lou Wright
97 F150

I have no option but to use the vehicle that I already have, so it is my '97 F150. It has an extended cab with a short bed and a 4.2 liter engine.
How about some comments about this vehicle's feasiblility for use with woodgas. Pros and cons would be helpful, as well as cautions and suggestions.
I am no mechanic and don't know if I have an engine with ODB1 or ODB2. I just barely know that I don't have a carborator.
I do however, have ample construction and fabrication skills.
Any comments?

Eric Stegmann
Eric Stegmann's picture
97 should be ODB2

97 should be ODB2
my 94 f150 extend cab short bed 4x4 with a 5.0 is odb1

i would be concerned about lack of power with that size truck
quick research says 200HP and they had some issues with cracked lower intake manifolds

i know in MO my truck almost needs 6000lb plates

Bruce French
If the intake is plastic I

If the intake is plastic I would pass on it.

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Lou,

Lou,
Before considering this truck I would do some research and learn as much about the design of the truck as you can. Information can be limited on these because
the dealerships don't want you knowing how to fix them they much rather you bring it into them and charge you. Next I would think about what you are looking for this truck to do once converted on woodgas would it be for a daily driver or haul trailers and do work ?? I went ahead and converted my 2003 f-150 as an experiment
just to see if the truck would run on woodgas. It works but it wouldn't be my first choice also it is not completed yet. still working away on the obd2 computer. BBB Sean

Lou Wright
I don't use this truck to

I don't use this truck to pull anything and when I rarely haul anything, it is just light stuff. I do make long runs sometimes (Indiana to Texas and back) but mostly it is just to put around with.
I really want to get started in woodgas and this is my only option. If however, I cannot convert this one, I will have to figure something else out.

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Lou,

Lou,
If you have emissions tests where you are I wouldn't consider this truck. I am not positive that once you convert the truck it would pass when you have to take it in to get it tested. That's one of the issues I am working on now. The engine is made of aluminum not steel. And it has a plastic intake manifold I plan in the near furfure to make one out of metal because there are no aftermarket intakes for my truck that I can find. If you understand that this would be an experiment project and are prepared to do whatever it takes to get it converted then start building your gasifier and all of us will help get you running. Regards Sean,

Brent Wolf
Brent Wolf's picture
as far as emissions, i have

as far as emissions, i have no way of knowing but could it be as clean or cleaner if the engine exhaust has a catalytic converter? nox and co and co2 maybe higher? i havent found any info on this, i think the fuel injected 4.2 has an aluminium intake, the truck could benefit from the fuel savings of woodgas but the power might limit its operation, never know till you try!

Steve Smith
Steve Smith's picture
It kind of sounds like a 92

It kind of sounds like a 92 to 95 Dodge or Chevy running a 318 or 327 is the rig of best choice for success?

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Brent, I would like to think

Brent, I would like to think that the exhaust from running on wood is cleaner than gasoline. I really don't know the answer until I have the time to get one of the trucks tested. That can't be done in Florida I will have to go out of state. As stated above my truck has a plastic intake manifold and it is not the best choice for Woodgas. Also have no problems with power I run highway speeds and pull trailers all the time with no problem. My gasifier design was based on a Keith design I changed and added some things.....

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Hi Steve,

Hi Steve,
For right now the quickest easyest way to run on wood is to follow Wayne he has an awesome truck selection and gasifier. A lot of you are wanting to try obd2 and I think that's great it is more challenging than the older trucks. I am working on a computer system that will simplify the process. You won't need my computer to run your truck however it will make running an obd2 system simple and easy. Regards Sean

Steve Smith
Steve Smith's picture
This is my first build and I

This is my first build and I'm all about simplifying things. It seems from what I am reading that an OBD1 rig is best and I'd like to use a Dodge 318 to match Wayne's build if possible if for nothing else, the sake of being able to follow along and learn more effectively.

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Steve,

Steve,
That's the wise choice Wayne has a great setup all designs currently fit what he is driving daily on wood. Take all of the know how in and then if you feel up it get creative later. BBB Sean,

Randall Van Engen
Randall Van Engen's picture
Just a quick thought...but if

Just a quick thought...but if you are running an ODB2 truck in an emissions state, AND you make it dual fuel, couldn't you just run gasoline for a few days before the test and use a good code scanner to clear the DTC buffer? Perhaps run some seafoam through the system before clearing the codes??

I used to clear codes while in line waiting for the emissions test with a 1997 Ex-police cruiser with a bad cat... :-) Just plugged it in, cleared the code, pulled up and it passed w/o problems. Most simple ones are less than $100 anymore.

Setting aside computer error codes for a sec...is the woodgas coming into the intake that hot to cause a problem with the plastic intakes? If so, why not an aftermarket metal intake? Summit and Jegs have them pretty cheap.

--Randall

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
Hi RandallE.

Hi RandallE.
Well . . . on the OBDII manditory tested areas a lot of maybe and depends on where, what state, what area.
The On Board (emissions) Diagnostic version Two system the Feds mandated continuously runs and reruns 6-8 different system self-check Monitors. Here in the four areas tested in Washington State ALL of these must have been successfully ran "Completed" since the last erasure/code clearing (later system will even say how long in time and miles since this was last done). Best I've every crafted down to is a 12-15 mile varied drive cycle to get this to happen on the current crop of family rigs. I read that NY, NH and other states will allow 1 or 2 of these monitors to read "Not Yet Completed". Jeese! EVAP and O2 and EGR system monitors can be a PITA to get completed ran.
At least here no under hood or under vehicle or exhaust tailpipe inspection is done anymore on 1996 and later vehicles. Gasoline cap pressure testing yes. No more I/M 240 (240 seconds variable power loaded - tail pipe sniffed) wheel Dyno loaded testing anymore here either after too many powertrain burn-ups on AWD vehicles.

Now Cali I read/hear is very different. Still full visual for any state non-CARB approved modifications. Who's gonna pay for to have their woodgas system to be state board certified?

Ha! Ha! Some Inspected area you will be having to also convince them that those 55 gallon barrels in back are for engine exhaust heated hog slop cooking to go along with your hog restraining rack pipes.

Regards
Steve Unruh

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Hi Randall, I am in Florida

Hi Randall, I am in Florida and have no emissions tests to deal with so I would not be any help on how to beat the tests. However I have been visited by the EPA four times in the past 2 years. And I am still running on wood every day they love the idea. Thanks for the hint on summit and jegs I have looked they don't have anything for a 2003 ford 4.2 v6 and even if they did that intake would still be designed for gasoline not woodgas they both will run the truck down the road.However the two fuels are very much different animals. Regards Sean

Tim Gearhart
Hey Sean Have you ever

Hey Sean Have you ever thought about looking into equipment designed for propane or natural gas. Such as carburation or fuel mixing valves etc.

Lou Wright
Here in Indiana, there is no

Here in Indiana, there is no testing for auto emissions, so that is not a consideration.
But because of the plastic intake situation, I would like to re-ask Randal's question "...is the woodgas coming into the intake that hot to cause a problem with the plastic intakes?" Or is there another factor to consider?

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Hello Tim,

Hello Tim,
Yes I have considered CNG compressed natural gas mixers. Those units are very close and do pretty much the same job we are doing with mixing the air with woodgas. It would be worth it to try sometimes I find it easier to start from scratch rather than modify a system that was made for a different job. Remember you need the right tool for the right job. You wouldn't paint your house with a screwdriver. BBB Sean

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Hello Lou,

Hello Lou,
To answer the intake question no woodgas is not hot enough to bother the plastic intake. Yes there are other factors to be considered. For more info. on this click the premium button and scroll down the the section Wayne has on "why I chose mpi fuel injection".

Lou Wright
Hey Sean,

Hey Sean,
I had already read that but not being very auto-mechanically minded, I had glossed over parts of it. I did re-read it and understand the issue more fully.
I was pretty sure about this but verified it with the Ford dealer today when I was in for some other work, and my model does have an aluminum intake. I now realize the increased maintenance required for a TBI equipped engine; a day of cleaning every 1K miles seems daunting. But with gas prices now and what's expected for the future, it might still be worthwhile.
I was wondering if a good portion of that soot buildup might be captured by the use of serious centrifugal force before it enters the stock engine components. Any thoughts on this idea?

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Hi Lou,

Hi Lou,
For now there is no way around it. I have tried a series of tests on different filters and some did show a mileage improvement however the end results are still the same. If your truck has an aluminum intake please post pictures. I would like to see it so I can comment better does it look like this ? BBB Sean

Lou Wright
Yeah, that looks like the big

Yeah, that looks like the big ol' honker that sits on my engine.
I'm off for Argos, so it will be a couple of days before I get back with you on this. Thanks for the discussion on the subject, I'm without experience or training on these matters and it helps a lot.

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
Hey TimG.

Hey TimG.
I'll put up something searchable about using woodgas in propane and methane mixers based on experience.
Do not waste your time. Sean is correct woodgas needs to have it's own dedicated purpose built mixer.

Why? Why? And Why?

Propane and methane as we use them are highly refined, purified, de-watered, acid neutralized concentrated medium chain hydrogen and carbon molecules deliver at a standardized positive pressure and temperature to their 70+ years in development dedicated mixers.

Woodgas is wet, warm, mildly acidic and has to be in the majority of applications sucked into the engine through the mixer for overall system safety reasons.
Woodgas will acid eat up any die cast zinc casting quickly. Corrodes Coppers just as bad. Cast iron and carbon steel rust corrodes quickly too. SS, brass and bronze are OK. Most plastics and some aluminums are OK too. Just have to try, to find out. Destroying good IMPCO's and Centuries mixers learning this get's expensive.

The woodgas fuel componets are simple chain HC molocules; easily cleanly combusted but with low energy density. Only ever 30-40% of the total wood fuel gasses flow. The rest inert passed through air nitrogen, unconverted carbon dioxide, and acidic water vapor.
The internal fuel gas passage ways in a propane and methane mixer have to be enlarged by ~10x and 8X respectively. NOT possible within the castings. And the flow demanded pressure fed fuel metering converted to a hard suction/flow metered system for the woodgas fuel. Even if possible, why take the hard road?? Usually you are then fighting an unneeded venturi restriction choke point too.
So only thing usable M-A-Y-B-E (if acid resistant aluminum) is the mixer base with the original throttle plate.

Why bother when you can get this as varying size machined manufactured throttled bodies off off 30 years worth of FI vehicle at any wrecking yard now for cheap?

Look at these pictures of 2-6 hour corrosion. Note this is only occurring on the woodgas fuel side - not the air side.
Even when made of resistant materials woodgas carbon and soot build up requires an easily disassemble quickly cleaned without cleaner damaging it mixer.

The carbon and soot is another story. MAJORTY NOT gas pass through but fuel gas carbon monoxide to carbon diaoxide conversion dropped out carbon formed by rough fuel gas handling in the mixer!! (IMHO) See 2nd picture. This is after ~8 hours running time.

Regards
Steve Unruh

Tim Gearhart
Thanks for the explanation

Thanks for the explanation Steve. Guess the best route is trial and error with compatible materials. I was just thinking of ways to make it more user friendly, more of a turn key operation with more constant and repeatable results

Lou Wright
Now that I have seen several

Now that I have seen several builds and talked to those who have experience, I have a few ideas I hope will help make my F150 build go better and be less trouble if not trouble free.
I was thinking of building a plenum to go between the throttle body and the intake to cut down on the soot build-up in the throttle body. I also think an easily removable top plate to the plenum might make soot burn out of the intake much less of a pain. Any thoughts on this?
Doing a woodgas build on a Ford truck with an OBD II doesn't seem to give Terry Grzyb much of a problem, perhaps it won't me either. Anyone out there with any experience here have any insight or suggestions?

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Hi Lou,

Hi Lou,
Glad you had a good trip and could see woodgas in person. Sounds like your up to the challenge my only concern was.
1. The type of intake you had on your truck now we know is metal that's not an issue anymore. I have ordered the same intake for my truck even though its a 97 it seems there is no difference between intake bolt patterns so it should bolt up to my f-150. I will let you know how that goes.
2. If you had emissions laws in your state this could raise problems. We addresses this you don't live in an area that has testing.
3. The engine blocks are aluminum verses steel not sure if this is a concern yet or not. I had to tear down my dad's ranger after 50'000 miles
to replace a worn timing chain the truck had 4,500 wood burning miles on it at the time. I inspected the engine and all moving parts no signs of wear or anything out of the ordinary. I would like to say there is no difference between steel or aluminum time will tell over 7,000 miles now on both trucks still running strong.
I hope your build goes off without a hitch I am here if you need help. Regards Sean