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Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
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retmil46 Offline
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Post: #1
Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
I recently rigged up a simple bubbler system for water/methanol vapor injection on an older diesel vehicle I have.

Vehicle is an '87 MB 300D Turbodiesel sedan. OM603 diesel engine, 3.0 L inline six, mechanical indirect fuel injection (IDI prechamber) poppet style injectors with electronic idle speed control, 145 HP@4800 rpm 200 ftlbs@2400 rpm, fixed vane Garrett T3 turbo w/wastegate - 2 to 3 psi at 55 to 60 mph, 5 to 7 psi at 70 mph, 14 psi WOT, no intercooler, 4 speed auto tranny mechanical/vacuum control non-lockup, 1:1 top gear, 2.65 differential, vehicle weight 3200 lbs, 195/65R15 stock tires.

Vehicle has been averaging 35 mpg on 40 mile round trip work commute secondary roads 45 and 55 mph speed limits, prior to installation of the bubler system.

I had previously used a vacuum bubbler water vapor injection system on an '87 Subaru 2 barrel carb gas vehicle, following the lead in the Eagle Research books I have.

But on a diesel with no vacuum to "suck" air thru the bubbler, I had to come up with a method to "blow" air thru it.

My solution was to make use of the factory closed CCV system. Originally this was nothing more than a 1/2" plastic tube that ran from the valve cover to a sleeve on the rubber air intake boot between the air filter and the turbo inlet.

When I first bought the vehicle, I installed a Provent 200 CCV filter to keep the oil vapor being carried over with the blowby gases from being deposited in the intake system.

Experimenting with the old Subaru bubbler jar, I found that the CCV system had suffucient pressure and flow to operate a bubbler system.

I used a 1/2 gallon square plastic container with a screw-on lid, making sure that the fittings, hose, and bubbler device were of equal or greater diameter than the original CCV hose to minimize backpressure. An added benefit of the Provent filter is that it has vacuum and pressure relief valves built into it for this purpose as well, and serves as a safety backup to my design efforts.

I plumbed the bubbler jar in downstream of the Provent filter to have relatively oil-free air flow. The outlet of the Provent is plumbed to the bubbler device inside the jar, and the outlet of the bubbler jar is plumbed to the original connection on the air intake boot prior to the turbo inlet.

For fluid, I'm using Wally World washer fluid rated to -20 F, approximately 35% methanol.

I completed the install this past Monday. So far, I've only driven approximately 30 miles with the bubbler installed on 3 short trips of 45 mph or less, so no data so far on any effect on fuel mileage. However, on the return leg of these short trips, with a warm engine and the bubbler jar given a chance to soak up some of this engine heat, the engine has been noticeably quieter and smoother, power delivery from a stop more consistent.

Mitchell Oates
Mooresville NC
'87 MB 300D Turbodiesel
'05 Jeep Liberty CRD (Common Rail Diesel)
05-02-2008 10:04 AM
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mike Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
This is cool. Please let us know what your mpg gains are. Also, if you could give us a photo of your setup, that would be great too.

BTW, welcome to the forum!

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05-02-2008 06:55 PM
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retmil46 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
Thanks for the welcome.

The '87 MB is still a work in progress. I picked her up nearly two years ago from a small dealer that had acquired the vehicle from the original owner. The original owner was getting up in years and traded her off because he wasn't able to devote the money or time for maintenance. Mechanically, she was in need of some serious TLC.

The tranny had been leaking fluid from the beginning, but not an excessive rate. Last few months that took a turn for the worse, so finally a month ago I had the tranny and driveshaft pulled for a long overdue overhaul.

After replacing all the seals on the tranny, plus the flexdiscs and support bearing on the driveshaft, and finally doing a proper adjustment of the throttle and control linkages and base idle speed, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my fuel mileage had went up by 5 mpg. Up until this point, it had consistently averaged 30 mpg. After the above work, two weeks of commuting to work turned in a consistent 35 mpg average. This was on straight #2 ULSD diesel fuel, only additive was 1 oz/gallon ashless 2 cycle engine oil for protection of all the fuel-lubricated components ($8/gallon at Wally World).

As George Wiseman says in his books, fuel savers do work - if you do your part with proper maintenance.

Next major item, after running for a few weeks to test out the vapor injection system, will be to give those 20 year old injectors a good overhaul - new nozzles, plus pop testing and adjustment to balance their pressures as close as possible.

Past that, I'm looking at replacing the stock 70 amp alternator with a 150 amp unit from a '96-'99 S420 class that is a direct bolt-in according to other '87 300D owners, and then adding on a Browns Gas generator. Further down the road, I might possibly replace the water vapor injection with liquid water injection.

I actually purcheased nearly all of the Eagle Research books 5 years ago, and tried out some of his ideas on the '87 Subaru wagon I had at the time with good results - from barely 300 miles per tank to well over 400 miles on an engine with over 150K miles on it (Carb Enhancer, water vapor injection, jury rigged Hyco). But life intervened, and I'd nearly forgotten I had those books. Then a couple weeks ago in the parking lot at work, I overheard a gent describing to his friend how he had installed one of those "hydrogen generators" on his Honda gasser and had gained over 7 mpg. That immediately jogged my memory - I knew he was talking about a Browns Gas generator, and remembered I had the book tellling how to build one. Now I'm back on the path of trying out fuel savers once again.

Mitchell Oates
Mooresville NC
'87 MB 300D Turbodiesel
'05 Jeep Liberty CRD (Common Rail Diesel)
05-02-2008 11:17 PM
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mike Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
I bought most of George's books too. It was how I got started with fuel saving as well.

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05-03-2008 08:26 AM
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colchiro Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
RetMil, bear in mind that changing to spring and summer fuel blends and warming air temps should give you mileage gains as well.

Rick

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(This post was last modified: 05-03-2008 08:49 AM by colchiro.)
05-03-2008 08:48 AM
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retmil46 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
colchiro Wrote:RetMil, bear in mind that changing to spring and summer fuel blends and warming air temps should give you mileage gains as well.

Quite true. However, over the last two years driving the '87 in this area of the country (south central NC), as far as commuting to work, the mileage on it has never varied by more than 1 to 2 mpg year round. And from what I've seen, we end up getting supplied with straight #2 diesel year round as well, no "winter blend" of #1 and #2.

OTOH, my other diesel, an '05 Jeep Liberty CRD, with a massive amount of electronics involved for direct injection, engine control, and emissions, temperature has a big time effect on it's fuel mileage - in particular fuel temperature - the ECM is constantly monitoring fuel temp and adjusting engine parameters. Last Christmas on a return trip from Texas, with temps in the 20's, I was getting mileage in the low 20's until I realized what was going on and covered over the fuel cooler in the return line to the tank. Once the return fuel had warmed up the tank somewhat, my mileage shot back up over 30 mpg - on the bottom half of the same tank of fuel.

Mitchell Oates
Mooresville NC
'87 MB 300D Turbodiesel
'05 Jeep Liberty CRD (Common Rail Diesel)
05-03-2008 10:42 AM
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colchiro Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
In the north we have winter, spring/fall and summer blends. I suspect we're on spring now and summer will be next month.

Rick

Links: Documents / Tuning for Mileage | Toyota Sensors | Autoshop Sensor Tutorials
05-03-2008 12:35 PM
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retmil46 Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
We're off work today due to parts shortages. When I got home last night, 163 miles on the tank, fuel gauge just on the bottom side of the 3/4 mark - slightly over 4 gallons used by my estimation. Won't know for certain until I top it off this weekend. Basically, there wasn't enough difference in the fuel gauge reading from the previous two weeks to make an immediate call as to any improvement.

I'm thinking I pretty much screwed myself out of any improvement the first couple of days - when I topped off the bubbler jar Monday morning, I wasn't paying enough attention and filled the jar to better than 3/4 full. From the way the vehicle reacted, this was too much water mass for the blowby gases and radiant heat from the engine to warm up and efficiently vaporize - there was no noticeable difference from the way it performed prior to the bubbler system.

On the last 40 to 60 miles of my commuting for the week, as the level decreased down to about 2/3 full, I started to notice once again the same effects as last week when I initially installed the bubbler system, when I had first filled it to between 1/2 to 2/3 full and let it decrease from there.

I'm now going to try an idea listed in the ER books to help the process out - tap into the cooling system and use engine coolant, which normally runs at 170 to 180 F for a diesel, to heat up the bubbler jar and promote vaporization.

On the '87 MB, this will be rather easy - there's a 3/8" hose that runs from the thermostat housing to the coolant surge tank that acts as a recirc vent line - what we refer to at work as a "burp" line - that has a constant flow of coolant thru it when the engine is operating and acts to vent off any accumulated air from the engine water jacket.

I'll just reroute the burp line over to the bubbler jar, where I'll either wrap tubing around the outside of the jar, or install additional fittings in the container cap and run a few loops of tubing inside the jar, before running it back over to the coolant surge tank.

Mitchell Oates
Mooresville NC
'87 MB 300D Turbodiesel
'05 Jeep Liberty CRD (Common Rail Diesel)
05-09-2008 09:25 AM
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ghahai ghato Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
Hey guys...
I'm a strong believer in WIS since it really works for me and hoping to install one on my dad's Ford Ranger diesel-turbo truck. I understand that the WIS setup is very different in a diesel engine from the petrol. So I appreciate those who run this WIS on diesel engine would post some photos to help me build a diesel WIS kit.

Thanx.
05-14-2008 11:54 PM
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retmil46 Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Water/Methanol Vapor Injection
Update on the coolant heat mod -

Last weekend I tried plumbing the vent line off the engine block thru a coiled tube heater in the bubbler jar. I fashioned the tube heater by hand, using some leftover 1/4" ID aluminum tubing I found, easily bendable. I installed the extra fittings in the jar of the lid, and connected the tubing to it with 1/4" ID coolant hose. Some thick wall 5/16" ID heater hose from NAPA plumbed it to the engine vent fitting and the outlet to the coolant surge tank.

However, the way the coolant system is designed and operates on this OM603 diesel engine, there's little if any coolant flow during normal operation thru the vent line. So no heat to the bubbler jar. Time for plan B.

Going back to the MB W124 service manual I have, the heater coolant circuit taps off the engine itself - ie, it will always have flow thru it even when the engine is cold and the thermostat is shut.

NAPA had a 3/4 x 3/4 x 3/8 heater hose tee available. I used this to splice into the heater supply hose, 3/8" ID coolant hose out a distance to a brass throttle valve, then connected into the 5/16" tubing already connected to the bubbler jar.

I left the 5/16" hose connecting the outlet of the bubbler jar heater to the coolant tank vent fitting in place, inserting a tee and connecting hose to the engine block vent fitting - the hose could still serve double duty as the engine vent and bubbler jar return.

With the return still going to the coolant tank, which has no flow path to the coolant pump suction while the thermostat is closed, there would be no return path and no flow thru the bubbler heater, thus no heat and little water vapor while the engine was cold. Once the engine reaches operating temp and the thermostat opens, this provides a return path and you get coolant flow thru the bubbler, thus copious amounts of heat and greatly increased vapor production.

This is in line with the ER books - you want little or no water while the engine is cold, and to feed in water when the engine is hot and able to make use of it.

Additionally, even when the engine is cold and the thermostat shut, selecting heat on the climate control will open an electrically controled shutoff valve in the heater circuit and turn on a 12V aux circulating pump, circulating coolant to the cab and also providing flow to the bubbler jar. With the climate control shut off, there will be no flow to the bubbler jar until the engine warms up and the thermostat opens.

Exprimenting last night, idling the engine and with the heat turned on, I almost inadvertently turned the bubbler jar into a steam injection unit!!! I was busy experimenting and seeing how much flow was going thru the system via a clear piece of tubing I had spliced in, and not paying attention to how hot the other components and the bubbler jar were getting. After 10 to 15 minutes of idling and flow thru the system, I went to grab the brass throttle valve and it was so hot I almost burned my hand. Feeling the bubbler jar, it was uncomfortably warm and some duct tape on the outside of it was becoming soft and gooey. The vapor outlet hose going to the air intake was also becoming uncomfortably warm. Not good for a plastic Rubbermaid container!!!

After shutting off the car, I checked the level in the bubbler jar - I'd evaporated off more water idling for 15 minutes with coolant heat than I had in the past week with 200 miles of driving!!!

Good thing I plumbed in a throttle valve - going to need to reduce flow to keep temps in the bubbler jar to a reasonable level.

Mitchell Oates
Mooresville NC
'87 MB 300D Turbodiesel
'05 Jeep Liberty CRD (Common Rail Diesel)
05-18-2008 08:35 PM
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