How to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

If you drive your car for any length of time then sooner or later your alloy wheels will collect grime. The front wheels will be worse because of the brake dust. That is, as you brake, most of the work is being done by your front brakes, as obviously the weight transfers to the front of the car as you brake.

With normal carwash it does not come off very easily, and is very greasy in nature. Even if you go to one of those DIY carwashes and use the foaming brush even then it doesn’t come off very well.

So use oven cleaner. Spray oven cleaner onto it, leave it for a couple of minutes, and it will just wipe straight off. At the DIY carwash, it will just blast off with the high pressure water cleaner

How to Make your Own Fuel #4

So what sort of cars run best on biofuels?

Well, in principle any diesel will run on biodiesel or SVO (straight vegetable oil). Most people run older, indirect injection engines, and the best of the lot are the old Mercedes diesels.

One thing you need to take into account if you are running biodiesel is that it is a more aggressive solvent than regular diesel and can potentially chew out the rubber seals in your fuel injection pump. This is not a major problem, as you can get it rebuilt with Viton seals, which solves the problem.

This is not cheap, but as a one off expense it quickly pays for itself with the cost of diesel these days.

Can you run a modern, common-rail engine on biodiesel? I think the answer is yes, but there are lots of people that say no. I think this is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the manufacturers warn against it, mostly because I think they don’t want people putting fuel into their cars ┬áthat they made in their backyard, and then coming to them for a warranty claim.

The second reason I think is that a lot of people that make BD in their backyard don’t know what they are doing, and can make fuel that can damage an engine. The issue with common rail engines is the higher injection pressure, and BD is more viscous than regular diesel, so this is another cause of concern.

But for 10 people who say you can’t run a certain car on BD, all you need is one person who says they can, and you have your answer. And I have yet to find a car that someone, somewhere, is not running on biodiesel

How to Make Your Own Fuel #3

Right, now we get into a bit of chemistry.

Your diesel car will run fine on cooking oil but it’s too viscous, so what we have to do is reduce the viscosity. This is the only reason you need to modify the oil. It’s all about viscosity, so that when your car starts from cold in the morning, the liquid is thin enough that your injectors can inject it into the engine.

So how do we modify it? Well let’s have a look at what an oil molecule looks like. Essentially it’s shaped like an uppercase E. The horizontal lines are long carbon chains and the vertical line is a three carbon glyceride. This is where we get that term triglyceride from. The physical structure of the molecule makes it quite bulky, and this is why oil is quite thick, as the bulky structure means that the molecules don’t flow over each other very easily.

So to reduce the viscosity, we need to break up this structure. Essentially what we are doing is splitting off the three horizontal carbon chains from the glyceride backbone.

This is done with a process called transesterification.

if you look on the web you will find plenty of information about it, but unfortunately, a lot of it is wrong. The standard method of doing this involves complex measurements of the oil content, followed by a process where the oil is heated, and then cleaning processes afterwards. The reason that people use these methods is that they don’t understand much chemistry.

For this reason, I designed my own method, which is foolproof and works at room temperature. Details are here. Tomorrow I’ll talk about which cars run best on bio diesel