'95 F-150 with 300 engine

I’ve been into gasification for going on five years. For almost ten years, I’ve driven my '02 F-250 7.3 Powerstroke on used cooking oil. Last year, I picked up a really nice F-150 as a test mule for both woodgas and straight ethanol.

Today, I bought another F150 as a parts truck. It has a 300 engine that needs rebuilding. I find that woodgas and straight ethanol both run better with higher compression and changing the timing. I am putting together my wish list for machine shop work and hardware to go into this special built engine. Any suggestions?

The machine shop caters mostly to the racing crowd. They have an engine dyno. I’d love to do some hp tests on woodgas and ethanol. Someday, I’d like to add some sort of blower to force feed the woodgas.

I’ve never played with the auto computers. Being a '95, this truck has the OSB-1. Any tips on how to learn about that, particularly as it relates to running on woodgas? Why is the OSB-1 preferable to the OSB-2.

Hello Mr. Todd,

I haven’t tried advancing the timing on a six cylinder OBD1 ford but I have experimented with the V-6 OBD1 dodges. The V -6 dodge could not be advanced with out killing the the motor . However the V-8 work fine.

I would try to advance the time on the ford before I gasified it and see. If it will not advance it will run weak on wood gas…

Thanks for the heads up. I haven’t tried playing with the timing but reading online, it seems it can be advanced from 0 to 16 degrees. It requires removing one wire on the computer, advancing the timing and reattaching the wire.

What is your opinion on forcing the woodgas and combustion air into the engine with a blower? Am I right that the Auburn guys did that on their BioMax 25? I saw them in Florida about three years ago and felt that’s what they said. I’ve been reading some other posts and get the idea it’s not nearly as good an idea as one might imagine.

Would it help to use a cam that created higher vacuum? That’s in addition to higher compression and advanced timing.


I bought a 175amp wire welder and a 60amp plasma cutter from Eastwood and look am looking forward to learn some fabrication skills. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my '95 F-150. This “beater” has turned into a keeper!

I understand more and more drag racers are building their engines to run on E85. To optimize performance on woodgas, I’m wanting to increase the compression as much as possible but still able to run on pump premium or E85 in a pinch. Any suggestions?

On a side note, I also picked up a really nice '82 VW Rabbit diesel which I’ll modify to run on cooking oil. A guy outright gave me a Perkins 4.236 4 cyl diesel engine that he had mounted in a Ford 4x4. I think that engine needs to find a way into a Ford Explorer 4x4. Meanwhile, I’m doing some upgrades to my '02 F-250 7.3 diesel that has most of its 330,000 miles running on cooking oil. Nothing normal around my shop!

I used a VW Rabbit PU for several years as a gofer ( go for this , go for that ) truck and put a lot of miles on it . On long trips driving around 50 mph it would get 50 miles per gallon !! Sold it last year

I have a rabbit car ( parts ) I would give you if you need any parts

Todd, after getting my Dakota up on a lift and looking at the frame, I may not want to use that as my wood gas truck. This leaves my 95 F150 as my other option. I like this truck because it has a manual transmission and a 300 6cyl. I need to check things out more before I make a decision.

Thanks for the offer, Wayne. I have really enjoyed zipping around in the VW. Lots of smiles from folks. A buddy borrowed it for a few weeks while his truck was in the shop. At 6’10", people would literally stop and shoot video as he’d unfold himself from the tiny car. I’m only getting 40 to 44mpg, but not bad for a 33 year old car that only cost me $1200!

My goal is top optimize performance running the 300 engine on woodgas as well as E85 or even E100. This afternoon I visited with the local race engine shop and the owner is interested in my woodgas project. They will do the machine work and let me assemble the engine in their shop with one of their guys looking over my shoulder for guidance. I’d really enjoy learning about engine assembly. When they rebuild an engine, it is truly balanced and blueprinted.

First, I will work to make the most horsepower and best economy on E85. This will include higher flowing injectors and a Megasquirt injection system and advancing the timing. I am researching how to get the absolute highest compression out of that engine, probably using pistons out of a V-8 such as a 352 or a 400 engine.

This shop has an engine dyno and I’d like to get some runs on E85. I’ve heard there is a shop with a chassis dyno over near Texarkana. With the gasifier installed, I’d like to check the rear wheel horsepower.

I think it would be interesting to dyno the engine stock on gasoline, stock on woodgas, and then modified on your e 85 and on woodgas.

Excellent point, Andrew. This morning, it dawned on me. While the engine in the truck is still running fine (no idea how many miles but it doesn’t burn oil and runs smooth), I need to fabricate the gasifier first and run it on a chassis dyno with the stock engine. Two runs: on gasoline and on woodgas. Then, replace that engine with the freshly rebuilt high compression engine and do another run to see how much horsepower we can recover.

It will also be interesting to see the hp and mileage on E85 with the higher compression.

Yep, that’s the kind of analytical thinking I like.

ATP Results… that’s my company’s name. It stands for Analyze The Project and produce Results. My father started the company in the '70s and taught me imagineering on that premise. I design cleaning chemicals and have been known to do what the big companies say can’t be done. It just takes a little more imagineering. By the way, I redesigned one of my solvents to be recycled in with my diesel fuel. Sell them chemical AND get free fuel while being their hero for recycling!

Todd sounds like you have some interesting things going on. I am interested in seeing your camshaft specs. I have been going to get a hold of Isky, Howards or another cam grinder to see if any have designed for or experimented with wood gas .I have a 500 ci caddy and heads to make 10.5 to 1 plus cr. It needs 1 lifter for sure but if I am gonna tear into It well you know!

The machine shop I use has an engine dyno. Not very practical for a gasifier. A drag racing buddy found a place with a chassis dyno down in Bossier City (Shreveport) not quite two hours away. They charge $175 for five pulls plus a 1/4 mile run with a starting tree. My plan is to go down there with the gasifier running on the stock engine, pulls on wood gas as well as gasoline. Then rebuild the engine for higher compression and go back to the chassic dyno for runs on wood as well as E85.

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By the way, I finally found someone who optimized an engine for running on ethanol for mileage rather than drag racing. The end result was an 8% increase in horsepower. Like woodgas, ethanol (E85 or E100 has less BTU/pound but much higher octane. That means squeezing more power out of every gallon.

I’m looking into open source engine management systems for the injection control. Learning computer stuff is kind of scary for an old carbureted kind guy but it’s just something else to learn.

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Welcome back, Todd. I was curious if you’d ever lucked out on such things.

Well, life kind of got in the way. In '09 I moved home to south Arkansas to care for my mother. Everything, including my business, got put on the back burner for a few years but it was worth it. She’s been gone not quite two years and I’ve been working on the business. Work still needs attention but I’ve had a good few months so it’s time to get back onto my “green research”.