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?

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

If the intake is plastic I would pass on it.

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

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.

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,

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!

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?

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…

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

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.

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,

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… :slight_smile: 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.


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.

Steve Unruh

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

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

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?

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

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”.

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?