Best truck to use for wood gas powered heavy hauling

Hi All, I’ll cut right to it. I’m confident that I can build a WK system. I have the wonderful book and have read through it. But, here’s my issue- I want to be able to use the truck as a “chip truck” for my tree service here in Lawrence, KS.

I currently drive a 2001 ram 3500 with a 5.9l diesel. Its a great truck but not for conversion to wood gas. Does anyone have experience with a gasifier for this kind of work? What truck models would you suggest? I haul a 5,100lb chipper and the bed gets full of chips, to boot.

I’ve considered converting a Durango that my neighbor is willing to sell. But, that would be mostly for.the experience for a first time builder. Is tackling something like a chip truck too ambitious for a first time build?.

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wayne hauls all sorts of farm stock trailers loaded live stock all with a ram search the site and im pretty sure its in the book. good luck

Check out Wayne’s V10 RAM thread he also has YouTube videos out there

Welcome to the Drive on Wood site .

I think choosing a truck that will hybrid good ( mixing in a little gasoline when needed ) will be important for pulling heavy loads on busy roads . Short trips or slow speeds will do ok with heavy high profile vehicles but if you try to drive fast the gasifier will over heat . If one builds a gasifier big enough to handle the fast and heavy loads any slow driving may under pull the gasifier enough to make tar .

I think it is best to have a big motor that will have horse power at slow rpms. Also I have found that the vehicles I have used the return-less fuel system work the best at hybrid driving .

The below video shows drawing on the gasifier with the gasoline in the full on position and letting the computer handle the details ( cutting back on the gasoline to obtain the correct fuel air ratio mix .)

There is a huge learning curve with mobile gasification . I would suggest making your first gasifier on a pickup truck and really learn the ropes good before applying it to a livelihood vehicle

Thanks Wayne

Edit . I put over 50 miles on the v-10 today It will eat some wood , about 2 pounds per mile .


I gratefully accept the advice. There is a v6 Dakota sitting across the gravel from me, which I could purchase if desired.

Any harm in making my first build be a v 10 3500 vs a Dakota as long as I’m not dependent on it? Or, is the learning best done in something like a Dakota?

Hello Sir .

Some V-6 Dakotas will not run on wood ( or run very poorly ) 92-96 I am sure of . This has to do with advancing the ignition timing .

The V-10 is a easy truck to drive but it is a big and expensive vehicle .

Please don’t think that I am pushing dodges . I have always been a Ford man until a few years ago and found there are a few things that work well for woodgas on some dodges.

Back in 2008 making a coast to coast and back trip ( which included about 10-15 TV interviews and several newspaper write ups ) my partners were asking for sponsors for the trip . I believe all companys that were ask participated Except Dodge !!


Edit . My first two wood trucks were Fords.


Good morning all,
Thanks for the replies.

I like the idea of building on a 95 or 96 v10 3500. Mostly because it’s been done before.

I’m new to the site and am interested in threads with builds on “hauling trucks” but other makes and models. After some research, the v10’s of that year seem to be slim pickings.

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Hi Chris, I’m in the tree business as well. I live in Missouri. I’m new to this and haven’t built one yet but plan to when I receive Wayne’s book. I’m wanting to build one on my wood hauling truck. “93 Chevy 3500 with a 350” I plan to set it up so I can switch to regular gas when needed. I’ve been thinking though it would be cool to build a smaller gasifier on my bucket truck “GMC Topkick” and use it to run my pony motor. “3 cylinder kubota”… Idk about you but i was pumped when i learned i can drive on wood being that i have all the wood I’ll ever need lol. Well good luck on your build and look forward to see what you come up with.

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I will say this about your Diesel / Woodgas conversion idea,
The diesel BigRigs that run on Natural Gas or Propane do add a small mixture of Diesel fuel, this minuscule amount could be added in a similar place your Glow Plug would be placed,
So your factory fuel pump would be turned off, and you could have an aftermarket fuel pump plumed into the air intake where the volume would be controlled ( initially) by hand until you find the sweet spot,
This would allow just enough fuel for the diesel to ignite under combustion thus it would ignite the wood gas.
I believe there are limited videos of this process, though a friend had a Heavy Haul Truck that ran on Propane.
For your consideration.

Edited, this would let you add as much or as little Diesel varying per load.

Martin what you have put up is speculation. woodgas is NOT propane or methane. Completely different engine-fuel animal with it own problems/limitations.
Best not to say until you have done it and can use-prove-it. Many smart fellows over the decades have tried this pilot ignition of woodgas and failed except under very specialized non-varing loads.
The consensuses of many from around the world, having tried, and struggled with pre-igntions and damaging backfires is to go with completely controllable spark ignition conversions for woodgas fueling of IC engines.
tree-farmer Steve unruh


Woodgas needs a spark to ignite, that spark can come from compressed diesel,
Such as
Such as
Natural gas
Not new technologies but maybe less desirable.

Edited, like Keith said, not for beginners.

O.K. Here is a short list of not-amateurs who have trued and given up on diesel pilot igniting wood gas in working loaded IC engines:
India Institute Of Technology, the Combustion Gasifiacation Propulsion Labs as ran by Dr H.S. Mukunda. 20 years of efforts there to just go to spark converted Cummins-India and Proctash engines.
The professional Swedish engineerVesa Mikonnen. He shows pre-ignition damaged connecting rods and holed pistons. Says to just use spark converted engines for the precise controllable. Shows spark converting an Izuzu diesel. Recommends for us in North America spark refitting back the early diesel converted Olds V-8’s.
Trained diesel submariner Johan Liddel, now a homesteader, simple bypassed all of the known to him Swedish Gov’mint dual fueling experiences and struggles in the 1970’s and spark converted, and now farm works his 3 cylinder David Brown tractor.
Avid researcher and steam traction power experienced new DOW member Timan just put up a link to a spark converted 2.1L?, 2.3L spark converted privately converted Mercedes diesel sedan.
DOW member Francois Pal in his woodmill project went directly to an industrial dedicated multicylinder big V engine.
Ask DOW member Chris Seymour what type of large Cat spark ignition engines they are using on their projects.

There are more tried-it, walked away from it experiences on the DOW. Out on the net. In books.
Again woodgas IS NOT propane or methane or hydrogen as an IC engine fuel.
It is it’s own unique experience.
Should not be approached as a diesel fuel extender.


funny, i must be doing things wrong here ,… my builds and from the Bigrigs running on CNG are all converted to spark ignition.
I had engines running on dual fuel, heck i am building another one to do just the same, but none will work as you describe it. compare the 2 different mixtures needed with the actual CR in use. build some and enjoy the sound that it makes…


Hi there,
I might add a bit to what @SteveUnruh just wrote above.
In the old book from Switzerland, which will be available in the future here in the library, there is a whole sub-chapter about feeding wood-gas into diesel engines. Using a bit of diesel for the ignition is doable, for sure. But it is complicated and you still need about 20-30% of the amount of diesel compared with no wood-gas operation in a vehicle because you often change load and revs for the engine.
Knowledge from 70 years ago, yes. But still valuable.
In the end, it is much easier to convert a diesel to a spark ignition. And you need no diesel at all. So why go the more complicated way with less fuel saving effects?


If you don’t mind stepping off the beaten path, you could look for a heavy truck with a gas start diesel. Probably be 40’s and 50’s vintage. They are both a gas engine with mag, carb, and spark plugs, and an IDI diesel with a mechanical pump and injectors. They have variable compression from 6 to 17:1. The idea was to start up on low compression gas in the cold, warm up, and then switch to diesel. This was before glow plugs and heater screens etc. I have an old track loader with one of these engines. They are ready to go for wood gas, and you could still run them with straight diesel too if needed. Not sure if you could hybrid - probably not. The compression ratio is controlled by a lever near the dash. The engine in my machine is a 350 ci 4 cylinder, and they made them up to 1091 ci 6 cylinder. Low HP but huge massive low rpm torque.

I am not sure if these engines ever made it into highway trucks though. My first look would be for an old International truck as IHC built a ton of these engines.

Other than that, I’d stick to the spark ignited engines that are well proven to work.


This is the only success that I have read of, apparently the Swedish government ran some Scania trucks, I believe accumulating 100,000 miles of driving. I vaguely recall that they modified the heads? But from what you say it was less than a success? Could you elaborate?

I like Will’s suggestion, but it seems to call for extreme mechanic-ing, which brings it back around to putting spark plugs in a more modern and available diesel as the better approach.


Cat 3208 are dirt cheap.

Elaborate? Sure.
First their are diesel systems, then there are diesel systems.
This is due to the actual compression ratio’s used. The old systems mostly were 13/1 to 15-16/1. Almost ALL modern (since the late 1980’s) are all 18/1 up to 22/1. It was the lower compression ratio types that were sometimes converted.
Then the widely different fuel delivery types. Individual unit pump-injectors of wildly different types. Inline injector pump type. Rotor distributed injector pump types. Then boosted engine oil pressure electrically valved boost injector types. And now super high pressure “common rail” electronically controlled types.
Reread the whole Swedish duel fueling experiences and some injector systems had injector tips burn up/carboning up at full working combustion chamber temperatures and low, low idle like levels of diesel fuel flows.
That 100,000 miles of delivery work and thousands of hours farming work had to be labor paid subsidized just to keep the worker/users; using. They could step over to an all diesel delivery truck or farm tractor and get more daily work done with much less effort. No rodding down of the hoppers. No bags of wood chunks to handle. No filters maintenances to keep up with.
And after the war the core urban areas in Sweden il-legalized the use of woodgas vehicles in the city areas.
Germany I have been told in the whole conrty.
With these as examples touting out your in the USofA ways will lead to the same step by steps restrictions.
Actually anyone modifying a Federally emissions certified system gasoline or diesel is already breaking the law. Read your labels!!
Fortunately the Feds have bigger problems usually on their plates. Fed laws get copied into State laws. State’er enforcers usually busy, or under/de-funded.
Usually. Until . . . you piss off too many neighbors who rabble for your induvidual enforcement. As a fuel tax evader. As a tree-killer pee-loot-er. As a selfish resource hog. As a danger to the public. A catch on fire road hazard.
Enforcers working always on funding . . . NEED easy low hanging, newsworthy examples, to rally for their votes/funding.

So go ahead and be the grid meter back spinner and then dumb enough to be talking about it.
Be the unregistered, un-inspected, un-taxed milk seller, egg seller and dumbly advertise about it.

I still say. Shut the hell up unless you can show I did it use-proof of it, about anything.
I weary of jabber never-dones.


Yes Steve, In the Highest regulated state of the States, it best to keep a low key on everything we do. Just blend in and don’t boast to the public about how good you have it. They will get jealous and want what you have or try to have it taken away from you in spite. The same practices that it been for a thousand years of mankind.
No signs on my truck just blend it in. If people ask I always say the truck runs better on gas. And I have to put a lot of sweat in making my fuel from (scrap) wood for every mile. When I say it burns about a pound of wood a mile. A lot of people roll their eyes like it is a lot of wood. Ha, they don’t know and I don’t say a thing. If people think I am stupid for what I am doing, I think that is good for me.
Have wood will blend in travel.


Amen bob and maybe with all the regulations trump is dumping, And swearing too become energy independent.We are more on the right track then most.

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