Choice of truck

Which truck ( pre-1967 ) would you recomend as most adaptable to wood gasification .

which small watercooled gen set would you recommend as most durable to run on wood gas ? Which set of plans would you recomend I purchase to build a wood gasifer to run both the truck and the smaller genset ?


We can’t recommend any trucks that old. Carburetors are difficult to deal with and have no advantages. Why would you limit yourself in that way? Pick something lightweight with a big engine that’s fuel injected. The logical conclusion is a Dodge Dakota like Wayne uses, but there are other choices around as well.

The genset will be able to run temporarily off of a full size Keith unit. If it’s a dedicated stationary gasifier then you’d want it to be smaller than a truck gasifier, and with different features.

Hi JohnR.
I also live in the GreatWet of western Washington State. So, very familiar with the laws, conditions and possibilities.
You’ve asked three different questions.

ChrisKY is correct. It is only after you get up to fully developed Port Electronic Fuel Injection can you say there is any vehicle to woodgas superiority differences.
Here in WA State we have a 25 year rolling emissions testing cut off. Now anything 1987 and older is NOT subject to mandatory inspection and testing anymore in the five county/four tested areas. An '87 will have 20 year newer wiring, door rubbers, and everything else. And much better safety features like collapsible steering and parts availability than ANY ancient ‘67. Most Dodge, Ford, GM’s through the 80’s could even be back fitted to completely non-electronic ignition, carburation and charging systems if that is the desire. Ha! Ha! Lived with the Must Do twice a year “tune-ups” for the first 20 years of my driving - NO WAY I ever wanna go back to that.
Drove a 1969 Chev HD 3/4 ton for 8 years ~160,000 miles in that time side by side with family Fords and friends Dodges. The Chev/GM’s were the best of the 60’s lot IMHO. Same IMHO for Chev/GM’s in the 70’s. Now after80-82 up through mid 90’s then Fords pulled ahead if they are WITHOUT a Mass Air Flow sensor system. Ford more directly jumped from PITA feedback carburtors to port fuel injection than the other two. Then from the early 90’s on for woodgasing then Dodges with the upgraded Magnum engines retaining the still easily woodgas tolerant Speed Density primary sensed EFI stand out.
Believe me you really, really do want the front disc brakes that became standard on all by the mid-70’s. Front drum brakes have almost killed me and others, many, many times here in the GreatWet. They heat fade BADDLY loaded or towing down grades. They wet splash lock up unpredictably pulling very hard to the left, or to the right. Never, ever, wanna’ go back to that either.

2nd question, “most durable . . . watercooled . . . small gen-set to run on woodgas?”
Easy answer for the Best. You want slow speed 1500-1800 RPM, cast iron, 2X optput oversized. The Best:
Westebeke marine set in a gasoline based 3 or 4 cylinder version:
3.0kW to 22.5kW 50 and 60 cycles
Be available up there in the salty water Puget Sound basin as a gasoline to diesel conversion swap-outs. 'Spensive but you did ask for the Best. Next best:
This will be a simple, proven, million hours proven durable, push rod valved, cast iron blocked old style GM four cylinder at a quieter longer lived 1800 RPM. Still actual distrubutor ignition. Again could be completely back fitted to non-electrinic on the engine if a fellow wanted.

Third answer. All gasifier systems yet to date very well proven to need to be sized to the engine/gen output to thermally work well. Ha! Ha! I have two small ones here with NO possibility to woodfuel supply a full sized pickup. They would be overdrawn, overheat, melt down and be internally destroyed.
Only one system with actual plans out there with a duel use possibility would be a Keith System in my opinion. Why you DO want to oversize the gen-set engine to a min 3 or 4 cylinders to make it draw hard enough to keep a vehicle sized Keith gasifier stoked hot enough to be tar free. Schedule your domestic hot water needs using electric elements, electric cloths dryer, and bulk charge/system load/battery bank recharge in 2-4 hour gasifier run batches daily.

Or . . . plan on two different gasifier systems.
You will hate cutting/chunking the small woodfuel sizing needed for the smaller one sized to a small gen-set!!

All my own sore fingers, sore back and emptied pocket book experienced opinions now.
Steve Unruh

Hi all,
I’m looking at a 94 Extra Cab Dakota 318, I like the idea of some dry space in the cab aside from the passenger seat. Any reason to avoid such rig besides the extra weight and the distance to read the meters?
Thanks for any and all comments.
Tim in the Great NorthWet

Sounds great! That’s one of the two trucks Wayne has right now, I believe it’s even the same year. Watch any of his videos to see how it performs. No downsides that I can think of - go for it.

Hey Tim,

Here are three, same motor and body as you are looking at .


What are your thoughts about this as a donor? No idea what engine it has - likely a 350, but could be a 454. Pros and cons of both? Were they doing multi-port by 1990, or was it TBI? I espectially like the idea of an extended cab and 8’ bed. Sorry to keep gravitating to Chevys, but they’re just so much easier to come by than the Dakotas, and V10 Rams are like hen’s teeth . . . .



1990 Chevrolet C2500 - $2450 (Prairie Hill)
Truck itself has approx 80k miles only, engine less than 12k. New tires, front wheel bearings, brakes, brake lines, fuel pump, ignition, exhaust. Grille Guard, custom rear bumper. A few cosmetic issues, paint, dent in left rear and one on tailgate, rt front passenger seat torn. $1800 in parts and labor in the last 3 months to make this truck mechanically sound. Trailor brake system, hauled horses and 3 horse trailer past Gatesville recently, all systems were a go. Serious inquiries only, we all know how valuable a mechanically sound truck is here. (254) 344-2498.


It’s a good truck, not stellar on the highway but acceptable. Full size truck, which means it’ll be a little slower. 1990 was definitely TBI. The 454 would be nice for power, but will mean poor wood mileage on the highway.

Dakotas hard to find? Check Craigslist again. I found three listings just in Waco for V8 Dodge Dakota. They are all the OBD2 variety, similar to Richard Cooper’s truck. And you’re in range of Austin, San Antonio, possibly Houston. Lots of trucks there.

Here’s some 92-95 Dakotas in San Antonio:

A couple in Houston:

So modifying my dads 1967 chevy pick up 6 cylinder is out of the question? that’s a bummer. I was doing all the research for this truck.

Chad, don’t give up on the old Chevy yet. It will depend on your mission for the truck. My Wood Hawg is a 63 Chevy C10 with a 250ci straight six. It ran pretty well on the WK unit, even in these Ozark hills. I would think in the Iowa flatlands it wood be great. I could run 55 MPH on the few, short, flat areas around here. I have only run it about 500 miles so far. I am currently swapping the 250 for a 292.

I have concluded that volumetric efficiency is a major factor in getting maximum output with woodgas. The intake manifolds on the older Chevy sixs are very restrictive. The entry port is only 1 1/2" diameter. I will be trying an after market intake manifold on the 292. It should easily flow 2 to 3 times as well as the original.

Hi, Richard

Thanks for your post, that gives me hope for the old chevy yet! I’m hoping to build the WK model and make the truck a off and on driver. Maybe to go to our local dump here to get free fire wood. We heat our house here with wood that comes from the dump, otherwise they just burn it.

Hey Richard and Chad I too am much more into the pre computer infested trucks many 67-72s and will be doing some carbureted builds. Thinking about a high compression 406 with Dart Iron Eagle heads and some Pontiac and caddy stuff I have laying around too. these things make some serious torque and can be geared high to keep the rpms low.