Downhill driving

We live on a hill with a mile or so of downhill grades up to 14 percent and 4 switchbacks from our place to the main highway.When I start the truck,I drive up the driveway and turn left to head uphill instead of down because it gets the gasifier cooking pretty good whereas going downhill tends to almost shut the fire off and hardly any gas.The uphill drive eventually drops down the otherside into the Deep Creek valley and on to Spallumcheen and Armstrong whichis some pretty driving with rolling highway.

The thing is,sometimes I would rather head right to town.Anybody have similar country or situations or any advice on warming up the gasifier on a downhill coast?I’m heading out the door now to light up and go for a drive but will head up tward Deep Creek for now.

Perhaps leaving it in first or second gear will keep the rpm up and acompliish braking too. My drive is only a 1/4 mi downhill, and I usually shift to neutral and turn the idle up to about 1500 rpm to pre-heat. The other 75%, yup!

Hello Paul,

Your situation sounds similar to mine. You might consider leaving your vent open and keep the suction blowers on during the desent and then switching to wood gas near the bottom of the hill. This will keep the heat up and still use little to no gasoline.

Paul, I have specifically bought stick shifts to take advantage of the downhills and to stoke things up for the next hill. Our hills are typically around a half mile up and then a half mile down. They are pretty consistant. No mountains like your way. I did the same thing with the automatics but sometimes they coast in the higher gears and don’t stoke up the engine and gasifier. This new truck is tricky. It has a security system that prevents me from kick starting it. It has to be crank started with the key. If the engine happens to stall I can pop the clutch to get it going again but it has to be initially started with the key. There is also a time delay on the clutch switch which pisses me off so I doubt I can bypass that. I’d hate to stall on the railroad tracks with a train coming :o) … One time when I was around 18 or 19 (40 years ago, ouch) I had a VW beetle quit crossing the tracks and I just put it in first and got it off the tracks with the starter as a train was coming. My buddy in the back seat was totally screaming … He is a mortician now … Mike L

Thanks Carl,Richard and Mike,
I’m going to work at keeping the revs up best I can going down the hill and see what happens at the bottom.Second gear should hold it for the most part except in the tightest switchback.
It started pouring rain as I lit the truck tonight and I should have let the fan run longer than the 5 minutes it did because it stalled a couple times til the fire got stoked up.
The rain was bouncing of the windshield as I drove and it was quite dark but the heater works and off we went.The truck seemed to have extra power and I was thinking of Steve’s comment about tar producing power but there was no problem there.Maybe rainy weather is good?

Drove over 30 miles and came back and checked everything over,and the condensate traps and monorator is working well.I liked the steam pouring off the truck as the rain hit the gasifier and other hot parts of the system.After awhile the rain let up and this appeared.

Good Morning Paul,

Thanks for posting the picture , I like it!

Glad you had a good drive even if it was in the rain. I ran some errands yesterday morning with the dakota ( about 40 miles ) and afternoon the family and I went visiting and joy riding in the ram ( about 50 miles) . I let my boy do most of the driving. It is hard to believe we are out joy riding in a 8000 pound truck but we have a lot of wood to use.

I think you to have a younger generation to teach the skill also.

Paul on the downhill situation you should be able to fire the truck up much guicker going downhill than uphill. You should be able to shut your air mix valve to the point the motor is too rich to be over revving . If the motor does over rev you can always kill the ignition.

Going up a hill or on flat land about half the consumption of the motor is being pulled through the gasifier. Going down hill you can make the motor pull all the air through the gasifier and heat it up quick.


Paul & Wayne, Good picture Paul ! Wayne, until recently I was unable to kill the engine by choking it. This new truck will quit if I get the mixture too rich. We discussed this quickly when your throttle stuck on the old ford but we never did it. I think it is better to pull too hard than not enough. I now am running a second generation OBD2 truck and I don’t dare turn the key off while driving. It has a security system that prevents re-starting. If I want to start the truck by coasting down a hill and popping the clutch it will not run (fuel pump does not run). I have to actually turn the key to the starter position. If I pop start it on woodgas it will not switch back to gasoline as it thinks it has been stolen. It’s a pain in the ars … The clutch switch is also a pain in the ars as there is a time delay on it. Local parade in 1.5 hours … Massive rain system to the west but not moving east too fast. I always go to the local ceremony. It’s a hike up the hill to town. I planted potatoes yesterday. Hiked up the hill to check on them a bit ago. Some deer tracks in the hills. Hope they take a nibble and go yech. It gets tougher every year to hike up there. We abandoned that garden last year but I had a pile of sprouted reds and didn’t want to just dump them. I grew some in a bucket in a south window this winter and got several pounds out of the bucket so it’s worth the bother but I am sore and pooped … Mike L

Green Gold at the end of the rainbow.

I have the same problem with 2 miles of downhill at the start.
I’ll have to try Wayne’s method.


Hi Gordon, I like the looks of your trailer and truck setup. It looks familiar. Have we met yet ?? I think you told me at one point what part of Iowa you are in but I forgot. I’m about 45 or 50 miles northeast of Dubuque … I hope that is an old picture as it is fully green here now :o … I was able to comfortably sleep in the back of my truck on this last trip. Had to stack the wood bags on the side. Have a 4" thick foam mattress in the back. Do you have any other pictures posted anywhere ? I can’t do videos here … Thanks, Mike LaRosa

Hi Mike
Just across the river from you. Near Prairie Du Chine.
Not running now, rusty filter barrel is cracked.

Gordon, Ben Hansen is west of Viroqua around 7 miles or so. He just went through a divorce so I’m not sure if he got his engines changed out and the such but we planned to meet in Boscobel for lunch and maybe a little PR a year or two ago … He did his Ford with a fluidyne type unit but tarred up engine one. He was running oak boiler chips. I can blend them in my stuff but can’t run them straight. He is going to chunks last time I talked with him. Fix your unit up and lets get together some time. PDC is about an hour from here. Lots of restaurants in Fennimore which is 25 miles from me. Boscobel is around 35. Can you imagine 2 smokers pulling up into Hardees at the same time ??? My number is 608-623-3000 … I have to head out the door to Shullsburg to stake a job there. I’m a land surveyor … My wife is 4 years older and on SSI now but still works with me a day or two a week. Time flies !! Nice to know there is another gasser that close. There are a few others I have heard from. Mike