Gas vehicles (gas, not gasoline)

Here in Sweden and other european countries many city buses and other larger vehicles uses methane as fuel. Some cars have been produced for methane use as well.
I´ve resently been looking at used cars adds. Since this is Volvo country (or used to be) there is lot´s of used Volvos. Just happened to find really cheap ones only ten years old, wich puzzled me. I soon dicovered that these where bifuel cars (methane/gasoline). When reading articles about this I found the reason for them beeing so cheap: Tanks are composite and are only passing anual state inspection for ten years. For some reason they are not allowed to be replaced but has to be plugged and leaded. The trunk is a bit smaller and people don´t want to drive around with a useless extra tank beneath.
Wouldn´t these cars be perfect for woodgas? Pluming, automated gasmixing, timing issues - everything factory manufactured and even cheaper than an ordinary car. Or is pure methane to far from the woodgas mix properties? What do you guys think?

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JO I’d say go for it.
I know that the spark ignition timing curves programmed in on the municipal public service methane vehicles here would be much more a woodgas match than a gasoline fuel intended.
Same here on the methane tanks recertifation/replacements costs.
Here these will be Dodge minivans and compact pickups.

Thanks Steve,
It might be a while before I get there, but I sure would like to take a look at one. There are just so many things…just finished harvesting, cutting and splitting the anual 25 m3 firewood for next winters househeating, been milling some lumber and came up with some improvements on the mill I just had to make and then stumbeled over a couple of small pinions that would make a perfect fit for a rebak/stepovac - chunker, wich I´ve fallen in love with. I think that will be my next project. Than I can chunk my slabs and stripes before they rot down into the ground.

And then - there is my first 8" exprimental gasifier. I still think that one belongs on a Skoda pickup (rabbit). I´ve been looking into the engine alternatives on those. There is one 1.6L with dist, but with plastic intake and overhead cam an belt. The other one is a 1.3L chain driven pushrodder, has metal intake but no dist. Just a coil pack in front of the plugs. If I choose the later one, would it be possible to just mount another crank sensor and switch between the two? What will timing curves say about that?

How about the Peterson. Is it still running?

I haven’t ran my Peterson mill since ~2010. First the economic meltdown here had tanked my custom board market. Now I’ve gotton old, tired of building things here as it just drives up our annual property taxes. Have used the V-twin Kohler engine off the mill for some woodgas projucts. Stopped that once I bought the Miller/Kohler welder-generator.

Your Stoka (Spain? or Bosnia?) engine choices could go either way. MANY in Finland, Germany, the Nederlands, even the US now have woodgassed belt and chain driven OHC engines. You just have to be extra cold system tar careful. Easy as making a tube exhaust, to make a metal tube intake (done it). Mazda used these common on Ford Escort 1.9L in aluminum tube. Jeep used some steel metal tube intakes. That distributor on the 1.6L will probably only have the actual triggering sensor in it. NOT have the actual RPM speed ignition changing cams like the old. Ignition timing curve will probably be mapped in an off the engine electronic controller.

Distributorless going with a second advanced set crank trigger sensor would work just like rotating the distributor body alright. BUT distibutorless the electronic contrller must ID the #1 cylinder for proper ignition and fuel injection sequencing. So will have a cam sensor in there also.
Two manufactueres that I’ve ran into program set to check for expected cam to cranksensor sequence alignments: Chrysler/Dodge and US spec VW. First they will warning light code set. Then turn off the FI and spark.
Stoka to spec to be in Scandinavia I do not know. Any autocross racers who could tell you?
Steve Unruh

Thank you, Steve! You are a real goldmine of knowledge!

Skoda is Czech and the 1.3 pushrodder is an old engine from old east with carb and dist upgraded with MPI and coil pack for western market since 1996. The 1.6 OHC is a VW engine and very common in many of their models.
The intake manifold of the 1.6 is a big plastic sheet with lot´s of curves and bumps to make a tight fit. Even if I could replace it with tubing I still have to pass annual state inspection and I doubt inspectors will approve.
Woodgas is actually only allowed on cars 1975 or older due to emission regulations, 1988 on heavier vehicles > 2500 kg full load. That would be old carb am trucks, but they are to expensive here. Trying to get a newer (and cheaper) vehicle woodgas approved would be like certifying a new design engine with all the paperwork and testing.
So - my plan is to go ahead woodgasing anyway. I doubt the police would care (or understand), but I need a simple slip fit pluming and a slide in unit on top of bed (or trailer) for easy removal when annually inspected. I just have to keep looking for a suitable vehicle.
Meantime my 8" experimental might end up on my 1947 Ferguson tractor anway. I know Arvid would approve.


PS. I know I´ve done more talking than welding by now. That has to change.


Of course I approve… message me if I can help in any way

Thanks Arvid! I will

Steve U; Do I understand you correctly, that you have a Peterson “swing blade” saw mill??? I just recently found the “swing blade” design — I saw JO’s and got interested. I am like you too old to be getting involved but my mind hasn’t admitted that yet, so I have been sending for literature. My thought was to build an inexpensive one like JO’s and cut 2x2 strips out of small usless pecker poles that we have a lot of. Then run them through my chunker. I hate to rely on my brother in law for "sticker’ as it has now become profitable for him to sell them for shredding.TomC

Yes TomC I do have an early model New Zealand Peterson swing-blade mill.
Was originally an electric motor driven outside “break-down” mill imported into Idaho. Next owner was WA wet-side - a cedar fence board man. He converted it to gasoline engine and also used it as a large log break-down machine. (means it lacks an electric safety clutch and Peterson later to EU operator stand-off and positive shut down features.
Swing-blades can rip a large log down to 2x1, 2x2 → 4x4" stickers. Mine can make up to 1x12" boards. Up to 6x12" beams.

Australian Lucas swing-blade mills are much more common to find. New through California’s; Bailey’s Logging Supply

If your base trees are small better using a belt cant returning pass-through band mill.
Your blade width kerf-loss on a swing-blade circular gets up to 20% for making small stickers out of center log. The large log edging strips are the stacking sticker pieces. Center log is the $'s wood.
Steve Unruh


Steve; Most all of our wood goes to pulp. It is small so we don’t expect to get many boards out of it. But with a swing blade, like I said, I could cut 2x2-3 for stickers/chuncking. I realize the kerf is wider than a band saw, but I would not have to rotate the logs to get my stickers.
Attached is a photo of down town Crivitz, Wi. They ship the logs out from here so down town “generally” looks like this. 100 years ago this was all logged off with very large white pines. They did replant some, but now days they say the area will seed itself. I don’t like that. With the “plantation” replants we got a couple of cuttings to thin the woods before the final harvest.