Gasified Gasser

Here is my project car since 1992 or so… it is a 1941 Ford Starlight coupe. The previous owner had been racing is as a “gasser” with the highboy front end and a mixture of Buick, Mopar and Ford parts but by the time I got it it was missing the driveline. Actually, it was pretty unsafe looking and the stock frame was pretty hacked up.

I made some decent progress on the car in the first 6 months - ripping and replacing the frame with 2x4 tubing, installing a Pinto front suspension, an AM 4 link narrowed rear and a rebuilt 460 Ford big block. Then life got a little more complex.

I got married, built a house and moved and we had a son and in a couple of years sold that house and built another (just as the bubble was bursting) and moved again and took up several other hobbies like boating, gasification and BBQ. So life has been happening, and me and my family are really blessed and now my 7 year old son is asking to help me with the “old rusty car”.

I am not sure how long until this one will roll, because it still needs a lot of floorboard and total interior work, and resolution of a coolant leak where I struck water in one of the exhaust pockets while porting the heads. In short, my hobby list for this year HAS to include some progress on this car, so I figure why not just add gasifier power to the list of to-dos for the car ?

Considering how you guys are using woodgas and that hobby leads the potential for some very interesting road trips - this has me thinking of ways to shrink a gasifier system to the point that everything would fit in the trunk. Even though this car is kind of a rat rod - there will be no WWII style tanks all hanging on the bumper or popping out through the trunk.

Think it can be done ?

The gasifier that I have been experimenting with burns pellets and uses air flow to remove the char… so I plan to try to build a large output pellet fired unit with a very small footprint. It will probably have some electronics to do the fuel management and other mixing and monitoring tasks, although I think a couple of lawnmower throttle levers and unlabled switches and knobs would look cool on the dash.

I measured from the top of the trunk to the bottom of the gas tank to be about 36 inches. Nowhere to put a big ol’ pipe cooling rack though !
… what if I could use the frame somehow ?

Man, that is a cool. project! My vote is to pull the big block, put in 4bt cummins on bio diesel.
Drop the big block in a truck for wood gas. My two cents (historically worth less than that)

Just build a trailer and hook it behind and then you don’t have to change hardly anything and it looks like there is plenty of room for pipework … The big block will smoke. Oh, I’m fond of straight axles but it looks like you’ve already changed that … That car when it was original could drive across a cornfield … ML

Brian, Mike…
Thanks… I think adding a trailer would be more doable than pulling and replacing the motor. (the C6 has an expensive torque converter matched for the motor and weight).
I have a receiver to put on that will complete the frame perimeter around that huge gas tank. Also looking at using my frame tubes for cooling and to bring the gas to the front rather than an extra pipe down there. I have the 3" duals with x pipe zig-zagging around down there, but outboard of the frame is pretty open. I am liking the trailer idea better than an onboard now…that would haul fuel as well (and extra stuff for a road trip).

Next, the engine is carburated and the intake manifold is a dual plane Weiand Stealth CJ unit… I have wanted EFI from day one, (have some 7.5L EFI intake parts) but the manifold layout on the Stealth makes it hard to get the injectors in the right place for a couple of the cylinders. The EFI intake does not work on the pre88 blocks because the distributor shaft was relocated.

I read about a carburator conversion for woodgas on the MEN site… thinking of that or a mixer like John Wells is using on his F250 for now.

Gary, You obviously know what you are doing and I never thought of running the woodgas in the frame itself because that is not an option on any of the rigs I run. It also might degrade the metal with time but will probably outlast you and me. I have used some steel gutter pipe and Mike Anthony in Michigan showed me some mobile home frame material that would work very good as well. I do need to mention that the trailer will need a very rigid frame and the cheap light ones that I have used from Harbor Freight do not work well. They twist and flex and this makes keeping things hooked together a problem so build your own and throw any old axle under it. I hope you can find time to play. I haven’t taken any recent pictures and I have added a few things to this trailer like a lid over the battery and a bar on the front but this is the current rig that I’m playing with … Mike L

Hi Mike,
I saw some spring looking pictures on your site… Looks like you were outside and it was a beautiful day today there. (it was nice here too).
I have learned a lot from your site and started checking my rotors to see if they were usable ! (wrong size for big motor). I saw where you were using cement to close up some of the vent holes and that gave me an idea to use a fire clay/sand/portland mix to cast some parts for a “crock pot” gasifier. I used plastic buckets for molds and cast in place pipe fittings for connections, and was able to make some parts that look like they may work. I plan to do some testing with them to see if I can get them to fully cure to handle the intense heat of reduction without cracking. I thought the cast construction method would be good to eliminate some welding and to deal with the heat, but have learned ways to use traditional metals and manage the heat better here on this site. I am including a photo in case the technique may work for someone…

I tried the “crockpot” on a burn test and it goes against the heat management practices.

Ok Mike. So what is your website with the Spring pics?

Hey Y’all.
Regular unleaded is up to $3.95 this week where I live. I have not looked at my gas guage the same since I saw WK’s V-10 in action and handed him a few 10lb bags of wood to fill 'er up.

Gary, Have you caught Danilo’s videos of his clay gasifier ?? He burns coffee charcoal scraps … I can’t remember what he goes by on youtube but if you search for Danilo on the yahoo woodgas groupl it should pop up … I really enjoyed looking at the spiders in the electric meter when he was running it backwards … That may have been with the iron gasifier but he ran the chevy straight 6 on both … The clay one is just fun to think about. I just brought it up so you could see a pure thing like that in action. In my real world I have to poke a rod in from time to time and refractory materials would get trashed in a hurry. When I need to pull over to the side of the highway I want the stop to be quick and hassle free. I used furnace cement in a few joints of some of the last projects but that stuff cracked and fell out so I go solid now … … Mike LaRosa

HI Mike, I was not sure if I had seen it, but if this is the one, I have.
Actually, I was into the HHO thing before finding gasification, and the video of the adobe gasifier running the Chevy strait 6 was a real eye opener to alternative fuels and getting it done. I am especially inspired by seeing someone make it work with whatever they have to work with, so I will be using up all my stuff that I built a couple of years ago and will be building larger as I find the right parts (taking a while to do the scrounging up here)

I am getting close to doing a first run on my small “crockpot” style, pellet fueled 4" cone G3-1 (ish) build hopefully over the weekend. My new goal includes several baby steps towards running one of my 5-15HP engines on it. If I can get it mounted in a yard wagon, I may be able to drive around the yard on a tractor or something - with persistence, that would add up to my first mile on woodgas… looking forward to that.

Had some garage time today, and took a series of photos showing the hole in the bad head. The obvious hole on the right side was just a pinhole that water was being pulled into the exhaust stream until I had asked a friend to braze it closed. He said once he hit that area with the torch, it glowed red immediately, and opened up and would not take the repair.

|Stock|______Ported OK _____|_Ported too much|

I have another set of heads, C9VE castings that I will be moving the valves, etc over to. Looking for a single plane manifold…anyone want to trade a CJ port Weiand Stealth for something like an Edelbock performer RPM ? I also have the '88 and onward EFI manifold that will not work for this motor because the distributor moves to the other side of the camshaft in '88. Back to selling/buying on ebay, I guess…

In the mean time, I will be posting on the small engine side of the forum. Going to try to rack up my first mile on a lawn tractor…

I went to the cylinder head shop today to get my new heads checked out. Also went to the local steel yard looking for some pipe drops and found this one… unusual thickness, like 3/16 on one side and 5/16 on the opposite side. 12" inner diameter and they wwanted $40 bucks for a 20" section.

  1. Is the thickness(es) OK ?
  2. price - is this too much or should I keep shopping ?

Hey Gary,

That seems to be high. I bought steel about three weeks ago and paid 24 cents a pound.

12 inch is a very common pipe and should be easy found .

Some of the air tanks from semi trucks may be about 11-12 inches and may be thick enough

If you can find a couple of short pieces just weld them together

Thanks, Mr.Wayne. I guess it pays to wait… that price included a cutting surcharge and then some.

I found a site with a weight calculator that may come in handy to show how much a given size of tube or plate may weigh. The calculator says the 12.5" x 20" x .25 wall tube would weigh 54.7 lbs.

If I can find scrap for a quarter a pound, it should cost less than 14 bucks !


Hi David,
Everything was cheaper back in the 60’s… I didn’t buy my first gallon of gas until the mid 70’s, and no cars until the late 80’s (had bikes).

I got this car by trading a 1928 Checker truck conversion that I had bought locally for $1,000. It was pretty rusty and the oak from the pickup conversion was in pretty bad shape. I did not realize how heavy it was until I had started to load it up on the car hauler. The truck was way to heavy to make into a hotrod, and it would only be a 2 seater and the truck had some history because it was common to hack a large car into a truck during the years of WWII. Anyways, about a week after I brought it home, I saw this '41 Ford, and knew that was what I really wanted, so I listed the '28 Checker on ebay and sold it for the asking price of the '41!

I am studying the cooling and condensing still, and am planning to make my stuff modular in hopes that I can try the components on different vehicles (4.7L quad cab and this 7.5L car)… so for now, I am thinking of a trailer that will have a cooling rack that would look good bolted on my truck… kind of like a plan “a” and a plan “b” at the same time.

I found some supplies at the saw mill and scored some barrels in the same trip today ! Pretty soon I will get to start on the innerds.

My how time flies…
As I mentioned before in this thread, I have to make some progress on the car part of this project this summer, so this one is on the front burner for a week or so… I took some pictures of classic cars pulling trailers at the hot rod show this spring, and am convinced I can make a nice looking trailer out of a box with wheels and a pair of classic fenders. That would work to hold a gasifier for this project car. The photo below shows a woodie wagon pulling a woodie trailer. I saw some good examples of Panhard trailer gasifiers elsewhere on the forum too at

Over the last month or so, I have been bidding on stock port intake manifolds, because I recently sold my old one (CJ style). Looking for an Edelbrock Torker 460 or Torker II… hope to add some fuel injector bungs before I put it on so. Now working on the floorboards - this was a real holdup on the project because I was waffling between buying a kit but would still need lots of other misc pieces so I just decided to buy 4’x10’ piece of 16ga sheetmetal and make it up as I go along. I am going to try to make a bending brake tomorrow . At least I am feeling good about the welding after all the practice I have been getting on gasifier projects !!